While planning a trip to Peru this is probably the first question that comes to mind when thinking of visiting the Peruvian wonder of the world. However, there’s no exact answer to that since it will totally depend on your preferences, vacation dates and time.
But don’t worry, here we are to lift a weight off your shoulders so you can see for yourself and choose what’s the best time of the year to visit Machu Picchu, according to the experience you’re looking for.
Keep in mind that this is the main tourist attraction in Peru, so it is always busy and crowded, though this may vary according to the rainy or dry season. However, the Inca citadel offers a magical and unforgettable experience regardless of the weather or how packed it may be.
To help you ease your mind, we’ll cover some details regarding the weather according to the geographic location of Machu Picchu, while also giving you information about what the climate would be like month by month. So let’s get to it!
Dry Season | Peak Season in Machu Picchu
This is the most popular season to visit the historical sanctuary since it also matches summertime in the northern hemisphere. Therefore, Machu Picchu tends to be impressively packed during this time of the year due to its bright, sunny and almost entirely dry weather.
The dry season takes place between May and August, being this last one the busiest month of the year in the Inca citadel.
Nonetheless, we’d like to highlight that this wonder of the world is enclosed by tropical rainy weather. That means that even though rain isn’t expected in this period, it is very likely to experience morning mists and clouds that can obscure the site. Keep that in mind in case you’d like to welcome the sunrise from the citadel.
Another fact to take into consideration is that temperatures are significantly lower in this season, where daytime temperatures range between 18°C and 21°C, whilst in the evenings can drop to 2°C.
if you’re planning your trip for this specific time of the year, here are some recommendations on what to bring with you:
- Make sure to be prepared in layers or bring warm clothes in your backpack just in case, especially if staying late in Machu Picchu or Aguas Calientes.
- Protect your skin at all costs. Remember that the sun rays in this part of the world are very abrasive, so it’s best to use sunscreen and wear hats and sunglasses.
As we mentioned earlier, the visit to Machu Picchu will totally depend on your preferences. The dry season seems the most suitable option for those planning a family vacation or maybe taking the Inca Trail or Salkantay Trek to this wonder of the world.
On the other hand, if your travel itinerary takes you to other regions of Peru, it would be wise to plan your trip according to their climate conditions. Our country is widely diverse and the weather varies according to each natural sector.
Rainy Season | Low Season in the Inca Citadel
As the Machu Picchu region has tropical rainy weather, this season is heavily marked in this part of the country. The rainy season starts in October with scattered precipitations throughout the region though it finally establishes in November, ending around April.
The rainiest months of the year are January and February, meaning that crowds significantly decrease and rain chances are higher. Keep this in mind if you’re planning to take the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu during these months since it closes in February for precautions and to allow the trail to recover from human impact.
However, the rest of the months within this period present scattered showers and allow you to experience the Inca citadel with a flourishing and greener scenery with a bit of sunshine now and then. Also, temperatures are warmer during this time of the year, ranging between 19°C and 22°C during daytime, and 7°C to 8°C at night.
The Rainy Season is suitable for those who are looking for cheaper fares in transport and accommodation, and ideally for those who aren’t bothered by a bit of rain.
Besides, the cloud forest does make a scenic landscape out of this season, with mysterious-looking clouds going between the mountains allowing sun rays and light beams that strike certain parts of the archeological site, without forgetting that this is also the orchid’s blooming season.
It is worth mentioning that even though this is the low tourist season in Machu Picchu, you can expect large crowds during Christmas and New Years.
Traveling during this season? Here are our recommendations for your Machu Picchu packing list:
- Be prepared for the rain with a poncho or rain jacket! Don’t underestimate the weather even if it’s bright and sunny.
- Don’t forget to use sunscreen! Regardless if it is cloudy, sun rays can still affect your skin. Pack some sunglasses and a hat as well just in case.
Weather in Machu Picchu – Month by Month
As promised, here you’ll find important information about how the weather could be like month by month. Keep in mind that if you’re taking any trek to Machu Picchu, this can be a bit tricky since most trails include cloud forests and alpine tundra that makes the weather highly unpredictable.
