Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu: Everything You Need to Know

What is the best time to visit Machu Picchu? Here’s what you should know!

Machu Picchu is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of South America.

Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu

Every year, thousands of visitors flock to the ancient Inca citadel nestled high in the Andes Mountains in Peru.

With so many people wanting to experience this UNESCO World Heritage Site, deciding when to visit is an important consideration.

Certain times of year offer better weather and fewer crowds.

In this post, I’ll talk about the best time to visit Machu Picchu based on climate, visitor numbers, and activities available.

Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu

Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu by Season

Visiting Machu Picchu offers different experiences depending on the time of year, with varying weather and crowd sizes.

Here’s a quick guide on what you can expect each season.


May to August: You’ll find the skies are often clear, and the views are spectacular, making it the peak season.

Be prepared for larger crowds and consider booking your trip well in advance.


September to November: This time brings warmer temperatures and the start of the rainy season.

It’s less crowded, giving you more space to explore.


December to February: Expect the wettest months, meaning fewer tourists but also slippery paths.

Pack waterproof gear and check for any travel restrictions due to heavy rains.


March to April: The rainfall begins to decrease, and lush greenery emerges, offering vibrant landscapes.

This period is a sweet spot with fewer tourists and pleasant weather and what I consider the best time to visit Machu Picchu.

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Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu

Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu by Month: Pros and Cons

Weather, crowd sizes, and festivals play a significant role in your trip to Machu Picchu, so here’s a quick look into the pros and cons of each month:



  • Green scenery due to the rainy season.
  • Fewer tourists, which means a less crowded experience.


  • Heavy rains can affect travel plans.
  • Some trails may be closed for maintenance.



  • Quietest month, as the Inca Trail is closed.
  • Opportunity to experience the site in solitude.


  • Inca Trail is closed.
  • Frequent rain showers.
Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu



  • Rain begins to subside.
  • Lush landscape with flowers in bloom.


  • Trails can be muddy.
  • Unpredictable weather patterns.



  • Decrease in rainfall, marking the start of the dry season.
  • Pleasant temperatures for hiking.


  • Visitor numbers begin to increase.
  • Occasional rainfalls still possible.



  • Dry weather with clear skies.
  • Ideal conditions for photography.


  • Increasing number of visitors.
  • Need to book accommodations and tours in advance.
Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu



  • Great weather for trekking.
  • Celebration of the Inti Raymi festival.


  • Peak tourist season, leading to crowds.
  • Higher prices for travel and accommodation.



  • Best overall weather conditions.
  • Dry and sunny days.


  • Can be very crowded.
  • Inca Trail permits sell out quickly.



  • Continuation of dry season.
  • Ideal for outdoor activities.


  • Crowds remain large.
  • Bookings should be done well in advance.
Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu



  • Slightly fewer tourists.
  • Weather remains dry and pleasant.


  • Slightly colder temperatures.
  • Increasing chance of rain later in the month.



  • Warm temperatures and fewer rains.
  • Less crowded than peak months.


  • Rain gradually increases.
  • Fluctuating weather conditions.



  • Reduction in tourist numbers.
  • Comfortable temperatures for sightseeing.


  • Rainy season begins.
  • Less predictable weather.
Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu



  • Start of the rainy season brings a quieter Machu Picchu.
  • Ideal time for those preferring solitude.


  • Heavy rains can interrupt travel plans.
  • Shorter daylight hours.

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Peak vs. Off-Peak Seasons

Machu Picchu has peak and off peak seasons.

Even though entry is restricted to 2,500 people a day no matter the time of the year, prices change throughout the year, too!

Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect during peak and off-peak seasons.

Advantages of Peak Season

During the peak season, which runs from June to August, you can expect goof weather with clear, sunny days that offer stunning views of the ancient site.

This time of year provides the perfect conditions for photography and long explorations.

Plus, the social atmosphere is vibrant, as you’re likely to meet fellow travelers from around the world.

  • Great weather for exploring
  • Vibrant social scene
Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu

Challenges of Peak Season

However, with great weather comes a significant increase in visitors, which means you’ll encounter crowds and long wait times.

