The two intriguing festivals of Día de Todos Santos (November 1) and Día de los Muertos (November 2) make this a very interesting month to visit Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Rainy season is here in earnest, however, and at Machu Picchu the cloud cover is often heavy. Trekking is harder in the rain this month, as is cycling, but rafting is more popular because of the higher water levels in the rivers.

Weather

In and around Machu Picchu, there is comparatively little variation between the highs around 70° F (21° C) and the lows around 43° F (6° C). It is warm by Andean standards, and temperatures do not dip below freezing even at night. The rain does keep on coming, though the wet season pattern is that the rains get heavier in the afternoons. The build-up of rainwater makes the risk of landslides greater as the month progresses. But flora loves the increased rain and after several months of the Andes looking ever drier and yellower, the Andes are in bloom again this month, with the first welcome color change a bright splash of green everywhere. 

Crowds & Costs

Falling between the end of shoulder season and the next busy period around Christmas and New Year, November is probably the best month to look for deals on hotels and tours. Visitors are more or less at their lowest levels of the year, and the drop in visitor numbers even since October is drastic.

This has the advantage that planning a trip for November is easier than at most other times of the year, as there are rarely any full hotels or over-subscribed tours to contend with. Some of the year's best flight prices, particularly on international flights into Lima, are available now.

Where to Go

You may never see the site of Machu Picchu with as few other visitors as it will get this month. Bear in mind that with the rain, the Inca Trail suffers more from erosion now: some great alternative treks are less frequented and make for better November hiking—check out this 5-day Salkantay Trek itinerary incorporated in an 8-day visit to Peru's Sacred Valley. That said, plan on spending more time inside on your November visit to the Sacred Valley.

While a visit in high season may have meant you were focussing on the Sacred Valley's beautiful countryside, this month it is perhaps a wise idea to turn to the spectacular architecture and museums in Cusco, or to make the most of the city's exquisite restaurants and lively bars. The smaller, pretty towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo are good for spending time in at the moment, too. Finally, the thermal springs in Aguas Calientes and at Salinas near Maras are especially appealing to rain-drenched visitors this month.   

What to Do

Just as trekking in the increasingly heavy rains loses its appeal because of the thick mud on the trails and the lack of shelter from downpours, so rafting becomes especially tempting this month. That said, there is a sudden burst of color all around Machu Picchu this month as rain makes the previously dry land bloom once more. 

The rafting season on the Río Apurímac ends at the end of November, but there is rafting on other rivers hereabouts that can be done now and right through wet season. 

November Events

Día de Todos Santos & Día de los Muertos: On these two days, November 1 and November 2 respectively, the memory of the dead is honored across Peru. In the highlands, this is normally done by bringing gifts of food to the dead in cemetery tombs. Candlelit vigils are also held at cemeteries until dawn on November 2, and a special bread called tanta wawa is prepared.

More Helpful Information

Machu Picchu in October
Machu Picchu in December
Ultimate Guide to Machu Picchu
Peru in November