Machu Picchu in January
As mentioned above, January is the rainiest month of the year. It has a total precipitation of 228 mm though it only rains 18 days out of 31. However, it is one of the warmest months of the year with temperatures ranging between 20°C and 8°C.
Keep in mind that the hiking paths at Machu Picchu tend to be very slippery at this time. Also, it is not advisable to take the Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountains trek since the chances of enjoying the views are minimal.
Machu Picchu in February
February is another of the rainiest months of the year. Unlike January, it only rains 14 days this month and has a total precipitation of 209 mm and temperatures remain the same.
Likewise, there are fewer tourists on the archeological site during this time. And we’d like to highlight once again that the Inca Trail remains closed this month.
Machu Picchu in March
Although the rainy season nearly ends in March, it is still pretty wet with a total precipitation of 205 mm and 14 days of rain and temperatures stay the same.
In case you’re planning any other adventures through the Andes during these three months, keep in mind that chances of rain and snow increase exponentially, especially in the Rainbow Mountain.
Machu Picchu in April
By April, the rainy season is coming to an end with a total precipitation of 115 mm and only 6 days of rain. That means that you’ll find Machu Picchu with less crowds, a beautiful green landscape and awe-inspiring views of the citadel and its surroundings.
Temperatures range between 22°C and 14°C, making it a nearly suitable time of the year to do the Inca Trail or any other trek to Machu Picchu. But remember to have proper gear in case it rains.
Machu Picchu in May
This is the beginning of the dry season, since the chances of rainfall decrease, attracting more visitors to Machu Picchu. This is probably the perfect time of the year if you’re planning to do a trek to the Inca citadel or anywhere else in the Peruvian mountains.
Keep in mind that as the dry season starts, the temperatures drop down, being 21°C the maximum during the day and 4°C during nighttime.
Machu Picchu in June
It is considered one of the busiest months of the year, not only in Machu Picchu but in Cusco as well since the Inti Raymi Festival is celebrated on June 24th.
Regarding Machu Picchu, it starts receiving even more tourists since the weather conditions are significantly nicer. Rain would have decreased by this time with an average of only 3 days of rain.
Machu Picchu in July
As rain chances become nearly nil, Machu Picchu becomes even more crowded. July is the second busiest second month in the historical sanctuary as well as the coldest of the year with an average high of 20°C and an average low of 1°C.
Machu Picchu in August
August is the busiest month of the year in Machu Picchu with only 3 days of rain and a total precipitation of 37 mm. The weather is fairly cold, so it’s best to be prepared in layers.
During this time, expect lengthy lines and crowded hiking trails, especially for the Huayna Picchu mountain since this is the best time of the year to experience sweeping views of the entire citadel and its surroundings.
Machu Picchu in October
Here’s when the rain chances start to increase as well as the temperatures. This is the warmest month of the year with an average high of 22°C and a minimum of 8°C during the night.
Likewise, as the driest months have passed, Machu Picchu’s scenery has a brownish color in comparison to the greener landscapes of April.
Machu Picchu in November
As we get into November, chances of rainfall increases and here’s when you know that the rainy season is beginning all over again. However, Machu Picchu won’t be as crowded as it was before.
Machu Picchu in December
For those traveling in December, you should know that the rainy season would be already established by then with an average rainfall of 177 mm throughout the month and 16 days of rain out of 31.
There are fewer tourists at the beginning of the month, but there’s a peak of visitors for Christmas and New Year’s.
So… When’s the best time of the year to visit?
As we mentioned earlier, Machu Picchu is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, which is why it will always be packed with tourists regardless of the time of the year or season.
Although we mentioned that you could see fewer crowds in the rainy season, keep in mind that the Inca citadel receives nearly 4,000 travelers per day. But it surely decreases during the rainiest month of the year.
Choosing the right time to visit the historical sanctuary will be entirely up to you. The region offers an authentic experience with or without rain and it surely will be the highlight of your trip.
Nowadays, as the pandemic hits our borders, Machu Picchu has been significantly less crowded due to the government’s regulations. So now it is possible to visit the Inca citadel without having to worry about a pack of tourists going around the ruins as you try to take the best picture of them.
If you’re eager to visit our country on your next vacation, please check our Machu Picchu and Peru travel packages so you can have a glimpse at all the things you can do in the ancient country of the Incas.