The Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu in 2024

Machu Picchu by Traveleez

Discovering the ancient city of Machu Picchu is a bucket-list adventure for many travelers around the world. Nestled high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, this UNESCO World Heritage site offers breathtaking views, rich history, and an unforgettable journey back in time. However, choosing the best time to visit Machu Picchu is crucial for experiencing the magic of this ancient wonder in the best possible conditions. This guide by Traveleez will help you plan your trip, focusing on the best time to go to Machu Picchu, the best time to hike to Machu Picchu, and the best time of year to visit Machu Picchu.

Understanding Machu Picchu’s Seasons

Machu Picchu’s unique location means it experiences two main seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. Each season offers a different experience, with its own set of pros and cons.

Best Time to Go to Machu Picchu

The dry season (May to October) is often considered the best time to visit. Skies are clearer, providing spectacular views of the citadel without the mist that can obscure its beauty during other times. However, this is also the peak tourist season, so expect more crowds and higher prices.

Machu Picchu Classic view
Panoramic view of Machu Picchu during the dry season

Best Time to Hike to Machu Picchu

For those looking to embark on the iconic Inca Trail or other treks like Salkantay, the dry season is also the best time to hike to Machu Picchu. Trails are safer and less muddy, making the trek more enjoyable. Remember, permits for the Inca Trail are limited and can sell out months in advance, so plan ahead.

The Inca Trail
Hikers on the Inca Trail with clear skies

Shoulder Seasons: A Compromise

April, October, and November are considered shoulder months, offering a sweet spot between the heavy rains and peak tourist crowds. Weather can be unpredictable, but you might find the ruins less crowded and more enjoyable.

The Rainy Season: A Lush, Vivid Experience

From November to March, Machu Picchu is enveloped in rains that bring the surrounding landscape to life, offering a vivid backdrop of lush, green mountains. While the risk of rain is higher, the crowds are thinner, and the beauty of the site is enhanced by the blooming flora.

Machu Picchu by Traveleez
Machu Picchu surrounded by lush greenery in the rainy season

Planning Your Visit: Tips and Considerations

  • Book in Advance: Whether you’re hiking or taking the train, securing your tickets and permits well in advance is essential, especially during the dry season.
  • Prepare for the Weather: Even in the dry season, mornings and evenings can be chilly, and rain showers can occur. Pack layers and be prepared for all conditions.
  • Consider the Crowds: If you prefer a more solitary experience, the shoulder months or even the rainy season might be more appealing despite the weather risks.

Special Events and Festivals

Visiting Machu Picchu during local festivals can add a unique cultural dimension to your trip. One of the most significant is the Inti Raymi festival in Cusco, celebrated in June, offering vibrant parades and ceremonies.

Inti Raymi
Inti Raymi festival celebrations in Cusco

When is the Best Time of the Day to Visit Machu Picchu?

Visiting Machu Picchu at the right time of day can significantly enhance your experience. The site opens at 6 AM and closes at 5:30 PM. Early morning and late afternoon are considered the best times for several reasons:

  • Early Morning (6 AM to 8 AM): Catching the sunrise over Machu Picchu is a breathtaking experience. The site is less crowded, allowing for serene exploration and photography opportunities. The early morning mist rolling over the ruins adds a mystical quality.
  • Late Afternoon (After 3 PM): Most day-trippers have left by this time, allowing for a quieter visit. The afternoon light provides a beautiful glow over the site, perfect for photography.

Visiting during these times not only offers the best light and fewer crowds but also a more intimate connection with this ancient wonder.

Machu Picchu Weather Chart (Table)

To help you plan your visit, here’s a simplified weather chart that gives an overview of what to expect month by month:

MonthAverage High (°C)Average Low (°C)Precipitation (mm)

This chart is an approximation. Actual weather can vary, so it’s always good to check closer to your visit.

