Planning a vacation and not sure where to go? Most people have South America on their travel list; the continent has a wide variety of things to do through most of its countries. And Peru is a popular destination we have heard about. Therefore, if you love to travel then there is no bad time to visit Peru, every month and season has its benefits, including festivals to make your visit a special one. Therefore, in this article that we prepared with Machu Travel Peru, we will go through the best time to travel to Peru. So when is the best time to visit Peru? Let us find out.
Everything you must know about the best time to visit Peru
- Best time to visit Peru
- The climate in Peru
- 3 Peruvian regions
- The dry season (April to November)
- The rainy season (December to March)
- Best time to visit Peru month by month
- What is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?
Best time to visit Peru
The best time to visit Peru is between April and November, the dry season. Especially, if you want to visit Machu Picchu, go trekking on Andean, or see wildlife on Amazon. Warm weather and sunny days will accompany you, but hurry up to book, this is high season. While at the cost, you will find opaque days, cold weather, and hard rains.
However, it all reverses when the rainy season comes, between December to March. Opaque days and cold winds appear in the Andean and Amazon, instead, the coast enjoys clear skies and hot weather. Therefore, all it will depend on the place that you visit in Peru.
The climate in Peru
The Peruvian coast has a semi-arid subtropical desert climate, with temperatures around 13 – 26 ˚C. Instead, the Andean highlights present dry and cold weather with rains from December to March and temperatures between 11 – 18 ˚C. The Peruvian jungle has a tropical climate, with high temperatures (22 – 31 ˚C) and rains throughout all year. However, Peru has a denomination as world climate synthesis for its climate variety in each place. For this reason, Peruvian biodiversity is one of the biggest in the world. Even, many people affirm that if you want to feel the European east weather, the Andean highlands can be your zone. Otherwise, if you love tropical weather like Center America, the Peruvian Northcoast will be the best option, inter alia.
In Peru, the climatic seasons are not felt so intensely. Therefore, we can say that there are only two well-delimited seasons, the dry season and the rainy season. The first one is present at the end and beginning of each year, with sunny and clear days on the coast, instead of opaque and rainy days in the Andean. The second occurs throughout the year and it is characterized by cloudy and cold days on the coast while the Highlands have sunny days.
In conclusion, you can travel to Peru right now! Because there is not exist the best time to visit Peru. It is true that the dry season, due to its lack of rain and its clear days, cab be the best option to visit the Peruvian Sierra. But the rainy season also offers the chance to see more wildlife in the Amazon. All it will depend on your preference!
3 Peruvian regions
As we mentioned before, the Andean country has 3 nature regions, the coast (board the Pacific Ocean), the Andean Highlands, and the Peruvian jungle (to the east end). These natural areas are the result of the longitudinal crossing of the Andes Mountain Range throughout the Peruvian territory (from north to south). And these have different weather conditions one from another:
- The Coast: This is a desert strip that borders the Pacific Ocean (east end) with an elevation of around 150 – 600 m.a.s.l. Usually, the north coast is hotter than the south coast, but both have a temperature of around 25-35 ºC throughout all year. The south and center coasts reach their peak heat between December to March, the time of summer in Peru. The rest of the year cloudy skies, humid, and a misty gray fog called garúa that covers their sky are present. On the other hand, the north coast presents sunny days and clear skies for the most part of the year.
- The Andean Highlands: This Mountain range is located between the Peruvian coast and the Amazon jungle with an elevation from 600 to 6768 m.a.s.l. Snow-capped peaks, mountain chains, and inter-Andean valleys are the most important characteristic here. The area presents temperatures around 05 – 25 ºC. The months between December to March are the coldest (the temperature can drop to 15º C during the day and 0 ºC at night), and even this sensation can continue until May, besides rains and grey days. Between April to November, the dry season is present with clear and sunny days and a pleasant climate that doesn’t drop below 15 ºC.
