December in Peru is a month of vibrant celebrations, contrasting climates, and the promise of unforgettable adventures. Whether you’re looking to explore ancient ruins, immerse yourself in cultural festivities, or simply enjoy the natural beauty, Peru in December has something special to offer. This guide aims to provide tourists with all the information needed to make the most out of their December visit to Peru, ensuring a trip filled with enriching experiences and memorable moments.

Celebrations and Cultural Events

Peru’s December is packed with festivities, reflecting the country’s rich cultural tapestry. From traditional Christmas celebrations to unique local festivals, there’s no shortage of ways to immerse yourself in Peruvian culture.

December 24thChristmas EveTraditional family gatherings with roasted turkey or suckling pig, complemented by Panetón and hot chocolate.
December 27thLa Virgen del Carmen de ChinchaCelebrated in El Carmen with frenzied dancing and all-night music.
December 31stNew Year’s EveNationwide celebrations with fireworks and the 12 grapes tradition for good luck.

Highlight: Santuranticuy Festival in Cusco

A significant event taking place every December 25th in Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, the Santuranticuy Festival is one of the largest arts and crafts fairs in Peru, showcasing nativity sets, decorations, and handmade toys. It’s a fantastic opportunity to experience Andean Christmas traditions and support local artisans.

Where to Go and What to Do

Peru’s diverse geography offers a wide range of activities and destinations perfect for December travel.

Wildlife Viewing on the Ballestas Islands

Often dubbed “The Galapagos of Peru,” the Ballestas Islands are a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Home to rare birds, sea lions, dolphins, and whales, these islands provide a unique opportunity to observe Peru’s aquatic wildlife up close.

Trekking in the Andes

December marks the beginning of the wet season in the Andes, offering lush landscapes and fewer crowds. Popular treks include the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and the Salkantay Trek, both providing breathtaking views and a chance to explore ancient ruins.

Coastal Delights

December is the start of the beach season along Peru’s extensive coastline. From the lively beaches of Máncora to the serene sands of Paracas, visitors can enjoy sunny skies, warm waters, and a vibrant beach atmosphere.

Weather Overview by Region

Peru’s varied geography means weather conditions in December can differ dramatically from one region to another. Here’s what to expect:

Andes (Cusco, Machu Picchu)Wet season begins, cool and pleasant with possible afternoon drizzles.Bring warm clothes and plan morning activities to avoid rain.
Coast (Lima, Trujillo)Dry and sunny, marking the start of the beach season.Ideal time for beach activities and exploring coastal towns.
AmazonHot, humid, and rainy, starting the wet season.Prepare for rain and enjoy the lush, vibrant rainforest.

Travel Tips for December

  • Book Early: December is a peak travel time in Peru, especially around Christmas and New Year. Early booking is essential for accommodations and tours.
  • Pack Accordingly: Prepare for a range of climates. Bring layers for the Andes, light clothing for the coast, and waterproof gear for the Amazon.
  • Participate in Local Traditions: Engage with the local customs and celebrations to enrich your travel experience. Trying the 12 grapes tradition on New Year’s Eve is a must!


December in Peru offers a unique blend of cultural festivities, adventure opportunities, and the beauty of nature. Whether you’re looking to delve into the heart of Peruvian traditions, explore ancient ruins, or simply bask in the natural wonders, Peru in December is a destination that promises an unforgettable journey. With careful planning and an open heart, travelers can experience the best of what this vibrant country has to offer, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

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