EVOLUTION TREKS PERU
The Number One Ethical Tour Operator of Peru Trip Rating
When is the best time of the year to visit Machu Picchu?
By Miguel Angel Gongora Meza.
Travel expert & Professional Tour Guide at Machu Picchu & the Inca Trail.
The best time to visit Machu Picchu and hike the Inca Trail is from late March to May and from September to mid-December. These months fall before and after the rainy season, providing excellent weather conditions and fewer crowds.
However, the dry season from June to August is also great but may be crowded. During the buffer months, the hiking trails and Machu Picchu are less crowded, and the weather remains good for the most part, with occasional rains providing great photo opportunities.
When is the busiest time in Machu Picchu?
June, July, and August are are by far the busiest months of the tourist season. However, the offer perfect weather conditions and magnificent blue skies.
Winter in the Andes (Summer in the Northern hemisphere) is the most crowded time of the year, with thousands of people coming from the United States, Canada, and other European countries during their summer vacations.
They might not be the best months to go to Machu Picchu if you are someone that does not like the crowds.
As far as the weather, despite the amazing blue skies in the Andean mountains, the weather during these months tends to be much colder than April, May, September, and October, especially in the evenings and the mornings.
Important 2023 Update.
Is it safe to visit Machu Picchu under the current political situation of Peru?
Peru’s social and political crisis has ebbed since mid-February. Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail have reopened. Trains are running on schedule, and blockades and police repression in the Cusco area have ended. Ironically, this political turmoil has opened up a magnificent chance for tourists to visit this wonder of the world without the enormous crowds that swarm Machu Picchu during regular times. We highly recommend people visit Machu Picchu or hike the Inca trail this year to avoid crowds and have an unforgettable experience. When in doubt about traveling to Peru due to the uncertainty created by the political issues, buying travel insurance in case things devolve into what happened last December is best.
When is Machu Picchu Open?
Machu Picchu is open every day of the year and will continue to be accessible to visitors on a daily basis from six in the morning until five o’clock in the afternoon in the year 2023. In addition, the months of April through October, which are considered to be the dry season, are the ideal months in which to make a trip to Machu Picchu. At this time of year, there is just a trace amount of precipitation, and the sky is typically clear.
Having said that, it is crucial to keep in mind that even during the dry season, there may be isolated instances of rain. When travelers travel to Machu Picchu during the wet season, which runs from November to March, they should be prepared for an increase in the amount of precipitation and cloud cover. In addition, January and February are the greatest months for travelers to visit Machu Picchu if they want to see the site without a lot of other people. During these months, travelers will be able to discover great offers on hotels, the best train schedules, and amazing prices for everything.
On the other hand, these are the months that mark the height of the rainy season; therefore, vacationers should always be ready to pack reliable rain gear in order to avoid being held up by inclement weather. In addition, June, July, and August are the months that are the busiest during the entire year. In order to visit Machu Picchu, tourists need to book their tours in advance so that they may get the finest times and locations.
During these months, visitors to Machu Picchu need to be aware that there will likely be a long line to board the bus and enter the site. It is recommended to go to Machu Picchu in the early morning or in the late afternoon for the finest experience. Tourists will have a terrific time seeing Machu Picchu with fewer early visitors if they arrive at the citadel around six in the morning. They will also be able to witness the breathtaking dawn at Machu Picchu. When tourists arrive at the attraction after nine in the morning,
on the other hand, they will have a greater chance of experiencing pleasant weather and taking stunning photographs. Furthermore, visits in the late afternoon will provide a wonderful opportunity to appreciate the citadel in peace and quiet.
How is the Machu Picchu Itinerary?
The best itinerary to visit Machu Picchu will take approximately one week or seven days. The journey to Machu Picchu, which usually lasts for seven days, will undoubtedly provide travelers with the opportunity to fully enjoy the scenic splendor of the location itself and the other locations in the surrounding area that are worthy of a visit. Since travelers can explore the surrounding area even while staying in neighboring locations, a vacation that lasts seven days may be ideal for tourists interested in engaging in exploratory travel. Furthermore, the itinerary below will help travelers acclimate quickly to the high altitude of the Cusco area while visiting some of the most impressive attractions of Cusco and the Machu Picchu areas.
- Day One: Arrive in Cusco and take a city tour to get acquainted with this magical place.
- Day Two: Explore Saqsaywaman, Qenqo, and the Archeological attractions outside Cusco.
- Day Three: Take a day trip to the Sacred Valley and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Pisaq market, the Ollantaytambo fortress, the mindblowing Moray circular terraces, and the psychedelic Maras Salt mines.
- Day Four: Hike the Rainbow Mountain, which is a geological wonder.
- Day five to Seven: Explore Machu Picchu by train or go hiking via the Inca Trail.
What is the Best vehicle for Visiting Machu Picchu?
The train is by far the most comfortable and convenient way to travel to Machu Picchu. Two train companies offer services to reach Machu Picchu: PeruRail and IncaRail. Tourists can take any one of these trains to get there. When traveling to and from Machu Picchu, passengers who travel by train with PeruRail have access to luxury trains that travel through the breathtaking Sacred Valley. There are three distinct varieties of trains that can be used to travel to a destination; the Expedition train is the most cost-effective option.
The Vistadome train is slightly more comfortable than the Expedition as it provides a better outlook with windows on the corners and ceiling. The Belmont Hiram Bingham train is the most luxurious of all trains traveling to Machu Picchu. A restaurant, an observatory, a bar, and several more amenities are available to guests. However, despite its expensive cost, the Belmont Hiram Bingham is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. On the other hand, tourists can take Inca Rail to arrive at the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. The Voyager, the 360, the first class, and the private trains are the different classes of trains that fall under the Inca Rail umbrella.
The Voyager is the most affordable train option that can accommodate 42 passengers at a time. The seats have tables and comfortable chairs, and guests can take in breathtaking scenery through the glass windows. On the other hand, the 360 is larger and wider, with additional windows providing a view in every direction. In addition to that, there is a bar located on the outdoor viewing carriage.
Pricier options like first class and private travel are the best options, but they come at a higher price. Both the first class and the private cabins provide outstanding service. Tourists can dine and drink at a table in a comfortable setting while taking in the breathtaking scenery that is passing by.
How many hours should a person spend in Machu Picchu?
The Sanctuary of Machu Picchu covers an area of over 32,000 hectares in size, filled with natural areas, archaeological monuments, and breathtaking panoramas. In most cases, the visit will last no longer than two and a half hours to a maximum of four hours at the very most. Tickets purchased for the neighboring mountain peaks of Wayna Picchu, Machu Picchu Mountain, and Huchuy Picchu, which grant entrance for a more extended time, are the sole exceptions. Visitors are welcome to Machu Picchu every day of the week from 6:00 to 17:30.
Outside these hours, park rangers will not accommodate visits. In addition, the best tour of Machu Picchu can be completed in as little as three to four hours, which is the maximum amount of time allowed. However, to truly enjoy and experience the other things that Machu Picchu has to offer, it is recommended to stay there for at least two nights to allow for a second visit.
Is it possible to stay at Machu Picchu?
No, Machu Picchu is not a place where overnight stays are permitted for any reason. Other than the luxurious five-star Machu Picchu Sanctuary hotel, visitors will not find other campsites, hotels, or lodges at Machu Picchu where they can spend the night. There is no accommodation of this kind at Machu Picchu.
However, in some areas in the surrounding area, such as Aguas Calientes, tourists will find places to stay while on their Machu Picchu adventure. Also, to comply with the requirements for entering Machu Picchu, visitors must remain for a maximum of four hours after entering the site. Therefore, visitors who intend to spend the entire day at Machu Picchu must acquire not one but two separate entrance tickets.
When is the best time of the day to visit Machu Picchu?
The answer is 6 am or anytime after 3 pm.
If you want to be one of the first people to enter Machu Picchu, then jump in one of the first shuttle busses that leave from Aguas Calientes town (Machu Picchu pueblo) at 5:30 am.
To do so, you need to get to the bus stop at least two hours earlier in order to beat the crowds and be first in line.