Machu Picchu Weather Averages

Average Daily Sunshine Hours Machu Picchu

Average Temperature Machu Picchu

Average High Low Temperature Machu Picchu

Average High Low Temperature Machu Picchu

Average Rainfall Machu Picchu

Average Rainfall Machu Picchu

Average Daily Sunshine Hours Machu Picchu

Average Daily Sunshine Hours Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Tours and Treks

Machu Picchu offers a variety of tours and treks, catering to different interests and fitness levels:

  • Classic Inca Trail: The most famous trek leading to Machu Picchu, covering 42 km over 4 days. Requires booking months in advance due to limited permits.
  • Salkantay Trek: A 5-day trek that offers a more challenging route with breathtaking scenery.
  • One-Day Train Tour: For those limited on time or unable to trek, train tours offer a comfortable and scenic route to Machu Picchu, with departures from Cusco or Ollantaytambo.

Each option offers a unique way to experience Machu Picchu, from adventurous hikes to leisurely train rides through the Andean landscape.

Weather in Machu Picchu (Machu Picchu Weather by Month)

The weather in Machu Picchu varies significantly throughout the year, affecting visibility and trekking conditions:

  • January to March: These are the wettest months, with frequent heavy rains. The Inca Trail is closed in February for maintenance.
  • April: Transition month, with decreasing rainfall and warmer temperatures. The landscape is lush and green.
  • May to September: Dry season with the clearest skies and coldest nights. This is the peak season for tourism.
  • October to December: Rainfall begins to increase, but crowds are smaller. The weather is generally mild, with warm days and cool nights.

Planning your visit according to the weather and desired experience is crucial, whether seeking the solitude of the rainy season or the clear views of the dry months.

Read: Machu Picchu Weather by Month.

Frequently Asked Questions about Machu Picchu

What is the best month to visit Machu Picchu?

The best months to visit Machu Picchu are during the dry season from May to October, with the optimal weather conditions for clear views and hiking trails.

Can I visit Machu Picchu during the rainy season?

Yes, you can visit Machu Picchu during the rainy season from November to March. The site is less crowded, and the landscape is lush, but be prepared for rain and potentially slippery conditions.

How far in advance should I book my Machu Picchu tickets?

It’s recommended to book your Machu Picchu tickets at least 2-3 months in advance, especially if you’re planning to visit during the peak season or if you intend to hike the Inca Trail, which requires a separate permit that can sell out quickly.

What’s the best time of day to visit Machu Picchu?

Early morning or late afternoon are considered the best times to visit Machu Picchu to avoid the midday crowds and to experience the site in the softer light, which is ideal for photography.

Is it worth visiting Machu Picchu during the shoulder season?

Visiting during the shoulder months (April, October, and November) can be a great choice to avoid the peak season crowds while still enjoying relatively good weather, though occasional showers are possible.

Do I need a guide to visit Machu Picchu?

As of recent regulations, all visitors to Machu Picchu must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide to enter the site. You can join a group tour or hire a private guide.

How should I prepare for the weather at Machu Picchu?

Be prepared for all types of weather by dressing in layers. Even in the dry season, mornings can be chilly, and rain showers can occur unexpectedly.

What are some must-see areas of Machu Picchu?

Key areas to explore include the Intihuatana stone, the Temple of the Sun, the Room of the Three Windows, and for those who can manage a challenging hike, the climb to Huayna Picchu offers stunning views over the ruins.

Are there any cultural or special events at Machu Picchu?

While there are no specific events within Machu Picchu, the nearby city of Cusco hosts several cultural festivals throughout the year, such as the Inti Raymi Festival in June, which offers a unique cultural experience.

How do I get to Machu Picchu?

The most common route to Machu Picchu is to take a train to Aguas Calientes (the nearest town) and then a bus up to the ruins. Alternatively, you can hike the Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, or one of the other trails leading to Machu Picchu.

The Ideal Time for Your Machu Picchu Adventure

The best time of year to visit Machu Picchu ultimately depends on your preferences. For clear skies and ideal hiking conditions, aim for the dry season. If you wish to avoid crowds and don’t mind a bit of rain, the shoulder months or the rainy season might be perfect for you. Regardless of when you visit, Machu Picchu remains an awe-inspiring destination that promises an unforgettable experience.

Planning Your Trip

Now that you’re armed with information on the best time to visit Machu Picchu, it’s time to start planning your adventure. Remember to consider the season, book early, and prepare for an incredible journey to one of the world’s most iconic archaeological sites.

We’d love to hear from you! Have you visited Machu Picchu? What time of year did you go, and what was your experience like? Share your tips and stories in the comments below to help fellow travelers plan their perfect Machu Picchu adventure.

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