Each region of Peru has its own weather patterns and trip-planning considerations. The busy season for Machu Picchu, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley runs from June-August, and you'll want to book far in advance. Try May instead—the rains have let up, and crowds are still manageable. Heading to the Amazon? Waterways are most navigable from September-November, and wildlife spotting is at its best. And you'll want to visit the coast between January-March.

Fast facts

  • 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
  • November brings the best surfing (though waves are good year-round)

When is the best time to visit Peru?

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.

Climate chart for Cusco

Climate chart cusco
Average annual temperatures and rainfall in the Cusco Region

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, partly due to the fact that the hiking trails in the area get quite muddy. The Inca Trail closes down entirely in February for maintenance. The Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain trails may also be periodically closed for maintenance during this period. 

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.

Events in Summer

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.

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December in Peru
January in Peru
February in Peru

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.

Events in Fall

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.

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March in Peru
April in Peru
May 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.

Events in 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.

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June in Peru
July in Peru
August in Peru

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.

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September in Peru
October in Peru
November in Peru

Special thanks to Joaquin Ferreyros, Matt SteevesSteve Wilson and Kristy Tizon who provided their local expertise for this article. 

Alex
Published by Alex Buri, updated Dec 31, 2018