Also, make sure that your Machu Picchu tickets are scheduled for the 6:00 am shift. If you do all of this correctly, then you will have the privilege of watching the sunrise at Machu Picchu.
Alternatively, you can get there after 3:00 pm, once most of the crowds (at least 80%) have left Machu Picchu.
At this time of the day, the park rangers are more flexible and allow you to stay a bit longer at certain spots of the ancient city.
Another plus of visiting Machu Picchu in the afternoon is that the sunset views are impressive and quite underrated.
Try not to go to Machu Picchu on a Sunday.
Most Peruvians take the weekend to visit Machu Picchu.
Lots of people coming from Cusco flood the Inca city of Machu Picchu, turning it more crowded than the other days of the week.
The waiting times to catch the shuttle buses to go to Machu Picchu and to return from there become longer and much more unpleasant.
Machu Picchu Weather Month by Month
MACHU PICCHU IN JANUARY
The weather in Machu Picchu in January and the Andean mountains of Cusco is rainy. Historically it has been a month of landslides on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. For instance, this year, on January 23rd, a landslide on the Inca Trail forced an earlier closure of the Inca Trail, and on February 23, a glacial collapse in the Salkantay mountain provoked a massive mudflow that destroyed that Salkantay trek area. During January, you can still go to Machu Picchu by train, but hiking is not advisable.
Please Note: The trails that lead to the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountains are considerably slippery. Some risk of rock fall is always possible, and the chances of enjoying the fabulous views are minimal.
The temperatures in Machu Picchu in January are warm ranging between 27˚C/80˚F during the day and 17˚C/63˚F at night.
MACHU PICCHU IN FEBRUARY
Machu Picchu’s weather in February makes this month the worst time of the year to go to Machu Picchu. The rains during this month are unbearable, particularly in places like the cloud forest where Machu Picchu is located. The risks of getting stuck in Aguas Calientes due to landslides burying the train tracks or the Urubamba River getting over flooded are a constant threat.
The National Sanctuary of Machu Picchu closes the Inca Trail during February to carry out a cleaning campaign along the trail, replacing bridges and reconditioning campgrounds and toilets. Torrential rains also bring thick clouds that block the views. Trails, bridges, and ladders become muddy and slippery. Things become a bit dangerous, especially when one plans to climb Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu mountains.
The temperatures in Machu Picchu in February range from 28˚C/82˚F during the day and 18˚C/65˚F at night.
MACHU PICCHU IN MARCH
We recommend that you book your for any of the hiking tours that lead to Machu Picchu, including the Inca Trail for the last two weeks of March. With the rains subsiding, Machu Picchu’s weather in March greatly improves. The beautiful views are re-emerging offering tourists the best photo ops of the Andean mountains.
The temperatures in Machu Picchu in March range between 27˚C/81˚F in the daytime and 17˚C/64˚F at night.
MACHU PICCHU IN APRIL
The combination of warmer weather, fewer crowds, and magnificent views makes April one of the best months of the year to visit this Incan city. Machu Picchu’s weather in April makes it ideal to hike the Inca Trail or any of the alternative treks.
The temperatures in Machu Picchu in April range between 22˚C/77˚F during the day and 14˚C/61˚F at night.
MACHU PICCHU IN MAY
Machu Picchu’s weather in May marks the arrival of the dry season, the blue skies and breathtaking views of the snow-capped Andean mountains. It also marks the onslaught of tourists with lengthy lines at the bus station. We recommend hiking alternative treks like Huchuy Qosqo, The short Inca Trail or Salkantay to avoid the crowds.
Visiting Cusco and Machu Picchu in May is equally rewarding because of the many traditional Andean religious festivities that take place during the month. The Qoilloritti pilgrimage and the Corpus Christi celebrations are the two MUST-SEE events.
The temperatures in Machu Picchu in May can reach high 20˚s/70˚s requiring you to wear extra-layers like long sleeves, sun hats and lots of sunscreens. Beware, because at night the temperatures drop down to 13˚C/55˚F demanding thicker layers of clothing.
