Machu Picchu weather can be a dilemma for any traveler that doesn’t invest the time and research needed to fully understand its peculiar sub-tropical nature. If you are not careful, the beautiful scenery can be obscured by rain, wind, fog, and clouds. Checking the weather in Cusco will not suffice either, a 100 kilometers between the 2 makes a huge difference to their climates.
The location of Machu Picchu in the mountains makes it prone to receiving cold winds and its surrounding humid tropical jungle adds another unpredictable element. In general, the citadels weather can be broken into 2 seasons; wet season and dry season. Even within these 2 seasons, it is not uncommon for drastic and quick changes to take place on the same day.
Contents of the page:
In the summer months from November to March, it rains basically every single day. If possible, the time to avoid visiting Machu Picchu is between these months. During these months, rainfall occurs every day, accounting for about 80% of the annual rainfall in this period. The level of rainfall is cut in half when March turns to April, before finally halting when the dry season comes around. During this period of heavy rainfall, the humidity level gets to 91% which is absolutely huge!
On 2 out of 3 mornings, you will not see Machu Picchu until the afternoon due to the huge amounts of fog that rise from the rainforest and covers the canopy. Even with the high levels of rain around this time the average temperature is still around 21 degrees. This is very different from Cusco. To find out everything you need to know about what Cusco has to offer to take a look at our Cusco City Guide.
The weather from May to August in Machu Picchu is considered the best time of the year if dry weather is what you’re after, but you pay the price since this is the time of year that every other traveler will most likely go, so expect it to be crowded. September is still a dry month, although not to the same extent as the other dry months. October sees the same level of rainfall as April and can be considered the transition month back into the rainy season. When it does rain, it is never for more than an hour or 2 max and then it will stop. The humidity levels between these months are lower than the dry months, making a trip to Machu Picchu in the morning with high visibility an easier feat.
During the dry months, the hours of sunlight are double that of during the rainy season, making an early rise to see the sunrise over Machu Picchu a better prospect. The average temperature during the dry season ranges from about 17 – 19 degrees. At night time, the temperature will drop very low, sometimes even below freezing due to the cloudless skies letting the heat escape.
During the dry months of May to November a t-shirt and shorts will be the day time clothing of choice, along with sunglasses and sun cream. Although it is the dry season, a rain jacket and an extra t-shirt should still be packed in a bag as rain can still occur from time to time. Some sort of jumper or hoodie should also be packed to help protect against the cool nights.
The dry sunny Machu Picchu weather also brings with it an abundance of mosquitos, making mosquito spray a must! In the rainy season, all of these should still be brought except maybe the sunglasses and sun cream. An umbrella and waterproof boots will also be needed to help protect against the rain. To find out everything you need to know about visiting Machu Picchu visit our Machu Picchu ultimate guide.
The peak of the dry season which falls in the months of June and July offers travelers the most hours of sunlight and the least chance of rain. The only price which all of that comes at is the demand by the vast majority of people to go during that time, making tickets harder to obtain on short notice and a general busy atmosphere at Machu Picchu with swarms of people around. For all the information that you could need, check out our complete Machu Picchu guide!
For the best overall experience, it may be best to go either just before or just after June and July as the weather will still be dry and the hours of sunlight in a day will remain high, but the crowds will be lower. For this reason, the months of May, August and September could offer the best overall package for people thinking of visiting Machu Picchu. All of this being said, it is important to be clear that Machu Picchu will be a jaw-dropping adventure no matter what month you may decide to visit. To see which one of our bus passes suits you best to get to Cusco take a look at our passes page!