The Inca Trail is closed this month for maintenance, but the good news is that Machu Picchu is still open, as are some of the other classic Inca Trail alternative treks, such as the Salkantay trek. The year's heaviest rain this month makes hiking muddier and less appealing that at other times of the year: time, perhaps, to divert to some of the Sacred Valley's indoors attractions.

Weather

February is the wettest month in the Cusco and Sacred Valley region, but it is also very warm: expect highs around 64°F (18°C) and lows around 43°F (6°C). This weather brings on the mud and the chance of landslides, and such conditions are not ideal for trekking.  Nevertheless, the Inca Trail is the only big trek closed to tourists this month. Many visitors try one of the area's other trails instead, such as the Salkantay Trek. This is also a good month for exploring the area's other highlights that, were the Inca Trail open, you may have not prioritized.   

Landslides can also affect trains between Cusco and Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes railway station) and flights between Lima and Cusco. The general wet season pattern is that the bad weather comes in the afternoon, so get a morning flight to avoid cancellations.

Crowds & Costs

Crowds are at their lowest levels at Machu Picchu this month because of the Inca Trail being closed, and still fairly low on many of the alternative treks in the Sacred Valley, like the Salkantay and Lares treks. Although these two will benefit from tourists that would otherwise have done the Inca Trail, muddy conditions prevent them from becoming too popular in February.

Where to Go

Machu Picchu and every other attraction in the Sacred Valley except the Inca Trail are open. This may be the best time to counteract that wet weather gloom and visit the hot springs at Salinas, near Urubamba, or spend the time exploring Cusco's fascinating indoor attractions, such as its Inca ruins and museums, not to mention its fabulous restaurants. See here for the best places to eat in Cusco.

What to Do

Lovers of flora will relish a trip to the Machu Picchu area in February because of the thriving flower and plant life. Despite the Inca Trail being closed, the ruins are still a must, of course—though all this wet weather means you should be very careful when climbing on them and on rocks of any sort and while hiking on the trail up to Wayna Picchu.

Trekkers should note that while on paper it does not seem good for hikes this month because of wet conditions and the closure of the Inca Trail, this can be an opportunity to try a route you would otherwise disregard, such as the Salkantay trek. Rain also means rafting is great: many rivers swell into Class IV rapids in February.

Cusco, fortunately, is an all-weather destination. There are some fantastic restaurants, museums, and Inca ruins to check out for those rainy days. Bear in mind that if you wish to travel by train from Cusco to Machu Picchu(Aguas Calientes train station) this month as a compensation for not being able to hike the Inca Trail, services from Cusco's Poroy train station are not operating: you will be taken by bus for the Cusco-Ollantaytambo leg and continue by train to Aguas Calientes from there.

February Events

The big celebration of the region is in Cusco in February. And that is Carnaval, occurring in the days leading up to Lent. This event is celebrated to some extent in most Latin American towns and cities and is not specific to Cusco, although Cusco festivities, against a particularly photogenic city backdrop, are quite photogenic. There is also one unique and fascinating celebration occurring in the Cusco region this month.

Luchas de Toqto: The organized 'Toqto Fights' occurring at the beginning of February in the Canas and Chumbivilcas provinces around the town of Toqto are a fascinating ritual of Quechua origin, with the aim to determine land settlements for the coming year. Fights sometimes involve quite elaborate arms and injury counts are sometimes high! A party is held for winners and losers after this 3-day clash. 

More Helpful Information

Peru in February
Machu Picchu in February
Inca Trail in March
Ultimate Guide to the Inca Trail