Festivals are growing in size in Latin America, and travelers are realizing that planning their vacations around the right ones is worthwhile. Each year, the festival atmosphere is growing. What’s not to love? It’s a time for celebration! There are festivals of different kinds to look forward each year – some that are cultural, some that are music-based and some that are for celebrating holidays. Here are a handful of famous ones in Central and South America. These are some of the most noteworthy ones!
- La Bière Week, Brazil
This year, from May 17th to May 20th, Sao Paulo, Brazil, will host its annual Beer Week festival. This festival celebrates all things beer. Local pubs and bars host special events and happy hours all around Sao Paulo, where attendees can sample all kinds of fun craft brews. If you can’t make this event in May, it’s also hosted in Montreal, Quebec in June, and in Rio de Janeiro in September!
- arteBA, Argentina
In Buenos Aires, from May 24th to May 27th, arteBA is hosted. This is one of Argentina’s leading cultural events, and it brings a crowd of over 100,000 people each year to celebrate Latin American artwork. The festival features art galleries, museums and collectors all with their work on display for the general public. One of the highlights of this festival is its open forum, where you can meet leading figures of the international art scene and discuss contemporary art.
- Quyllur Rit’I, Peru
Quyllur Rit’I, also known as Star Snow Festival, is a religious and spiritual celebration held in June in the Sinakara Valley of Peru. It is one of the oldest festivals in the world, but the location can be difficult to get into and requires some mountain traversing in the Andes. The procession carries the Lord of Quyllur Rit’I from Mahuayani (the festival’s starting point) to the Sinakara Valley. Once there, colorful ceremonial dances and indigenous rituals are held to honor the mountains – which were of significant importance to the Inca way of life.
- Inti Raymi, Peru
Inti Raymi is Cusco, Peru’s largest and most significant festival. It features over 700 actors for the reenactment of the historical Inca festival of the same name. The festival’s purpose is to honor the sun god of the Inca people, Inti, while also marking the winter solstice and a new year in the Andes. The festival involves the ritual itself, along with colorful costumes, music, and dancing.
- Septenario Festival, Ecuador
Septenario Festival is a week-long event in Cuenca, Ecuador in mid-June. It’s the city’s most festive time. The streets in town are closed off so that the town can be overcome with games, food, and fireworks. On the last night, thousands of balloons are sent up into the sky. The exact date for this festival varies each year, but it is always sometime in mid-June.
- Feria de las Flores, Colombia
The festival of flowers in Medellin, Colombia is probably the largest flower festival in the world. It takes place the first week of August and includes a horse parade, an antique car parade, and lots and lots of flowers. Medellin is famous for its local flora, and the most famous part of the parade is the line of silleteros, a cultural reference to the silleteros of earlier times who carried large amounts of weight through the mountains on their backs using wicker. For this part of the festival, there is a parade of silleteros carrying copious amounts of colorful floral arrangements through the city.
- Bolivia’s Independence Day, Bolivia
Travel to Sucre, Bolivia for this giant Independence Day celebration. The actual day of independence is August 6th, but celebrations begin several days before and continue for several days after that date. Colorful parades and fireworks are ongoing during this time, and even if you can’t make it to Sucre, you’re likely to come across celebrations all throughout the country.
- World Tango Championship, Argentina
Argentina is home to the famous Tango, so it’s only fitting that the annual championship is held in Buenos Aires. Those who wish to compete can do so, but it’s just as much fun to watch! Hundreds of other, related events are also held throughout the city during this time, so there’s no shortage of fun and celebration. The Tango Championship takes place in August, but the date can change from year to year. For the 2018 event, visit Buenos Aires from August 9th to the 22nd.
When you’re traveling in Latin America, there’s always something to celebrate! Even if you won’t be able to make any of these festivals, you’ll be pleased know that there is generally something that involves music, parades, and dancing taking place during any given month. You won’t be sorry if you stumble onto something!