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January is the best time to explore Peru’s Pacific coastline at the height of summer. However, while coastal towns allow for ample beach activities, the Andean highlands are different. Expect frequent rainfalls in the region throughout the month if you are heading there. However, this is also the last month to hike the Inca Trail before the hiking route closes in February when the monsoon peaks.
Take this opportunity to explore the Sacred Valley — usually packed to the brim during high seasons. Frequent downpours in the Amazon this month cause a swell in the water level, allowing visitors to embark on a boat tour to previously inaccessible parts of this jungle.
Peru has three distinct climate zones with diverse weather conditions, which means you will experience different weather depending on the region you visit. For instance, Lima has an average daily high of around 25°C and lows of 20°C. The sky in the city is mostly clear, with plenty of sunshine and very little rainfall, whereas the Amazon gets frequent afternoon showers. The Andes follow a similar weather pattern, with average daytime temperatures of 18°C and 18 days of rain during the month.
Browse through our travel guide on the best time to visit Peru for a seasonal overview.
Peru’s weather swings between monsoon and summer during this time. However, despite the risk of rain in certain parts of the country, there are numerous reasons to visit Peru in January. We have listed a few of them below.
- Coastal getaways: The coastal towns surrounding Lima provide ample exploration opportunities. Pop into a local bar or go shopping in the flea market. If you are heading out to the beach, take the opportunity to bask in the Peruvian sun and sample fresh catch at El Silencio beach. Further south, in the Asia district, you will find buzzing nightlife along with lots of nightclubs and hotels.
- Low-season rates: January is a low tourist season in the Andean highlands. This is a great time to book flights and accommodation at a bargain price. However, we suggest booking in advance to secure the best rates.
- Quieter trails: Trails in the Andes see less footfall in January. This means that you will encounter hardly any traveler while hiking from Cusco to Sacsayhuaman. This is also a great time to explore the archaeological sites of the Sacred Valley and take picture-postcard images without tourists obscuring the view.
- Outdoor activities: Try your hand at windsurfing in Máncora or take a tour of the catacombs beneath the Monastery of San Francisco in Lima’s historical center. If rain does not bother you, go on a hiking trip through the Inca Trails before it closes.
- Festivities: In Trujillo, located in northwestern Peru, Festival de Marinera is celebrated throughout the month of January, and dance competitions and parades are held across the city. Likewise, on January 18, Lima commemorates the day it was founded — in 1535. The highlights of the celebration include performances throughout the day and fireworks at midnight.
Do not let rains deter your travel plans while heading for Peru in January. In fact, you will not run out of things to do during your stay in Peru at this time of year. While some regions are ideal for beach getaways, others invite explorers to venture out into the wild.
The classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu stays open during this month. However, rain is still frequent, and low visibility may obscure the views. In the Peruvian north, on the other hand, you can enjoy a variety of summer activities. The sky is mostly clear in Lima. Discover the city on foot if you wish to. For a more adventurous holiday, travel to the northeast of Lima, to Iquitos. Here, you can ride a boat along the Itaya River to spot rare pink river dolphins.
If you are planning excursions in the Amazon, carry insect repellents and waterproof clothing. Double-check if your hotel has good quality nets, as mosquitoes are no joke in this part of the world. If your itinerary includes a trip to the Andes, carry sturdy waterproof gear and shoes that are suitable for wet conditions.
You can see two faces of Peru in January, both bustling and tranquil. The sheer variety of activities and soaring summer temperatures along its coastline are some of the reasons to visit this country during this month. Likewise, the Andes and the Amazon also promise memorable excursions amid frequent rains.
For more information on how to make the most of your trip in Peru, check out our travel guide on how many days to spend in Peru. Or, if you need help planning your customized trip to Peru in January, do not hesitate to reach out to our local travel experts in Peru for a personalized itinerary!
For instant inspiration, you can browse through our Peru tours in January.