December is a strange month in Cusco and the Sacred Valley: both quiet (at the beginning of the month) and hectic (over Christmas and New Year). Then again, the famous Christmas and New Year festivities in Cusco pull in a lot of Peruvian visitors as well as a fair few from overseas, and one of the biggest handicrafts fairs anywhere in the Andes takes place in Cusco too.
Peru Travel Insights
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.
If you want the same sunny weather as the high season without high season crowds, September is the month to visit Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. As this is officially shoulder season, expect to get better deals on hotels and tours this month too.
This is the very end of dry season in the Andes, even though rain will get more frequent as the month wears on. Still, compared to the five months that follow it, October has little wet weather and is still shoulder season, with tourists taking advantage of the last decent month for trekking and many other outdoor activities until the following April comes around.
It's the last month of high season in and around Machu Picchu this month. Visitor numbers overall remain very high, temperature highs are creeping up again and some ultra-traditional Andean festivals are celebrated.
Sunny days with little rain and a series of great festivals ensure that July is a popular month for visiting the region. Expect festivities to be happening wherever you are staying as the aftermath of one festival or the build-up to another make this a lively and atmospheric time of high season.
Hands down the most lively month to visit Machu Picchu and its surroundings, June is also the busiest month and the height of high season here. Plenty of sunshine combines with the most important celebration of the Andean calendar, Inti Raymi, to make for a very special and atmospheric (if busy) time to visit.
Interesting festivals start popping up across the Sacred Valley during May, as dry season continues and shoulder season approaches high season towards the end of the month. May is a great month to experience Machu Picchu in some of the year's best weather conditions without those high season crowds.
The start of dry season in the Andes makes April perhaps the best time to visit South America's most famous historic site. Machu Picchu's weather is more often sunny and rain-free than not, carpets of flowers brighten almost every vista and the communities of the Sacred Valley have colorful Semana Santa celebrations, should Easter fall after the first week of April. Yet this is still shoulder season, with crowds far less than in June, July and August.
The Inca Trail reopens, the wet weather starts to subside and, should Easter fall this month, Semana Santa brings in the crowds to Machu Picchu at levels not seen since the end of last season's shoulder period. Read on for more advice on traveling to Peru's most beloved attraction in March.
The big heads-up for Machu Picchu-bound travelers this month is that the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance, but Machu Picchu itself remains open. The heaviest rain of the year and the trail closure keep crowds away, but you will never see the ruins so refreshingly empty of tourists. A few interesting festivals take place across the Cusco region too, notably carnival.
For tourist-free views of Machu Picchu, visit in January. Peru's most popular attraction is much less crowded in the wet season. Rainy weather means a lot of mud—and far-from-ideal trekking conditions. But with the rain, flora flourishes. When the rains clear, as they often do, Machu Picchu appears spectacularly verdant.
This 9-day Peruvian tour is perfect for travelers who have a thirst for adventure. After a night in the bustling capital, you'll head to the Amazon rainforest for two nights at a beautiful eco-lodge known for hiking and viewing wildlife. Then, head to Cusco and the Sacred Valley to discover colorful textile markets and monolithic ruins. Top it all off with a guided tour of Machu Picchu before finishing on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
Take a quick detour into the Amazon on this three-day itinerary. You'll fly into the frontier town of Puerto Maldonado, just a quick flight from Lima or Cusco, and head up the Tambopata River to experience the scenery and wildlife of the Amazon rainforest.
From the city to the jungle, this 7-day exploration of Peru is perfect for adventurous travelers. Start in metropolitan Lima, then continue to the ancient Inca capital of Cusco. Explore the ancient Incan streets of Cusco then continue to the jungle for a stay at a jungle lodge. Explore the rainforest, visit a coffee plantation, and hike the Inca Trail to see the Llactapata ruins. Spend a day visiting Machu Picchu, the famed 15th-century citadel. Finally head back towards Cusco to see the colorful Rainbow Mountain.
This classic route through Peru introduces you to the country's top attractions for an immersive experience in seven days. See the contrast between old and new Lima, visit ancient archaeological wonders and textile communities in the Sacred Valley, and marvel at the majestic ruins of Machu Picchu. You’ll also spend a day and a night in the beautiful colonial city of Cusco for your fill of treasures from its Inca and Spanish legacy.
Bohemian Barranco is one of Lima's coolest neighborhoods. One look at the area's vibrant street art, beachfront cafés, hip boutique hotels, romantic footbridges, and charming old mansions, and you'll understand why. From museums to ceviche bars, discover the best of Barranco with this guide.