MACHU PICCHU IN JUNE
It’s the start of the High Season. Expect to find thousands of people flooding the city as celebrations for the Winter Solstice begin. June is also the month of the Anniversary of Cusco. Festivals, parades, and dancers take over the streets. The most important event is the Inti Raimi Festival where the people of Cusco come together to recreate an Ancient Incan Religious Festivity.
With the onset of winter, you can start to feel the dip in temperature in Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail; especially before the sunrise and after the sunset.
The average temperatures range between 20°C/58°F and 11°C/52°F. Expect freezing temperatures -5°C/23°F during the nights and in the early mornings.
Despite the cooler weather, the views of the mountains and valleys during the day are impressive, as well as the magnificent Milky Way views at night.
MACHU PICCHU IN JULY
Winter is in full swing in July. The skies are blue, and the views of the landscape, mountains, and stars are breathtaking.
Temperatures in Machu Picchu during July are cold; they range between 19°C/66°F during the day and 10°C/50°F at night. Temperatures during the nights and in the early mornings get below freezing. In contrast, temperatures during the day climb to the high 70˚s, and the sunlight is intense. One needs to be cautious and wear a lot of sunscreen and a sunhat.
Please Be Advised: In July, Almost all tourist attractions are overcrowded, including Machu Picchu. Lines to get the bus to/from Machu Picchu are lengthy. Train schedules are busy, and prices go up for some services. Be prepared for larger crowds than normal if you choose to go to Machu Picchu during the Peruvian holidays: July 27-28 (Peru’s independence day).
MACHU PICCHU IN AUGUST
As we find ourselves in the middle of winter, the weather in Machu Picchu in August is fairly cold. We highly recommend you come prepared with proper winter gear.
The crowds are just not letting up as many people from the Northern Hemisphere are on summer vacation. Expect lengthy lines and overcrowding on the hiking trails. To avoid the masses, we suggest climbing Machu Picchu. The views are superb at this time of year. We also recommend the Salkantay Trek – you won’t regret it!
The temperature of the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu in August is cold ranging between 20°C/68°F during the day and 12°C/54°F at night. Temperatures during the nights and in the early mornings get below freezing. In contrast, temperatures during the day climb to the high 70˚s, and the sunlight is intense. Please wear sunscreen and a sunhat.
FALL IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE
SPRING IN PERU
The buffer months are the best months of the year to visit Machu Picchu. The weather is nice, and there are fewer crowds for the most part.
MACHU PICCHU IN SEPTEMBER
September is the end of the dry season and the beginning of the rainy season. The first rains of September may surprise you at any given moment so be prepared with rain gear. The views, for the most part, are beautiful and so are the photo-ops of the mountains and valleys. With a drastic decline in visitors, this month makes for a quieter and more peaceful trek.
Temperatures in Machu Picchu in September begin to warm up again. They range between 21˚C/70F during the day and 12˚C/54˚F at night.
MACHU PICCHU IN OCTOBER
With much fewer crowds hiking the trails and climbing the mountains, October is considered one of the best months to visit Machu Picchu. One can perceive silence and solitude in many locations of the Sanctuary.
Temperatures in Machu Picchu in October are the ideal hiking weather ranging from 22˚C/72˚F during the day to 12˚C/54˚F at night.
If you are here during this time, we recommend a climb of the Huayna Picchu Mountain – with a bit of luck; you will get nice weather and great views!
MACHU PICCHU IN NOVEMBER
The weather in November marks the start of the rainy season, but there is hardly any rain except for some scattered showers. The flow of tourists continues to dwindle, and if you prefer fewer crowds, then this is your month. And the views of the mountains are exceptional.
Temperatures in Machu Picchu in November range from 24˚C/75˚F during the day and 13˚C/54˚F at night.
As in October, If you are here during this time, we recommend a climb of the Huayna Picchu Mountain – with a bit of luck; you will get nice weather and great views!
MACHU PICCHU IN DECEMBER
The weather in December is touch-and-go with the looming rain clouds, but there are a few days of sun during the month. Fewer people visit Cusco for the trek to Machu Picchu, most come to spend the holidays in this Incan city. Many Peruvians and tourists flood the city during Christmas and New Years.
Temperatures in Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail in December range between 26˚C/79˚F during the day and 16˚C/61˚F at night.