While Machu Picchu is open to the public year round there are definitely advantages and disadvantages to going at different times of the year. There are multiple factors to consider when determining which month of the year to plan your trip - in this blog post, we cover: weather, crowds, and cost.
Machu Picchu is amazing regardless of when you go, however, as with all international travel, unexpected events can occur. It can be disappointing when something unexpected comes up during your trip, but if you know what to expect and mentally plan for it, you will have an incredible trip whatever time to you choose to go.
We can help you get there - whenever you want to go!
...So When is the Best Time to go?
Short Overall Answer
End of May. For a combination of nice weather, low crowds and low cost - the best time to visit Machu Picchu is during the month of May.
Other Options Based on Preferences
If the most important factor for your trip to Machu Picchu is one of the following:
- Lowest Crowds
- Most Affordable
- Best weather
Then consider these suggestions...
November - February
The crowds are lower during this stretch, aside from a slight peak during the Christmas holiday. Crowds are lower in Mid-October to early March because it is Peru’s rainy season, which peaks in December and January (see charts below). However, this stretch of months is also Peru’s summer season, and while the day time temperatures remain about the same year round (lower 70’s), the night time temperatures will be several degrees warmer compared to May - August.
Machu Picchu is oftentimes called the “Lost City in the Clouds”, and for good reason! The ancient city is built on top of a mountain that resides high in the Andes and rises spectacularly from the clouds. One major drawback of being an epic Cloud City is that, during the rainy season, the spectacular views of Machu Picchu can be obscured by clouds and fog. This is certainly one factor that you’ll want to consider if you're attempting to avoid the crowds.
One final thought, if avoiding crowds is your main priority, I would strongly suggest checking out Choquequirao. Choquequirao is a set of newly uncovered Inca ruins that are 3X the size of Machu Picchu. As of now, the ruins are relatively undiscovered, but their exclusivity is rapidly diminishing as more groups learn about their awesomeness each year. I view Choquequirao as what Machu Picchu was 30-40 years ago. You can learn more about Choquequirao’s history and what makes these ruins so incredible here.
September - Mid-November
To determine the most affordable months to travel we looked at: flight & hotel costs.
The peak months for price correspond with Peru’s dry season, which is from June to August. Travel prices will start going down after this three month stretch. Flights to Lima/Cusco, are at their lowest between September and November. If you have the flexibility to plan ahead for your trek, I highly recommend booking your flight at least 4-6 months in advance to decrease flight costs. For example, if you plan to go in October (the cheapest month), you should consider booking your flights in April or May.
We’ve compiled some tools and resources to help you find the best possible flight HERE.
Just like airlines, the hotels in Cusco will also raise their prices during the peak season and lower them around the beginning of September. The average price of highly rated hotels in Cusco in July is $110/night. That average drops to $80/night in September and $70/night in October, saving you an average of $30-40/night.
June - Early August
The best months to visit Machu Picchu to get the best weather are the end of May to early August, which corresponds with Cusco’s dry season. These months are technically Peru’s Winter months. However, the Cusco region of Peru is moderately temperate so the temperatures will be warm, bordering on hot during the day, and slightly above freezing at night. You may be comfortable wearing shorts and short-sleeves as you hike through the Andes, but you will need to dawn an Alpaca sweater and a warm hat once the sun dips below the towering mountain peaks.
Check out our packing list for ideas of what to pack for your trek.
Because the weather during these months is so great, June to August is also the peak season for crowds. This is something to be aware of, if you go during these months for the weather, it will be crowded.
Optimal Llama Viewing
Don’t worry, these beauties are here all year long.
Want even more detailed weather? Check this out: