Visiting Machu Picchu and Cusco, Peru is filled with adventure and unlike any other place. While you may want to explore this region and the land of the Incas, you want to make sure you visit it at the right time of the year.
Timing is everything and peak tourist season for Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail, and Cusco runs from June to August. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, then the best time to visit Machu Picchu and Cusco, Peru is before the peak season in April or May.
September and October are also great times, time to visit as these are after the peak season and before the rainy season starts. As Machu Picchu and Cusco only have two seasons: Summer (wet) and Winter (dry), it’s best to plan and book ahead to avoid the rush.
Visiting Machu Picchu or hiking the Inca Trail during the rainy season will put a damper on your travels and fun. The rainy season begins in October and goes through to March. The months with the most rain are January and February. While the occasional bit of rain is something most travelers don’t mind, the storms during this season are fierce. They cause landslides, disrupt all the transportation schedules, and wash away bridges. These rains also close off Machu Picchu due to the hazards and lack of safety in travel.
The beginning of April is the start of winter or the dry season. This runs through until September, with June and July being amongst the driest of this season. June and July are also the coldest, seeing temperatures that can drop below 0 degrees but usually average 0-25 degrees.
Around noon, you will see a rise in temperature due to the daytime insulation and the lack of humidity in the air. Because of this season’s lack of solar radiation, temperatures will drop in the evening and early mornings.
The best time to visit Machu Pichu is naturally down to personal preference. However, this guide will help you make your mind on when to explore Machu Picchu, leaving you far more prepared for your trip.
Weather at Machu Picchu in January: is one the rainiest months of the year. It is also very warm and brings with it many natural weather warnings. For
example, in past years Machu Picchu Trails have seen mudslides, overflooding and Avalanches on Salkantay Mountain. There are very little tourists but some do visit, by train. If you want to see mile long views with clear skies, January would not be recommended.
The temperature in Machu Picchu in January: is warm ranging between 27˚C (80˚F) during the day and 17˚C (63˚F) at night.
Average rainfall in January: 129.5mm (5.1″).
Weather at Machu Picchu in February: is worse than January. The rains continue, causing significant damage to the area. The risks of getting stuck or rivers overflowing are high. It is important to note, the Inca Trail is closed for safety and maintenance over February into March.
The temperature in Machu Picchu in February: is warm with figures reaching up to 25°C (77°F) and 18˚C (65˚F) at night. It is humid and very warm.
Average rainfall in February: 142.2mm (5.6″).
Weather at Machu Picchu in March: is where we start to see some improvements.During the last two weeks of March, the weather turns pleasant and cloud cover begins to disperse. The best time to visit Machu Picchu begins from here.
The temperature in Machu Picchu in March: is warm with figures reaching up to 27°C (81°F) and 17˚C/64˚F at night.
Average rainfall in March: 108mm (4.3in).
Weather at Machu Picchu in April: makes it one of the best times to visit Machu Picchu. There are less crowds and the weather is much more bearable.
The temperature in Machu Picchu in April: is pleasant, reaching22˚C (77˚F) during the day and 14˚C (61˚F) at night.
Average rainfall in April: 61mm (2.4″).
Weather at Machu Picchu in May: is the start of dry season. This is when Peru attracts tourists itching to get a glimpse of Machu Picchu in all its glory. A clear view is present, with a beautiful backdrop of the Andes mountains on each road journey.
The temperature in Machu Picchu in May: reaches the high20˚s (70˚F) and at night the temperatures drop to 13˚C (55˚F).
Average rainfall in May: 22.9mm (0.9″).
Weather at Machu Picchu in June: is the start of Winter and the tourist season. The weather is ideal with plenty of reasons to celebrate. For example, June celebrates the anniversary of Cusco. However, do expect large crowds to flock to the area. This will cause significant crowding and long queues.
The temperature in Machu Picchu in June: lies between20°C (58°F) and 11°C (52°F).
Average rainfall in June: 17.8mm (0.7″).
Weather at Machu Picchu in July: is where we start to note a difference in temperature. July creates misty mornings with sunny afternoons, which are great to explore the ancient Inca land and admire the Urubamba River in its natural surroundings. Please note, Peru’s Independence Day is celebrated on July 27-28.
The temperature in Machu Picchu in July: is between 19°C (66°F) during the day and 10°C (50°F) at night.
Average rainfall in July: is very minimal.
Weather at Machu Picchu in August: changes. It’s the middle of Winter. We recommend bringing warm clothes.
The temperature in Machu Picchu in August: is cold ranging between 20°C (68°F) during the day and 12°C (54°F) at night.
Average rainfall in August: is minimal.
Weather at Machu Picchu in September: is where we see the crowds go down, which makes it the best time to visit Machu Picchu. September is the end of dry season, transitioning into the rainy season.
The temperature in Machu Picchu in September: turns warmer, with figures standing between 21˚C (70˚F) during the day and 12˚C (54˚F) at night.
Average rainfall in September: 3.2mm (1.7″).
Weather at Machu Picchu in October: is the ideal time to visit Machu Picchu. The crowds are significantly lower, which makes it a great time to truly take in the beauty of the lost city of the Incas.
The temperature in Machu Picchu in October: 22˚C (72˚F) during the day to 12˚C (54˚F) at night.
Average rainfall in October: 76.2mm (3″).
Weather at Machu Picchu in November: is when the temperatures begin to increase along with the rain. If you don’t mind the risk of rain, this is a great time to visit with very few tourists.
The temperature in Machu Picchu in November: 24˚C (75˚F) during the day and 13˚C (54˚F) at night.
Average rainfall in November: 86.4mm (3.4″).
Weather at Machu Picchu in December: is warm.This month is particularly popular with the locals who visit Machu Picchu over Christmas and New year.
The temperature in Machu Picchu in December: 26˚C (79˚F) during the day and 16˚C (61˚F) at night.
Average rainfall in December: 121.9mm (4.8″).
If you’re a morning person, you’ll be in for a treat. Witnessing the sunrise over Machu Picchu is a unique and unforgettable experience. Over the Winter months of June- August, you are likely to catch a glimpse of the sun glistening through the clouds from 6am.
Not only will you be one of the first people there, Machu Picchu will be silent with all captivated by the natural beauty.
You can easily catch the first shuttle bus from Aguas Calientes (the gateway to Machu Picchu), which departs from 5:30am. Do not be put off by the queues in busy season, as there are plenty of buses running.
Another alternative is to watch the sunrise. Which is equally as beautiful. If you reach Machu Picchu by 3pm, you have enough time to explore and settle down to watch the skies light up before sunrise. Since there are less people during late afternoon, there is more flexibility to relax and explore certain areas for longer.
The best time of the year to hike Machu Picchu is right before and after peak season. Specifically, Apr/May and Sept/Oct. It is recommended to book in advance to ensure you can visit the lost city during your desired month. Peru is making a cautious effort to preserve this ancient wonder. This year, 650 hikers are permitted access each day, compared to over 3000 in previous years.
This is down to personal preference but you are not short on options. Many travelers visit Machu Picchu over 2 days, giving them enough time to rest for a night (usually in the town of Aguas Calientes) and explore the ancient wonder. Others spend a few days trekking to Machu Picchu to really experience what it must have been like without modern transport links.
If you are short on time, there is a same day return train option.
Machu Picchu has recently opened up to tourist again and boasts the ‘Safe Travels’ stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council. This means, the lost city is safe for travelers. And that the local authorities involved in maintaining Machu Picchu, will adhere to industry standards of safety.