Famed as the folklore capital of Peru, Puno is renowned throughout the Andes for its music and dance. The best time to experience this wealth of traditional cultural expression is during the first two weeks of February for the Fiesta de la Candelaria, a great folklore dance festival, boasting incredible dancers wearing devil masks; the festival climaxes on the second Sunday of February. If you’re in Puno at this time, it’s a good idea to reserve hotels in advance (hotel prices can double).

The Festival de Tinajani, usually around June 27, is set in the bleak altiplano against the backdrop of a huge wind-eroded rock in the Canyon of Tinajani. Off the beaten trail, it’s well worth checking out for its raw Andean music and dance, plus its large sound systems; ask at the tourist offices in Puno or Cusco for details.

Just as spectacular, the Semana Jubilar (Jubilee Festival) occurs in the first week of November, partly on the Isla Esteves, and celebrates the Spanish founding of the city and the Incas’ origins, which legend says are from Lake Titicaca itself. Even if you miss the festivals, you can find a group of musicians playing brilliant and highly evocative music somewhere in the labyrinthine town centre on most nights of the year.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Peru features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

20 pictures of Peru that will put the country on your bucket list

20 pictures of Peru that will put the country on your bucket list

Peru is has long been a favourite destination on the South America backpacker trail, but there's more to tempt you here than the oft-photographed llamas and …

05 Aug 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
15 things everyone learns backpacking South America

15 things everyone learns backpacking South America

South America has become a favoured destination for the intrepid backpacker, and while it’s impressive in the astounding diversity of its nations, there are a…

02 Mar 2016 • Steph Dyson insert_drive_file Article
Behind the scenes of the best restaurants in Lima

Behind the scenes of the best restaurants in Lima

Co-author of The Rough Guide to Peru and Lima resident Greg de Villiers gives us an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the city's best restaurants.  Beto i…

28 Jul 2015 • Gregory de Villiers insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month