Colorful traditional festival with music and dance celebration.

Traditional Festivals

Carnaval de Oruro

Recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, the Carnaval de Oruro is a religious festival dating back more than 200 years, featuring a sensational parade with over 28,000 dancers and 10,000 musicians. It’s a feast for the eyes with elaborate costumes and a rhythmic explosion that might just compel you to boogie involuntarily.

Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria

If you’re in Copacabana (not the one Barry Manilow crooned about) in early February, prepare for the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria. Devotion swirls with color and dance to honor the patron saint of Bolivia, with revelers dressed in vibrant attire, making the town come alive with their faith and fiesta spirit.

Gran Poder Festival

The Gran Poder Festival is La Paz’s answer to Rio’s Carnival. Its name translates to “Great Power,” and it sure packs a punch with indigenous Aymara traditions, spectacular costumes, and a parade that dances its way through the city’s streets, celebrating the Lord of Great Power.

Alasitas Festival

Miniature dreams turn into real-life groovy goodies at the Alasitas Festival. Held in January, it’s a market of miniatures where people buy tiny versions of what they desire, hoping the god Ekeko will bless them with the real deal. It’s like a The Sims game, only with more incense and less computer screen.

Pujllay and Ayarichi Festivals

During the Pujllay and Ayarichi Festivals in the UNESCO-recognized region of Tarabuco, indigenous culture takes the spotlight. The Yampara people’s traditions are on full display, complete with vibrant outfits that make peacocks look fashionably challenged.

Cultural Events

La Diablada

La Diablada is the iconic dance of the Oruro Carnival, where performers don devilish masks and costumes to reenact the battle between good and evil. It’s as if Halloween went on a date with Mardi Gras and they decided to throw a year-round party in Bolivia.

Ch’utillos Festival

Potosí throws the ultimate street party with the Ch’utillos Festival. It’s a blend of indigenous, Spanish, and African influences, resulting in a cultural cocktail that’s stronger than your average Pisco sour. Expect music, dance, and more colors than a box of Crayola.

Feria de Alasita

Not to be confused with the earlier mentioned festival, the Feria de Alasita in La Paz is an extended version where dreams are traded in tiny forms. Got a wish for a house, a car, or a stack of cash? Get them in pocket-size at this fair and wait for the magic to happen.

Semana Santa in Bolivia

Easter in Bolivia isn’t just a weekend affair; Semana Santa is a holy marathon. With street processions, masses, and a blend of Catholic and indigenous customs, it’s the kind of spiritual festivity that could turn even the staunchest atheist into a maybe-ist.

Inti Raymi

Inti Raymi, the festival of the sun, is a winter solstice celebration with roots in Inca traditions. It’s a time when locals pay homage to the sun god, hosting ceremonies that make your typical sunbathing look like amateur hour.

Music and Dance Events

Festival de Bandas de Oruro

The Festival de Bandas de Oruro is an eardrum’s delight with brass bands from across the country blasting folk tunes. It’s the warm-up act for the Carnaval de Oruro, and let’s just say it’s so loud, you might feel the sound in your soul.

Urkupiña Folk Festival

The Urkupiña Folk Festival in Quillacollo is an August extravaganza of dance, music, and faith. It’s also the go-to event for witnessing the ‘cala cala’ (rock lifting), where the devout showcase their strength, which is either a miracle or just really good gym attendance.

International Baroque Music Festival

Every two years, Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos host the International Baroque Music Festival, a classical extravaganza in the jungle. It’s the Coachella for the powdered wig set, minus the influencers and plus the harpsichords.

Sports Events

Rally Dakar Bolivia

The Bolivian leg of the Rally Dakar is where drivers and riders get down and dirty. It’s Mad Max meets the Andes, and it’s the only time getting lost in the desert is considered a good day at the office.

Death Road Mountain Biking

Adrenaline junkies, meet your maker at the Death Road Mountain Biking adventure. It’s like nature’s version of a roller coaster, only with more actual potential for death—and one heck of a view, if you dare to take your eyes off the road.

Food and Drink Festivals

Feria de la Pata de Camello

The Feria de la Pata de Camello is a celebration of the camel foot fruit, which thankfully has nothing to do with actual camels’ feet. This rare treat is the star of a festival that’s all about food, music, and, let’s be real, more food.

National Singani Day

National Singani Day is a toast to Bolivia’s national spirit. Singani, made from white Muscat grapes, is the base of choice for a cocktail party that stretches across the nation. It’s the day your liver may not thank you for—tomorrow.

Modern Festivals

Bolivia Moda

Bolivia Moda is where traditional textiles meet modern design on the runway. It’s the Andean answer to Fashion Week, proving alpaca is the new black and quinoa isn’t just for eating.

Bolivia International Film Festival

Film buffs unite at the Bolivia International Film Festival where the silver screen shines a light on Bolivian and international cinema. It’s like the Oscars, if the Oscars were held in a place where you might casually bump into a llama on the red carpet.

FITAZ International Theater Festival

Every two years, thespians gather for the FITAZ International Theater Festival in La Paz. It’s a stage lover’s paradise, with performances ranging from the classic to the avant-garde, reminding us that all the world’s a stage—Bolivia included.