Starting early next week, the city of Puno, Peru is transformed for the Virgin of Candelaria Festival
. Thousands of dancers and musicians fill the streets with sounds and fantastic costumes to fill the senses. The Virgin of Candelaria is the patron saint of Puno; this festival honors the saint with one of the regions most celebrated and elaborate festivals, bringing together two major Andean cultures: the Quechuas from the north, the Aymaras from the south.
The celebrations begin on Monday with a costume and dance contest. Puno's Virgin of Candelaria festival is one of South America's most significant, rivaling Carnival in Rio de Janeiro and Bolivia's Carnaval de Oruro
. Take a quick look into last year's event.