Machu Picchu is “the icing on the cake” in the final part of any tour in Peru, South America, and entire America. One of the new seven world wonders receives more than 3 million visitant every year. Therefore, if you want to enjoy the magic, grandiosity, and mysteries of Machu Picchu, it will be crucial to choose the right time to visit it. In this sense, the best time to visit Machu Picchu will be in the Shoulder season, between April, May, September, October, and November, when appear light drizzles, warm and not very cold nights, and little influx of visitors. That is why Machu Travel Peru has prepared a small article so that you know the climate and temperature of the Inca citadel during the year, month by month. Take look here!
All about the best time to visit the Inca citadel
- Weather in Machu Picchu
- The best time to visit Machu Picchu
- Machu Picchu weather month by month
- Frequently questions
Weather in Machu Picchu
If we pay attention to a Machu Picchu map, we’ll realize that the Inca citadel is located in Vilcabamba Mountain Range, in Jungle south-central Peru, over 8000 feet, or 2440 meters above sea level, northwest of Cusco, in the province of Urubamba. Mountains and thick vegetation typical of the cloudy rainforest jungle of Peru cover this zone of Cusco. In other words, Machu Picchu presents weather characteristics similar to a jungle area; warm and humid days, fresh nights, spontaneous cloudiness, and rain at any time of the day and year, (despite being in the dry season) With an average annual temperature around 52 – 80ºF (12 – 27ºC), the Inca’s citadel weather can change in any moment of the day, so be prepared with rain clothes will be important.
Machu Picchu and Peru are not governed by the well-known seasons of the year, spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The world wonder and the Andean country present 3 defined seasons during the year, the rainy, the middle, and the dry seasons. In this form, while the Peruvian coasts receive cloudy and cold days (rainy season), the Sierra and Jungle of Peru can present sunny and warm days with clear skies (dry season). Yes, that’s how crazy the weather is in Peru and Machu Picchu.
1. The rainy season – Less crowded time
It coincides with the Summer in the rest of the world, from late November until late March. In this season, you will find rain, most of them in the early mornings and late afternoons, cloudy skies all day with humidity, and warm nights. The months of more rain are February and March, with an average temperature of 47º – 72ºF (7-22ºC). However, you can be sure to find fewer visitors this time. And therefore, more offers of flights and hotels! For this reason, if you want to have a desolate citadel to take a walk by its streets and corridors, this season can represent one of the best times to visit Machu Picchu for you!
2. Shoulder season – The best time
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. In other words, a perfect combination between weather and crowd and the best time to visit the Inca citadel, undoubtedly! If you are a person who lets him be surprised by nature and weather, you can consider the Shoulder Season as the best time to visit the world wonder.
3. Dry Season – The busiest time
It coincides with the peak tourist season, with more visitants 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 the dry season. Clear and blue skies, sunny days, and warm temperatures are its characteristics 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. Remember, as soon as you buy, tickets will be much better. Do you want perfect photos of Machu Picchu without important the crowd that comes out in it? So, this season is for you!
The best time to visit Machu Picchu
The perfect combination between a pleasant climate and few people is the shoulder season. As we mentioned before, the months of April, May, September, October, and November are the best time to visit the Inca citadel. In these months, you will have the possibility of finding clear and blue skies, few people, and perfect photos! All these combined with nice weather, warm days most of the time. However, Machu Picchu is located in a cloudy rainforest eyebrow, that’s means sudden squalls and cloud skies any time now. For this reason, dressing adequately will be the best form to face the Machu Picchu weather.
A. Best time of the day to visit Machu Picchu
Regardless of the season to visit, there are perfect times to get to Machu Picchu and enjoy all its beauty. Early mornings can be harnessed to capture beautiful sunrises, in the dry season of course, and find few people. Besides, 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. The majority of people visit the Inca citadel until 1:00 pm, after this hour they begin to go down to Aguas Calientes to take lunch, which means less congestion of people. Therefore, visiting Machu Picchu from 1:00 pm until the Citadel closes at 5:30 pm is another great recommendation for you!
