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Machu picchu Tours

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT MACHU PICCHU?

Written by: Incatrailhikeperu September 7, 2023

When considering the right time to visit Machu Picchu one must first take
into account the weather conditions. Machu Picchu is a subtropical highland
climate located in the Cloud Forest of the Andean Mountains where the weather
can change in an instant.

The region has two main seasons the dry season in winter,
ranging from May to October, and the rainy season in summer,
from November to April. The dry season is warm and dry during the day and cold
at night, however there is much more sun during this time so sunscreen is
highly recomended. The rainy season is warm and wet in the day and mild in the
night, with loads of mist covering the landscape. Join us as we go through the
year month by month and weigh the pros and cons.

Dry Season In Machu Picchu

The dry season ranges from May to October and is the most
picturesque time to visit Machu Picchu. During this time you are almost
garaunteed a perfect sunny view of Machu Picchu.

The temprature during the day is dry and hot but, once the sun sets, drops
significantly. This season, becasue of the great weather, is the busiest time
of year with the most tourists visiting Machu Picchu. Be prepaired to wait in
lines for the bus, train and at nearly every part of the journey including
inside Machu Pichu. Now lets break down the dry season month by month.

May

With the dry season setting in, May has a average rainfall of
23mm. The average temperature in May ranges from a high
of 77°F (25°C) to a low of 51.8°F (11°C)
. Compared to the hottest
month of the year, September, and the coldest month being July. The
feeling during this time of year is warm to mildy hot during the day, and cool
at night.

This month is a great time to vissit Machu Picchu as the weather is near
perfect everyday with little to no rain. Expect crowds during this month.

June

June is the dryest month with an average of 17mm of rain
and one of the busiest months of the year. The temmperture varies drasctically
during this month from moderately hot in the day 25°C (77°F) to
cold at night
9°C (48.2°F).

This is the real start of the tourist season as many countries start summer
vacation in June. Expect huge crowds as this is one of the busiest months of
the year.

July

July is in middle of the dry season but, the rain starts to pick up 22mm
of rain
. July is the coldest month of the year with temperatures dropping
below freezing during the night and early morning. Average highs of 25°C
(77°F) and lows of  9°C (48.2°F)
.

The crowds continue in full strength as there are many festivals this month
in addition to peruvian indapendence July 28th. Make sure to
book everything months in advane as there will be very little to no
accomodation if you wait.

August

During August the average rainfall is still low 22mm.
August has similar tempertures to July the average high of 25°C (77°F)
and low of 10°C (50°F)
.

The busiest month of the year, this is when you will see the biggest crowds
at Machu Picchu. Be prepared to wait in lines for transportaion whether you’re
taking a bus or train. Additionaly there will be lines at the entry of Macu
Picchu and at all the view points. All treks are available but its recommended
to take allternatives to the Inca Trail due to crowds.

September

September marks the beggining of the seasonal change in the region bringing
more fog and rain 44m. This month is the warmest of the year,
with highs averaging 26°C (78.8°F) and lows 11°C
(51.8°F)
.

Being a transitionary month between the peak and off
seasons, or a “shoulder month“, sunny clear skies and less crowds make September a perfect time to visit.

*September is the end of summer for the northern hemisphere
resulting in less crowds when compared to the peak season of the months before.

October

Ocotober brings a further increase in rain 75mm and is your
last gaurantee of having perfecct sunny views of the Incan citadel. The
temperature in October is only slightly cooler than that of September having
highs of 25°C (77°F) and lows of 11°C (51.8°F).

Being a shoulder month like september, October is a great
time to chose and is a highly recomended time to make the trip if it works with
your schedule. Summer having completey ended in the northen countries, the
crowds at Machu Picchu start to disapear.

What to Bring During The Dry Season

It goes without saying that seasonal conditions change necessity. Make sure you are prepared and have everything you need to enjoy Machu Pichu to the fullest!

