When is the best time of year to visit Machu Picchu?
The good news is Machu Picchu can be visited year-round. The most popular time to visit is during the dry season from April to October, with the peak tourist season being June, July and August when the weather is at its best. During the dry season, you can expect less rain and warm daytime temperatures of 17 to 19°C (which is ideal for trekking), and cold nights with low cloud cover – nights can be quite chilly between June and August, so make sure to bring some thermals for a good night’s sleep. If you don't like busy hiking trails and long queues, you might want to consider planning your trip outside of the peak season.
Another reason why June is one of the busiest months is Inti Raymi, or the Festival of the Sun. This annual festival takes place in Cusco and was the biggest and most important festival in the ancient Inca Empire. If you get the chance to visit Peru during Inti Raymi, you'll get to watch a spectacular reenactment of ancient Inca traditions at the Sacsayhuamán ruins, see vibrant costumes, listen to traditional folk music and eat lots of delicious Peruvian food.
If you plan on hiking to Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail, it's important to note that there are limits to how many people can trek and all hikers will need to have a valid permit. Permits often get sold out months in advance, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get organised.
If you want to visit Machu Picchu via the Quarry Trail, you don’t need to worry about it being overcrowded or getting a permit. It’s accessible all year round and is much less trafficked than the Inca Trail and you will most likely have it all to yourself, even during the high season. The Quarry Trail is still low on the tourist radar, but it's starting to gain traction for its lesser-known archaeological sites and rich cultural interactions.
Visiting Machu Picchu in the wet season
The rainy season, from November to March, coincides with the low tourist season. The average daytime temperature hovers between a slightly warmer 19 to 21°C, and the nights aren't as chilly. It might not bucket down every day – some days it could be a light drizzle – but waterproofs are essential nonetheless. The wettest month is February, which is also when the Inca Trail closes for maintenance. Despite the rain, one of the perks of visiting Machu Picchu in the wet season is that it’s considerably quieter and you won’t need to wait in long lines. The rain also does wonders for the valley, adding glorious shades of green to the already stunning landscapes.
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