Prepare to get the best out of your trip to Machu Picchu, any month of the year.
Generally, the best time to visit Machu Picchu is during the dry season (April to November). However, these months also tend to be the most crowded, especially June and July. During rainy season, prices on accommodation and services will be much cheaper with less crowds all around.
While it’s relatively true to say there’s no bad time to visit, we’re very well aware not every season works for everyone, nor are the weather preferences and trek options the same. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about the best time to visit Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is located at approximately 7,900 feet (2,430 meters) above sea level. While it’s true that the citadel belongs to a region with tropical climate, in its surroundings and on the way to Machu Picchu, you’ll find various ecosystems such as glaciers and snowy mountains. Due to this combination, the weather in Machu Picchu is unique. You should know that Machu Picchu has two seasons: dry season and rainy season. Both have their pros and cons, it depends on you to see which is best for your plans.
From late April to early November, you will find low presence of rain in the Cusco region. The weather is at its best and allows tourists to visit the ruins and take the tours and treks to Machu Picchu without complications. Sunny days are common and temperatures can reach up to 77°F (25°C); however, the nights can get chilly with the temperature dropping close to 32°F (0°C).
The rainy season takes place between late November to early April. The weather during this season is a bit cooler, with an average temperature of 47º – 72ºF (7-22ºC). Rain is common; however, they usually appear during the early morning and late afternoon, giving way to a warm day. Due to the rains, the citadel surroundings tend to take on a greener hue, with a more mysterious touch due to the cloudiness of the area.
It’s important to note that the Inca Trail route is closed every year on February due to maintenance and no permits are given.
The high season is characterized by a nice climate, people have less issues doing treks and take better pictures of the landscapes. Entrance tickets demand during these dates can increase, especially during the months between June to August. Additionally, Cusco’s most popular festival, Inti Raymi, takes place during this season, in June. Expect a high influx of tourists, long queues and keep in mind that if you plan to visit Machu Picchu during these months, you should book tours or treks at least 3 months in advance.
The low season takes place when there is a higher presence of rain in the region, from December to April. It is the best season to visit Machu Picchu considering the number of tourists visiting the citadel, as it decreases due to the weather. You can find more discounts on hotels and services during this season, so it’s a good time to take advantage of them.
Machu Picchu opens its gates at 6:00 am. This time is recommended for people who wish to appreciate the sunrise at Machu Picchu (depending on the weather conditions). You will find more enthusiastic tourists, as they wake up earlier to catch the first lights over Machu Picchu. The early morning visitors have to stay the night before in Aguas Calientes or are trekkers of Inca Trail and Salkantay Trek.
Around 9:00 – 10:00 am the amount of visitors starts to increase, as people doing full day tours from Cusco arrive. The good news is that by this time the clouds are gone! If it was a rainy day, this is the best time to catch a clear view of Machu Picchu.
The afternoon is the best way to visit Machu Picchu if you want to do it in solitude. Most of the visitors enter Machu Picchu during the morning, so from 2:00 pm– which is the last entry time – expect to see the citadel less crowded. It is recommended for people who have the train back to Ollantaytambo later or for those who are staying the night in Aguas Calientes.
Machu Picchu is open every day of the year, even on holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s, so no need to worry about the dates. The best time to visit Machu Picchu will depend on your preferences, as you could read, the dry and high season is better in terms of weather, allowing you to do treks without too much risk, but the rainy and low season is better because it’s less crowded, with less long lines and much more tourist services discounts. Any time is a good time to visit this magical place, no matter if you want to take a little bit of risk or not, your visit to Machu Picchu will be an unforgettable experience!
Now is your turn to start planning your once-lifetime trip to Machu Picchu. If you have any questions regarding planning your trip, contact us so our experience team can provide you with the best tips and information to visit Machu Picchu. Do you know how to get to Machu Picchu from Lima? Click here to discover how!