Where to find colourful fun.

Where can you go to have fun and at the same time enjoy spectacular colourful parties? Carnivals and festivals is what you have to look for, and luckily in South America it's not in short supply. The clothing is stunningly colourful, dancers and musicians will have you tapping your feet in anticipation of a dance - plus you can get super colourful photos to add to your travel memories.

Carnival dancers (Huaraz, Peru)
PERU (Feb 2016): February is the time for very many
processions and festivals in Huaraz (Ancash Region).

Here I've just added example of festivals from each from Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru to try and illustrate how much colour will surround you at these festivities.

Colombia - Pasto in Nariño Region: This is one of the very famous carnivals in the world "Carnaval de los Negros y Blancos" - massive and incredibly realistic floats, hundreds of dancers and musicians and the constant clouds of talcum powder, foam and painted faces.

Carnaval de los Negros y Blancos in Chachagui (Nariño, Colombia)
COLOMBIA (Jan 2016): One group in a procession during the "Carnaval de los Negros y Blancos" in a nearby village(close to Pasto where the main festival is) called Chachagüí.

In addition to the large carnivals, there are usually the festivals celebrating the patron saints - "Fiestas Patronales". For each village/city, these would normally be the largest party of the year. In some regions you can literally travel for months from one festival to the next without having a day without a festival.

Chile - Putre in the Arica & Parinacota Region: In the north of Chile is the region of Arica & Parinacota which stretches from the coast in the west, bordering Peru in the north and Bolivia in the east. Mostly consisting of altiplano high-altitude desert, it also includes some stunning snow-peaked volcanoes. The people here are predominantly Aymara and during June they celebrate Machaq Mara, the Aymara New Year. In addition to starting the day off with sunrise watched from a high peak, the traditional dancers and processions are super colourful - the people are so friendly...just an incredible time (as any other time) to be with these people in this area.

Processions for Machaq Mara (Putre, Chile)
CHILE (June2016): dancer at the Machaq Mara
celebrations - Aymara New Year.

Ecuador - the whole country: The Dia de Los (Santos) Inocentes is one of the big ones in Ecuador during December and I was in Tulcan near the Colombian border for this one. The actual date was 28 December (confirm with locals if the date is fixed). A whole day of parties and processions and just really good fun...especially if you're the only gringo! See my blog post Not so Innocent!

ECUADOR (Dec 2015): part of the processions on the Dia de Los (Santos) Inocentes in Tulcan.

Peru - Huaraz in Ancash Region: Located between the amazing Cordillera Blanca and its snow-capped mountains on the one side and the dark mountains of the Cordillera Negra on the other side, there aren't many festival locations as scenic as this. February see an array of festivals celebrating various patrons related to produce etc. Processions pass through the street almost on a daily basis with their lovely dancers and lively music.

Also during the month preceding the National Independence Day (Fiestas Patrias) celebrations, many towns and villages also have festivals which normally celebrates and honours their patron saints, locally known as the Fiestas Patronales. During many of these that range from a few days to 10 days, food and drink is also free so you would only be paying your accommodation. See my post Mountains Alive With the Sound of Music

February festivals in Huaraz, Peru
PERU (Feb 2016): the array of colours that will leave you speechless -
these dancers are just constantly moving and dancing to the bands accompanying them.

Feel free to drop me a line for more info on these festivals; there are absolutely heaps of festivals and carnivals all the time.


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