South America

Best Time to Visit Peru

Laura Pattara

Laura Pattara  |  30 July 2019

The best time to visit the Amazon, Machu Picchu, Lake Titikaka and go hiking.

There’s usually a bit of confusion about the very best time to visit Peru and that’s because this small but action-packed country boasts a wide range of climatic regions. Generally speaking, the Winter months of May to September are considered ideal because rain, in this part of the world, falls during the Summer months. Winter is indeed the colder season so when heading to the high Andes you should expect cold nights but, at that kind of altitude, that’s true of any month of the year.

High tourist season falls in the heart of the Peruvian winter, in the months of June, July and August. When visiting the most popular sites during this period, you’ll want to have your Peru tour booked well in advance. Machu Picchu entry tickets, for example, can sell out up to 6 months in advance for visits between June and August. 

Comprising the startling highlights of Machu Picchu, the Amazon Rainforest and Lake Titicaca, not to mention an array of sensational trekking destinations, Peru is that one country that offers something for everyone.

Skip through the blog to find the best time to visit:
  1. Machu Picchu
  2. Amazon
  3. Lake Titicaca
  4. Trekking in Peru

 

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Best time to visit Machu Picchu

Peru’s #1 attraction is open all year round although the Inca Trail, the most famous hiking route in the country, is closed for maintenance in February.

Best time

The period between May and October is widely considered to be the best time to visit Machu Picchu. For gloriously clear blue skies, very little chance of rain and spectacular photography, this period is just right. Do note that given the altitude, cloud cover and even light rain should be expected at any time of year but usually only lasts an hour or so during dry season. The busiest tourist months are June-August, which coincide with the summer school vacations in Europe. Want the best of both worlds? Consider April and November, when holiday seasons have not yet started but rainfall is still manageable.

 

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What to see in May and October

This dry-season period is ideal if you wish to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the at-times steep and rocky path being immensely easier to deal with when rain is not substantial. All the extensive trails leading to Machu Picchu will be open for business at this time so whether you choose the well-trodden path or a lesser-visited option, you can expect to visit remote Inca sites and soak up the splendours of the Peruvian Andes.

 

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Worst time to Visit Machu Picchu

Rain in the Central Andes can sometimes cause transport delays and even landslides (in the worst-case scenario) which can halt travel to and from the historic site for a few days whilst things are cleared up. Given that most visitors are on somewhat of a tight schedule, therefore, it makes sense to skip a visit during the wettest period, between January and March although do note that disruptions don’t occur every single year. If they do, they’re likely to happen in February.

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What to see between January and March 

Off-season Machu Picchu tours can actually be very rewarding. This is Peru’s most popular attraction so visiting at a time of year when crowds are at a minimum can be quite idyllic. This is especially true if you plan on taking the train. Not only will you find Machu Picchu a lot quieter but also Cusco, the Sacred Valley and all the wonderful stops usually included on a Machu Picchu tour itinerary. Cheaper prices, greater availability of accommodation and excursions, warmer temperatures and a much more relaxed vibe all-round can make for very rewarding travels, a bit of rain notwithstanding.

 

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Best time to Visit the Amazon

The fertile Amazon Rainforest is soaked by rainfall all year long. However, some months do bring a drastic increase in rainfall, which floods riverbanks and forests and make for exceptional cruising. Humidity levels and temperatures stay constant all year-long so choosing the right time to visit the Amazon will depend on whether you wish to cruise the Amazon River or enjoy a lodge-based stay instead.

Best time

The period between June and October is ideal for lodge-based Amazon tours in Peru, these ‘drier’ months allowing for extensive jungle walks in search of wildlife. You’ll still take plenty of canoe trips on tributaries of the Amazon River (and there will still be plenty of water!) but the lack of torrential downpours means you can be out in the wilderness for many more hours during the day and walking trails will be drier and easier to negotiate.

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What to see between June and October

Daily guided walks on Amazon lodge-based tours are the prime highlight for all those who visit. Not only is this the best way to spot the elusive wildlife hiding behind thick foliage but you also learn all about the unique flora found in this part of the world. The dry(er) season offers greater chances of spotting terrestrial Amazon wildlife, as water is scarcer so animals tend to congregate near riverbanks.

