1. English
  2. 中文 (中国)
Best Time To Hike
Inca trail Tours

When is the Best Time to Hike the Inca Trail To Machu Picchu

Written by: Incatrailhikeperu August 16, 2023

Welcome! In this post we will go over When is The Best Time To Hike the Inca Trail To Machu Picchu in 2024.

This is the most up to date information available. The rules and regulations for Machu Picchu and the Inca trail change from year to year. It’s important to make sure you have the current information so your trip goes as smoothly as possible.

Lets GO!

The best time to hike the Inca Trail is in the dry season which is during the Peruvian Winter. The dry season starts in May and goes until the end of October.


Because there’s NO RAIN and the weather is much better than during the rainy season. With clear skies almost every single day this will be your best opportunity to get amazing pictures of Machu Picchu.

Why should you Hike the Inca Trail in The dry Season? (May-August)

  • From May to October is the dry season in Peru. The weather is particularly dry in Cusco (Andes Mountains).
  • The dry season is one of the best times to hike The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu because the weather is almost perfect.
  • At this time of year you will have blue skies and almost no rain. Additionally, there will be nearly no fog blocking your view of Machu Picchu.
  • June, July and August are considered the best months to visit Machu Picchu and Hike Inca Trail but, with the good weather comes large crowds.
  • Remember that the Inca Trail is restricted to 500 permits per day (150 hikers & 350 hiking team), however, Machu Picchu allows 4500 tickets.
  • Machu Picchu is located in the high jungle of Cusco. The weather in Machu Picchu is a bit more mild than that of Cusco because Machu Picchu is at a lower elevation.
  • If you want to hike the Inca Trail during the dry season you’ll have to book many months in advance, as permits sell out sometimes a year in before.
  • The months of June, July and August, are the most busy if you are planning to go during this time you will need to book as soon as there’s availability. The remaining months you can book at least 4 months out and you should be okay.

Weather On the Inca Trail Hike to Machhu Picchu

Being in the Andean Cloud Forest the weather on the inca trail and in Machu Picchu can be unpredictable. Although there is usually sun every day it’s important to be prepared for all weather conditions. The weather can go from pleasant and sunny to rainy and cold in a matter of minutes. There are two main seasons that dictate the weather in the cusco region, the dry season and the rainy season.

Dry Season

With the lack of rain the dry season turns the vegetation and surround landscapes of cusco to a yellowish brown. In the high altitude of the Andes the sun is strong and cuts through the thin atmosphere with ease. You’ll need to protect yourself from the sun if you are planning to visit during the dry season which starts in May and continues until the end of October. The clear skies and sunny weather bring tourists from all over the world to Machu Picchu and the Inca trail. This time of year is in general the best time to visit the region. With the clear sunny skies the views of Machu Picchu during the dry season are unbeatable.


The start of the dry season, May is a great month to hike the inca trail to Machu Picchu. May brings the dry season and also the tourists. You’ll start to see more and more people from all over the world coming to Cusco to hike the Inca trail. Although we are not yet in the high tourist season you can notice an increase in travelers from the previous months.

With sun every day the amount of rain is low at 23mm on average. The temperature is mild this time of year, the highs reach around 77°F (25°C) and lows are on average 51.8°F (11°C). Bring layers if you’re making a visit in May the weather can be warm to hot when in direct sunlight but, drops significantly during the night. You don’t want to be caught outside without a jacket at night.


Being one of the busiest months of the year Inca Trail permits sell out extremely fast. Everywhere you go will be busy in June. Be prepared to wait in lines for tourist attractions and pay extra for most services. The most important festival of the year, Inti Raymi, is during June and brings people from all over Peru.

June brings the driest days of the year with rains reaching a yearly low only 17mm of rain fall on the landscape. The feeling in June can feel a bit cold at night with temperatures averaging around 9°C (48.2°F) and highs around 25°C (77°F).


With summer break starting this month for most of the countries in the northern hemisphere July brings large crowds. Peruvian independence is in July turning all of the country into a celebration.

