Peru prepares for the annual Inti Raymi festival
Also known as the Festival of the Sun, this traditional event is held during the southern hemisphere's winter solstice
There is always plenty to be seen in South American adventure tours to Peru, but head to the country in June and you may get to witness one of the most exciting festivals on the continent.
Inti Raymi, or the Festival of the Sun, was first celebrated by the Incas in Cusco during the southern hemisphere's winter solstice when the sun was farthest from the Earth.
They therefore paid homage to the Sun God in the hope that he would return to nourish their crops, fasting in the days before and enjoying a banquet during the celebrations.
Llamas were also sacrificed as a gift to the deity, although today it's just a re-enactment of the ceremony, along with costumes, live music, dancing and exhibitions.
Every year on June 24th hundreds of thousands of visitors descend on the Sacsayhuaman stone ruins in Cusco to see the spectacle, from locals to adventure travellers.
There are also countless events and street parties taking place in and around Cusco in the days before and after the 24th, so there is still plenty of atmosphere to soak up for those not attending the actual ceremony part of the festival.
Cusco was the site of the historic capital of the Inca Empire, so should be an important stop-off point for anyone eager to explore the history of the Incas on their trips to South America. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and attracts around two million visitors a year.
The famous Machu Picchu is nearby and can be reached by train or on foot via the Inca Trail. Many travellers see hiking this incredibly scenic route as the main purpose of their South American journey.
Lesser visited ruins around Cusco include Inca Wasi, which is the highest of all the Inca sites, Old Vilcabamba and the sculpture garden at Chulquipalta.