Accommodations and tours book up quickly, often requiring reservations months in advance.

Ticket prices also tend to be higher, and the overall experience can feel a bit rushed due to the volume of visitors.

  1. Crowded trails and sites
  2. Higher costs and need for advanced bookings

Perks of Visiting During Off-Peak

The off-peak season spans from October to April.

This time offers a more relaxed visit, with fewer tourists and a more personal engagement with the site.

You also have a better chance of finding deals on tours and accommodations.

Be mindful though, as the weather is less predictable, with occasional showers which may add an adventurous twist to your experience.

  • Less crowded, offering a more intimate experience
  • Possible discounts on travel expenses

Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu for Events and Festivals

Visiting Machu Picchu during local festivals offers a vibrant peek into Andean traditions and celebrations, enriching your experience.

Inti Raymi Festival

Celebrate the sun god with the locals on June 24th at the Inti Raymi Festival.

This spectacle, reenacting Inca rituals with colorful costumes and traditional music, coincides with the winter solstice.

It’s a day-long event, the second-largest festival in South America, rooted deeply in the local culture.

Most of the festivities occur in Cusco, giving you a perfect reason to explore the historic city before heading to Machu Picchu.

Virgin del Carmen Festival

Witness the Virgin del Carmen Festival between July 15th and 18th in the nearby town of Paucartambo, roughly three hours from Machu Picchu.

This festival’s highlight is the elaborate dance performances, with locals donning intricate masks and outfits.

Prepare for crowds and book accommodations early, as this festival draws visitors and devotees from various regions.

Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu to Avoid Crowds

Visiting Machu Picchu during off-peak months is the key to avoiding crowds and getting better deals.

You’ll find fewer tourists during late April to early June and late September to early November.

These periods are also just outside the rainy season, offering a good balance of weather and solitude.

Weekday visits usually see less foot traffic compared to weekends.

Aim for an early morning trip, as the site opens at 6 AM, which not only dodges larger groups but also offers the serene beauty of sunrise over the ruins.

Consider this timeline for a day trip to Machu Picchu:

  • 6:00 AM – 8:00 AM: Arrive and explore with the fewest visitors.
  • 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Still relatively quiet before midday crowds.
  • After 3:00 PM: Crowd sizes decrease as day-trippers start to leave.
Time to VisitExpected Crowd Level
Early Morning (6-8 AM)Low
Mid-Morning (8-10 AM)Moderate
Noon to AfternoonHigh
Late Afternoon (After 3 PM)Moderating

Buying your tickets in advance is crucial, as they limit the number of visitors per day.

Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu for Hiking

When planning a hiking trip to Machu Picchu, it’s important to consider trail availability and seasonal conditions.

Here’s what to know about the best time to visit Machu Picchu for hiking:

Inca Trail Availability

The Inca Trail is subject to closures during February for maintenance.

The best months for hiking the Inca Trail are from May to September, during the dry season, when the paths are safer and the views unobstructed by rain clouds.

Be aware that permits are limited and sell out quickly, so booking several months in advance is essential.

Alternative Trek Seasons

For other treks like the Salkantay or Lares, the optimal hiking season also falls between May and September, to avoid heavy rains.

If you prefer solitude and fewer tourists, consider shoulder months like April and October, keeping in mind that there’s a higher chance of encountering wet conditions.

Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu for Weather

May to October is generally the best time to visit Machu Picchu weather-wise because it falls within the dry season, offering more comfortable hiking conditions and clearer views.

Rainy Season Considerations

The rainy season in Machu Picchu runs from November to April.

During this time, expect frequent showers and overcast skies. Here’s what you should consider:

  • Rain Gear: Pack waterproof clothing and sturdy, non-slip shoes.
  • Lush Landscapes: Scenery is greener, but trails may be slippery.

Dry Season Benefits

Conversely, the dry season spans May to October and is considered the optimal time to visit. Below are some key points about this period:

  • Crowds: Early booking is advised as this is the peak tourist season.
  • Climate: Days are sunny and warm, while nights can be quite cold, so pack layers.
best time to visit machu picchu

Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu for Wildlife

Visiting Machu Picchu offers you the chance to encounter rare wildlife.

