Peru’s Folklore & Nightlife

Peru’s folklore

Each of Peru’s three regions has typical dances and instruments and music of its own. The guitar and the ‘cajon’ (wooden box), for example, are typical of the coast where valses, salsa, marinera, and Afro-Peruvian music are favourites. The charango, pututo, quena drum, and panpipes are typical of the Andean area where huaynos, yaravies, carnavales, and tristes are the staple.

As can be expected, Peru’s rich and diverse folklore can be sampled in Lima. Among Lima’s live shows are the famous Lima’s peñas, live folk shows featuring renowned bands, singers, and dancers. These offer typical food and dancing to a live band, with the entrance fee ranging from $10 to $20 per person.


The elegant Marinera is the dance of courtship and love Originating in the coast, the marinera is danced with some variation in all regions of Peru: there’s the ‘Norteña’ in the Northern coast, the ‘Limeña’ in the City of Lima, and the ‘Serrana’ in the highlands

A couple dancing Marinera.


The Tondero likely originated in the Northern Coastal district of Saña, Lambayeque. The dancers’ graceful movements simulate the pursuit of the hen by the rooster

A pair of Tondero dancers.


Festejo, a sensual dance with a lively rhythm and a happy pace, often evolves into a challenge or competition between the dancers. The lyrics generally narrate the customs, happy moments, sorrows and sufferings of African Peruvians whose ancestors were brought to Peru’s coastal areas as slaves during the 17th century. Afro Peruvians can produce exquisite music using solely percussion instruments like the Cajón (wooden box) played with the artist’s fingers and palms

Four people dancing Festejo.


The Alcatraz, a traditional coastal dance, is a product of the African rhythms brought to Peru by Black slaves. It is now danced by all. Armed with a candle, and with a piece of paper tied to the back of their waist, the dancers perform agile graceful waist movements to prevent the paper from being ignited

People dancing Alcatraz

Carnival Huaylash

The traditional dance of the pre-Inka Huancas, the Huaylash is most popular in Huancayo, Junin, in Central Andean Peru. Initially performed during certain phases of potato farming, some of the movements of this highly-spirited colourful dance, imitate movements made in agricultural tasks

Two people dancing Huaylash.

Carnival of Canas

Festive and picaresque, this dance originated in an area known as “The Braves of Canas,” in the province of Espinar, south of Cuzco. Dancers try to conquer their mates by showing off their assets and solve the eternal dilemma of love

Carnival of Canas


A festive and joyful dance with colorful woven and embroidered llama wool costumes, huayno is the most popular musical expression of the highland region. It originated in the Inka Empire, survived the Spanish colonization, and maintains its popularity to this day. It is danced in couples and collectively

A group dancing Huayno.


A dance which originated in Cuzco, the Tarpuy is performed in honor to the ‘Pachamama’ (Mother Earth). The dancers’ graceful movements mimic the agricultural task of sowing

A Tarpuy group.

Peñas and other Live Shows in Lima

Brisas del Titicaca (Andean)
Jr. Wakulski 168, Centro de Lima.
Telf. 332-1901 anexo 12

De Rompe y Raja (Criollo)
Manuel Segura 127, Barranco
Tel: 247-3271

Peña del Carajo (Criollo)
Calle Catalino Miranda 158, Barranco
Telf: 247-7977 / 247-7023

La Noche de Barranco
Av. Bolognesi 307, Barranco

Rustica Costa Verde (Live show)
Playa Barranco
Telf. 780-8705

Don Porfirio (Afro-Peruvian/Criollo)
Dirección : Manuel Segura 115 – Barranco
Teléfonos : 477-3119 / 9791-7166