Make New Year’s as extravagant or low-key as you choose when you escape from the capital and head south to Cusco.There were fireworks in Peru long before Katy Perry.
Whether it’s an actual holiday or just happens to be an amazing weekend for somebody, the sound and sparks of fireworks are commonplace in the Andean nation. In just a few weeks we will be welcoming the New Year with some of the biggest firework celebrations in the nation (sorry furry friends) and many Limeños will be heading to the beach to enjoy the show.
End of the year celebrations in the southeastern city of Cusco light up with more than fireworks however as music and a communal energy ignites in the historic capital of the Incan Empire. Like insects to a burning light bulb, national and international travelers will be attracted by the opportunity to celebrate the oncoming new year in a new way.
Hours before the clock strikes midnight, many people gather in Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, lured by the ringing church bells. Anxious to watch the firework show, a crowd of onlookers quickly forms in the main square however don’t be too territorial as soon this mass of people will move as one. All move counterclockwise around the square’s fountain, making seven rounds to bring good luck.
If just the sound of all that motion makes you dizzy, there are plenty of hideaways in Cusco that offer serenity in sitting still. In fact, in the center of Cusco city is the Belmond Hotel Monasterio. Despite its enviable location next to the city’s lively square, one step inside the former monastery (1592) is like transporting to a zen-like Eden.
In the wee morning hours, after a raucous night of partying or a relaxing night in enjoying live jazz and a six-course dinner (sign me up!), those still awake can venture to the nearby Sacsayhuaman ruins that overlook the city. Those who choose to make the trek will be rewarded with a magnificent sun rise and (should the clouds part) a view of the Ausangate mountain. To witness the mountain is said to bring good luck – not a bad way to start off the new year.