June in Peru marks the official start of the dry season though weather patterns depend on where you are traveling. There are three distinct climate zones:
The desert strip: Peru's coast offers sunny skies and mild temperatures in June, though southern areas can get cooler and foggier during this season. This region includes Mancora, Trujillo, Lima, Paracas, and Arequipa. Peru's coastline near Lima averages highs of 68° F (20° C) and lows of 59° F (15° C). In fact, the weather is nearly always spring-like, but it almost never rains creating a desert atmosphere. South of Lima, you'll experience slightly cooler temperatures than the north (closer to the equator).
The Andean highland zone: Expect little to no rain in June and cooling temperatures that vary depending on your altitude. This region includes Huaraz, Machu Picchu, Cusco, and Lake Titicaca. If visiting the Cusco region, you’ll experience more sunshine and slightly cooler temperatures with highs around 66° F (19° C) and lows around 34° F (1° C). This is a great time to visit.
- The large eastern area covered by the Amazon rainforest: This area has wet, warm and humid weather throughout the year with lessening rain in June, especially in the southern area. This region includes Iquitos, Tarapoto, Manu, and Puerto Maldonado. Iquitos tends to see highs around 86° F (30° C) and lows around 72° F (22° C).
Crowds & Costs
Starting in June, Peru's dry season in the Andes is the busiest time for international tourism, given there’s no rain and the skies are clear for hiking and sightseeing in the mountains. This is also when North and South Americans and Europeans have their summer vacations, so be sure to book your tours and accommodations several months in advance if you’re visiting during this time.
Given that the skies are clear, this is the most popular hiking season in Peru. It is also the coldest time since this is Peru's winter. In general, the mountains and canyons are still quieter than July and August, so it's a good month to come if you're trying to skip peak crowds.
As tourism slows down along Peru's coastline and shifts inland, June is a great time to visit the beach towns, especially north of Lima, where the weather is still good and rates tend to be lower than December through March.
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Where to Go
Peru's interior, specifically the Sacred Valley, is usually high on the list for international visitors. Machu Picchu is the most popular and important of all Incan ruins, and the Inca Trail is the only way to hike directly into the park through the Sun Gate. A great alternative trail is the Salkantay Trek—a lesser-known 5-day trek to Machu Picchu where you'll hike past coffee farms, glacial lakes, and rugged snowcapped peaks before lowering into the dense cloud forest for your approach to the Incan ruins.
For those interested in experiencing Peru's Amazon rainforest, this is a good time of year to visit. The area possesses the planet’s highest levels of biodiversity and is one of the wildest places on earth with coiling rivers, cloud forests, indigenous communities, and wildlife. You can combine a trip to the jungle with the Inca Trail on this 12-day tour.
Off the beaten path, Northern Peru is an area that is often overlooked by tourists. Here you can find beautiful landscapes with countless bird species, pre-Incan archaeology including the adobe city of Chan Chan, and abundant nature in the cloud forest with ample opportunities for treks, hiking and exploring lakes and waterfalls.
Though it's likely too chilly for swimming in the Pacific Ocean unless you're further north (closer to the equator), it's worth visiting Peru's coastline, especially surf towns like Máncora. Further south is the Paracas National Reserve with sand dunes, cliffs, and diverse fauna.
What to Do
Trekking in the highlands: Peru's Andean range has long attracted lovers of the great outdoors, and trekking is by far the most popular activity. There are numerous multi-day opportunities to choose from other than Machu Picchu; check out a list of the Best 10 Treks in Peru. As for shorter hikes, here is a list of the Best Day Hikes in the Sacred Valley near Cusco.
Biking & rafting: With great weather in the mountains this time of year, there are plenty of options for combining these activities, like this two-week option in Southern Peru.
History & Inca ruins: Within the Sacred Valley, you’ll find a host of ruins like Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuaman, and Pisac near the colonial city of Cusco. While these smaller sites are more spread out than Machu Picchu, you’ll have your fill of Spanish colonial villages, handicraft markets, and Incan history if you manage to visit them all. Lake Titicaca in Southern Peru, said to be the birthplace of the Incas, is also home to numerous ruins.
City culture in Lima: Peru's capital is rich in history and culture with beautiful architecture, cathedrals, interesting museums, a growing culinary scene (including #6 and #7 on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list), nightlife, and great shopping. Make sure to watch a sunset overlooking the bluffs at Miraflores.
River cruise in the Amazon: A more relaxing option is to enjoy Peru's wild jungle, via its rivers and waterways. Here's a list of the best river cruises ranging from 2 to 12 days.
Peru is known for its many festivals, with literally thousands of them held all over the country every year. The month of June is loaded with festivals in and around Cusco. A sample of events around Peru:
Q’oyoriti: In late May/early June, this more traditional Peruvian festival celebrates the Andean rites at the foot of majestic Ausangate, the tallest mountain in Peru.
The Festival of the Sun: Held on the winter solstice each year, this is the greatest of Inca festivals in Cusco attracting thousands of Peruvians and visitors. Towns in the Amazon also celebrate this day. For example, on the eve of the actual holiday, Iquitos celebrates with dancing, feasting, and cockfights through the night.
San Pedro y San Pablo: The feasts of saints Peter and Paul provide more fiestas on June 29, especially around Lima and in the highlands.
Semana de Andinismo: Mountaineering aficionados descend on Huaraz to celebrate the Andes with hikes, rock climbing, paragliding, skiing, and concerts.
Inti Raymi: The main event of the celebrations for the month of Cusco evoke the splendor of the Inca religious ceremonies. The staging begins in the Qoricancha, continuing in the main square of the city and ending on the esplanade of Sacsayhuaman. The central role is performed by the Inca.