November is spring in Peru and much of the interior will be transitioning out of the dry season, though weather patterns depend on where you are traveling. There are three distinct climate zones:
The desert strip: Peru's coastline in November starts to become warmer and is consistently sunny and dry. This region includes Mancora, Trujillo, Lima, Paracas, and Arequipa. Lima averages highs of 72° F (22° C) and lows of 61° F (16° C). North of Lima, it gets warmer and sunnier as you get closer to the equator.
The Andean highland zone: The interior starts to see warmer temperatures and more moisture in November, includes Huaraz, Machu Picchu, Cusco, and Lake Titicaca. If visiting the Cusco region this month, you’ll see highs around 70° F (21° C) and lows around 43° F (6° C).
- The large eastern area covered by the Amazon rainforest: The jungle has warm and humid weather throughout the year with rising rainfall in November. This region includes Iquitos, Tarapoto, Manu, and Puerto Maldonado. Iquitos tends to see highs in November around 90° F (32° C) and lows around 72° F (22° C).
Crowds & Costs
November is still a good time to visit Peru's interior with few crowds and many chances of great weather. Rates and prices in general start to lower for the slow season but it's still a good idea to book your tours and accommodations in advance if you’re visiting during this time.
As tourism starts to pick up along Peru's coastline, Novembers is a great time to visit the beach towns, especially north of Lima, where the weather is great and rates tend to be lower than its prime season: December through March.
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Where to Go
Peru's Andean interior, specifically the Sacred Valley, is usually a must 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 with few crowds and not too much rainfall this time of year. There are plenty of trekking alternatives.
Beach towns in Lima and Peru's northern coast are beginning to gain steam this month. Further south is the stunning Paracas National Reserve with sand dunes, untouched beaches, and diverse fauna.
Peru's Amazon region possesses the planet’s highest levels of biodiversity and is one of the unique places on earth with coiling rivers, cloud forests, indigenous communities, and wildlife. You can even combine a trip to the jungle with the Inca Trail on this 12-day tour.
Another hidden gem, 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. There's abundant nature in the cloud forest with ample opportunities for treks, hiking and exploring lakes and waterfalls, like this 10-day itinerary in the northern Peruvian Andes, Huaraz & Cordillera Huayhuash Trekking.
What to Do
Trekking in the Andes: Peru's highland interior 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. For shorter hikes, here is a list of the Best Day Hikes in the Sacred Valley with visits to waterfalls, caves, and hot springs.
Surfing & watersports: The sport of surfing is growing in Peru, and many beach towns north of Lima like Cabo Blanco (home of the "Peruvian pipe"), Chicama, and Mancora boast the northerly swells this time of year with consistent sunshine. Kiteboarding, diving, and whale- and dolphin-watching are popular as well.
City culture in Lima: Despite the fact that it hardly ever rains here, this layover city often gets overlooked for Cusco. But 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), nightlife, and great shopping. Make sure to spend an evening watching the sunset overlooking the bluffs at Miraflores.
Wildlife viewing on the Ballestas Islands: Accessible from the beach town of Paracas (near Pisco) by tour boat, these islands, nicknamed ‘the Galapagos Islands of Peru', are home to rare birds like pelicans, penguins, Peruvian boobies, and Inca terns. It’s also common to spot sea lions, turtles, dolphins, and whales in the park. Due to its ideal location on the Pacific coast, day trips can be made while you explore the sand dunes of Huacachina.
History & Inca ruins: Within the Sacred Valley, you’ll find a host of other ruins like Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuaman, and Pisac. While these sites are smaller and 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. Also, straddling the border between Peru and Bolivia in the Andes is one of South America's largest bodies of water: Lake Titicaca. Said to be the birthplace of the Incas, this area is also home to numerous ruins.
Hiking, biking & rafting: This is a great time to combine any or all of these activities before the December rains pick up. An example is this two-week option in Southern Peru.
Cruising the Amazon River: November is still a good time to head to Peru's Amazon region with many options for hiking, canoeing, and birdwatching. For more adventurous types, you can take a river rafting expedition—or simply opt for a relaxing river cruise through Peru's wild jungle. Here are some river cruise itineraries from 2 to 12 days.
Peru is known for its many festivals, with literally thousands of them held all over the country every year. Here are a few to look out for:
Todos Santos: All Saints’ Day is held every year in Peru on November 1, a religious precursor to the following day (per below) celebrated with Catholic masses.
All Saints & All Souls Day: This holiday is celebrated on November 2 all over the country with offerings of food, drink, and flowers taken to family graves. This day is especially colorful in the Andes where some of the food and drink is enjoyed, and the atmosphere is festive rather than somber.
Puno Week: Starting November 5, this week-long festival involves several days of spectacular costumes and street dancing to celebrate the legendary emergence of the first Inca, Manco Cápac. This involves a very interesting reenactment of his arrival on the shores of Lake Titicaca and is a great excuse to party the whole week long.