The big heads-up for Machu Picchu-bound travelers this month is that the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance, but Machu Picchu itself remains open. The heaviest rain of the year and the trail closure keep crowds away, but you will never see the ruins so refreshingly empty of tourists. A few interesting festivals take place across the Cusco region too, notably carnival.

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 a good month for exploring the area's other many highlights that, were the Inca Trail open, you may have not prioritized.   

Crowds & Costs

You'll inevitably save money if you visit Machu Picchu this month, as rainy weather makes this the low season for tourism and the priciest trek—the Inca Trail—is closed (although other main treks are all open). 

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.

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. The ruins are a must, of course—though all this wet weather means you should be very careful when climbing on them and while hiking, especially 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 or Lares treks. 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 and museums 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, 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 in Cusco this month is Carnaval, occurring in the days leading up to Lent. This event is celebrated to some extent in almost every Latin American town or city and is not specific to Cusco, although Cusco festivities, against the delightful city backdrop, are quite photogenic. But 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

Machu Picchu in January
Machu Picchu in March
Ultimate Guide to Machu Picchu