• Crossing cultures at Fiesta de la Cruz: The Festival of the Cross isn’t as solemnly Catholic as it sounds. Best in Lima, Cusco, and Ica, the festival features vibrant cross processions as well as folk music and dance, the highlight being the famed and daring “scissors dancers,” who long ago performed on top of churches.
  • Going wild at Virgen del Carmen (Paucartambo): The minuscule, remote Andean colonial village of Paucartambo hosts one of Peru’s wildest festivals. The 3 days of dance, drinking, and frightening costumes pack in thousands, who camp all over town and then wind up (only temporarily, one hopes) at the cemetery.
  • Hitting a purple patch at El Señor de los Milagros (Lima): Prince would love this highly religious procession—the largest procession in South America—with tens of thousands of reverent followers clad in bright purple. The Lord of Miracles lasts an entire day and venerates a painting of Jesus Christ, created by an Angolan slave and a lone survivor of the devastating 1746 earthquake.
  • Raising an eyebrow at Larco Herrera (Lima): Peru’s great museums are almost all in Lima, and this archaeology collection includes 45,000 pieces of pre-Columbian art from the Moche dynasty (A.D. 200–700). Pornographic ceramics, with massive phalluses in compromising positions in the Moche Sala Erótica may give you a jolt.
  • Sampling chifa and Nikkei: Large Chinese and Japanese immigrant populations have greatly influenced modern Peruvian cooking. Go upscale with raw fish at Costanera 700, or try what’s become a Peruvian staple: chifa, a local variant of Chinese.
  • Trying Andean delicacies and libations: Chicha, home-brewed beer made from fermented maize, is served at modest taverns or homes flying the chicha flag—a long pole with a red flag or balloon letting people know there’s chicha inside. Served lukewarm in plastic tumblers, it’s not to many foreigners’ liking. Equally hard to swallow is cuy, or guinea pig, an inexplicable local delicacy with more teeth and bones than meat. 

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.