You'll be hiking the Inca Trail in dry, sunny weather this month, and the Sacred Valley resounds with the color and clamor of near-constant festivities. No wonder July is such a popular time of year to visit the region—this is when the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu regularly meet their maximum visitor capacity. Read on for more about weather, crowds, and activities.

Weather

It's more of the same sunny weather as June this month: good news for those in North America and Europe, who take to the Inca Trail in great quantities as their holiday season kicks off in earnest. Out of the sun, air temperature can still be cool in the daytime and at night when camping out on the Inca Trail, there is a distinct chill in the air. It can be mighty chilly too up on the higher reaches of the trail such as at the pass of Warniwañusca.

That said, there is often great visibility for stargazing, which will certainly be an option while you are camping out on the trail too. Temperature highs are around 66° F (19° C) and lows around 34° F (1° C). 

Crowds & Costs

As holiday season in North America and Europe begins in earnest, high season continues on the Inca Trail and its surrounds. A couple of big festivals also draw in Peruvian holiday-makers. Costs for hotels and activities echo June's levels as the highest of any time of year. 

Where to Go

Aguas Calientes, the gateway town to Machu Picchu, which Inca Trail trekkers will most likely see after a tough four days' hiking, is at its most appealing during the festivities of Virgen del Carmen, one of the month's big celebrations: it may be time to relax after a challenging walk and join in! But Cusco and other Sacred Valley towns also celebrate Virgen del Carmen, and any community hereabouts is likely to make an interesting stop this month with festivities due at one point or other.

What to Do

This month is a great one for hiking, albeit a mighty busy one on the Inca Trail and other popular treks like Salkantay. But there are plenty of hikes in and around Machu Picchu to escape the crowds at the main site. Even the steep hike up Wayna Picchu ditches many of the crowds. See this article for the best hikes to Machu Picchu. Take plenty of water to combat dehydration made worse by the sun.

Bird-watchers should be on the lookout for the majestic Andean condor which is easiest to spot during the dry months of May through December. 

Festival-goers should have a ball this month too, as almost every town and village in the Sacred Valley celebrates the two Peru-wide festivities of Virgen del Carmen and the Fiestas Patrias.

July Events

Two big festivals happen this month, although with all the smaller festivals too, plus the build-up and wind-down, it can seem as though every day at this time of year is party day.

Virgen del Carmen: July 16 marks the official celebration of this religious festival, which is celebrated in a wide variety of ways: processions, feasts, agricultural shows, and folk concerts happen across the Sacred Valley. Festivities are not always confined to this day and often spill over into the days preceding and following July 16.

Fiestas Patrias: This is the umbrella term given to any of the celebrations held to mark Peruvian Independence Day on July 28, and the establishment of the Republic of Peru on July 29. They are taken as a joint holiday by Peruvians. Around the country on these days there are parties, processions and plenty of Peruvian holidaymakers out celebrating and relaxing with friends and family.

More Helpful Information

Peru in July
Machu Picchu in July
Ultimate Guide to the Inca Trail