What is the best time to visit Machu Picchu? That is a question that many people ask before booking a trip. This page contains all relevant information on Machu Picchu, including the weather, costs, and the best season to travel.
Machu Picchu is open year-round, regardless of whether it is the wet or dry season; every day, tens of thousands of visitors from all over the globe visit this spectacular site. There are only two seasons in the Andes: the dry and rainy.
Many tourists will choose to visit during the dry season, assuming there will be no rainfall. Nevertheless, the climate in the Andes is very unpredictable and unstable. Even in the driest months of June and July, we sometimes get rain. Each season has benefits and disadvantages; you must choose the best time of year to visit Machu Picchu according to your preferences.
When is the best time of the year to visit Machu Picchu?
The best times to visit Machu Picchu are the shoulder seasons; April, May, September, October, and November. There is still little rain expected during these months, and it is away from the cold winter nights of the dry season. Also, during these months, there will be fewer visitors.
Machu Picchu during the rainy season
The heavy rainy season starts in mid or late December and ends in late March; rain is expected more often during the early morning or late afternoon. The sun will always be out, and you will have great photos of Machu Pichu with the mist of the clouds. For this season, fewer visitors are expected, and it’s a good time for travelers who prefer solitude. It’s possible to find great deals with flights and hotels in the low season.
Machu Picchu during the shoulder season
The shoulder seasons are the transition months between the rainy and dry seasons, or vice-versa. The weather is lovely; it’s not too cold, not too sunny, not too rainy. Also, places like Machu Picchu still get fewer visitors than in the peak season. We have April, May, September, October, and November in this group.
Machu Picchu during the dry season
The dry season starts in May when little rain is expected, and it’s also the winter season in Peru. Thousands of travelers are expected to visit Machu Picchu during their summer vacations in the US, Canada, Europe, and other countries in the northern hemisphere.
The days are sunny, offering great views, and the nights are cold with a clear sky for stargazing. During this season, snow is expected in the high mountain treks; June, July, Agosto, and September in this group.
When is the least crowded time of the year in Machu Picchu?
If you want to see Machu Picchu when it is empty, January and February are the best months to visit; you will be able to find good deals on hotels, the best train schedules, and incredible prices for everything.
These months are the heart of the rainy season, and you must always be prepared to carry good rain gear and be prepared for delays due to bad weather.
When is the busiest time of the year in Machu Picchu?
June, July, and August are the busiest months of the year. To travel to Machu Picchu, you must book your tour far in advance to get the best schedule and places. There are long lines to take the bus and enter Machu Picchu during these months.
When is the best time of the day to visit Machu Picchu?
The best times to visit Machu Picchu will be early or late in the afternoon.
Machu Picchu early in the morning:
The entrance to Machu Picchu is open at 6 am.To enter at this time, you need to take the first bus from Aguas Calientes town that departs at 5.30 am. You must wait in line for at least 1 or 2 hours before the first bus.
By arriving at 6.00 am at Machu Picchu’s gate, you will enter with the first few and enjoy the fantastic sunrise in Machu Picchu. Of course, the sunrise is not guaranteed, but you will have a great time visiting the citadel with fewer early visitors. The people visiting in this schedule are the ones who stayed overnight in the city of Aguas Calientes; hikers from the Inca Trail, Salkantay, Lares, and other trekking tours.
Machu Picchu during the day:
After 9:00 am, the trains will arrive in Aguas Calientes, and all one-day visitors will visit the marvelous Inca Citadel. That is the busiest time of day; several trains run from Cusco and Ollantaytambo that will take travelers to visit Machu Picchu one day.
By visiting Machu Picchu during this time, there are more chances of getting good weather and incredible pictures. The visitors during this time are usually the ones traveling by train on the same day, and they will go back the same day to Cusco.
Machu Picchu late in the afternoon:
The majority of visitors will enter Macchu Picchu until 1:00 pm and leave by 3 pm Machu Picchu after 2.00 pm is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the citadel in solitude.
To visit Machu Picchu with the last ones, you must book the last shift at 2 pm; you can enter Machu Picchu from 2 pm to 4 pm and leave before 5.30 pm. The last shift is recommended for people who have late trains to come to Cusco or stay overnight.