Although being in the middle of the dry season the rain starts to increase a bit in July averaging 22mm. The weather is the same as June with lows averaging 9°C (48.2°F) and highs 25°C (77°F).


The peak month for tourism in Cusco, Machu Picchu, and peru in general, this is a great time to visit if you like traveling when everything is in full swing. Just be aware everything will be packed, you’ll have to wait in lines, accommodations will be fully booked, and prices for everything will be expensive.

Despite the largest crowds of the year the weather is absolutely great. With clear skies every day and temperatures averaging 10°C (50°F) on the low end and 25°C (77°F) on the high this month is only slightly colder than July.


Being a transitionary month between the dry and the rainy season, September is a great time to visit the region. The crowds are just starting to taper off with summer vacation already coming to an end in some countries. This is a great month if you want a balance between good weather and smaller crowds.

With the seasons starting to change in september you can expect about double the rain of the previous month, at 44mm on average. The temperature is also increasing but only slightly when compared to the months before. The lows are on average 11°C (51.8°F) and the highs 26°C (78.8°F).


October is the last month of the dry season and with it the tourists return to their home countries. The weather however, is still fairly pleasant and like September this month is a transtionary month between seasons. Just like october September is a great time to visit if you want the best of both worlds, small crowds and clear skies.

Being the last month of the dry season the rains increase a lot from 44mm in September to 77mm in October. The weather however is the same on average as the previous month the bringing lows of 11°C (51.8°F) and highs of 25°C (77°F).

Pros and Cons of the Dry Season


  • Great weather everyday
  • Clear views of Machu Picchu
  • Best trail conditions
  • Festivals including Inti Raymi and peruvian independence day
  • Less biting insects compared to the rainy season


  • Most expensive time of year for most services
  • Strong sun with a high chance of sun damage
  • Largest crowds of the year
  • Longest lines and least availability for accommodation and tours
  • Dry and dead looking vegetation

Rainy Season

Bringing the much needed moisture to the region and reviving the dry landscape the rainy season is seen as a blessing by many local communities. There are tons of water and rain festivals this time of year which are all great opportunities to immerse yourself in the Andean culture and it’s customs. With the change in weather many of the tourists leave, changing Cusco from a bustling tourist destination to a calmer quieter city.


The official start of the rainy season many of the tourists have already left. With the start of many holidays at the end of the month you can really notice the difference in the amount of travelers.

Although it’s in the rainy season November brings a bit more rain than October averaging 86mm. The weather is slightly warmer on the low end but, the same on the higher end averaging 13°C for the low (55.4°F) and 26°C (78.8°F) for the high.


One of the least busy months of the year except for the weeks before and after christmas. This is a a great month to visit just to see the Andean customs during the holidays.

During December the rains really increase a lot with average rainfall around 121mm. The temperatures are holding strong even through december with the average lows being 13°C (55.4°F) and the average highs 26°C (78.8°F).


The slowest month of the year because of the high rainfalls this is the time where you will find the least amount of hikers on the Inca Trail. If you are okay with heavy rains and want to be on the trail with the least tourists this is the month for you.

Continuing the rainfall trend January normally brings 138mm of rain. Being slightly colder on the lower end average lows are around 13°C (55.4°F) however the highs stay the same holding at 24°C (75.2°F)

***PLEASE NOTE: This is the least busy month of the year and consequently the cheapest for tours accommodation flights etc.


The most important thing to note about february is that the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is closed the entire month for maintenance. February brings the most rain of the year and because of this its not a desirable time to hike the trail anyway. The peruvian government and local tour guides have taken advantage of this lull in the tourist season by making repairs to the trail, fixing bridges, and cleaning facilities such as campsites and toilets. If you plan to hike the Inca Trail in February think again the only people allowed on the trail during this month are the ones working to maintain the trail. But don’t worry There are alternative hikes to the Inca trail and Machu Picchu is open all year round.



With the inca trail reopening this month the you’ll will start to see more tourists in the region making their way to The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. This month is also a unique month in that the trail is the “newest” condition of the year. You will find freshly maintained trails and recently cleaned facilities.