Timing your visit can maximize your opportunities for sightings.

Biodiversity in Bloom

If you’re eager to see Machu Picchu’s natural flora and fauna in full splendor, plan your visit during the rainy season, from November to March.

This is when the region’s biodiversity is most vibrant, with lush vegetation providing a rich habitat for wildlife.

  • Best Months: November to March
  • Expectation: Lush landscapes & active wildlife

During this period, the increased rainfall nourishes the ecosystem, resulting in greener terraces and forests, which in turn, draw out a variety of wildlife.

Keep in mind, trails can be slippery, so prepare with appropriate gear.

Bird Watching Seasons

Machu Picchu is a haven for bird enthusiasts.

The best time to visit Machu Picchu for bird watching is at the start of the dry season, when the skies are clearer and the avian activity is high.

  • Optimal Period: April to June
  • Spot These Birds: Andean condors, cock-of-the-rocks, tanagers, and hummingbirds
  • Remember: Dawn and dusk offer peak bird activity
best time to visit machu picchu

During these months, you may get lucky and spot the iconic Andean condor soaring on thermal currents, or the vibrant cock-of-the-rock, Peru’s national bird, in the surrounding cloud forests.

Early mornings are particularly rewarding for bird watchers.

Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu for Costs

Timing is key if you want to visit Machu Picchu on a budget as costs can vary widely based on the season.

In general, May through September is the peak tourist season, so expect higher prices.

Off-Peak Season:

  • October to April – This is the rainy season, but you’ll find the best deals on travel and accommodation.
    • Fewer tourists
    • Hotel rates: Lower
    • Flights: Often cheaper
best time to visit machu picchu

Tips for Budget Travelers:

  • Book Early: Especially if you plan to trek the Inca Trail, as permits can be limited.
  • Flexible Dates: If you can adjust your travel dates, you may catch discounts.
  • Compare: Check out various booking platforms for competitive prices.

Travel Costs:

MonthFlight CostsHotel CostsCrowds
May – SepHighHighMany
Oct – AprLowerLowerFewer

Remember, the rainy season might mean cheaper prices, but also less predictable weather.

Always check for seasonal offers that could make even peak times more affordable.

Keep an eye out for those deals, and you’ll be able to enjoy Machu Picchu without breaking the bank.

Don’t forget to get travel insurance for your trip! As always, I recommend Safety Wing for great prices and coverage abroad. It starts at only $45 USD per month and will have you covered with everything you may need during your trip! Check them out here.

FAQs About the Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu

What’s the ideal month to experience Machu Picchu with good weather?

Your best bet for pleasant weather in Machu Picchu is during the dry season, which spans from April to October, with June to August being particularly ideal for clear skies.

Are there certain days of the week that are less crowded at Machu Picchu?

Typically, visiting Machu Picchu mid-week (Tuesday to Thursday) can help you avoid the larger crowds that often come during weekends.

How long should I plan to stay to get the full Machu Picchu experience?

A full day at Machu Picchu is necessary to explore its primary attractions, but consider 2-3 days if you wish to visit surrounding sites or hike one of the trails.

Can you tell me which months to avoid due to Machu Picchu’s rainy season?

The rainy season in Machu Picchu runs from November to March, with the heaviest rains typically in January and February, which might disrupt your visit.

What are some must-see highlights when visiting Machu Picchu?

Make sure to see the Intihuatana stone, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows.

If time allows, the Sun Gate and Huayna Picchu offer breathtaking views.

Are there any tips for visiting Machu Picchu during the peak or off-peak season?

In peak season, book your tickets and accommodations well in advance, and start your day early.

During off-peak times, bring waterproof gear and be prepared for a more flexible schedule due to weather changes.

Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu: Conclusion

In summary, the shoulder seasons of May, June, September and October tend to be the best time to visit Machu Picchu.

The weather is mild and dry, allowing for comfortable hiking and exploration of the ruins without dealing with intense heat or rain.