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Inti Raymi 2024

Come discover the incredible Inti Raymi, the traditional and magical Festival of the Sun in Cusco! This annual celebration takes place during the winter solstice and is one of the most memorable experiences in Peru.
This ceremony is celebrated every June 24th, during the winter solstice.

The Inti Raymi, meaning 'Festival of the Sun' in Quechua, is one of the main festivities in the city of Cusco. This celebration is filled with Quechua chants, traditional dances, and colorful costumes from the Inca era.

What is Inti Raymi?

Inti Raymi is an ancient Inca religious celebration, where the Incas worshiped their God: "The Inti or Sun". In the past, Inti Raymi lasted about 15 days, during which sacrifices were made and dances were performed to worship the "Sun God". The last Inti Raymi with the presence of the Inca Emperor took place in 1535, a year before "The Spanish Conquest".

Today, Inti Raymi is a theatrical representation, attracting thousands of Cusqueños and people from all over the world to this event, which is one of the most important cultural and traditional manifestations of Cusco. This Inca celebration makes each of us feel the Inca blood running through our veins and revalue our past.

What does the Sun mean in Inti Raymi?

In Inti Raymi, the Sun represents their highest worship, its essence, and its source of life. It is their supreme god and one of the most important celestial bodies in the Andean world, marking the beginning of a new annual cycle. Therefore, offerings, temples, etc., were dedicated to the sun because it was who blessed them, thus, it was owed respect and adoration.

Inti Raymi in the times of the Incas

The "Inti Raymi" or "Festival of the Sun" was the largest, most important, and magnificent festivity held during the times of the Tahuantinsuyo Empire, which based its religion on the worship of the Sun. It was established by Inca Pachacuteq "the world transformer" in the 14th century as a religious reform, with the sun being their highest divinity.

This ceremony involved the Acllas, Wayllus, the Imperial Inca Army, representatives from each suyo, and other members of the Inca organization, being attended by almost the entire population that made up the Tahuantinsuyo.

During the conquest era, the Inca subjects continued celebrating the festival hidden from Spanish authorities, and a mestizo named "Garcilaso de la Vega" compiled the best of this festivity and depicted it in his famous work "Royal Commentaries"

The entry of the Inca to the Plaza de Armas or the esplanade of Saqsayhuaman was always led by a group of "Acllas" sprinkling flowers and accompanied by "Pichaq", men responsible for scaring away evil spirits that might be on the path with straw brooms.

The Inca in all his public performances was always accompanied by his "kumillo", or hunchbacked dwarf who carried the "Achiwa", a type of umbrella or sunshade made of colored feathers.

History of the Inti Raymi Staging

The staging of Inti Raymi began with Humberto Vidal Luna's proposal to the American Institute of Art in 1943. The project consisted of an initiative to stage an Inca ceremony, which at the time was merely a small theatrical representation of an Inca festival.

Thus, in 1944, an unprecedented staging was carried out for the first time, known today as "Inti Raymi," and June 24th was established as the Day of Cusco.

The first Inti Raymi celebrated after the Spanish conquest starred Don Faustino Espinoza Navarro, the first actor to portray the Inca, a writer, and actor from Cusco, founder of the Quechua Language Academy, and participant in the restoration of Inti Raymi.

In 2001, "Inti Raymi" was declared a Cultural Heritage of the Nation and an Official Act of National Identity.

Inti Raymi Today and at the Height of the Inca Empire

The differences between the Inti Raymi celebrated during the Inca era and the Inti Raymi celebrated today are minimal; here we present the details that differ.

Comparative Table of Inti Raymi in the Inca Era and Today
Inti Raymi Inca Inti Raymi Current Inti Raymi
Description A festival of much color, dance, and devotion, as well as rites and offerings to the Sun God. A festival that revalues the traditions and customs of our Inca ancestors.
Duration 15 days before the winter solstice 1 day, June 24
Year 1430 - 1532 A.D. 1944 - Present
Attendance 50,000 inhabitants of the Tahuantinsuyo 60,000 attendees from different parts of the world and approximately 1000 actors (musicians, dancers, etc.)

The Role of Women in the Inti Raymi Festival

The role of women in the Inca empire was very important and necessary, as they were symbols of abundance and fertility. The central figure of women in the Inca empire was the Qoya, a figure who transcended in leadership and the ability to manage crisis situations in the Tahuantinsuyo. She was the companion of the Inca, his adviser, and his right hand in governance. Upon the Inca's death, she took charge of directing the Panaca "noble descendants of the Inca."

In the Inti Raymi Festival, the Qoya was a character of great relevance, accompanying the Inca throughout the course of this ceremony, demonstrating sovereignty and power.

The Importance of the Qhapac Ñan in Inti Raymi

The Qhapac Ñan was a network of Inca roads intertwined through the Huacas, a road system for communication among all the peoples that made up the Tahuantinsuyo. It was of utmost importance, as, during the "Inti Raymi" or Sun Festival, it was used to reach Cusco.

Schedule of the Inti Raymi Festivities

The festivities begin on June 24th in the morning, starting with the first staging at the Temple of the Sun, Qoricancha or Santo Domingo, then moving to the main square of Cusco, and finally heading to the Saqsayhuaman esplanade where the staging lasts approximately 2 hours. The event concludes around 3:30 p.m., although it may extend a few minutes longer.

