It's more of the same sunny weather as June this month: good news for those in North America and Europe, who visit Machu Picchu in great quantities this month as their holiday season kicks off in earnest. Out of the sun, air temperature can still be cool in the daytime and at night there is a chill in the air, although there is often great visibility for stargazing. 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 in Machu Picchu and 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, is at its most appealing during the festivities of Virgen del Carmen, one of the month's big celebrations. 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, and there are plenty of treks 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. 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.
Two big festivals happen this month, although with 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 music shows 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. Around the country on these days there are parties, processions and plenty of Peruvian holidaymakers out celebrating and relaxing with friends and family.