The Carnival in Cajamarca is all about music, dancing and water fights. It is described as the biggest and most enthusiastic carnival celebrations in Peru. Every year, the celebration attracts as many as 60,000 visitors from all over the world.
This carnival is known to be the wildest in the country and perhaps the second most famous in South America. The actual date changes but it is typically in the first fifteen days of February.
Whether it is a sunny or a rainy day, expect to be drenched in buckets of water when you participate in the festivities. To the people of Cajamarca, the carnival is the more anticipated than Christmas, birthdays, Easter, and Independence Day combined with locals counting down the days for the start of the festival.
Cajamarca’s carnival songs are notably risqué, very funny, and sung to pleasant melodies that everyone loves to sing along to. The songs are listened year-round by locals looking forward to the next carnival season. If you are a tourist, learn these songs and sing along!
Tourists should expect to get drenched during the Cajamarca celebration and be ready for water balloons to come flying from all directions. Expect kids to run around with loaded water pistols! Young and old, people of all ages participate in the traditional festivities.
The most prestigious parades at Cajamarca take three days and the weekend to celebrate. But the dancing and music at the Plaza de Armas can be experienced throughout an entire week leading up to Carnival. Regardless of the busy lives people in this town lead, it all stops on Friday when the celebrations begin.
Saturday is “Paint Day” and expect to people of all ages to paint eachother in mixtures of pain, water, and flour. The whole city becomes a colorful sight where even cars that are passing by will get a touch of color.
The Sunday parade is one of the most essential aspects of the whole celebrations as it is one of the most familiar and most love by the Peruvian city. Expect to see choreographed dances of people in bright and festive costumes in celebration of Peru’s unique culture. The locals create floats for the parade and traditional dances such as the “pandilla dance” make their way to the streets.
Every year, a Carnival King and Queen Momo are chosen to preside over contests. The people select the carnival’s Momo Queen and she decides the winner of the music contest on Queen’s night. The King who is known in Spanish as “Ño Carnavalon” rules over the festival’s parades and represents the God of fun and craziness.
Cajamarca is the capital and largest city of the Cajamarca Region. It is located in the northern highlands of Peru. Are you looking forward to participating in the festivities in true Cajamarca style? Don’t miss Carnaval de Cajamarca this February or next one! There are daily flights from Lima to get you there!