- The Peruvian Jungle: Or the Peruvian Amazon located at the east end of the territory, it borders Colombia, Brazil, and Bolivia with an altitude between 80 – 3800 m.a.s.l. (Low jungle 80 – 800 m.a.s.l. And high jungle 800 – 3800 m.a.s.l) It has sub-tropical weather with temperatures around 20 – 32 ºC. Between November to March hard rains occur throughout all of the Amazon, the rest of the month, clear skies, and humid and hot breezes are present. However, rainfalls can be also present during the afternoons during this period.
The dry season (April to November)
The dry season in Peru is developed between April to November, with a lack of rains, clear and sunny days, dry paths and routes, and warm breezes in the Andean Highlands and Peruvian Amazon. Instead, the coast presents opaque and gray days, with cold humid winds. The temperature is around 18 to 25 ºC in the Andean Highlands and from 18 to 30 ºC in the Peruvian Amazon.
Dry season is perfect to do Machu Picchu tours and visit Peruvian Andean cities like Cusco (Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo, Pisac inter alia). Arequipa (Colca Valley). Puno (Titicaca lake)
Also the Amazon area like Puerto Maldonado (Tambopata National Reserve and Manu National Park), Iquitos (Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve)
The rainy season (December to March)
The rainy season occurs between December to March throughout all Andean Highlands and the Peruvian Amazon. Torrential rains, cloudy skies, icy winds, and humidity (at Amazon), beside muddy paths are the most common facts here. While the coast has sunny and clear skies with humid and warm weather. The temperature range is 0 – 18º C in the Andean and from 15 – 20 ºC in the Peruvian Amazon.
It is perfect to visit Peruvian beautiful beaches (Mancora, Cabo Blanco, Zorritos, Vichayito inter alia), Archeological sites located on coast cities (Chan-Chan, Paracas, Lord of Sipan museum), the famous Nazca lines. Coast cities like Lima, the capital of Peru, Trujillo, Piura, and Tumbes.
Best time to visit Peru month by month
In general, you can visit Peru throughout the year. But if you are looking to enjoy a particular climate or some traditional holiday, then it is better to do some research. The Peruvian weather varies month by month, be it for traditional celebrations or national events. Within Peru, you will find numerous reasons to stay and experience the incredible culture.
Let’s start in January. The weather in January differs from region to region. In Lima, the weather is warm and dry with the night’s balmy, making the stay pleasant. In the highlands, in Cusco and Puno will rain most days. So make sure you prepare, even the jungle experiences humid weather and it can be hot. Festivals of note in January include the Adoration of the Magi in Lima on January 6 with processions in the city center. This is also held in other regions of Peru in January. Lima also celebrates its foundation on January 18.
February is considered the warmest month in Peru, specifically on its coast, for swimming and summer activities, with ocean temperatures rising compared to the other months of the year, the beaches in Peru are your best option here. In Cusco, it is the rainy season and the Inca Trail is closed for the month for maintenance. Even so, you may still visit Machu Picchu by train because the site is less crowded. The month has many festivals, notably Carnival which sees much partying in the streets, complete with the throwing of water balloons (Cajamarca city has the most important Carnaval festivity). Also, in the southern town of Puno, at the beginning of February, the Virgin de la Candelaria Festival is held every year.
The weather in March is the same as in February. Generally, Easter is celebrated at the end of the Month. All over Peru, there are street parades and normally statues of Christ pass through the streets and the adoring crowds throw flower petals to show their love for Christ.
In April, the weather starts to change in Cusco, and in the highlands, the rain stops and the cold starts. Despite this, it is considered one of the best months to visit the region as the valleys are green and the tourist crowds are lower. The jungle, however, sees higher rainfall in April, the rivers are higher but there are more areas that are accessible by boat. In the mountain city of Ayacucho, the anniversary celebrations take place in the last week of April. The festival features cultural activities and there will be a lot of food and happiness.
