- January to March is the best time to visit the Peru's coastline
- May is a great month to visit the Cusco Region, just after the rains end
- June to August is the busy season for tourism in Cusco and the Sacred Valley
- September to November is the best time to visit the Amazon and see wildlife
- Inca Trail permits go on sale in January; popular months sell out quickly
- In November, you'll find the best surfing along the coast (although the surf is good year-round!)
Peru’s geography ranges from a vast coastline to the high Andes to the lush Amazon jungle, where every region has its own ‘best’ season. Even though we recommend certain months to visit, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit these places during the off-season; on the contrary, these are months are often the most interesting and rewarding times to visit, with fewer people and lower prices.
Annual climate chart for Cusco
December to February (Summer)
This is the wet season throughout Peru's interior and jungle regions, and when tourism slows down for the year. January and February are the wettest months, with the rain starting to ease off going into March.
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail receive their lowest number of visitors during these months, and Machu Picchu closes down entirely in February for maintenance. During these months, the hiking trails get quite muddy and wet. Also, the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain hikes were closed down in 2015 for maintenance, as well, during late February to early March. They have not made any announcements as of yet for 2016, but it's best to check this in advance.
Yet don’t be deterred! This is a great time to visit other regions in Peru, especially the many great beaches along Peru’s coast.
Carnaval (all February). The Carnival is a Roman Catholic festival that brings the Peruvian highlands to life with music, rituals and dancing. In particular, one popular tradition involves couples taking turns chopping down a symbolic tree laden with gifts. The couple who deals the final blow is in charge of arranging the festivities the following year.
Verano Negro (late February/early March). An Afro-Peruvian festival that celebrates the heritage of African-Peruvian culture through dancing, parades and other activities. Verano negro is the traditional dance of the province of Chincha, south of Lima.
Fiesta de la Vendimia (March). If you happen to be in Lima in March, this is a great festival to witness. The festival is 75 years old, and celebrates the ancestry and varieties of Peru, especially the turning of grapes into wine.
March to May (Fall)
It’s still the rainy season, but the rains are starting to die down by April and completely ceasing by May. May is widely regarded as a great time to visit Peru, given the vegetation is lush green from the recent rains and the land has yet to turn dry from the summer’s heat. On top of that, the crowds have yet to arrive.
As tourism starts to slow down along the coast and shifts to the inland, March is a great time to visit the coast as the weather is still good, there are fewer people, and prices start to go down.
Semana Santa (March/April). The week leading up to Easter is an especially holy week in Peru, where processions and festivities are carried out along the streets.
Q’oyoriti (late May/early June). A more traditional Peruvian festival celebrating the Andean rites at the foot of majestic Ausangate, the tallest mountain in Peru.
June to August (Winter)
Peru’s dry season is the busiest time for tourism, given there’s no rain and the skies are clear for hiking and sightseeing in the mountains. This is also when North and South Americans and Europeans have their summer vacations, so be sure to book your tours and accommodations a few months in advance if you’re visiting during this time.
Given that the skies are clear, this is the most popular hiking season in Peru. It is also the coldest time in Peru as it’s winter.
Qoylloriti Pilgrimage (late May/early June). A religions festival held in the Sinakara Valley of the Cusco Region that coincides with the full moon. What follows is a large procession along with dancing that takes place around the Lord of Quyllurit'i shrine.
Inti Raymi (June). This is the largest festival of the year in Peru, marking the winter solstice with a nine-day celebration.
Virgen del Carmen, Paucartambo (July). For five day in July every year, this small mountain town comes to life with festivities. Thousands of tourists and locals flood to Paucartambo to partake in the party.
September to November (Spring)
By September, tourism is starting to die down and this is the ideal time to avoid the crowds yet still have chances of great weather. September to November is also the driest season in the Amazon, making it the best time to spot wildlife.