best time to visit machu picchu

Any South American tours usually crown their end in Machu Picchu, “The icing on the cake”. Consequently, it receives more than 3 million visitors every year. For this reason, if you want to enjoy the magic and mysteries of Machu Picchu, and avoid crowds and bad seasons, it will be crucial to choose the right time to visit it. For that, the best time to visit Machu Picchu is from late March to May and from September to mid-December. But, if you want to know more, the Machu Travel Peru team prepared this small article specially for you!

All about the best time to visit the Inca citadel

The best time to visit Machu Picchu

best time to visit machu picchu advices

The perfect combination of a pleasant climate, perfect views, and a few people is the shoulder season (April, May, September, October, and November). In these months, you will have the possibility of finding clear and blue skies, few people, and perfect photos! But remember, Machu Picchu is located in a cloudy rainforest eyebrow, which means sudden squalls and cloud skies at any time. For this reason, dressing adequately will be the best form to face the Machu Picchu weather.


machu picchu climate

If we pay attention to a Machu Picchu map, we’ll realize that the Inca citadel is located over 8000 feet, northwest of Cusco. A cloudy rainforest surrounds it because is in the jungle eyebrow. With warm and humid days, fresh nights, spontaneous cloudiness, and rain at any time of the day and year. Also, it presents an average annual temperature of around 52 – 80ºF (12 – 27ºC), Machu Picchu presents 3 special seasons during the year, the rainy, the middle, and the dry seasons.


best time to go to machu picchu

While the Peruvian coasts receive cloudy and cold days, the Sierra and Jungle present sunny and warm days with clear skies (dry season). Quite the opposite, while the Sierra and Jungle have torrential rains and cloudy days (rainy season), the coastlands present sunny days, with fresh breezes and clear skies. Since Machu Picchu is located between the Sierra and the jungle, in this article we will refer to the seasons of these two regions, leaving out the coast. And, yes, that’s how crazy the weather is in Peru and Machu Picchu.

1. The rainy season – Less crowded time

best time to visit machu picchu rainy season

It coincides with the Summer in the rest of the world, from late November until late March. It presents rain (most of it in the early mornings and late afternoons), cloudy skies with humidity, muddy roads, and warm nights. Furthermore, the months of more rain are February and March, with an average temperature of 47º – 72ºF (7-22ºC). For this reason, the Inca trail is closed in February to avoid dangerous mudslides and approach the month to improve the tourist facilities there. However, you can be sure to find fewer visitors this time, and more offers of flights and hotels!

2. Shoulder season – The best time

best time to visit machu picchu shoulder season

It goes through April, May, September, October, and November. You will find occasional light showers but not more than a rainy season because it is a transition period between the dry and rainy seasons. The advantage is fewer visitors than in the peak season and a temperate climate, not so cold or hot but with clearer days and blue skies. In other words, a perfect combination between weather and crowd. If you are a person who lets himself be surprised by nature, you can consider the Shoulder Season as the best time to visit Machu Picchu.

3. Dry Season – The busiest time

machu picchu crowd

It coincides with the peak tourist season, with more visitors than any part of the year. The middle of April, May, June, July, August, and September, and the finals of October are the months of this season. Its characteristics include clear and blue skies, sunny days, and warm temperatures with an average temperature between 32ºF (at night) to 77ºF (at noon) or from 0º – 25ºC. Therefore, you can find less availability of Machu Picchu tickets in this period. For thus remember, as soon as you buy tickets, will be much better.

Best Hours to Visit

best hours to visit machu picchu

Regardless of the season to visit, there are perfect hours in the day to get to Machu Picchu and enjoy all its beauty. Early mornings can be harnessed to capture beautiful sunrises with few people in the citadel, (In the dry and shoulder seasons of course) From 06:00 am to 10:00 am. In addition, Aguas Calientes, a town located on the Machu Picchu mountain slope, is a port of buses that depart every 5 minutes to Machu Picchu, the first one starts at 05:30 am, and the last one returns at 5:30 pm.

Another great moment to visit Machu Picchu is in the afternoon. Most people visit the Inca Citadel until 2:00 pm, after this hour they begin to go down to Aguas Calientes to have lunch, which means fewer people in the Inca Citadel from 2:00 pm until the Citadel closes at 5:30 pm.

Duration of Visit

best time to visit machu picchu in dry season

The recommended range of time to visit the citadel of Machu Picchu is 02:30 hrs. In the same way, this is the range of time allowed and indicated in a Machu Picchu entrance ticket.

Of course, each entrance ticket comes with a determined circuit to follow. There are 4 circuits to visit, so 4 different entrances as well. Each of them passes through different places of Machu Picchu and some of them include hiking to a nearby mountain. For those that include the hiking activity, the range of visits will be greater than 02:30 hrs.