Machu Picchu on Sundays:
Machu Picchu is open all week; Sundays are free for locals and are expected to be crowded. Try to avoid Sundays if possible.
Machu Picchu, Weather Overview
Even though we only have 2 seasons, the dry and wet seasons, you must always be prepared for sunny, cloudy, and rainy days. The weather in the Andes is challenging to predict since Machu Picchu is in the Cloud Forest.
In January, visit Machu Picchu.
January is the rainiest month of the year; you always have good rain gear when visiting Machu Picchu. If you are traveling this month, you need to be prepared for itinerary changes, trail closures due to landslides, train delays, and flight cancellations.
The temperatures in Machu Picchu will vary from highs of around 71°F (21°C) and lows of around 45°F (7°C). This month is suitable for those travelers who would like to visit Machu Picchu in solitude and get good deals on hotels, flights, and tours.
Machu Picchu and Inca Trail tours are available every day; we recommend avoiding the Salkantay Trek and Choquequirao Trek. The Lares Trek is the best tour for hiking to Machu Picchu this month.
Machu Picchu in February
Even though there are fewer rainy days than in January, February is expected to have heavy rains. The number of visitors to Machu Picchu reached its lowest point.
The temperatures in Machu Picchu will vary from highs of around 72°F (22°C) and lows of around 46°F (8°C). Travelers must be prepared for rain, schedule changes due to landslides, or bad weather.
February is one of the worst months to visit Machu Picchu. Most trails will be closed, including the Inca Trails, Salkantay Treks, and Choquequirao Treks. We recommend the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu if you plan a hiking trip.
Machu Picchu in March
In March, the weather starts improving with more sunny days and fewer hours of rain every day. The second half of the month is the preferred time for travelers.
The temperatures in Machu Picchu will vary from highs of around 71°F (21°C) and lows of around 42°F (6°C). Most trekking tours will be open after February, including the Inca Trails.
We recommend avoiding tours like Salkantay Treks as they are located in the Amazon area, and the rains are still weighty.
Machu Picchu in April
April starts with more travelers arriving in Machu Picchu. The shoulder season begins with great weather and a few rainy days, and travelers will see the sunrise more often in Machu Picchu.
The temperatures in Machu Picchu will vary from highs of around 73°F (22°C) and lows of around 39°F (4°C).
This is the perfect time to take a hiking tour to Machu Picchu and travel by train. Tours will sell out fast, and you need to book in advance.
Machu Picchu in May
The dry season starts. However, it would be best if you still were prepared for rainy days. May is usually busy on the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, and other hiking tours. The weather in May makes it perfect for visitors with a clear sky and amazing views of the mountains.
The temperatures in Machu Picchu will vary from highs of around 86°F (30°C) to lows of around 42°F (6°C).
May is arguably one of the best months to visit Machu Picchu, hike the Inca Trail, Salkantay trek, Lares trek, and other alternative hikes.
Machu Picchu in June
June starts the high season for tourism in Peru; thousands of travelers will arrive in Peru, especially from the northern hemisphere, where they have summer vacations. Little rain is expected during these months.
The temperatures in Machu Picchu will vary from highs of around 83°F (28°C) to lows of around 44°F (7°C).
Like the Inca Trail, Salkantay, and Lares trek, most tours will be crowded; you need to book in advance.
Machu Picchu in July
July is the heart of the dry season and the winter season in Peru. Due to Machu Picchu's location, the temperature will not have many variations. However, the temperature will drop below freezing in the mountains, especially at night and early morning.
The temperatures in Machu Picchu will vary from highs of around 82°F (27°C) to lows of around 44°F (7°C).
There are long lines to get the buses and trains to enter Machu Picchu this month. You must book hotels and tours far in advance.
Machu Picchu in August
Historically, August is when we get the highest number of visitors. You must be prepared to see many visitors in every place you visit and wait in line to board the buses and enter Machu Picchu.
Temperatures in Machu Picchu will range from around 78°F (26°C) to around 42°F (6°C). All trails are available; we recommend alternative treks.
