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When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?
Peru offers Travelers some of the most memorable and breathtaking views in the world. From its vast sandy beaches to sweeping mountain Highlands, with desert and tropical rainforest in between, it is a country to behold.
The climate of this country can vary dramatically between its regions. Meaning the popular times the tourists visit depends on what they intend to do.
One question that I regularly get asked is what is the best time to visit Machu Picchu. This ruined Inca city perched on the edge of a cliff in a remote region of Peru and is worthy of its place on the wonders of the world list.
As a result, it is up there with one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. Never mind me the most popular in Peru. Because of this, thousands visit to the site daily and any trip has to be carefully planned.
To do this successfully, there are a series of factors that you must take into account. Obviously the vast majority of people visiting Machu Picchu are coming from outside of Peru. Meaning the first thing you need to consider is the cost of your flight.
When are the Cheapest flights available to Peru
As a seasoned traveler first things I always consider is the cost of my flight. Carefully analyze the average daily ticket prices based on the departure dates from the previous year, and it usually allows me to determine the potential cost of traveling of the year. When I get asked what is the best time of the year to travel to Peru, the cheapest flights I can find in January, February and September so this is when I fly.
When is the weather best in Machu Picchu
Before people ever set foot on a plane, their adventure in Machu Picchu usually starts with looking at the classic photographs of the ruins. Thousands of these are available in many books and all over the internet.
What you see is the ruins on the clearest day, set against the bright Peruvian blue skies, nested into the forest mountain peaks that surround the ruins. Unfortunately, the reality of visiting Machu Picchu is you won’t regularly find it in this state throughout the year. The best weather in the area is during its dry season, from June to August, when it hardly rains other than a brief morning mist. Bringing slightly cooler weather makes hiking the Inca trail of the mountain to Machu Picchu, and it’s over 2000 steps slightly easier.
Machu Picchu in off season
But if you’re being more price conscious, you might visit Machu Picchu in off season. If you do this, you should climb the mountain at the earliest opportunity as once the sun rises the track can get difficult.
But walking in the morning means you will have to deal with some heavy mist and regular precipitation making your visibility on route to ruins far from ideal.
Sadly, if you’ve chosen a wet day, this visibility can even remain once you reach ruins themselves. Too many people who have visited Machu Picchu during the rainy season or less disappointed because after a long hard time the city itself was dark and rain soaked and occasionally just shrouded in fog.
When is the busiest season to visit Machu Picchu?
Obviously most people travel during the time of the year when weather is finest. So pleasant weather for the next week draws crowds. This is from June almost and Max the Peruvian travel season, especially when most North American and Europeans close for the summer and this coincides with South America’s driest coldest time of the year.
Drawings thousands of tourists who arrive just to visit Machu Picchu during this time period, So if are you ready for a long wait and massive queues entering the city go for it. Word of warning you might struggle to get your picture perfect postcard shot or a selfie as the place gets so busy
September-October & April-May: Cheap and great months to visit Machu Picchu
From September to October and April through May these crowds are much thinner and the weather is still pleasant and dry and therefore this time of the year is becoming increasingly popular for visitors.
Accommodation prices remain low, flights are slightly cheaper and there are far fewer tourists but most of all it hasn’t reached the rainy season so your chance of getting a nice dry day at the top of the mountain. February is probably the quietest time of the year in Machu Picchu because the trail is closed.
Because of this, then to travel during peak season most agents will tell you they need to 4 months notice. From December to January but only requires 4-6 weeks notice
Any other time of the year it ok to give 10 weeks’ notice and should be plenty to secure your place on the trail. Arrangements will have to be made to an agency regulations set down by the government are clear tourists will have to be accompanied at all times by professional guides.
So when is the best time of the year to visit Machu Picchu?
Being perfectly honest, choosing the best time for you to visit Machu Picchu will inevitably be down to a matter of preference.
For big budgets: From June to August
If you are happy to pay premium prices for food, accommodation and transport, book everything 6 month in advance and stand in line with hundreds of other tourists. You’re welcome to travel Machu Picchu anytime between June and August every year.
For tiny budgets: Take the risk of Andes weather
If you will take a minor risk with the unpredictable Andes weather, I recommend visiting Machu Picchu in September and October at this point of the year its mountainous geography hasn’t yet to beckon in the rainy season. There are fewer tourists at the site cost of flights to Peru are slightly lower than peak season, and the cost of accommodation and food being more reasonable.
If you are a more cost conscious backpacker who is trying their best to avoid crowds of people, then you should go in the off-season. Enjoy a quiet stroll around these stunning ruins in what could be misty or wet weather. Obviously you can’t won’t be able to walk the Inca Trail in February but if you try to do it in March or April it, it could prove to me a much quieter and cost-effective visit.