June has arguably the best weather of any time of year at Machu Picchu. This month is the closest you will come to constant sunshine and cloudless blue skies in the Andes; rain is fairly rare. Be aware that despite this, the valley in which Machu Picchu sits sometimes seems to have its own special microclimate, and you should still be prepared for mist swaddling the ruins in the morning even at this time. Generally, you’ll get more sunshine, and slightly cooler temperatures (especially at night) with highs around 66° F (19° C) and lows around 34° F (1° C).
Crowds & Costs
Crowds are approaching their maximum levels in and around Machu Picchu this month. If you want to book the Inca Trail for this month, or the other high season months of July and August, you will need to do so half a year in advance. Journey on any train from Cusco or Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, the station for Machu Picchu, will also require booking several months in advance. The busiest time in June is Inti Raymi, the Inca Festival of the Sun. All June sees hotels and bookable tours at some of their highest prices in the year, but on Inti Raymi costs, particularly for hotels, increase even more. Rooms are hard to come by at this time too.
Where to Go
Cusco, and Sacsayhuamán are the places to be this month for Inti Raymi. Lots of visitors like to be at Machu Picchu to see the morning of Inti Raymi in here too. To escape the crowds at Machu Picchu and Cusco, some other Sacred Valley towns such as Pisac or Ollantaytambo can provide welcome respite in June.
Make the most of this brighter, chillier weather in June through August and head for a dip in the hot springs of Salinas near Maras (colder temperatures mean getting in is more inviting, whilst the sun will help dry you off afterwards).
What to Do
Nature-lovers are pretty contented with a June visit to the Sacred Valley. Falling water levels in the nearby jungle mean animal sightings on the riverbanks are increasing, and birds are more commonly seen from canopy viewing platforms because they like warming themselves in the sun. Another beautiful addition to the birdlife around this time is the Andean condor, most commonly seen from now until the end of December, in craggy upland areas.
June continues to be a great time for hiking and for outdoor activities of almost every kind. The one exception to this is probably rafting, where water levels are generally lower, unless you are wanting to raft the Río Apurímac in which case June is one of the best months.
The other thing to do is attend a festival: festivals do not come better than Inti Raymi, celebrated in and around Cusco.
Cusqueña Beer Festival: Peru's most popular beer, Cusqueña, has an entire festival dedicated to it in the city where it is made, Cusco. Held during the first week of June, accompanied by lots of live rock and salsa.
Corpus Christi: This solemn festival of religious devotion takes place on June 11 in the central squares of towns and cities in the Sacred Valley and across Peru.
Inti Raymi: This, the most important celebration in the Inca and Andean calendar, is the festival of the sun: traditionally honoring the shortest day of the year in the Andes and when the sun is furthest from the Earth, June 24. The Inca Empire feared the damage a lack of sun would have on their crops and therefore gave homage to the sun on this date to ensure its return. The Incan God of the Sun and the Goddess of Mother Earth, Pachamama, are both honored in this colorful celebration mainly held within the atmospheric grounds of Sacsayhuamán, an Incan site just outside Cusco.