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BEST TIME TO TREK machu picchu KANDOO | BEST TIME TO TREK MACHU PICCHU

Best time to trek to Machu Picchu

Just as important as which route you choose for your trek is what time of year to do it. There is no single best time to trek in Peru, whether to Machu Picchu or elsewhere, and the ideal time depends quite a bit on your personal preferences. As  in every destination, there is a huge trade off between when the weather is likely to be best and when the trail is likely to be quiet. This is particularly true for Machu Picchu as 95% of visitors are not hikers, so there is huge surge in numbers visiting during the drier summer months. This does not affect the trekking part of the trip but it can make the ruins themselves extremely crowded. 

Summary of weather for trek to Machu Picchu

 

The weather in Peru is typical of the sub-tropical Andes and there are two very distinct seasons. The rainy season which starts in late Novemberand runs until March and the dry season which starts in April and runs to the end of October. You can see the extent of the variation in rainfall in the two graphs below. the first shows average rainfall and the second the actual number of rainy days at Machu Picchu.

machu picchu rainfallmachu picchu rainy days

 While  the amount of rainfall and the number of rainy days varies hugely during the year the temperatures vary hardly at all so if you can tolerate the rain you will not find that the trekking is cold

Machu PIcchu temperatures 

Taking this seasonal variation in rainfall into account these are our recommendations based on weather.

July and August

Late summer is the peak tourist season in Peru, specifically July and August. This season has the driest weather, generally speaking, and most people aim for the best weather. Even in the late summer, the foothills of the Andes are never completely dry. Mist often clings to the peaks, and you can expect at least a few gentle showers. Nonetheless, the weather is generally clear and warm, and trekking conditions are excellent.

You should be aware that only 500 people a day are allowed on the Inca Trail and July and August permits sell out within days of their release. There is no limit on day visitors to the ruins (though certain areas inside are limited access), so July and August will be particularly crowded, especially in the nicest weather.

December to March

This is the ‘rainy season’. If you are visiting during this time you will see fewer tourists, but it will be raining. January and February are the wettest months by far. We really do advise against trekking in this period unless you have a truly compelling reason. Walking is difficult, camping varies from miserable to impossible, and it is so cloudy that most of the views are spoiled anyway. The classic Inca Trail is closed for maintenance and repairs in February.

April to June and October to November

The months just on either side of the peak season are some of the best times to trek in the Andes. There is a bit of rain and a few tourists, but you won’t feel an overwhelming compulsion to build an ark or feel like you’ve somehow wound up at Disneyland.

Our summary chart showing the weather conditions during the year is below.

December to February
rain icon
Heavy rain affects the trails so badly that to protect it from the heavy footfall the Park Authority shuts the Inca Trail completely for the month of February. Other trails remain open. Rainy, hot and humid

March-April
sunshine showers icon
As the rainy season passes, the number of dry days starts to increase dramatically and by the end of April there are less than 5 days that are rainy each month. A good time to trek to avoid the crowds. Rainy becoming drier and quiet
May-September
sun icon
May to September are the driest months and also the least humid making this the most pleasant time to trek to Machu Picchu. Of course, everyone else wants to trek at this time so permits are scarce and the trail is busy. Dry but busy
October-November
sunshine showers icon
As you move out of September, the number of rainy days starts to increase and the humidity rises. Still a good time to trek if you can stand a little rain as most days are still dry and the trails are much quieter. Dry to start but becoming wetter

Other factors to consider in when to trek to Machu PIcchu

Besides the weather there are three other factors that you should consider when planning your Machu Picchu trek

Permit availability

Unless you book as soon as permits for the classic Inca trail are released in October for the following year, all the high season dates will have sold out. If you cannot plan your trip well in advance and still want to trek the classic trail you will need to look at dates well into the shoulder periods.

Flight prices

Flying to Machu Picchu is never cheap but prices escalate a lot during the main summer season. If you can book early you might get a good deal otherwise off-peak periods can be a much more economical option.

Festivals

Throughout the year there are many festivals held in Cuzco which are certainly worth incorporating into your trip. A really good guide to the festivals and when they happen is here.

Current weather at Machu Picchu

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