Trip Ideas - 13 min read

Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu (For Great Weather & Less Crowds)

Town and Tourist

Town and Tourist, Updated October 1, 2022

Machu Picchu is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World found in the Andes Mountains of Peru. If you have seen pictures of the astonishing views and architecture, it may be no surprise that this 15th century Incan citadel sees over half a million visitors per year.

Planning a trip to Machu Picchu can easily seem intimidating, but we will break down the best times to visit and find some travel tips along the way.

The best time to visit Machu Picchu (If you’d like to stay dry) is during the months of June, July, and August. The dryer months also provide the safest times for hiking up the mountain. But, while the weather is beautiful, the crowds are large. The rainy season provides a great opportunity for those looking to save some money.

It is no question that visiting the ruins of Machu Picchu, no matter the time of year, will take your breath away. The best time to visit depends on what you’re seeking through your experience. We will look at some pros and cons throughout the year and help you get the most out of your adventure.

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When Should You Not Visit Machu Picchu?

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The least popular time to visit Machu Picchu are the months of January, February, and March. These months are considered the prime rainy season. Outdoor activities are typically reserved for the more adventurous.

Heavy rains commonly cause landslides and the trains from Cusco will not be running. Soon, we will get more into the benefits of visiting during the rainy season.

If large crowds are not your thing, you may not want to visit June through August. The weather is dry and beautiful, attracting the highest volume of travelers. If you’re looking to get some less-populated pictures of the ruins, you may want to check out the shoulder season months like March, April, or October.

Fortunately there are benefits to both the dry and rainy seasons and the best time still depends on what you’d like to accomplish.

Cheapest Time to Travel to Machu Picchu

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The cheapest time to visit Machu Picchu is January through March
due to the rainy season. Hotel rates are certainly down from the dry and shoulder seasons. Flights into Jorge Chávez International Airport, Machu Picchu’s closest airport, drop in price significantly.

In 2022, one round trip flight from Tampa International Airport to Jorge Chávez International Airport in February would cost around $650 as opposed to almost $1000 in July. July hotel rates average around $200 per night for two adults. February rates stay closer to $100 per night.

It isn’t hard to see the major savings to be found in the wet season. If you are someone who enjoys views, rain or shine, and sees fun in some extra preparation don’t abandon the rainy season just yet. There is an abundance of festivities and indoor activities that the large July crowds may not ever experience.

What Time of Year is the Best Weather to Visit Machu Picchu?

The temperature at Machu Picchu stays fairly consistent all year round. Highs average around 58℉(14℃) and lows average around 45℉(7℃). The exception to the consistent temperatures comes between June and August. Then the average temperatures dip down a few degrees. It’s always best to pack clothes for cool and warm weather.

Since the temperature doesn’t fluctuate much, the next factor to dive into is the rain. The main rainy season is between January to March.

There is light to moderate rain during the shoulder season months of April, May, October, and November. June through August is always the dry season with pristine trails and clear views.

January: Best If You Don’t Mind Some Rain

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The average high is 58.4℉(14.7℃) and average low is 47.4℉(8.5 ℃). The kickoff of the rainy season at Machu Picchu means you may have to create an itinerary around the weather.

More rain means impeded views, muddy trails, and the probability of landslides. Landslides could delay or cancel flights from Lima to Cusco as well as trains headed for Machu Picchu.

Typically, it rains more in the afternoons during the rainy season, so the chance of uninterrupted outdoor activities is still high as long as you stick to mornings.

Aside from visiting the ruins of Machu Picchu, there are some great museums and restaurants to enjoy when the rain comes in.

If you wait until the New Years crowd leaves town, January is a great time to explore the Sacred Valley away from humongous crowds and for a great price.

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February: Best For a Daring Adventure

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The average high in February is 58.3℉(14.6℃) and the average low is 47.5℉(14.6℃). February is the worst month of the rainy season at Machu Picchu.

Landslides in the sacred valley are common this month, causing many possible plan delays or cancellations. The Inca Trail is also closed for the month of February for maintenance.

February is definitely the best month to visit if you’re looking to save money. Compared to July, hotel rooms are $100 cheaper per night, flights are significantly less, and the crowds are as thin as it gets. Perfect for those who long for unique travel experiences.

If you’re prepared for some mud, you can still see the ruins of Machu Picchu. All trails other than the Inca Trail are open. Mornings would be best for anything outdoors.

February provides a good opportunity to experience some great museums, restaurants, and festivals like:

  • Celebrate Carnaval in Cusco
  • Luchas de Toqto (ritual determining land settlements for the following year)

March: Best If You Aren’t a Hiker

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The average high in March is 58.6℉(14.8℃) and the average low is 47.3℉(8.5℃). This month is the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the rainy season.

The rainfall is still heavy in the afternoons but the length of the storms decrease as the month goes on. Like January, you can still save a lot of money on hotels, flights, and more if you don’t mind some rain.

Activities, like hiking the reopened Inca Trail may not be ideal as trails will likely be muddy the entire month. But fortunately there are many other things to see and do in nearby Cusco and the Sacred Valley.

Rafting the Peruvian rapids is certainly an option with class IV rapids close by. A huge event also takes place in March called Semana Santa or “Holy Week”, which is filled with festivities to experience.

April: Best For Flower Photo Ops

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The average high in April is 58.4℉(14.7℃) and the average low is 46.1℉(7.8℃). The rain finally starts to lighten up in April. The break in storms helps the trails dry and the Andes Mountains are erupting with new and colorful flora and fauna.

April is still considered the “shoulder season”, meaning rates for flights and hotels still haven’t hit their peak and you can save some money.

Between the blankets of new flowers and lack of tourists, April is a favorite month for photographers to capture the beauty of Machu Picchu without as many people in the background. You can also experience Inti Raymi, the second largest festival in South America.