The second wettest month of the year (141mm) hiking the Inca Trail at this time is a true challenge. March is a bit colder than February but just on the low end. Temperatures are around 11°C (51.8°F) and 25°C (77°F).


During April we start to see more and more tourists hiking the Inca Trail and the region in general. Considered a transitionary month this is one of the best times to visit if you like a balance of smaller crowds and more enjoyable weather.

April is the last month of the rainy season you’ll see a drastic fall in rain this month averaging 62mm. Generally the temperature is nearly the same as the month before with lows of 12°C (53.6°F) and highs around 25°C (77°F) it’s only slightly warmer than March and only on the low end.

Rainy Season Pros and Cons


  • Less crowds and people of in the region in general
  • The sun is more forgiving this time of year
  • Less expensive tours Accomodation and transportation
  • Lush green healthy looking landscape
  • Newly maintained and cleaned trails and facilities
  • Various festivals dedicated to the rain and water


  • Train conditions can be more dangerous due to rain especially in the stone steps
  • More biting insects than the dry season
  • Potential delays and cancellations due to landslides or heavy rain
  • Fog and mist can obstruct your view of Machu Picchu

Hiking Between Seasons (March-April and September-October)

Choosing to go to Machu Picchu in between seasons is a great idea if you want a balance between good weather and smaller crowds.

If you visit from March to April you may still encounter some rains but, it will be a lot drier than the months prior. The tourist season hasn’t officially started yet so the crowds will be smaller as well.

This time of year, because it’s not during the high tourist season, is a lot cheaper regarding most everything from transportation, accomodation, and tours.

If your main goal is to avoid the crowds this a decent time to visit. However, the months prior December to February have a lot less tourists. Apart from Christmas and New Years December and January have almost no tourists in general and even fewer foreign tourists.

If you are a nature lover and like to admire lush green landscapes this is a great time. The rainy season has been going strong for months at this point watering all the vegetation in the region. You will get great views of lush high jungle landscapes and mountain sides.

The only downside is that you will still be close to the rainy season so the weather will be unpredictable. You may get a few days straight of no rain or days in a row of downpours.

Visiting from September to October gives you many of the same benefits as March to April. The only real difference being that you’ll be going from the dry season into the rainy season. Because of this the vegetation will be a yellowish brown color having gotten little rain for many months.

Some Important Facts about Inca Trail

  • You need a certified licensed inca trail tour operator in order to hike the Inca Trail. Unfortunately you cannot hike the trail solo. Make sure you book your Inca Trail with a certified tour operator like Orange Nation Peru
  • Also, keep in mind that The Inca Trail has only 500 spaces per day, including staff (150 hikers and 350 staff). Because of this, there are only 150 permits for hikers per day, which is not a lot.
  • Make sure you understand when you are going. The dry season will sell out much faster than the rainy season. You can check the availability of Inca Trail permits or book a tour (which includes permits) in advance.
  • The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is closed for the entire month of February for maintenance, conservation, repair, and cleaning.
  • The Inca Trail is reopened starting March 1st.

Inca Trail Permits are Sold Out During Your Visit?

Don’t worry! There are countless ways to get to Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail is just one of the many hikes that can take you there, however, it is the most famous!

Alternative treks to The Inca Trail

  • Salkantay Trek 
  • Lares Trek
  • Inca Jungle
  • Choquequirao 

These alternate treks are more flexible with entrances and actually have no limits of people.

Important dates to keep in mind

During the school holidays, more families head to Machu Picchu, many of the Inca Trail permits and tours are reserved.

So if you are planning to travel during these periods, be sure to arrange your trip or purchase your permits months (or even a year) in advance:

This especial days is where many people want to hike Inca Trail

  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas
  • Spring Break
  • Summer Vacation

Guided Adventures

Self-made blog

All the information is free and precise. I don't get paid for publishing any agency or tour, and everything has been verified and experienced.


Local Information

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.


Personal experience

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.


Best and only the best

We gathered the best information for you. All this has been investigated and visited only to bring you the best CSelf-made blog. All the information is free and precise. I don't get paid for publishing any agency or tour, and everything has been verified and experienced.