  • This ceremony is performed in Quechua, the native and ancestral language of the Incas.
Location Time
First part: Qoricancha - Temple of the Sun 9:00 am
Second part: Huacaypata - Main Square of Cusco Approx. 10:30
Third part: Fortress of Saqsayhuaman Approx. 1:00 pm

Traditional Inti Raymi Route

The traditional Inti Raymi route takes place in three historically significant locations in Cusco.

1. Qorikancha or Temple of the Sun, the starting point of the Inti Raymi with the ceremony called "Salute to the Sun". This first part begins with the sound of pututos and the entry of the acllas, musicians, and dancers, followed by the arrival of the Inca. This place marks the beginning of the first rituals, lasting approximately 1 hour.

2. Main Square of Cusco or Huacaypata, is the second point of celebration of Inti Raymi. Here, the "Meeting of the Times and Coca Leaf Ceremony" takes place, where the Inca and his entourage gather on the grand ushnu or ceremonial stage. This staging is mostly viewed standing and lasts approximately 1 hour.

3. Sacsayhuaman Esplanade, is the third epicenter of Inti Raymi and the main ceremony, as this is where the bulk of the Inti Raymi staging is concentrated. It begins with the entry of the Qoya and the Inca accompanied by dances, music, and songs, leading to the main ceremony. Finally, the Inca initiates the offering rite, sacrificing a llama in honor of the Sun God. This lasts approximately 2 hours.

The first and second stagings are free, so it is advisable to arrive early, as there will likely be a large crowd. The third staging requires the purchase of electronic tickets on the EMUFEC page, available for sale from April 15th for Inti Raymi 2024.

Location of the Inti Raymi Stands

The VIP area consists of three stands and offers the best views to appreciate this festivity.

  • Orange Stand, one of the best and most requested areas to watch Inti Raymi, as it is directly in front of the Ushnu or stage. If you are in this area, you will definitely be able to appreciate all the stages of this staging. It has a capacity of 1768 people.
  • Blue Stand, has a capacity of 1188 people.
  • Green Stand, has a capacity of 810 people.

Any of these stands offers a unique view of the Inti Raymi, as the Saqsayhuaman esplanade is a wide and open space, so do not worry too much about it.

5 Reasons Not to Miss Inti Raymi

  1. It is June 24th, and Cusco is at its peak. It is the month when Cusco receives the most tourists throughout the year. There is the opportunity to do much more, meet people from different places, and thus exchange experiences and anecdotes.
  2. Every June 24th, the day when the sun is at its farthest point from the earth, which also coincides with the winter solstice, Inti Raymi or "festival of the Sun" is celebrated at Sacsayhuaman, of fundamental importance in the Inca period. It is the coldest day in Cusco, with sunny weather in the morning. It is a time of frost, so it is always recommended to carry something warm for when night falls.
  3. The performance of each of the artists is impeccable. All these actors and actresses, native to Cusco, will be dressed in Inca costumes, mostly made of sheep's wool, alpaca, etc., just as it was in Inca times.
  4. Andean chants in Quechua, adorations to the "Sun God" are heard. The "Acllas," women of singular beauty chosen to serve the Inca and the Sun God or Inti, are responsible for worshiping their god with sweet voices. The Inca speaks with the sun, also in Quechua, as in ancient times.
  5. It traverses 3 places of great importance within the city of Cusco: The salute to the sun, at the ancient Temple of Qorikancha, today the Convent of Santo Domingo. Then there is the meeting of two times, in the Huacaypata or Main Square, between the Inca and the current Mayor of Cusco. And finally, the central ceremony culminates in the "Esplanade of Sacsayhuaman."

Finally, it should be noted that Law No. 27431, dated March 3, 2001, recognizes that the "Inti Raymi" celebrated every June 24th in the city of Cusco, Historical Capital of Peru, constitutes Cultural Heritage of the Nation, an Official Act, and Main Ritual Ceremony of National Identity.


  • Ensure your entry.- If you want to be comfortable, Inti Raymi is a festival where most people stand up, many people from Cusco and abroad bring a small stool to avoid standing all the time.
  • Watch out for the sun!- An Inti Raymi without sun has yet to be seen. This day has always been sunny, so you cannot forget the sunscreen, it is recommended to apply it every 45 minutes. In addition to this, you should wear sunglasses and a hat or cap for added protection.
  • Comfortable clothing.- It is very likely that this day will be warm, and carrying jackets would be a point against us. A good pair of walking shoes, since Inti Raymi lasts at least 7 hours, so you must be prepared, dress in something that does not make you feel too hot or too cold, your comfort comes first.
  • Carry some hydrating drink.- During the journey, you will find businesses selling different types of food, they usually take the opportunity to raise prices, it is better to be prepared, and buy drinks and some snacks before leaving, thus avoiding problems and extra expenses.
  • Always be alert with personal items.- Undesirable people are always on the lookout for victims, they are everywhere. They tend to take advantage of the crowd to slip their hands into pockets and/or backpacks. We recommend not carrying valuables in backpacks and/or purses.