The festival for Inti Raymi – la Fiesta del Sol or Festival of the Sun – always occurs on the 24th of June and coincides with the Peasants Day or Indians Day in Cusco. During the time of the Inca’s, there was a tradition of worshipping the Sun God, Inti, during the winter solstice. On the Winter Solstice began the New Year for the Incan calendar. The Incas would gather together and prepare a large feast for all in attendance, praying for a good crop yield for the following year.
Nowadays, the festival is a week-long and it’s one of the biggest festivals of South America. Many travelers plan their trips accordingly making sure to arrive in Cusco in June, a few days before the big event on June 24th.
Inti Raymi offers a wide variety of colorful events every day that will appeal to everyone’s senses.
The main event of The Festival of the Sun takes place at Qoriqancha (or Temple of the Sun) on June 24th, upon the invocation of Sapa Inca; then, proceeds to move to Sacsayhuaman – the impressive inca ruin located at approximately 4 kilometers from the city center of Cusco.
Sacsayhuaman was the original seat of the entire Incan empire.
The procession features Sapa Inca and Mama Occla, two highly covered acting positions that famous actors and actresses seek to be. Other historical figures such as noblemen, priests, and other officials are present and follow Sapa Inca to Sacsayhuaman for the ritual to begin at the sacred altar.
The festival is an entire day-long event that goes into the night with dancing and singing. Upon completion of the day, around 6 pm, Sapa Inca and Mama Occla are returned to Cusco upon their thrones among the officials who offer blessings on people.
The activities at Qoriqancha start around 9.00 am on June 24th and the big crowd arrives at Sacsayhuaman around noon. The entry to Sacsayhuaman is free and there will not be only travelers and tourist but also many local people celebrating Peasants Day. There is plenty of food and drinks to buy.
There is one section, where the main theatre presentation takes place, that can only be accessed with a ticket. Here are the reserved seats, tickets needed can be bought in advance.