Peru in May: Start of Autumn Season

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The rainy season comes to an end in Peru in May. It is when the countryside is green and monuments, cleansed of their dirt and grime, look better. Since the crowds are slim in highlights across the country, you have most of the landmarks for yourself during this time of year. Be it visiting Machu Picchu, exploring Lima, or hiking through the Inca Trails, there is no shortage of activities that can be carried out this month.

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Peru Weather in May

Evening view of Miraflores District, Lima Peru
Spectacular view of the sky and atmosphere at Lima Miraflores

Given Peru’s three distinct climate zones, you should expect weather conditions to change depending on the region you are visiting. However, May is a warm month in most parts of the country.

The capital city of Lima, situated in a coastal desert strip, sees average highs of 22° C and lows of 16° C. Meanwhile, if you are traveling to the Amazon, expect warm and humid weather conditions with high chances of rainfall. Temperatures in the rainforest can range anywhere between 31°C to 22°C. Further down south, the Andes has a cooler climate.

However, while traveling to Machu Picchu, wandering around Huaraz, or boating in Lake Titicaca, one must take note of varying temperatures in the Peruvian Andes. The mercury in these regions during May can soar as high as 30°C during the day and plummet to 6°C at night.

To see how this month compares with the rest of the year, check out our travel guide on the best time to visit Peru.

Weather in Peru in May - Rainfall and Temperatures

Apr May Jun
Avg Daily (°C) 25 22 21
Avg Nightly (°C) 18 17 16
Avg Daily (°F) 77 72 70
Avg Nightly (°F) 65 63 61
Avg Rainfall (mm) 0 6 6

Why Visit Peru in May

Llamas on Machu Picchu Terraces
Llamas basking in the sun on the Machu Picchu terraces

We highly recommend visiting Peru in May for various reasons, such as:

  • Pleasant weather: May marks the start of the dry season in the country, which means that temperatures are favorable for traveling. You can expect bright, warm weather with minimal rainfall along the western coast in particular. Therefore, beach towns like Mancora and Paracas are beautiful at this time of year. The ocean may still be a little chilly for swimming, but you can enjoy lovely beach walks and a thriving nightlife in these areas.
  • Fewer crowds: Tourist numbers in Peru take off in July and the country is crowded until September. This makes May an ideal month for those who want to avoid crowds. With attractions and tourist spots seeing less foot traffic, your chances of getting picture-perfect photos are high.
  • Better rates: Given that the peak season is yet to start in the South American country, you can book hotels and flights at a better rate if you are planning to visit Peru in May.
  • Beautiful landscapes: There is no shortage of lush vegetation in Peru in May. With so much greenery after heavy rains, the country looks stunning in this early autumn month.

Where to go and what to do

The ruins of Maukallacta on the mountain over Puica
The pre-Inca ruins of Maukallacta on the mountain over Puica
Unidentified women in traditional dresses welcome tourists in Uros Island.
Lake Titicaca, a popular tourist destination in Peru

You can find an abundance of activities in Peru in May. Get under the skin of Lima as you learn more about its history and heritage. Walking around the historic center is an excellent way to get acquainted with the country's past. As May is a relatively quiet month, you can tick off the city’s highlights without having to deal with crowds. The trails around Machu Picchu are long and strenuous. It takes about four days to hike the Inca Trail. Therefore, you need the weather on your side to tackle them. Luckily, the weather in May is stable, and rain is far less common than in the previous months.

The high Andes to the northwest of Arequipa is famous for the impressive Cotahuasi Canyon. This natural attraction is one of the deepest canyons in the world. May is an excellent time to explore this incredible sight. The other highlight you might want to add to your itinerary is Paracas National Reserve. Clear skies and lots of sunshine mean that you can explore this national park located near Pisco on the south coast without having to worry about rain. Although it may be too cold to swim in the sea at this time of year, the weather is ideal for walking through its dunes and along its cliffs.

A Peru trip is incomplete without a visit to Lake Titicaca. The lake looks gorgeous in May with a bright sky, lush greenery, and abundant wildlife everywhere. Make sure to include this destination in your itinerary if you are heading for Peru during this time of year.

What to bring

A quaint, rustic old street in the historic center of Cusco
A steep, cobbled street in an area with rustic tourist hostels and residential homes in Cusco

Although rain is not common in May, you might as well carry a raincoat and a waterproof jacket, just in case a scattered shower muddles your travel plans. High-quality hiking boots are a must whether you are attempting the 26-mile Inca Trail or a shorter trek. You can manage with light trousers and t-shirts during the daytime. However, nights can be pretty cold, especially in the Andes. Make sure that you carry some warm clothes along with you.

With a pleasant temperature and fewer crowds, May is an excellent month to travel around this beautiful South American country.

Wondering how long it takes to cover it all? Check out our travel guide on how many days to spend in Peru for more ideas and insights. If you need help with planning a customized trip to Peru in May, you can always reach out to our local travel experts in Peru, who can devise a tailor-made itinerary for you.

For a quick overview, browse through available tours to Peru in May.

Related month
Peru in April
Peru in June

Published by Will Cooper, updated on September 1, 2022

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