Browsed by
Tag: Pirwa Colonial

Christmas in Cusco, Peru

Christmas in Cusco, Peru

Christmas at Pirwa Colonial Hostel in Cusco PeruChristmas in Cusco, PeruChristmas in Cusco, Peru

When it comes to Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Peru’s most popular destination is Cusco. Although you’ll find the city rather deserted on Christmas Day itself (as most businesses stay closed and people spend time with their families), Christmas Eve is very lively. From the early hours of Dec 24th, Peru’s largest folk art fair, Santurantikuy, fills the Plaza de Armas as it has since Incan times. Artisans from throughout the surrounding provinces bring pieces for sale, especially the nativities and Niño Manuelito which have been so popular since the time of the Spanish conquest. (The latter is Cusco’s version of the child Christ, the most traditional Christmas in Cusco, Peruversion of which is the child sitting in a wooden chair with a wound in his raised foot. Buyers request wishes and insert a thorn in the wound, where it will remain until the wish is granted.) Other products include leather goods, carved wood and stone, leather goods, and decorative ceramics. While browsing the fair, you can warm up with some ponche or hot chocolate and sample some street food. Expect the main square to be very crowded during Santurantikuy, and be wary of pickpockets.

The Santurantikuy Fair in Cusco PeruThe Santurantikuy Fair in Cusco PeruThe Santurantikuy Fair in Cusco Peru

In the evening, most people enjoy a traditional Christmas Eve dinner with their families. (Peruvians consider Christmas Eve to be the main day of celebration, not Christmas Day.) Many restaurants offer set menus for travelers on this night, but they are very pricey by local standards.

Christmas at Pirwa Colonial Hostel in Cusco PeruChristmas at Pirwa Colonial Hostel in Cusco PeruChristmas at Pirwa Colonial Hostel in Cusco Peru

All of the guests at our Cusco hostels are invited to join us at our own traditional dinner, this December 24th at 9pm at Pirwa Colonial Hostel. We offer this at cost, which is a third of the price that the same dinner will be selling elsewhere, so that all of us away from home can celebrate Christmas Eve together. (You can find invitations with the details at all of our reception desks.

Christmas at Pirwa Colonial Hostel in Cusco PeruChristmas at Pirwa Colonial Hostel in Cusco PeruChristmas at Pirwa Colonial Hostel in Cusco Peru

At midnight, Cusco lights up with fireworks and firecrackers set off by local families. Although much of this clusters around the main square (which can sound like a war zone at this time), you’ll find the noise inescapable throughout the city. If you’re so inclined, you can choose to light a few of your own, as they’ll be on sale along the city streets throughout the day. Wherever and however you choose to spend the day, we hope that all of you have a Christmas filled with holiday cheer.

Celebrating Peru’s Independence Day, Pt 1: Traditional Anticuchos

Celebrating Peru’s Independence Day, Pt 1: Traditional Anticuchos

Travelers to Peru will find one of the country’s most popular street foods all throughout the country, sold from street food stalls- anticuchos. The name comes from “cut stew meat” in Quechua. You can find chicken, beef, sausage, and intestine, but the most traditional (and delicious!) are made of beef heart. Whatever the type, the meat is marinated, skewered, and grilled before being served with a grilled potato on top of the skewer and, if you wish, a dollop of a thick parsely and green chili sauce.

The dish dates back to the Inca empire, when it was prepared with llama, but during the 16th century the Spanish conquistadores added their own touch by introducing new ingredients not previously available such as beef and garlic. The Afro-Peruvian population brought during the colony perfected the dish, and as the organ meats were generally considered food for slaves, beef heart anticuchos became the standard. After this varied fusion, anticuchos have emerged a truly pan-Peruvian treat.

They are often consumed during the Señor de los Milagros procession, the largest religious festival which rose out of the freed-slave towns, and during Peru’s Independence Days in July. In fact, during this time, known as Fiestas Patrias, the most anticuchos are consumed.

This Saturday, July 28th, we’ll be getting into the spirit of Fiestas Patrias at Pirwa Colonial Backpackers by grilling traditional anticuchos in the patio for sale and serving up in the bar. Our guests in our 4 different Cusco hostels and all of our friends in Cusco- along with all of your friends!- are invited to join us.

7:00pm Grilling up Anticuchos to serve in the bar, where the DJ will take charge of the  playlist till the end of the night
7:30 Dance performance showcasing the Afro-Peruvian Festejo
8:00-10:00 Double-Down Happy Hour with 2×1 deals
8:30 Dance performance showcasing a traditional Andean dance
10:00 “Hora Loca”– fun, dancing and games with the dancers
10:30 There’ll be some free shots and fun to keep spirits up, and the DJ will stay on till the morning hours

In honor of the holiday, savor some traditional Peruvian culture- Don’t miss sampling some anticuchos with us this Saturday, July 28th!

Saturday’s Party at Pirwa Colonial

Saturday’s Party at Pirwa Colonial

As we mentioned earlier, we celebrated as well as this Saturday at Pirwa Colonial, and are just getting some of the photos in…unfortunately a combination of a slow camera and my photography skills mean that any photo with movement or dancing came out pretty blurry…..

Despite my hopes of professional photography being dashed, we’ll share anyway. Below, helping people don their rainbow (Tahuantinsuyu flag) ribbons:

See that last group? They’re sitting on the stairs in the lower patio, and I happen to know what their view was at that exact moment…..

….yes, it’s exactly as you guessed: underdressed Inca sentinels! Our friends put on a little show that included a sun ritual and some dancing, the latter with some flaming whips that they swung in circles, and some little platters of fire, which together managed to set off the fire alarms, which we all just pretended didn’t happen, because it would be cruel to make people evacuate during a Cusco winter dressed this way.

You are probably wondering if the glitter and underwear are historically accurate, but I’m not your wikipedia…

Then it was back up to the bar where there was a impromptu drink show-down between our Pirwa Bartenders slinging on the left-hand side, and Brazilian guests mixing on the right. It’s hard to take on the Brazilians when it comes to drinks, guys, although they conceded that Pisco Sours are tasty too!

Alongside the drinks, we hit the floor for some dancing and limbo, but basically ALL MY PHOTOS TURNED OUT LIKE THIS ONE TO THE LEFT, ALL OF THEM. You guys move too fast- I have about 30 photos that all look like this one, but I’m sparing you and only putting up one. Apparently, if you want to show up with discernable features in any of my photos, you have to be standing still or moving very sloooooowwwwwlyyyyy, and it helps to be dressed to impress (evidence follows:)

See, they had no problem showing up in photos, so maybe it would help if next time you all came dressed as them.

At the end of the night, we had to say goodbye to our Inca and our Brazilian caiparinha mixers, having done our part as cultural ambassadors. Since my photography skills completely flaked while dancing, thought we’d provide the vid instead: