July 8, 2016
Each July 28th, Peru celebrates the anniversary Jose de San Martín’s proclamation of independence in Lima’s Plaza de Armas, and on the 29th, honors its Armed Forces and National Police. It’s one of the year’s most important holidays, with many workers taking advantage of the long weekend to travel. Others enjoy the parades, music, food and dances to be had in their own cities. If you’re traveling during the days surrounding Fiestas Patrias, be aware that some shops and banks will only open for half a day or not at all.
In Lima, the first day begins with a 21-cannon salute and the raising of the flag, a Te Deum at the Lima Cathedral, and the president’s address to congress regarding the state of the nation. The following day is the Great Military Parade and, during election years, the new president is sworn in.
The first thing you’ll notice are the red and white flags fluttering festively along the city streets, and a party atmosphere throughout. Get into the spirit by donning your Peruvian flag, sinking your teeth into traditional treats, and raising a glass of the national liquor, pisco. Or better yet, check out our list 5 ways to celebrate Fiestas Patrias in Lima:
5. Attend the Serenade in Parque de la Muralla (Free- July 27th)
On the eve of Independence Day, Lima sponsors a serenade known as Lima Salutes the Nation. Expect to see Afro-Peruvian Creole Music, Folkloric Bands, Marinera Dancers, and modern rock groups as well. It ends with a short fireworks display.
4. Watch the Fireworks (Free- July 27th)
Although the informal, not-quite-legal fireworks will begin exploding sporadically beforehand, the official show begins at midnight. You’ll be able to appreciate the show from the Plaza de Armas (Lima’s main square) and the surrounding streets.
3. Watch the Magical Water Circuit at Reserve Park’s “3D Spectacular” (4 Soles- July 27th)
In honor of Fiestas Patrias, the fountain park known as the Magical Water Circuit puts on a show of lights, music, and 3D footage of Lima’s Municipal Ballet, folkloric dances from around Peru, and other cultural standards. The park hands out the glasses and projects the show on the large Fantasia Fountain. Each show lasts 20 minutes and will run continuously throughout the long weekend, from 8:15pm to 9:15pm. You can also explore the rest of the park’s fountains and enjoy musical bands and traditional food.
2. Drink Pisco From the Central Fountain (Free- July 28th)
Lima celebrates Pisco Day on the 4th Sunday of July….this year, it falls on the same day as Fiestas Patrias! Most bars will offer specials on this day, but you can enjoy a free taste in the Plaza de Armas, where 2,000 liters of Pisco replace the water that normally runs through the historic fountain. This is generally accompanied by a Peruvian Paso Horse show and musical bands, but since it falls on the same day as Independence Day this year, expect a different- and better!- show.
1. Watch the Gran Corso (Free- Date To Be Announced)
The colorful floats, long dragons, costumed performers, and bands of the Gran Corso (Great Parade) stretch several blocks and snakes through downtown Lima, around Parque Kennedy in Miraflores, and into Barranco. Stake out a spot in Parque Kennedy to watch the parade, or walk down 28 de Julio Avenue in central Lima to see the floats lined up before parading. Miraflores’ neighboring barrio to the south, Barranco, has the least crowds, so for better visibility and photos, try watching from there.
The date varies throughout the week and hasn’t been anounced yet (last year it took place on Sun July 22nd), so you’ll need to ask; remember that many people will refer to it as the Corso de Wong, after the supermarket sponsor. It’s worth tracking down though- it’s the best parade of the Fiestas (as the military parade can be a bit…sober).