Fiesta de la Virgen de Candelaria, February
La Festividad de Nuestro Señor Jesús del Gran Poder, May
Fiesta del Santo Patrono de Moxos, July
Although part of summer, this is the rainiest month of the year, making getting around tough. Climbing is basically out of the question, but you could rough it on hikes and other outdoor activities.
Día de los Reyes Magos
‘Kings’ Day’ (Epiphany) is celebrated on January 6 as the day the three wise kings visited baby Jesus after his birth. The largest celebrations are in Reyes (in the Beni region), Sucre, Tarija, and rural villages in the departments of Oruro, Cochabamba and Potosí.
Taking place in La Paz and Copacabana on January 24 and for two weeks after, this giant fair celebrates Ekeko, the Aymará god of abundance, with stalls and street vendors selling miniatures of items people are longing for – tiny houses, cars, banknotes etc.
This wet and warm month sees important celebrations for Pachamama (Mother Earth), especially in traditional communities, with ceremonies and rituals taking place in her honor.
Fiesta de La Virgen de Candelaria
This week-long festival is held during the first week of February in Aiquile (Cochabamba), Samaipata (Santa Cruz), Angostura (Tarija) and Cha’llapampa (Oruro). The biggest celebration kicks off on February 2 in Copacabana.
Celebrations are held nationwide the week before Lent. Oruro is known for having the most colorful Carnaval fiesta; Santa Cruz, Sucre and Tarija follow suit. Carnaval dates change each year, depending on when Lent falls, so check your calendar.
The rain starts to taper off, making it slightly easier to get around. You could consider heading out for a trek or on a mountain bike. River rafting is getting good.
One of the most impressive of the nationwide Holy Week activities is the Good Friday fiesta in Copacabana, when hundreds of pilgrims arrive on foot from La Paz. It's a fun time across the country.
Celebrated in Tarabuco on the second Sunday in March, indigenous people gather to mark the 1816 victory of local armies over Spanish troops with ritual dancing, song, music and chicha (fermented corn) drinking.
Winter is here! It’s starting to cool off. The weather is nice in the lowlands, but transit can still be a mess. The rains are nearly gone, and trekking, climbing and mountain-biking season begins.
Fiesta de la Cruz
The Festival of the Cross (May 3) brings revelry to Vallegrande (Santa Cruz), Cochabamba and Copacabana. Tinku ritual combats take place in rural communities around Potosí.
Held in late May or early June, La Festividad de Nuestro Señor Jesús del Gran Poder in Laz Paz involves candle processions, elaborate costumes and dancing.
It’s getting a little too cold for comfort in the altiplano, but the rains are basically gone. Transport in the lowlands should be getting easier and temperatures are cooling off.
On June 21, the Aymará celebrate the winter solstice – the return of the new sun – and their New Year. The biggest ceremony takes place overnight in Tiwanaku.
This Christian holiday is held nationwide (June 24), with bonfires, fireworks and traditional burning of wood. The largest celebrations take place around Santa Cruz, with firewalkers in the village of Porongo.
High season is in full swing. It’s dry and cold in the altiplano, cooler and drier in the lowlands, and just nice in the areas in between.
Fiesta de Moxos
Running from July 22 to the end of the month, this kick-ass festival is the biggest in Beni. Expect outrageous costumes, plenty of drinking and some hard partying.
Fiesta del Señor Santiago
In Parque National Torotoro, villages celebrate the Fiesta del Señor Santiago with sheep sacrifices, dynamite explosions, colorful costumes and plenty of chicha.
It's the height of the tourist season and starting to warm up a little in the altiplano, making it a good time to visit the Salar de Uyuni. Important religious and indigenous festivals also take place.
This lively public holiday (August 6) sees lots of gunfire in the air and parades galore. It’s celebrated everywhere, but is especially boisterous in Copacabana.
Fiesta de la Virgen de Urkupiña
Folkloric musicians and dancers from around the country gather in Quillacollo near Cochabamba to perform in front of cheering, intoxicated crowds.
Some of the tourists head home, making this cool, dry time perfect to pick up deals. Conditions for adventure sports continue to be excellent, though expect a slight increase in rain.
Fiesta de San Roque
One of Tarija’s biggest celebrations, San Roque celebrates the end of the plague and leprosy in the area. It kicks off on August 16, but most of the celebrations begin on the first Sunday of September, lasting eight days.
At the end of winter (and the high season), rainfall spikes in the lowlands, while it’s still relatively tolerable in the altiplano. Deals can be had, but it’s getting tougher to climb, trek and generally be outdoors. It’ll stay rainy until April.
Feria del Charango
For more than 30 years, charanguistas (people who play the charango) from around the globe have come by the thousands to the little burg of Aiquile, four hours from Cochabamba, to get their 10-string groove on.
One of the hottest months of the year in the lowlands, with humid days and warm nights. The rain continues in the altiplano and tours may not be possible.
New Year’s Eve
Street vendors sell underwear before January 1. Red will help your love life, with yellow for money and pink for health. When the gongs chime at midnight, 12 grapes are swallowed for good luck. Fake money is counted to signal wealth in the new year.