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Is there any city on earth more mysterious than Machu Picchu? Despite being one of the ‘New’ Seven Wonders of the World, the Peruvian citadel ruins date back to 1450 and were hidden away for nearly four centuries. You don’t need to be an archaeologist to appreciate a visit to this “lost” city of the Inca civilisation. Hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to the UNESCO World Heritage Site each year to explore the beautifully restored temples of Machu Picchu’s upper urban sector and the agricultural warehouses of its lower sector - not to mention the incredible Andes views. Reachable by train or, if you’re feeling adventurous, a trek via the Inca Trail, the spectacular views are a must-see during your visit to Peru.
The most popular months to visit Machu Picchu are July and August when the weather is warm and the rain is little (though it’s important to know there will always be some dampness due to the area’s climate). Visiting between May and August gives you the best chance of staying dry and capturing gorgeous photos of the Inca citadel. While Machu Picchu is open year-round, the wet season means there are few hikers between January and March, and the Inca Trail closes for maintenance for the month of February. There are other ways to reach the peak, of course, but Machu Picchu will be far less crowded during these months. Have a particular month in mind? Here are the need-to-know facts.
- January - February: Wet month with rain nearly every day due to high rain and the Inca Trail being closed. Trekking not advised.
- March - April: End of wet season but still advisable to avoid trekking; crowds remain small; some of the coolest temperatures of the year. As rain begins to dry up and humidity decreases; ideal for a quiet but potentially damp visit to Machu Picchu; some trekking begins.
- May: Official start of the trekking season; crowds start accumulating, but generally quieter than the coming months; dry month.
- June: Start of high tourist season; generally good weather with warm temperatures during the day and an average of two rainy days all month; the Inca Trail is busy.
- July: Middle of peak tourist season and peak trekking season; Machu Picchu citadel can be very busy by early morning; good weather with warm days and cool nights; driest month of the year.
- August: Great weather and can generally be warmer than either June or July, with low rain and low wind; ruins and trails very busy.
- September - October: Crowds begin to decrease as shoulder season starts; early rains are possible but drier than wet season. High rains do not begin until later in October, which is one of the hottest months of the year.
- November - December: Start of wet season, warm temperatures. Trails and citadel are less crowded, particularly as the months goes on.
We’ve got you covered. Here are our season overviews so you can quickly pinpoint the best time to visit Machu Picchu.
Video credit: Palm TreeMedia
June to August - High Season
Machu Picchu is busiest during its driest months, especially in July and August. These months are ideal for snapping gorgeous shots of the citadel’s peaks against clear blue skies, but be prepared to deal with crowds.
- Average temperature: 20º C / 68º F high, 2º C / 35.6º F low
- Rainfall: 8 - 18 mm (driest in July)
- Season: Dry season, trekking season
- Highlights: Best time to visit Machu Picchu for little rain and meeting fellow tourists and trekkers
December to March – Low Season
Wet season hits Machu Picchu, turning away crowds of tourists and trekkers. If you don’t like to be wet, these months aren’t for you - but keep in mind that heavy rain brings out all of Peru’s gorgeous flora and fauna!
- Average temperature: 19º C / 66.2º F high, 7º C / 44.6º F low
- Rainfall: 109 - 154 mm (wettest in January)
- Season: (Very) wet season
- Highlights: Best time to visit Machu Picchu for warmer evenings, small crowds and gorgeous (but damp) scenery
September to November / April and May – Shoulder Season
Looking to avoid both crowds and the rain? Visiting in these months allow for small to medium-sized crowds and occasional dry weather.
- Average temperature: Ranges greatly with biggest extremes in May at high of 24º C / 75.2º F and low of 3º C / 37.4º F
- Rainfall: 9 - 77 mm (driest in May, wettest in November)
- Season: Right in the middle of dry/high season and wet/low season
- Highlights: Best time to visit Machu Picchu for seeing everything you want to see and taking selfies without any photobombs (except maybe the odd llama)
No matter when you decide to visit Machu Picchu, the stunning panoramic view of the Andes Mountains and ancient dry-stone architecture is sure to be a once in a lifetime experience. For the ones who want to take ‘off-the-road’ treks, you can visit this enchanting citadel via the Salkantey trek, or the Lares trek as well.