Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu: The ancient Inca city of Peru

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Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu

Positioned high in the Peruvian Andes, the captivating Inca citadel of Machu Picchu attracts travelers from every part of the world throughout the year. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, it presents an extraordinary fusion of historical fascination, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant cultural depth.

The peak visiting period falls within the dry season from April to October, particularly during June to August. However, the wet season, running from November to March, has its own unique allure, featuring fewer tourists and vibrant green landscapes. In this guide, we’ll discuss the optimal times for visiting Machu Picchu, considering aspects such as climate, crowd density, local festivities, and trekking trail alternatives to ensure your trip is truly memorable.

Impressive given its remote mountainous location, around 1.5 million people visit Machu Picchu each year, an average of 2,500 per day.

Weather Considerations

The weather in the Machu Picchu region can be quite variable, with two main seasons: the dry season (May to October) and the wet season (November to April).

Dry Season (May to October)

This period is considered the best time to visit Machu Picchu, as it offers sunny days and clear skies, perfect for hiking and taking stunning photos. During these months, the weather is generally clear and sunny, with very little rain. The average temperature during the day is around 20°C (68°F) and drops to around 10°C (50°F) at night. However, nights can be quite chilly, so it’s essential to pack warm clothing. Also, due to its altitude, it’s crucial to acclimatize to the high altitude in Cusco or the Sacred Valley before visiting Machu Picchu to avoid altitude sickness.

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Wet Season (November to April)

During the wet season, heavy rainfall and cloud cover are more common. While this can make the landscape more lush and vibrant, it also increases the risk of landslides and trail closures. Nevertheless, if you don’t mind the occasional downpour, visiting Machu Picchu during the wet season can be a rewarding experience with fewer crowds. It’s advisable to carry waterproof gear, such as a rain jacket and waterproof shoes, to ensure a comfortable visit during the wet season.

The average temperature during the day is around 17°C (63°F) and drops to around 8°C (46°F) at night.

Crowd and Visitor Considerations

Machu Picchu can get quite crowded during peak travel times, which typically coincide with the dry season.

Peak Season (June to August)

This is the busiest time of the year as it coincides with the summer holidays in many countries. To avoid the biggest crowds, it’s best to plan your visit outside these months. If you must travel during the high season, consider booking a guided tour that starts early in the morning to beat the crowds.

Off-peak Season (April, May, September, and October)

Visiting Machu Picchu in the off-peak season can be an excellent compromise, as you’ll still enjoy generally good weather and fewer visitors than in the high season.

Table of specific months to consider

The table below provides an overview of specific months to consider when planning your visit to Machu Picchu. It highlights the advantages and disadvantages of each month, taking into account factors such as weather conditions, crowds and local events.

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MonthProsCons
JanuaryLess crowded, lush green landscapesRainy season, higher chance of trail closures
FebruaryFewer tourists, vibrant sceneryWettest month, Inca Trail closed for maintenance
MarchQuieter, green surroundingsRainy season continues
AprilBeginning of dry season, fewer crowdsOccasional rain showers
MayDry season, good weather for hikingIncreasing number of visitors
JuneGreat weather, Inti Raymi festivalPeak tourist season, crowded trails
JulyOptimal weather conditions, Inca Trail MarathonHigh tourist season, busy trails
AugustExcellent weather, popular travel monthCrowded, peak tourist season
SeptemberDry season continues, fewer crowdsChance of occasional rain showers
OctoberShoulder season, good weatherTransitioning to wet season
NovemberLess crowded, start of wet seasonIncreasing rainfall, cloudier skies
DecemberQuieter, lush landscapesWet season, higher chance of trail closures

Local Events and Festivals

There are several local events and festivals throughout the year that can enhance your visit to Machu Picchu.

Inti Raymi (June 24th)

The ancient Inca Sun Festival is celebrated in Cusco with colourful parades and ceremonies. If you’re planning to visit Machu Picchu around this time, be sure to book your accommodation and tickets well in advance, as the area gets busy during the festivities.

The Inca Trail Marathon (July)

This challenging marathon takes place along the famous Inca Trail, culminating at Machu Picchu. If you’re an adventure-seeker, this event might be the perfect time for you to visit.

Conclusions

The best time to visit Machu Picchu ultimately depends on your preferences and priorities. If you’re looking for clear skies and optimal hiking conditions, the dry season is your best bet. However, if you’re willing to brave some rain for the chance to explore the site with fewer crowds, the wet season might be more suitable. Regardless of when you choose to visit, Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won’t soon forget.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Machu Picchu

What is the altitude of Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is located at 7,972 feet above sea level.

Do I need a permit to visit Machu Picchu?

Yes, you need a permit to visit Machu Picchu. It’s best to book your tickets in advance, as the number of visitors is limited each day.

How long should I spend at Machu Picchu?

Most visitors spend about 4-5 hours at Machu Picchu, but it’s possible to spend a full day or more exploring the site and the surrounding area.

Can I hike to Machu Picchu without a guide?

No, hiking to Machu Picchu without a guide is not permitted. It’s best to join a group tour or hire a reputable guide for safety and guidance.

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Founder and writer of TruToptravel.com. A passionate traveler with a dream to help people discover the beauty of our planet and inspire them to embark on adventures. Knowing the challenges that first time travelers face, I decided to create this travel website to help you plan your trip.

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