  • Sunscrean and eye protection
  • Water bottle/snacks
  • Proper hiking gear such as boots and trekking poles
  • Rain gear
  • Camera

Rainy Season in Machu Picchu

The wet season brings the much needed rain to the region revitalizing the
vegetation and adding renewed life to the landscape. The surrounding mountains
and hills are covered in a vibrant green. The lush green landscape, in
combination with mist/rain and sunbreakes, make for absolutely stunning views
where rainbows contrast beutifully against the green background. The
rainy season ranges from November to April
and is during the low
season. Machu Picchu and the touristic attractions in general are much less
crowded this time of year
. If you’re somone who likes to avoid the
lines and crowds, this is the perfect season for you.

November

November is the official start of the rainy season ushering in more rain 86mm.
Similar to the tempertures in October, November has average highs of 26°C
(78.8°F)
and a lows of 13°C (55.4°F).

An uncrowded month due to the rain and mist potentially obstructing views of the Incan
Citadel, Novemeber is one of the best months for visiting if you want to beat the
crowds.

December

Continuing the rain trend, December brings 121mm of rain to
the region. The temperatures are starting to warm this time of year with an
average high of 26°C (78.8°F) and a low of 13°C (55.4°F).

Being part of the low season in December you wont encounter big crowds this time
of year.

January

Expect more rain during January, 138mm on average. The
temperature averages during January are 24°C (75.2°F) on the high end
and 13°C (55.4°F) on the low
.

Like the other months in the rainy season January is calmer and has fewer tourists than the dry season.

February

The month with the most rain, February boasts a 151mm of
rain on average. A warm and wet month, February has average temperatures
reaching highs of 25°C (77°F) and lows of 13°C (55.4°F).

Because of the amount of rain, February is the least busy month, where we see on
average, the least amount of toursts vissiting Machu Picchu.

*Please note: The inca trail to Machu Picchu is closed during this
time of year for maintenance purposes.
If the inca trail is a
must for your trip DO NOT come during this month
!

March

One of the wetest months of the year March has 141mm of
rain on average. The temperature is similar to that of the previous month with
average lows being a bit cooler, the average highs are 25°C (77°F) and
lows of 11°C (51.8°F)
.

*Please note: The inca trail reopens this month!

April

April is considerably drier than the previous months with averages of 62mm. The temperature is warm to moderately hot with average higs reaching 25°C (77°F) to lows of 12°C (53.6°F). This decrease in rainfall brings more tourists to Machu Picchu so be prepared for a bit more crowds.

What to Bring During The Rainy Season

  • Insect repellant
  • Complete set of raingear including waterproof boots and backpack cover
  • Hiking boots with good tred and trekking poles if desired
  • Water bottle/snacks

***It’s extremely crucial to have footwear with good treads and better yet non slip soles. Becasue of the amount of rain the trail will be slick and pottentially dangerous!

Seasonal Pros and Cons

Choosing when to visit Machu Picchu can be a daunting task, its important to note that both seasons have their positives and negatives.

Dry Season Pros

    • Consistant and favorable weather

    • Various festivals and peruvian indapendance day

    • Less insects due to the dry weather

    • Best trail conditions

    • Perfect conditions for photography and views of Machu Picchu

Dry Season Cons

    • Biggest crowds and longest lines

    • Intense sun and high chance of sun damage

    • Highest prices for accomodation, tours and travel

    • Dry landacape which may result in dead vegetaion

Wet Season Pros

    • Less tourism resulting in smaller crowds

    • Reduced sun exposure

    • Lush green vegatation

    • Various festivals centered around rain and water

    • Lowest prices for accomadation, tours, and transportation

Wet Season Cons

    • Unpredictable trail conditions

    • Inca trail is closed for maintenance in February

    • Most insects and mosquitos

    • Potentially obstructed views of Machu Picchu due to fog

    • Possibility of landslides and travel delays

Cusco Region Festivals

Machu Picchu is nestled in the mountains of the cusco region which is home to the cultural center of the county and the capital of the incan society. The region’s rich cultural heritage is best experienced by attending one or more of the many festivals. When planning your trip its a good idea to consider the festivals.

Semana Santa

Semana santa, or “Holy Week” in english, takes place between the second half of March and the first week of April, the date varies from year to year. The festivities start during the last week of Lent and last until Easter Sunday. Semana Santa is one of the biggest religous holidays in Latin America. During this  week Cusco explodes with all sorts of different activities. Music and dancing in the streets and parties that last all day and night, parades and demonstrations all over the city attract hordes of people.

