Weather in Machu Picchu– The Best Time to Go
| Machu Picchu
Climate and Weather in Machu Picchu
Located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu is not only one of the wonders of the world, but also a testament to the ingenuity and talents of the Incas who created it. Occupied for only about 100 years, Machu Picchu is now thought to have been the palace and estate of the Inca Emperor, and consists of a collection of buildings, temples, and terraces. You can still feel the energy of the Incas when you walk the terraces, enter the temples, and run your hand over the stonework of Machu Picchu, the Old Mountain.
Enigmatic and stunning, this archaeological wonder is the destination for thousands of travelers every year, and to get the most out of your visit, it pays to keep the Machu Picchu climate and weather in mind when planning your trip.
Machu Picchu Weather and Climate
Machu Picchu rises up to tower over the surrounding Urubamba Valley. While you might think, from looking at a map, that the temperature in Machu Picchu could be uncomfortably hot at times, this is not the case at all; the temperature in Machu Picchu tends to remain in a narrow and very comfortable band between about 50 F (10 C) and 80 F (27 C). At no time will the visitor to this special area be subject to extreme temperatures.
Like many subtropical regions, Machu Picchu has two seasons; the dry season and the rainy season, and these will influence when you may want to take your tour of the ruins. You can, however, find yourself surrounded by mist or fog at any season of the year. Mountain weather is notoriously unpredictable, but this simply adds to the fascination of the region.
The dry season at Machu Picchu runs from May through September. As the name implies, there is little precipitation during this period and although it is actually cooler than the wet season, it is considered to be Machu Picchu’s “Summer”. High temperatures at this time will be in the upper 60s F (19 C) and lower 70s F (22 C) to lows in the 50s F (11 C). During this time little or no rain will fall.
The wet season begins in October and usually ends in April. The rains do not really become drenching until January, however, so timing an ‘off-season’ trip during the wet season can provide you with just as rewarding a visit as one during the dry season. Temperatures are higher, reaching the 80s F (27 C) with nothing lower than about 59 F (15 C).
The Best Time to Go to Machu Picchu
Most people agree that the best time to visit Machu Picchu is during the dry season. At this time of the year, all roads to the magnificent site are open and the pleasant temperatures make sightseeing a real joy. Some of the roads to Machu Picchu are closed in February, when the rains are at their heaviest, but you can also have an excellent time if you go to Machu Picchu in December: rains are more sporadic, the temperature is comfortable, and you will not have to deal with the crowds that are present during the dry season. Another excellent reason to visit Machu Picchu in December is the huge Santuranticuy Artisan Crafts Fair held in Cusco just before Christmas where you’ll find unique and beautiful gift items.
The Lord of the Earthquakes Festival is held before Easter, in March or April. This festival, which features processions to commemorate the 1650 earthquake, is held in Cusco. Dancers, floats, music, and colorful crowds make this an exciting time to be visiting Machu Picchu.
For those who want to take advantage of the dry season, they might want to plan their trip around the Inca Festival of the Sun, Inti Raymi. Held in Cusco in June, it would be hard to ever forget the colors, sounds, displays, and people who take part in this ancient festival that calls upon the sun to return after the long ‘winter’ to give his blessing of light and warmth to the earth. A re-enactment of the ceremony that Inca priests performed for this important rite brings the meaning of this day into focus.
July 28 sees all of Peru celebrating Independence Day, and the festivities in the area surrounding Machu Picchu include dancing, parades, marching bands, fireworks, and plenty of delicious food.
There probably is really no ‘off-season’ for Machu Picchu and the surrounding towns in the Sacred Valley; the best time to visit Peru can really be said to be any time. It would be impossible not to enjoy yourself, regardless the climate and weather, of one of the Wonders of the World – Machu Picchu! View our Machu Picchu tours, and start planning your trip today!