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Best Time To Hike And Climb Machu Picchu

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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 or hike the Inca Trail is before and after the rainy season, that is late March, April, May, and September, October, and early November, the dry season months, that is June July and August, are great too but beware of the crowds.

During the buffer months, Machu Picchu and the hiking trails that lead to this magnificent destination tend to be significantly less crowded while the weather conditions remain good for the most part making them the best time to hike and climb Machu Picchu. A few clouds and rains here and there that provide the best photo opportunities around.

When is the busiest time in Machu Picchu?

​June, July, and August are also good months to travel to Machu Picchu. However, these are by far the busiest months of the tourist season.

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. ​

Is it safe to visit Machu Picchu under the Covid-19 pandemic?

Yes, it is safe to travel to Machu Picchu under Covid-19.

Machu Picchu has just won the ‘Safe Travels’ stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council WTTC. Which means that traveling to Machu Picchu is as safe as it can be under the new normal. The local governments, tour operators and all business involved in the travel industry abide to the upmost protocols for keep travelers safe and happy.

Another plus for why people should travel to Machu Picchu now is that this wonder of the world will only allow a maximum of 650 visitors per day. These are amazing news for those who crave to travel while avoiding the crowds. In normal times, Machu Picchu used to receive as many as 3500 people per day. Can you imagine that??

Besides, the odds of catching Covid-19 on an airplane are almost 0, which is everything you need to hear before you start booking your flights to Peru.

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.

Important: Covid-19 Update. February 8, 2022

  • All the Inca Trail routes are closed in February and will reopen again on March 1.
  • Permits for the 2022 season are on sale now. Grab your permits soon. 
  • There is no mandatory quarantine for those travelers that have been vaccinated. However, a negative PCR test is still mandatory by all airlines before boarding a plane to Peru.
  • People that are not vaccinated must show a negative PCR test before entering Peru. Also, they must get a negative antigen test or a PCR negative test upon retuning to their countries of origin.

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.

Best Time To Hike And Climb Machu Picchu