May sees the weather start to turn colder in Lima, the highlands are dryer and in the jungle, the rains have stopped. This is a good month to travel to Peru especially the highlands, as the landscape is green and lush. On May 1 in the southern city of Arequipa, the Festival of the Virgin of Chapi is celebrated. Thousands of people walk around 28 miles to pay respect to the Virgin. Musicians pilgrimage alongside the worshipers and this usually takes around 15 hours to reach to the virgin.
June the weather in Cusco is dry (like the jungle region) with days warm and the nights are cool. Lima is colder and the sun has disappeared. June sees some notable festivals in the highlands such as Corpus Christi. Fifteen statues of saints from all over Cusco neighborhoods are paraded around the main square and its close streets, making a spectacular sight. Do not forget the Inti Raymi festival, which is held on 24 June every year.
Next, we have July; and in July one of the best things to see in Peru is Machu Picchu. The site experiences a dry and warm climate with beautiful blue skies. This month is the most popular in Peru with a high tourist flow. Sites like Cusco can get very crowded and for most is the best time to visit Machu Picchu. Also, in the town of Paucartambo around 4 hours from Cusco, the festival of the Virgen del Carmen is celebrated. The town is overflowing with people who come to see the traditional dancing that many groups offer to Virgen del Carmen.
From April to October (especially June, July, and August), is considered by experts the best time to do the Inca Trail, on its excellent trekking weather conditions. In August, the weather in Lima is cold, instead of sunny in Cusco. In the jungle, it is dry and very warm, and the rivers are low. Also, in the capital on 30 August, there is the religious festival of Santa Rosa de Lima, she was South America and Peru’s first saint declared by the Vatican, and the Peruvian celebrate this day.
September continues to be cold with drizzle in Lima and the highlands; the weather drops at night but can get warm during the day. The Festival of Spring is held in Trujillo (north of Peru) every year. The festival features folkloric dancers of Marinera and artists and they turn the streets into a feast of color and music.
In October, the rains are starting to return to Cusco, and the highlands, Lima is in spring, and in the jungle, the cloud cover is increasing. If you are lucky enough to be in Lima in October then you must go to the Mistura Food Festival known to be the biggest in South America. If you are going to stay in Cusco, you should know that it is good that you know about altitude sickness. This can affect everyone who is not used to the altitude. So it is advisable to stay for a few days to acclimatize.
In Cusco in November, the rainfall is increasing and it will rain most days. Lima is getting warmer and the jungle will be getting set for the rainy season. There are many festivals and special days in November. Day of the living and day of the dead, Puno Festival Week just to name a few.
When planning a trip to Peru you should pay attention to December, as you would imagine this month is religious in Peru with many important days. None more special than Christmas. For most Peruvians, this is a time for family and to enjoy special meals together. During Christmas in Cusco, the main square is turned into a market selling nativity scenes, handicrafts, and everything else you would need for Christmas, this traditional market is called Santurantikuy. But, take into consideration that In the highlands, this is the rainy season. On the other hand, Lima is enjoying warm and sunny weather and its surrounding beaches are one of the best places to visit in December.
What is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?
The best time to visit Machu Picchu is in the dry season, from April to November. Sunny days, clear skies, warm and humid weather, dry path (In the case of the Inca Trail). So you will have perfect photos, a memorable experience, and secure trekking over paths. We recommend spending 1 to 2 weeks in Peru during this season to enjoy all the natural, archaeological. And even cultural attractions that the Andean country has to show you. Dare you take your backpack, make a plan about things to do in Peru. Machu Picchu returned to normal this 2022 and receives tourists at pre-pandemic levels.
“OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO”
In conclusion, with a variety of climates and many cool things to do, any time is the best time to visit Peru, don’t you think? Even so, what is the best time to visit Peru: Month by Month will depend on when you plan to visit this wonderful Andean country. We hope together with the experts of Machu Travel Peru to have been of help. With so many places to visit in Peru, you can explore Peru at any time of year. Book a trip today.