Machu Picchu in September
The rains are back in September, and the dry season will end; the cold winter is also replaced by cooler weather in the mountains.
The temperatures in Machu Picchu will vary from highs of around 73°F (22°C) to lows of around 44°F (7°C). All trails are available; we recommend alternative treks.
With the drop in the number of visitors to Peru, Machu Picchu's long lines are over, making it perfect for hiking in the mountains.
Machu Picchu in October.
October is one of the best months to visit Machu Picchu. As it's the transition month between the dry and wet seasons, little rain is expected, and we're away from the cold weather of the winter season.
The temperatures in Machu Picchu will vary from highs of around 72°F (22°C) and lows of around 41°F (5°C). The perfect month to travel to Machu Picchu, as we have a lot of availability and fewer visitors.
Machu Picchu in November.
November starts the rainy season officially. However, we will have weeks of sun and pleasant weather.
The temperatures in Machu Picchu will vary from highs of around 78°F (25°C) and lows of around 45°F (7°C). Machu Picchu will decrease the number of visitors, and the hiking tours will have fewer visitors.
Machu Picchu in December.
The rains will occur more often. However, the number of travelers will increase in the last weeks for the end-of-year holidays.
The temperatures in Machu Picchu will vary from highs of around 71°F (21°C) and lows of around 44°F (6°C). This is one of the last months to have good weather before entering the heavy rainy season.
All the places to visit in and around Machu Picchu
Citadel of Machu Picchu
Machu Pichu Inca citadel refers to the main archeological sites included in the regular tour. The ticket will allow you to visit this place for around 3 hours. The places to visit are the Guard House, farming terraces, the temple of the sun, the temple of the water, the main temple, the sundial, the urban area, the industrial area, the temple of the condor, and many other places that your tour guide will take you and explain their uses.
Sun Gate or Intipunku:
Located 5 kilometers away from Machu Picchu, the Sungate is situated on a mountain top, the arrival point for the Inca Trail tours. It's possible to hike up for 1 hour from Machu Picchu and return. No permits are required to pay or book. You will be hiking the last part of the original 4-day Classic Inca Trail that arrives at Machu Picchu after 4 days of hiking.
During this pandemic, it's not allowed to hike to Sungate.
The Inca Bridge is located opposite the Sungate, just 30 minutes from the upper part of Machu Picchu; this great drawbridge served as protection for the Machu Picchu Citadel. No permits or extra charges are required to enter this place. However, you must be able to walk through narrow and steep trails.
Huayna Picchu is the steep mountain behind Machu Picchu in every postal picture. It takes one hour to reach the top and another hour to come down the same way. You need to book the permits far in advance to hike this mountain.
The cost of the permits is $75 per person.
Located on the opposite side of Huayna Picchu, Machu Picchu Mountain, or Montaña, is the highest mountain area. It takes 1.5 hours to 2 hours to reach the top, and other similar things come down the same way; you need to book the permits far in advance.
The cost of the permits is $75. During this pandemic, this mountain is closed as well.
Located near Puente Ruinas (the bridge to Machu Picchu), you can walk to this place for 20 minutes from Aguas Calientes, or if you have completed Machu Picchu, you can ask the bus driver to get to the bridge. There is a fee to enter the museum (7 USD).
It is located on the road from Aguascalientes to Machu Picchu. The Butterfly Station is only 10 minutes away from the town. You will be able to learn many interesting facts about local butterflies and take pictures. There is a sole fee of 10 euros to enter this place.
In addition to Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain, there is also a steeper mountain called Putucusi Mountain. You don't need an admission ticket to hike to Putusi, but we strongly recommend going with a guide. You need at least 3 hours to complete this mountain and enjoy the magnificent view of Machu Picchu from another mountain.
This beautiful place is only a 1-hour hike from Aguas Calientes; you will be able to see birds, orchids, waterfalls, and Machu Picchu from below. To visit Mandor, you need at least 3 hours, preferably accompanied by a guide.
Located in the upper part of Machu Picchu Pueblo (also known as Aguas Calientes), you can access it by a 15-minute walk from the city; these natural hot springs are perfect for visiting if you have a day off in Aguas Calientes.