 

Amazon Jungle
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Worst time to visit the Amazon

Heavy rains can certainly dampen things between November and April and your movements will be greatly restricted if you choose a lodge-based Amazon tour at this time. Trails will be waterlogged and muddy and the sheer concentration of insects make jungle walks less than idyllic. But wait, there’s a beautiful silver lining to all this…

 

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What to see between November and April

Big rains and flooded rivers mean wet season is the perfect time to explore the Amazon by small ship cruise. Amazon cruising is an astonishing way to explore the resplendent rainforest, with smaller vessels reaching more remote regions you wouldn’t otherwise ever get to visit. Cruising here is also a wonderfully luxurious experience, with gorgeous vessels equipped with air-conditioning cabins and offering stunning gourmet dining to boot.

 

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Best time to visit Lake Titicaca

The highest navigable lake on earth is one of Peru’s most delightful highlights as well as one of the country’s most significant spiritual sites.

Best time

Being in the Central Andes of Peru, Lake Titicaca tours can coincide with visits to Machu Picchu although the climate is slightly different, so the lake generally sees a lot less rain than the ancient Inca City does. The dry season here starts around mid-February and lasts all the way to November, so you can easily consider this an (almost) year-round destination.

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What to see between Feb and November

Lake Titicaca tours usually involve a mix of road and boat travel, with a smattering of Inca sites lining the shores and indigenous communities living on islands right in the heart of the lake. When you travel during the dry season, you’ll be able to soak up the splendours on all sides. From the famous floating reed islands of the Uros people to authentic home-stays with the local indigenous community on Amantani Island and glorious hikes around Taquile, arguably the most picturesque island on Lake Titicaca, one home to a whole community of men who knit for a living (yes, you read that right).

 

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Worst time to visit Lake Titikaka

December and January are the rainiest months here to which can bring about unsettling boating conditions. Your boat excursions to both Taquile and Amantani (3 hours each way) may have to be organised on the spot when you arrive, so you can better ascertain the weather in the coming days.

 

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What to see between December and January

Ironically enough, the rainiest months on Lake Titicaca are also the ones with the highest concentration of colourful festivals, culminating in the Candelaria Festival which starts in late January and lasts for two whole weeks. Puno, the base town for Lake Titicaca tours in Peru, comes to life during this time, with daily festivities involving music, dancing and religious ceremonies turning this usually sleepy town into fiesta-central. Do note that the floating Uros islands are only a 20-minute boat ride from Puno so if you get lucky and score a lovely rain-free morning (or afternoon) you can still easily include a visit here.

 

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Best time to go trekking in Peru

If you’re planning your first visit to South America, you’ll be forgiven for thinking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the be-all and end-all of Peru trekking. Not so! This highly mountainous country boasts some of the most picturesque Andean topography of all and, given its excellent tourist infrastructure, it means you can head here and literally hike for months on end.

Best time

There’s no denying that high-altitude hiking is best done during the driest months of the year and, in Peru’s case, that’s between May and August, with June and July being absolutely perfect – these are the months with the best weather of all.

 

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What to see between May and August

Aside from at least six alternative Machu Picchu treks, you’ll find at least a dozen multi-day treks around the country you can enjoy at this time. You can tackle the deepest canyon in the world in four days (Cotahuasi Canyon Trek), tackle the 5-day circle trek around Ausangate (the most sacred peak in the country), trek to turquoise glacial lakes from Huaraz in the Cordillera Blanca and take less-trodden trails from Chachapoyas, the ‘Cusco of the North’.

 

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Worst time to go trekking in Peru

January to March is typically considered the worst trekking period of all, with heavy rain mucking up trails and making hiking life more than a little challenging.

 

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What to see between January and March

It probably won’t surprise you to know that avid hikers organise Peru trekking tours at precisely this time of year, all so they can get ‘entire mountain ranges’ all to themselves. With proper wet-weather gear and a bit of patience, rainy treks can actually be quite spectacular in Peru. The Andes are verdant and lush (not to mention warmer) during the first three months of the year, all of which makes the scenery all the more outstanding. Also, do keep in mind that whilst the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu may be closed in February, all the other alternative trails will still be open. Our tip? Ask us about luxury lodge-stays on your Peru trekking tour and you’ll have plenty of delicious comforts awaiting you at the end of every hiking day.

 

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It’s easy to see why Peru is considered a year-round destination – aside from the high-altitude Andes and amazing Machu Picchu, the country offers Amazon tours and city-escapes to history-infused cities which can be enjoyed at any time of year.

Want to know more? See our full collection of Peru Tours and contact us to know more about planning your own unforgettable visit to Peru.

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