B. Don’t 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 its native citizens. 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 inconvenience along the process.
Machu Picchu weather month by month
Annual climate chart for Cusco
This is the rainiest month of the year, with warm days but cloudy skies and humid winds. Sudden changes in itineraries, flight cancellations, delays of trains from/to Machu Picchu, and trails closure can be some of the characteristics of January. For this reason, if you want to know the answer to What is Machu Picchu? January is a bad month to figure it out. On the other hand, you can find good offers on hotels, flights, and tours for this month. The temperature average is between 45 to 71ºF. Regarding Inca Trail (Camino Inca) and other trails (Salkantay, Ausangate, Choquequirao) usually present landslides, mud, and blockages. Therefore, hiking or trekking is not recommendable this month.
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 and 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. Definitely, we don’t recommend traveling to Machu Picchu this time, and less hiking trails through landslides and mud.
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 Inca Trail, this famous trail is reopened, and for this reason, many hikers and 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.
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 Incas 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.
This month is known for the great affluent of visitants that begins to come to Machu Picchu, most of them from the United States and Europe. In general, the 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 sunrises photos that you’ll get will be unique! On the other hand, trails like Inca Trail, Huayna Picchu trail, or Machu Picchu mountain trail will be crowded because May means a good time to hike in the beautiful lands surrounding Cusco and Machu Picchu.
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, your ticket buses, or any tour for this month will be crucial. Also, while the rest of the world and the Peruvian coast feel the Winter weather, Machu Picchu experiences fresh weather with warm days, occasional light rains, clear skies, and perfect views of 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, having the coldest nights of the year. Regarding trails like the Inca Trail, or Salkantay among others, are even more crowded with tourists. Many experts affirm that June is a perfect month to hike the Inca Trail and other things trails.
This month is the heart of the high season of tourism in Peru, besides being in the middle of Winter around the world. In general, the temperature of the Peruvian highlands often drops below the freezing point and due to where is Machu Picchu located, the citadel doesn’t is an exception. In July, Machu Picchu presents the weather coldest, with a temperature average of 44º – 82ºF. The temperature at night can drop below freezing and reach 70ºF at noon, in extreme contrast on the same day! 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.
August can be considered a similar month to July. The high affluence of tourists and the cold weather remain, with an average temperature of 42 to 78ºF. In the same way, the temperature can also drop to below freezing point, and 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.
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 kids. Also, the long lines to take the CONSETTUR buses to the citadel and to enter Machu Picchu are shortened. Regarding the paths in surrounding areas like Inca Trail, the Choquequirao trail among others begin to receive fewer tourists. If you don’t like crowds, visiting Machu Picchu and its surrounding footpaths this month may be ideal for you!
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 Incas 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.
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.
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.
1. When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?
The best time to visit this world wonder will be in April, May, September, October, and November, the months of the shoulder season in Cusco. Fewer showers of rain, fewer people, and more days with excellent weather, and perfect photos!
2. When is the best time of day to visit Machu Picchu?
Regardless of the weather season (dry or rainy) and the tourist season (high or low), the best times of day to visit Machu Picchu are two. The first one is in the early mornings (Until 09:00 am), you’ll see awesome sunrises with fewer people. The other one is in the afternoon, from 01:00 pm onwards, because the majority of visitants take advantage of 01:00 pm to go down to lunch, so you’ll have a world wonder without many people and the possibility of seeing amazing sunsets, only for you!
3. 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 17:30 pm.
4. 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 or social mobilizations or natural disasters.
5. When is the busiest time in Machu Picchu?
The Winter in the Peruvian highlands matches with the Summer in the Northern Hemisphere (mid-year vacation for Americans, Canadians, and Europeans). Therefore, June, July, and August are the busiest months of the year in Machu Picchu. Despite having clear skies and a radiant sun, you’ll find cold weather and a crowd in the Machu Picchu citadel and surrounding areas.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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 assure to find dances, festivals, and live music on the streets.
“BETTER TO SEE SOMETHING ONCE THAN TO HEAR ABOUT IT A THOUSAND TIMES”
We hope this little article 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.