Ayacucho: This is the granddaddy of Peru’s Semana Santa celebrations. The streets fill with religious processions all week, capped by the candelight procession before dawn on Easter Sunday. There are also more worldly celebrations focusing on traditional food, music and dance, as well as a running of the bulls.
Tarma: ‘The Pearl of the Andes’ glows during Holy Week. Here, the main draws are the elaborate floral carpets and arches assembled by villagers from around the region. On Easter Sunday, a procession traverses all of the streets of the city.
Lunahuaná: It is late in the Sierra’s rainy season, meaning that the rapids are fast and wild in Lunahuaná. There are a number of tour operators in town that can set up rafting trips for you. The town can also be used as a base for zip-lining, mountain biking, ATV excursions and rock climbing.
Huarmey: As soon as Wednesday afternoon of Holy Week hits, the highways south of Lima will be filled with beachgoers. If you’d like something a little more tranquil, head in the opposite direction. Just five hours north of Lima, Huarmey is quiet enough that you won’t have to compete for every square foot of sand, but there are still plenty of cevicherias and other spots to enjoy.
Canta: Just a few hours from Lima, on the western face of the Andes, Canta is a great destination. Coupled with the nearby village of Obrajillo, Canta offers hiking, horseback riding, waterfalls and fishing.
In the week before Easter, Semana Santa celebrations fill Peru. Here are some great destinations for every type of traveler.
Cover photo: Elsa Salinas/Flickr
This article has been updated from its original publication on March 27, 2012.