Most crowded dates

avoid crowd in machu picchu

There is no specific day to travel to Machu Picchu. However, taking into consideration the dry season, from April to October (the high peak of tourism), some days bring crowds and long lines to the Inca citadel.

  • Holy Week: Usually the last week of March or the first days of April. Most of the Peruvian population is Roman Catholic, so they take advantage of Holy Week to visit Machu Picchu.
  • Spring break: End of March and beginning of April. Season of vacation for many United States students. They take advantage of this to come to Peru, and consequently, to Machu Picchu.
  • Summer break: From the first half of May to the beginning of September. Most jobs in the United States and Europe establish vacations for their workers in the summer.
  • Peruvian Independence Day: July 28 is Peru’s independence day. But the government usually decrees holidays two days before and two days after that date. So, you can find a crowd of local visitors in the citadel.
  • New Year’s Eve parties: We can include Christmas. From December 24 to January 2 of next year. There are plenty of reasons to visit Machu Picchu on these dates.

Don’t Visit Machu Picchu on Sundays

do not visit machu picchu on sundays

During a common week, many trains arrive in Aguas Calientes town at different hours, starting at 06:00 am until 07:00 pm. However, on Sundays, the inflow of visitors increases drastically because of the national visitant. The Peruvian government decreed a law that allows free entrance to Machu Picchu for all Peru people. Please take note of this information if you want to enjoy the experience of Machu Picchu with a crowd of people. Believe us, a Machu Picchu virtual tour, will not make you feel the total experience that any real Machu Picchu tour can do. So, pay attention to the months, the hours of the day, and the day to plan your trip to the Incas citadel and avoid any crowds or any other inconvenience.

Can I stay overnight at Machu Picchu?

machu picchu rest

It is not possible to spend the night within the Machu Picchu citadel due to the Ministry of Culture of the Peruvian government’s regulations. Nevertheless, there is an opulent five-star hotel located at the mountain’s peak where the citadel is located, the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge. If you desire to spend the night as close to the citadel as conceivable, this hotel is the perfect place to stay.

In addition, the Machu Picchu town, located at the foot of the mountain namesake, is 9 km from the same citadel and the rest of the hotels where one can spend a night are located there.

Machu Picchu weather month by month

machu pìcchu seasons

1. January

This is the rainiest month of the year, with warm days but cloudy skies and humid winds. The temperature average is between 45 to 71ºF. Regarding Inca Trail (Camino Inca) and alternative treks (Salkantay, Ausangate, Choquequirao) usually present landslides, mud, and blockages. Therefore, hiking or trekking is not recommended this month.

2. February

Despite having less rain than in January, heavy downpours are expected throughout the day. Cloudy skies with thick clouds, extreme humidity, and a temperature average between 46 to 72ºF make February the worst month to visit Machu Picchu. Generally, the influx of tourists in the Inca citadel reaches its lowest point. Even, the risk of being trapped and isolated in Aguas Calientes (the modern town where the train station is located) is very high, since the town is surrounded by the Vilcanota River. If it increases in flow, it isolates the town, and the rails can be ripped off the ground for the strength of the river. Also, the Inca Trail (The hiking path additional to the train option to get to Machu Picchu) is closed to be refurbished. We don’t recommend traveling to Machu Picchu this time, and less hiking trails through landslides and mud.

3. March

March presents more sunny days with less rain during the day. Usually, the mornings are cloudy but can clear up as time goes on. The temperature average is between 42 – 71ºF. Also, Machu Picchu and its surrounding areas present their maximum greenness! Regarding the Inca Trail, this famous trail has been reopened, and thus, many trekkers do the activity since the second fortnight of the month. However, little landslides and mud still can be present on the trails around Machu Picchu and Cusco.

4. April

April is the beginning of the shoulder season, with comfortable weather and fewer rainy days. The sun warms without burning. Also, the weather is warmer with fewer people and awesome views of the Inca citadel. Moreover, the advantage of this month is that visitors can begin to see a clear sunrise more frequently and for longer. The temperature average is between 39 -37ºF. Additional information, the Machu Picchu tours begin to sell out this month. The greenery around Machu Picchu begins to increase this month.

5. May

This month is known for the great affluent of visitants that begin to come to Machu Picchu, most of them from the United States and Europe. In general, these days are warmer with the sky blue and clear to get a great view of the citadel. The temperature average is between 42 – 86ºF. The advantage of this month is the Sun luminosity in the early hours of the day. In this sense, the Machu Picchu sunrise photos that you’ll get will be unique! On the other hand, trails like the Inca Trail, Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountains trail will be crowded. In other words, May is a good time to visit Machu Picchi hiking.

