When is the best time to visit Peru?
The best time to visit Peru is between May to October for the dry season. Although this time of year looks different for each geographical area of Peru, it is generally categorised by sunny, dry and clear weather, perfect for trekking, exploring or sightseeing. If you’re looking for an action-packed expedition through the higher regions, this time is devoid of the muddy paths and rain that are prevalent in the wet season. But you’ll still find the lower regions full of wildlife, festivals and fun.
Best time to visit Machu Picchu
The best time to see Machu Picchu is from April to September during the dry season when it’s not quite as slippery on the trails. While the period of June to August is the busiest tourist time, going before or after means slightly cooler temperatures but fewer people to share the trails with.
Located in the Andes Mountains, northwest of the city of Cuzco, Machu Picchu was likely built sometime around the mid-15th-16th century by the Incas. This ancient mountain fortress contains a palace, temples and other significant city buildings for the Inca population who resided in this archaeological phenomenon.
Best time to visit Lima
The best time to visit Lima, the capital city of Peru, is between December to March when the coastal climate is at its best. Temperatures sit around 30 degrees Celsius and the city is alive with bars, notable restaurants, concerts and cultural events. Things to do in Lima include strolling through the Museum of Art (MALI), meandering through the Bosque El Olivar (Olive Tree Forest) and sightseeing along the Pacific coastal pathway known as the malecón.
However, don’t let the weather and seasonal fog that rolls in from June to August keep you away. There are plenty of festivals and fun-filled adventures to be had during the other times of the year, including the Lima Pride Week (around June to July) and the Mistura Food Fair in September.
Best time to visit Cuzco
Visit Cuzco between June to August for the best weather in the mountainous climate region and delight in the wonders of the ancient world. Cuzco’s elevation sits at around 3,399 metres above sea level so it’s best to visit during the dry season to avoid the heavy rainfall and snow that accompanies the wetter months.
Cuzco, or Cusco, is the oldest continually inhabited city on the South American continent. It is home to archaeological marvels such as Inca temples and their wonders found at the Museo Machu Picchu alongside the stunning La Catedral and the start of the Inca Trail.
Best time to visit Peru – a monthly guide
Best for: visiting beaches, surfing, sea lions, Año Nuevo, Anniversary of Lima
Keen on some sun, sand and surf? January is the best time for visiting Peru’s scenic coastal spots and the many unique sights around the rest of the country. Book a trip to Islas Ballestas to see the birth of the new generation of sea lion pups or head slightly inland for a glimpse of the archaeological site the Nazca Lines.
Best for: Pisco Sour Day, Carnaval, beaches, surfing
The first Saturday of February is National Pisco Sour Day. Celebrate Peru’s national drink the local way with a glass of this cool, creamy and citrusy cocktail loved worldwide! You’ll find that beaches are in and the mountains are out during February as the famed Inca Trail is closed for cleaning. Other tracks within the Andes are open but they may be rather muddied from rain. The end of February brings the start of the world-renowned Carnaval celebrations. If partying in the streets and the odd water fight is your idea of a good time, head to Cajamarca for a celebration you’ll remember!
Best for: Semana Santa, Festival de Varano Negro, bird mating season, orchids in bloom on the Inca Trail
Several exciting festivals fall in March including Semana Santa (Holy Week) and the Festival de Varano Negro, the celebration of African culture in Peru. March is a great time to head away from the cooling coastal towns and be immersed in the Peruvian wilderness. Since the summer visitors have departed, you’ll be able to snatch up off-season prices.
Best for: Easter celebrations, Machu Piccu, surfing
April marks the end of the rainy season in Peru and begins the best time to meander through the Andes. Waves are usually at their best between November to April, so catch them while you can!
Best for: river wildlife watching, hiking in the Andes, Festival de las Cruces, Noche en Blanco, Q’oyoroti
Savour some of the greatest experiences that Peru has to offer in May before the holiday crowds arrive. Take a tour along the Amazon River and cast your eye for local wildlife or take a gander at the Inca Trail to see one of the new Seven Wonders of the world, Machu Picchu.
Best for: Q’eswachaka, Inti Raymi, Feast of St Peter and St Paul, Corpus Christi, Lake Titicaca
June is filled with unique cultural festivals and is a thriving time for tourism. Although it is the busiest time of year, the weather is greatly suited for trekking through the Andes or exploring the Amazon jungle via foot or boat. Why not visit one of Peru’s most scenic inland sights at Lake Titicaca and see the unique floating islands, known as Islas Uros.
Best for: National Independence Day, La Virgen del Carmen, hiking in the Andes and riverboat expeditions
The party is on from the 28 to the 29 of July for Peru’s National Independence Day. The streets are bustling with folk music, dancing, fireworks and more as the locals celebrate their over (200) years of independence. However, if you’re looking for a more serene experience, find yourself exploring the Amazon basin or the cultural landmarks that are scattered throughout the country. Take note that sometimes July will see snowfall at higher altitudes.
Best for: hiking, riverboat journeys, Feast of Santa Rosa de Lima, Sacred Valley
August brings the end of the high season and an average temperature of 20 degrees Celsius sees a perfect time for outdoor adventuring. Explore the wonder of Peru’s Sacred Valley by venturing to the Pisac or Ollantaytambo Ruins of ancient Inca civilisations.
Best for: Mistura festival, rainforest trekking, wildlife watching
Springtime in Peru is an excellent moment to visit the most popular sites without competing for your view. September is also home to the celebration of Peruvian local cuisine with the festival Mistura. Try an assortment of unique and native flavours over this 10-day event. If you’re looking for a good time to venture into the Amazon rainforest, take a trip to the city of Puerto Maldonado, known as the gateway to the southern Amazon jungle for wildlife tours.
Best for: Battle of Angamos Day, animal sightings, boat tours along the Amazon River
October sits within the shoulder season for tourism in Peru. If you’re keen on surfing the waves at one of Peru’s best beaches, October is a great month to strap on your surfboard. Animal lovers should get their binoculars ready for wildlife sightings on boat rides exploring the city of Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado.
Best for: Virgen de la Candelaria, surfing at Puerto Chicama, All Saint’s Day
November marks the time you may want to avoid the Northern areas of the country due to heavy rain and snow as it’s the start of the rainy season. But if you’re looking for a dose of history, culture and fun, join in the celebrations during Peru’s largest festival, Virgen de la Candelaria. Held in the city of Puno in the southeast of the country, this festival combines Peru’s catholic and indigenous communities with costumes, masks, dancing and folk music.
Best for: relaxing on the beach, Fiesta de la Purrísma, Noche Buena
Summer temperatures make Peru in December an ideal place for beach lovers. But if you’re keen on adventure, why not take a day trip and spot some wildlife on the Ballestas Islands or join in on the coastal water sports while the rainy season plays out in the higher regions? Christmas celebrations around the country get into full swing during Fiesta de la Purrísma Concepción and Noche Buena just before Peru brings in the New Year.
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