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Best Time For a Machu Picchu Hike

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When’s the best time to trek to Machu Picchu, and hike the Inca Trail? 

The Andes never fail to surprise, and the climate in those beautiful mountains changes just as much according to altitude as it does by season. The higher you go, the more likely you are to be blasted by winds. The lower you are, the lusher your surroundings. 

Wherever you are, you’ll need layers, sunscreen, decent walking boots and plenty of waterproof clothing if you want to stay comfortable.

If you’re thinking about venturing to the Andes, this month-by-month guide to the best time to trek to Machu Picchu will show you exactly when you’re most likely to stay dry. And if you’re wondering when is the quietest time to trek to Machu Picchu, we’ve got you covered there too.

Lares Trek, The Bucket List Company

When is the wet season in Machu Picchu?

The wet season for the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu falls from November to March, which is when you’re virtually guaranteed to get drenched at some point. You’re much better off heading to Cuzco in the dry season, which is largely speaking the best time to trek to Machu Picchu.

But let’s get a little more specific than that, shall we? You see, temperatures can drop close to freezing at night even in the dry season and while some months tend to be super sunny, others might leave you frustrated with views obstructed by cloud and fog. 

So when’s the best to visit Machu Picchu if you want to see the ancient citadel in all its glory and truly experience the splendour of the Inca Trail? Keep reading to find out.

Should I trek to Machu Picchu in January? 

If you want tourist-free views, January’s probably the best time to visit Machu Picchu. So long as you don’t mind getting wet… Or getting caught in a mud slide. Hmm. 

The trekking conditions are far from ideal with all the rain and resulting mud, and trains towards the ancient citadel can be affected by landslides. But when those rains clear? Machu Picchu looks stunningly verdant as all that flora flourishes. 

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Why can’t you trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in February?

The end of February is the wettest time of year for the Andes, which explains why the Inca Trail and several other Peruvian national parks shut up shop for essential maintenance. Machu Picchu itself remains open, but if you’re hoping to trek the Inca Trail or Salktantay trek to get there, try another month!

The good news is that the Lares trekking route usually remains open in February, so if you really want to brave the rain, you’ve got options. Not the best time to visit Machu Picchu in our opinion though.

Should I trek to Machu Picchu in March? 

The Inca Trail reopens in March but the highlands remain very wet with a lot of rain right through to early April. There is some good news too though, with more sunny weather and fewer hours of rain falling each day. 

If you think March is your best time to trek to Machu Picchu, we’d recommend opting for the second half of the month when the temperature’s warmed up a bit.

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Is April the best time to trek to Machu Picchu?

Now you’re talking. 

The weather really starts to warm up in April but there are still fewer tourists around Cuzco and you’re unlikely to see too many fellow trekkers on any of the trekking routes to Machu Picchu. 

Expect daytime temperatures around 22°C and around 14°C at night, and magnificent views to boot. 

Is May a good time to trek to Machu Picchu? 

Yep. You’re not so far into peak trekking season that Inca Trail permits might sell out, but you’ve got the benefit of dry weather, plus it’s warmer than it will be from June to August too.

The clear skies give you amazing views of the surrounding mountains and you can expect daytime temperatures around 30°C in Machu Picchu itself, with night temperatures dropping as low as 6°C.

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Should I visit Machu Picchu in June?

Towards the end of June, Peru’s Festival of the Sun pulls in huge crowds to its cities, Cuzco included. You’ll find all the trails to Machu Picchu are more crowded as a result so if you’re hoping for a more peaceful trek, with fewer other hikers around, best to avoid going in June.

On the plus side, you can expect very little rain and lovely temperatures with highs around 28°C and night-time lows around 7°C.

Is July the best month to trek to Machu Picchu?

The end of July sees Peru’s national holiday which ramps up the tourist numbers in and around Cusco and on the various trekking routes to Machu Picchu itself. Those clear skies treat you to incredible mountain views and you’re far less likely to get wet at this time of year. 

But is it the best time to trek to Machu Picchu? That totally depends on your appetite for sharing your trail with other trekkers. If you’d prefer a quieter hike to Machu Picchu, try another month or opt for one of the lesser walked trails, like the Salktantay trek or the Lares trekking route.

Why trek to Machu Picchu in August?

If you reckon your best time to trek to Machu Picchu will be August, make sure you book your hiking permit well in advance and plan an itinerary where you trek earlier in the day. The trails are at their busiest in August after all. 

On average, it rains four days of the month with an average wind speed of 3pmh and mercury highs of 21°C, with lows of 3°C. Fog is possible but rare, meaning August gives you pretty ideal trekking conditions – so long as you don’t mind the crowds.

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Is September a good time to visit Machu Picchu?

Peak trekking season comes to a close in September and you’ll find you share the path to Machu Picchu with slightly fewer people now. With average highs of 21°C and lows around 5°C, you’ve got some nice trekking conditions in September. 

Is it the best time to visit Machu Picchu though? Make sure you pack your mac as early rains are possible!

Should I trek to Machu Picchu in October?

The weather’s pretty lovely in October – at least towards the start of the month anyway. You’re not in peak season anymore either, so Inca Trail permits are unlikely to sell out. 

Crowds die down and the various trails grow quieter, so if your idea of the best time to trek to Machu Picchu involves as few other people as possible, October might just be your win. 

Is November a good time to trek to Machu Picchu? 

Sometimes yes, more often no! The rainy season is kicking back into gear so you might get seriously wet if you opt to trek to Machu Picchu in November. That being said, the rains aren’t in full swing and you might luck out with some decent trekking conditions. Plus there’ll be fewer other people around on the trails, so you won’t have to secure your trekking pass so far in advance.

Best time to trek to Machu Picchu

Is December the best time to visit Machu Picchu?

Even though it’s super wet, the Christmas holiday season brings in more crowds to Cuzco, Machu Picchu and the trekking trails during December. You’ll find your accommodation and flights cost more in December, even though it’s raining, and in our opinion, there are definitely better, quieter and less muddy months to trek to Machu Picchu.

Travelling to Peru and trekking to Machu Picchu with the Bucket List Company

There you have it, our month-by-month guide to the best time to trek to Machu Picchu. 

If you’ve got Machu Picchu on your Bucket List, be sure to check out the various different trekking routes we offer – The Inca Trail, The Lares Trek and The Salkantay Route – each of which take place at various different times of year. Have a look through our available dates, find one that suits you and get in touch if you’ve got any questions about the itinerary or the sort of weather you might expect. 

And if you’re ready and raring to go, click HERE to discover our top tips for trekking in Peru!

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