Cruz Velacuy

A spiritual celebration of the Andean people during this festival devotees march throughout the streets of cusco carying crosses to mountin peaks hills and shrines. The festival takes place on May 3rd every year and markes the begginging of the festival season here in Cusco. If you vissit during this week you will be fully immersed in the vibrant Cusco culture.

Corpus Christi

A christian feast festival celebrated all over world it’s a very important holiday in cusco. Gatherings are held in the main square where atendees cary lage statues of saints and have enormous feasts. The festival, which lasts 3 days, is usually held in June but sometime starts at the end of may and is a dedication to the body and blood of Jesus ChristWith Andean ellements incorporated into the festival including music, dance and typical andean dishes this is a great oppertunity to see the unique customs of the region.

Inti Raymi

June is Cusco’s anniversary month and is full of various different festivals. Inti Raymi, which translates to “Festival of the sun”, is on June 24th and is the most important holiday in Cusco. June 24th is the winter solstice here in cusco and is the shortest day of the year. Traditionally, the Incan emperor would gather his subjects and make offerings to Inti, the Incan sun god and patron of he Incan empire, in order to ensure the suns return every day. This is one of the best times of the year to visit Cusco due to the huge celebrations and ceremonies held.

Pachamama Raymi

A celebration and dedication to the Incan earth goddess, Pachamama Raymi, translates to “Festival of Mother Earth”. The festival is held during the first week of August but the most imposrtant day is the 1st of August. On the 1st, offerings are made by placing cooked food and beverages under the earth. It is beieved that Pachamama is hungy and thirsty this time of year. These offerings are thought to bring bountiful harvests, good health, and maintain a good relationship with nature.

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Best time to hike the Classic Inca Trai

Machu Picchu Frequently Asked Questions

If you want to see Machu Picchu when it is empty, January and February are the best months to visit; you will find good hotel prices, the best train schedules, and incredible prices for everything.

These months are the heart of the rainy season, and you must always be prepared with rain gear and delays due to bad weather.

JuneJuly, and August are the busiest months of the year. To travel to Machu Picchu, you must book your tour in advance to get the best schedules and prices. There are long lines to take the bus and enter Machu Picchu during these months.

Thebest time of the day to visit Machu Picchu will be early in the morning or late afternoon. This is when we have fewer travelers visiting Machu Picchu.

    • Machu Picchu early in the morning

The main gate to Machu Picchu opens at 6 am. You must take the early buses from Aguas Calientes town to enter at this time. The first bus departs at 5.30 am.

By arriving at 6.00 am at Machu Picchu’s gate, you will enter with the first few and enjoy the fantastic sunrise in Machu Picchu. Of course, the sunrise is not guaranteed, but you will have a great time visiting the citadel with fewer early visitors. The people in this schedule must stay overnight in Aguas Calientes; hikers from the Short Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, and other trekking tours will have this schedule.

    • Machu Picchu during the day

After 9:00 am, the trains from Cusco and Ollantaytambo will arrive in Aguas Calientes town, and all one-day travelers will visit the marvelous Inca Citadel. That is the busiest time; several trains from Cusco and Ollantaytambo will take travelers to Machu Picchu in one day.

By visiting Machu Picchu during this time, there are more chances of getting good weather and incredible pictures. The visitors during this time usually travel by train on the same day, and they will return to Cusco on the same afternoon.

    • Machu Picchu late in the afternoon

Many visitors will enter Machu Picchu until 1:00 pm and leave by 3 pm. Machu Picchu after 2.00 pm is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the citadel in solitude.

To visit Machu Picchu with the last ones, you must book the last shift at 2 pm; you can enter Machu Picchu from 2 pm to 4 pm and leave before 5.30 pm. The last shift is recommended for people with late trains to come to Cusco or those who are staying overnight in Machu Picchu Pueblo (Also known as Aguas Calientes).

    • Machu Picchu on Sundays

Machu Picchu is open all week; Sundays are free for locals and are expected to be crowded. Try to avoid Sundays if possible.

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Everything in this blog has been doublé checked by a local, we made the effort on gathering all this information for you, to make your trip easier and cheaper.

02

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99% of the information has been lived by a traveler like you, me, I wanted to compile all the information I had to make every traveler life easier.

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