There are definitely differences in seasons to consider when visiting Machu Picchu.
If you want to go when it’s quiet, the rainy season (November to March) can be best. If you can tolerate crowds for the sake of better weather, go in the dry season (April to October).
What’s The Best Time Of Year To Visit Machu Picchu?
The best time of year to visit Machu Picchu depends heavily on what you value most.
Let’s look at each of the top seasons by turn.
The Rainy Season
If you’re somebody who dislikes crowded areas and wants to enjoy this beautiful site in all its tranquillity, you might choose to go during the rainy season.
This is when the area is quietest, as the rain deters many tourists from visiting.
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However, you will have to put up with the bad weather:
- The wettest month is February, and during this month, the Inca Trail closes too – so make sure you plan your trip accordingly if you want to access this trail.
- It can rain heavily, although on some days it will only drizzle. If you are going to go during this season, make sure you have excellent waterproofs and warm clothes. You should also carry several spare sets so you can dry off when you need to.
On the other hand, all the rain really brings out the beauty of Machu Picchu, because the landscapes will bloom with emerald foliage in every direction.
An already stunning place is made breathtaking by the lush plants.
It’s also reasonably warm during this season, despite the rain, with temperatures of around 19 degrees C during the day.
A further reason to consider going to Machu Picchu at this time of year is that it tends to be cheaper to fly from the UK during the winter months.
It might be summer in Machu Picchu, but you’ll enjoy the price drop of avoiding major school holidays if you choose to go in November or January.
The Dry Season
For those who prefer better weather and don’t mind sharing the space with others, April to October is the best time to go to Machu Picchu.
If you go in April or May, you can avoid most of the crowds, at the cost of slightly worse weather.
In June, July, and August, tourism is at its peak, so there will be a lot of people there, and prices will likely be higher.
However, this comes with the benefit of drier weather. The daytime temperatures are often still around 19 degrees C, which is ideal for hiking in.
If you want to attend the Festival of the Sun (Inti Raymi), you will need to go to Machu Picchu in June.
This festival was extremely important during the ancient Inca Empire, and it offers amazing displays of costumes, folk music, and Peruvian food.
Another reason to consider visiting during these months is that the famous Inca Trail is open – but it’s important to be aware that you must have a permit to use this trail, and this needs to be applied for months in advance. Only a certain number of people are allowed on the trail each day, with the current limit set at 500.
If you have missed your opportunity for the Inca Trail, the Quarry Trail doesn’t require permits and also tends to be significantly quieter.
It gives you an opportunity to avoid the worst of the crowds even during the peak season, although this is gradually changing.
You should be aware that there is only one hotel close to the entrance of Machu Picchu, known as the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge.
You can walk to the site from here, but it’s not cheap to stay in, and during the peak season, it is likely to be heavily booked.
There are other places to stay locally, as Aguas Calientes has quite a range of hotels.
Buses will take you to the site – but again, if you’re visiting during the peak season, make sure you are booking in advance to ensure you can get accommodation.
What Time Of Day Is The Best For Visiting?
If you want to avoid the crowds, getting to Machu Picchu early or staying late is the best option.
If you can arrive before 11 am, you’ll avoid many of the other tourists, and if you stay after 3 pm, a lot of people will have started to leave.
That’s easier to do if you stay locally, so bear this in mind when you’re choosing your accommodation.
If you don’t get to Machu Picchu until 11 or later, you’ll be arriving with floods of other people, which can ruin the experience.
The photography lighting is often best at the start and end of the day, too.
Some people aim to get to Machu Picchu as early as 6 am (leaving the town at 5:30 am) so that they can avoid the crowds and enjoy the best possible lighting.
There’s undeniably something magical about the site at this hour, which cannot be captured when it becomes busy and bustling later in the day.
Furthermore, if you’re walking the Inca Trail, you’re more likely to have it to yourself if you do so early or late. There may still be a few other people around, but by timing your hike carefully, you can enjoy a lot more peace and solitude.
This is particularly important for a meditative, beautiful site like Machu Picchu.
Sharing it with thousands of others can detract from the experience significantly.
Are Any Days Of The Week Better Than Others?
You can go to Machu Picchu on any day of the week, but many Peruvians visit at the weekends. It may therefore be best to go on a weekday, when local people will mostly be at work instead.
The best time to visit Machu Picchu is usually between April and October, but if you want to avoid the crowds, consider a trip to the site during the rainy season (November to March) instead. The early morning and late afternoon are the best times to go.
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