6. June

June is the beginning of the high season of tourism in Peru. Therefore, the long lines to board the CONSETTUR buses and to enter Machu Picchu are visible. Booking in advance your entrances to the citadel, besides bus and train tickets, will be crucial. Machu Picchu experiences fresh weather with warm days, occasional light rains, clear skies, and perfect views of the mountains. Without mentioning the awesome views of the Milky Way at night. The temperature in June tends to drop and stays between 44 to 83ºF. However, it can drop up to 32ºF before the sunrises and after the sunsets, causing the coldest nights of the year. Trails like the Inca Trail, or Salkantay among others, are even more crowded with tourists.

7. July

This month is the heart of the high season of tourism in Peru. In general, the temperature of the Peruvian highlands often drops below the freezing point. It is due to where is Machu Picchu located. In July, Machu Picchu presents the coldest weather, with a temperature average of 44º – 82ºF. The temperature at night can drop below freezing and reach 70ºF at noon. Therefore, the visitor has to be prepared with warm clothes and waterproof. The queues to board the CONSETTUR buses and enter Machu Picchu reach their maximum length. Also, the cost of any tourist services increases their value. In other words, you will see a great affluent of tourists in almost all Peruvian attractions this month.

8. August

August can be considered a similar month to July. The high affluence of tourists and the cold weather remain. An average temperature of 42 to 78ºF. In the same way, the temperature can also drop to below freezing point. In the middle of the day, temperatures reach up to 70º F. August also sees long lines and tourists at nearly every attraction in Cusco, aside from Machu Picchu.

9. September

In September, the rains are back and these can occur suddenly during the day. However, the fresh weather replaces the cold, and Machu Picchu presents a temperature of around 44 to 73ºF. That means the weather is pleasant, not too cold, not too hot, and it is perfect if you are planning to do the tour of Machu Picchu with the kids. Also, the lines to take the CONSETTUR buses to the citadel and to enter Machu Picchu are shortened. Regarding the paths in surrounding areas like the Inca Trail, the Choquequirao Trail among others begins to receive fewer tourists. If you don’t like crowds, If you don’t like crowds, this season is perfect for you!

10. October

October is the last month of the dry season. Therefore, it is considered a transition month between the dry and rainy seasons. It has fewer showers of rain and more sunny days because it is closer to the summer. The temperature is around 41 – 72ºF, which means cooler and nicer days. Also, October has more availability and fewer visits to the Inca citadel. Therefore, you’ll perceive silence and solitude, as perfect to have a honeymoon in Machu Picchu. Moreover, it is an ideal month to hike the Inca trail or other paths surrounding Cusco.

11. November

Technically, November begins the rainy season. But, don’t worry, there are scattered showers throughout the week, which means that there are days without rain. Also, the sun continues prevailing in the month. The weather continues to be pleasant, with temperatures around 45 – 78ºF. The flow of tourists continues to decrease, and you will find fewer crowds in Machu Picchu and on the surrounding trails, such as Huayna Picchu, and Huchuy Picchu among others. Therefore, November is the last month in which a tourist can enjoy perfect weather and fewer crowds in the world’s wonder.

12. December

The frequency of rain increases in December. The month presents sunny mornings and rainy afternoons. However, the weather is unpredictable and factors can be interchanged. The temperature is around 44 – 71ºF. But, despite the rains, the flow of visitors increases from the second fortnight of the month for the year-end holidays (Christmas and New Year). However, the Inca Trail and other paths like the Choquequirao trek, Huayna Picchu path, and Huchuy Picchu among others present their lowest level of visitors due to the rains and the risk of landslides and mud along the way.

Frequently questions

enjoy the best time to visit machu picchu

1. What time does the archaeological park of Machu Picchu open and close?

The Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu is open from 06:00 am until 5:30 pm.

2. Is Machu Picchu closed during the year?

Among the Machu Picchu facts, one of the most important is that it is open all days of the year, except in exceptional cases such as protests social mobilizations, or natural disasters.

3. When is it cheaper to travel to Machu Picchu?

Definitely, during the rainy season, from late November until late March, the rains are present, but you’ll get offers on hotels, trains, flights, and tours, to travel during these months.

4. When is the coldest month to travel to Machu Picchu?

In the same way, during June, July, and August, the nights are coldest. At noon, you’ll feel the fresh weather. In this sense, we can consider these months the coldest of the year.

5. When are there holidays in Machu Picchu?

The main festivity in Aguas Calientes town (the Machu Picchu local town) is July 7, when the citadel was declared one of the seven wonders of the world. On this day, you’ll be sure to find dances, festivals, and live music on the streets.


We hope this complete article about the best time to visit Machu Picchu has been helpful. Take your time touring the different sacred constructions and enjoy this rich ancestral culture. Machu Travel Peru wishes you an incredible time experiencing the Wonder of the World and the team is ready to help if you are planning a trip to Machu Picchu, Cusco, or the Andean country of Peru.

Peru has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. With many years of experience in the tourism sector, Machu Travel Peru is happy to help with anything regarding your trip to Machu Picchu and any tours around it. Make your Machu Picchu experience an unforgettable one!