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May: Best If You Aren’t a Morning Person

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The average high for May is 57.8℉(14.3℃) and the average low is 44.6℉(7℃). It’s best to pack for hot and cold weather as May has the highest variability for highs and lows. May could be the perfect month to visit Machu Picchu for wildlife lovers.

The dry season really takes hold in May and the water levels finally start to fall some. The reduced water levels means the probability of seeing wildlife at a water source is very high. The gorgeous flora and fauna makes for great landscape photos.

May is still considered “shoulder season” so you may be able to find some deals on hotels and flights but crowds are starting to come back into the Sacred Valley in high numbers.

You may also want to stick to visiting the ruins in the afternoon as the area is typically cloud-covered in the mornings.

June: Best Weather All Year

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The average high in June is 56.9℉(13.8℃) and the average low is 42.6℉(5.9℃). June is known for having the best weather all year!

Beautiful dry weather and wonderful temperatures also make Machu Picchu quite the popular destination. More than 2500 people per day come to soak in the miraculous views and architecture.

Since the weather is as good as it gets, you can expect to pay full price on hotels and airfare. But the price is absolutely worth the experience and I don’t think the more than 75,000 people that visit in June would lie.

Keep in mind that the busiest season for Machu Picchu is June through August, so it will be important to plan and book everything at least 6 months in advance.

July: Best For Local Festivities

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The average high is July is 56.4℉(13.6℃) and the average low is 41.3℉(5.2℃). It is still the dry season and the temperatures in July start to reach their lowest so make sure to pack some warm clothes.

July holds a lot of exciting events and you can expect festivities everywhere you look! One of the big events is on July 16, Virgen Del Carmen.

This is a religious festival celebrated in a ton of different ways and the festivities typically carry on for at least a few days. You’ll find folk music, agricultural shows, and feasts are everywhere!

Another big event in July is Fiestas Patrias. This is a general term of the celebrations that take place for Peruvian Independence Day on July 28th and the July 29th establishment of the Republic of Peru.

August: Best For Exploring the Sacred Valley

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The average high for Machu Picchu in August is 57.4℉(14.1℃) and the average low is 42℉(5.6℃). Water levels around the Sacred Valley are still low in the dry season making for a great opportunity to spot wildlife.

Crowds are still pretty heavy at the ruins of Machu Picchu but August may be the perfect time to explore parts of the countryside that are less-visited by tourists.

This is a great time of year for some jungle exploring via the Inca Trail, Lares Trek, Salkantay Trek, or Quarry Trail.

September: Best Time For Birdwatching

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The average high in September is 58.1℉(14.5℃) and the average low is 43.7℉(6.5℃). The Sacred Valley is still dry and sunny this time of year, though rain is quickly approaching.

September is still a pretty busy month for Machu Picchu but prices for hotels and airfare will start to drop. September is also mating season for many birds in the Andes Mountains.

If you enjoy going for a hike and experiencing the amazing wildlife the Sacred Valley has to offer. Northern migrates if birds begin settling in Peru at this time ensuring plenty of amazing birdwatching chances.

October: Best Time If You’re a Morning Person

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The average high at Machu Picchu in October is 59.1℉(15℃) and the average low is 47.2℉(8.4℃). October is overall one of the best times to visit the ruins of Machu Picchu.

The transition between the dry and wet seasons still provides some nice sunny days to explore the ruins. Machu Picchu is typically less cloud-covered in the afternoons this time of year.

Machu Picchu and Cusco will still be busy, but not quite like June through August. You can find some good deals on hotels and airfare that are usually higher at peak dry season.

Better yet, Cusco has an entire week in October dedicated to tourists. Semana Turistica de Cusco is a week-long event that gives visitors the opportunity to gain insight into everything the area has to offer.

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November: The Best Time For Machu Picchu Rafting

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The average high at Machu Picchu in November is 59.4℉(15.2℃) and the average low is 47.2℉(8.4℃). The dry season is coming to a close and the rain is coming in. But it doesn’t rain each and every day.

The increase in rain brings the valley’s rivers to life and provides perfect rafting opportunities. There are a handful of great rafting companies to choose from, like River Explorers or Adventure Life, that can skillfully guide you through the mountains and provide an unforgettable experience.

Dia de Todos Santos (All Saints Day) takes place on November 1st and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) takes place on November 2nd. Visiting Machu Picchu at this time can offer a unique insight into the local culture!

December: The Best Time to Celebrate the Holiday Season

The average high in December is 58.8℉(14.9℃) and the average low is 47.6℉(8.7℃). Mornings stay fairly dry with rain moving in during the afternoons. The frequent rain gives the flora and fauna a gorgeous revival.

Crowds early in December are thin. Most visitors are made up of Peruvians spending time with family and friends at Machu Picchu. Later in December, during the holiday season, everything seems to come to life again as tourists pour in.

On December 24th, you can check out the largest artisan fair in Peru! There is also a huge Christmas and New Years celebration that would create stories for generations to come.

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Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu with Family

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Machu Picchu is an amazing family destination all year round. Knowing about the dry and wet seasons and how that may affect your plans is crucial, especially when traveling with kids. The citadel of Machu Picchu is a popular favorite among children.

If you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking or rafting, be sure to study up on the specific trails and terrain to make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew with a small child.

Additional Traveling Tips for Machu Picchu

If you are coming from a place of low-elevation, we recommend spending a night or two in Aguas Calientes (6,700 ft.) before staying in Cusco (11,000 ft.) or checking out the citadel (8,000 ft) to avoid altitude sickness.

The trains from Cusco to Machu Picchu are closed January, February, and March, meaning you will have to find another route to the citadel. If you are not wanting to hike one of the Treks to Machu Picchu, there are buses available to take you.

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