When is the best time of the year to visit Machu Picchu?
What is the best time to visit Machu Picchu? That is a question that many people ask before booking a trip. There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on several factors, including what you hope to see and experience there. However, we can narrow it down to a few reasons why it is best to travel in a specific season.
The summer months of June, July, and August are typically the busiest time at Machu Picchu, as they offer the best weather for hiking and exploring. However, this time also means crowds can be large, and hotels may be more expensive. If you are looking for a more relaxed trip, consider visiting during the shoulder season of April-May or September-October- November. The weather is still lovely during these months, but fewer people will be around. December through March tends to be the rainy season in Peru, so if you plan to visit Machu Picchu during this time, be prepared for possible showers. However, the upside is that prices will be lower, and you'll have the site almost to yourself!
Machu Picchu is open all year round, whether in the wet or dry season; thousands of visitors from all over the globe visit this spectacular site every day. There are only two seasons in the Andes: 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. Sometimes get rain even in the driest months of June and July. Each season has benefits and disadvantages; you must choose the best time to visit Machu Picchu according to your preferences.
Machu Picchu during the rainy season
Machu Picchu during the rainy season (December to March) is a different experience than visiting during the dry season. The weather is cooler, and the landscape is lush and green. The best time to visit Machu Picchu during the rainy season is from late September to early November. This is when the rains are not as heavy, and you can still enjoy all Machu Picchu has to offer without getting wet.
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. Finding great deals with flights and hotels in the low season is possible.
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, sunny, or rainy. Also, places like Machu Picchu still get fewer visitors than during peak season. This group has April, May, September, October, and November.
If you want to experience Machu Picchu without the crowds, the shoulder season is the perfect time to visit. The weather is still warm and sunny from April to May and September to November, but there are fewer tourists. This means you can enjoy all Machu Picchu offers without battling the crowds.
The Classic Inca Trail, one of the most popular ways to get to Machu Picchu, is open during the shoulder season. However, because it is high season for trekking in Peru, you should book your spot well in advance. Many other trails lead to Machu Picchu, so if you don't get a spot on the Inca Trail, don't worry! You'll still be able to enjoy this fantastic place.
Machu Picchu during the dry season
Machu Picchu during the dry season is an experience not to be missed. The dry season runs from May to September, and the weather is hot and dry during this time. However, the heat is not as intense as in other parts of Peru, and there is little rainfall. This makes Machu Picchu during the dry season an ideal time to visit. The site is breathtaking, and there are plenty of activities to keep visitors busy.
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 are in this group.
Machu Picchu Frequently Asked Questions
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 find good 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 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 to get the best schedule and places. There are long lines to take the bus and enter Machu Picchu during these months.
What is the best time of the day to visit Machu Picchu?
The best time of the day to visit Machu Picchu will be early in the morning or late afternoon.
Machu Picchu early in the morning
The entrance to Machu Picchu is open at 6 am. You must take the first buses from Aguas Calientes town to enter, which departs at 5.30 am. To take the first buses, you must wait at least 1 or 2 hours before boarding the 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 in this schedule stay overnight in Aguas Calientes, hikers from the Short Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, 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; several trains from Cusco and Ollantaytambo will take travelers to 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 usually travel by train on the same day, and they will go back on the same day to Cusco.
Machu Picchu late in the afternoon
Many visitors will enter Machu 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 with late trains to come to Cusco or stay overnight in Machu Picchu Pueblo (Also known as Aguas Calientes).
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 Picchun 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 located in the Cloud Forest region.
Machu Picchu In January
January is the rainiest month of the year; you must always have good rain gear when visiting Machu Picchu. If you are traveling this month, you must 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 want to visit Machu Picchu in solitude and get good deals on hotels, flights, and tours.
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 has 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 improves with more sunny days and fewer hours of rain daily. 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, including the Inca Trail Tours, will be open after February.
We recommend avoiding tours like Salkantay Trek 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 Classic Inca Trail to 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 Peru's dry and winter seasons. Due to Machu Picchu's location, the temperature will not have many variations. However, the mountain temperature will drop below freezing, 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 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 everywhere 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 to Machu Pichu.
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
When visiting Machu Picchu, you can explore several sites, markets, and waterfalls and take extra hikes; below is the list of all places that you can visit in Machu Picchu district
Places to see inside Machu Picchu archaeological site.
Citadel of Machu Picchu
Machu Pichu Inca citadel refers to the main archeological sites in the regular tour. The ticket will allow you to visit this place for around 2 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.
To explore Machu Picchu citadel, you must book Circuit 2 of Machu Picchu.
Sun Gate or Intipunku
Located 5 kilometers from Machu Picchu, the Sungate is situated on a mountaintop, 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 from Machu Picchu. You will be able to access only from the Inca Trail tours.
The Inca Bridge is opposite the Sungate, just 30 minutes from the upper part of Machu Picchu; this great drawbridge protected the Machu Picchu Citadel.
To be able to visit this place, you need to book the Circuit 1 or 2 + Inca Bridge ticket.
Huayna Picchu Mountain
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. You need to book Circuit 4 + Huayna Picchu to hike this mountain.
Montaña or Machu Picchu Mountain
Located on the opposite side of Huayna Picchu, Machu Picchu Mountain, or Montaña, is the highest mountain area. It takes 1.5 to 2 hours to reach the top, and other similar things come down the same way; you need to book the permits in advance.
The cost of the permits is $75. To Hike this mountain, you need to book the Montaña Machu Picchu + Circuit 3 ticket.
Huchuy Picchu Mountain
Huchuy Picchu is one of the smallest mountains, and it takes only 15 to 20 minutes to reach the top of the mountain. To be able to hike this mountain, you need to book the Circuit 4 + Huchuy Picchu ticket.
Places to visit near Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo)
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 Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. The Butterfly Station is only 10 minutes away from the town. You will learn many interesting facts about local butterflies and take pictures. There is a fee of 10 soles 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 tour 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 can see birds, orchids, waterfalls, and Machu Picchu from below. It would be best if you visited Mandor, 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.
Best time to hike the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
The best time to hike the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is during the dry season. This is because the weather is drier and there is less chance of rain. The trail can be pretty challenging, so it is essential to make sure that you are prepared for the hike. Many tour companies offer group tours, making the experience much more enjoyable and meeting new friends.
Inca Trail during the Dry Season
The dry season starts in May and until the end of September; during this time are expected to be fewer rainy days. However, the Inca Trail is located in the cloud forest, and down can take place at any time. We recommend always traveling prepared for all types of weather.
During the dry season, the temperatures can be very hot during the day, you need to protect yourself from the sun, and at night the temperature can drop below 0°celcius.
Inca Trail during the Rainy season
The wet season in the Inca starts as early as November until March; some years, rains might begin as late as December. During this time is expected to have more rainy days, and travelers must have good hiking equipment.
The rainy season is also slow in Peru, where fewer visitors can be seen in places like Machu Picchu. Temperatures are cooler during the day and night; the variation is not as extreme as in the dry season.
Inca Trail during the shoulder seasons
The shoulder season is the transition months between the dry and rainy seasons. These months are the best time of the year to hike the Inca Trail; these dates include the months of April and October, and in some years, this can be extended up to May and November.
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Thanks, very useful information.