Raymi Llacta - Chachapoyas' Annual Party

The first week of June sees the city of Chachapoyas indulge in a celebration of the region's culture, that includes dances, cuisine, music, costumes and artwork. Known as Raymi Llacta (or Llaqta), which means 'highland town festival' in Quechua, it has been a fixture on the Northern Peru calendar since 1996.

The Andean Highlands and the Amazon are both represented at Raymi Llacta.

The festival attracts participants from the city's various districts, as well as the surrounding provinces, and has a vibrant mix of pre-Inca, Inca and Colonial traditions, with representatives of Amazonas' highland farming communities, mingling with jungle-dwelling, indigenous communities. A powerful celebration of Amazonas' diverse ethnicity and complex history

Chachapoyas' central square is the focus for much of the festival. 

The first day of the festivities focuses on the region's children, with schools taking part in a costumed parade around the Plaza de Armas, in the centre of Chachapoyas. 

The next days, the action moves away from the centre to seven different city neighbourhoods, where inhabitants decorate their houses and offer typical food and drink - such as milk liqueur and guinea pig - to locals and visitors. All accompanied by music and random fireworks, of course. 

Traditional dances take many forms, representing Amazonas' many cultural influences. 

The last day of the festival begins at 10am with a parade of all the various and varied communities, in traditional costumes and accompanied by musical bands, around the Plaza de Armas.

The climax of these activities is Nina Raymi, the Fire Festival, which sees a bonfire lit in each of the four corners of the square, and dances performed around them.

There is also a party in the Coliseo Cerrado, the city's sports stadium, and the celebrations continue long into the night. 

Some 5,000 tourists, mainly from elsewhere in Peru, came to Raymi Llacta in 2015. If you are looking for a quiet, restful time, this may not be the best time to visit Chachapoyas - Peruvians like to celebrate long, hard and noisily! But, for those looking for a unique experience, which will undoubtedly be a feast for all the senses, please ask us about the logistical details of getting and staying there. 

Colonial influences in evidence at Raymi Llacta, with this enactment of a bull fight.