Come for the ocean views, stay for ancient ruins and first-class shopping. Miraflores is one of Lima's most popular neighborhoods, thanks to its dramatic clifftop location, breezy green spaces, open-air malls, and stylish restaurants and bars. Find out what to do, where to stay, and what to eat with this neighborhood guide.
Before the Incas, a long line of indigenous civilizations thrived in Peru—and today, visitors can see what they left behind, from mysterious geoglyphs in the desert to fortress-like ruins in the cloud forest to a massive adobe pyramid in one of Lima's hippest neighborhoods. Discover the remains of Peru's ancient cultures with these suggestions.
The Inca Trail gets most of the publicity, but there are also several hikes within the Machu Picchu complex itself, offering more fabulous mountain scenery and some unique perspectives on the ruins. These hikes, ranging from one to three hours in length, can be great ways of escaping the crowds and adding some color to your time in Machu Picchu.
Peru may be famous for its ceviche, but vegetables are a way of life here too—after all, it's home to 3,800 varieties of potatoes alone. Combine this bounty with Lima's renowned food scene, and it's no surprise that vegetarian and vegan eateries abound. Here's a list of the best spots to grab a raw taco, quinoa burger, or a big bowl of cashew pesto pasta, in the trendy Miraflores neighborhood and beyond.
Peru is richly endowed with natural beauty and diverse wildlife. Many of its mythic sites are firm fixtures on the tourist trail. To escape the crowds, you can visit a remote nature reserve with unparalleled biodiversity: Manú National Park.
This 10-day tour combines Peru's highlights for an active and fun getaway. Explore Lima and stroll around its bohemian sea-side neighborhoods. Go shopping for fresh produce at a local mercado before heading to a cooking class to get an authentic taste of Peru. View some of the world's most impressive geoglyphs then try your hand at sandboarding on the nearby dunes. Next, head south to Cusco. Explore the impressive ruins of Machu Picchu, colorful textile markets, and bustling plazas of southern Peru. Embark on an exciting via ferrata and zip-lining adventure and hike to the peak of Huayna Picchu mountain for some stunning views. Finally, travel to Lake Titicaca to experience the beauty and culture of its islands.
From the Nazca Lines to Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, and Machu Picchu, this 14-day itinerary takes you to Peru's major highlights. Fly over the Nazca Lines - some of the world's most impressive geoglyphs, then spend some time exploring the metropolitan city of Lima before heading out to explore the colonial city of Arequipa. Next, explore Colca Canyon, one of the world's deepest canyons, then head out to Lake Titicaca - a place rich with history, culture, and natural beauty. Finally, head to the Inca capital of Cusco and explore colorful textile markets and small towns of the Sacred Valley, and hike the short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
From the Nazca Lines to the Ballestas Islands, Amazon, and Machu Picchu, this 13-day itinerary takes you to Peru's major highlights. Fly over the Nazca Lines - some of the world's most impressive geoglyphs, then spend some time exploring the wildlife-rich Ballestas Islands and metropolitan city of Lima. Next, journey into the Amazon to spot Amazonian wildlife like macaws, cayman, and tapir from the comfort of an eco-lodge. Finally, head to the Inca capital of Cusco and explore colorful textile markets and small towns of the Sacred Valley, and hike the short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Explore the essential highlights of Peru on this 8-day itinerary. Begin in the metropolitan capital city of Lima, and explore the vibrant city by bike. Then, head to the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, and get a taste of the local culture on a culinary tour. Next, discover the beautiful textiles and incredible ruins of the Sacred Valley, and spend a full day taking in the majesty of Machu Picchu. Top it all off by summiting the colorful rainbow mountain - the perfect photo op!
Explore the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, along with Machu Picchu, and the largest lake in South America on this 9-day exploration of local Peruvian culture. Start in metropolitan Lima, then head to Cusco to experience the local culture and culinary traditions. Continue on to the Sacred Valley to visit its ancient ruins and colorful textile markets. Next, spend a day visiting the iconic Machu Picchu ruins. Finally, venture to Lake Titicaca to see its floating islands and intricate hand-made crafts.
Peru may be heaven for outdoor adventurers, but after hiking the Inca Trail or exploring the jungle, you'll want to unwind. Read on for the best ways to chill out in Peru, from serene beaches and state-of-the-art spas to natural hot springs and boutique river cruises.
From metropolitan cities and ancient Inca ruins to remote jungle lodges, this 12-day exploration of Peru's history and nature is perfect for the adventurous traveler. Start in metropolitan Lima, then continue to imperial Cusco. Explore 15th-century archaeological sites, colorful textile markets, and the famed Machu Picchu estate. Hike to see the colorful Rainbow Mountain, then spend 2 days deep in the Amazon exploring the jungle and seeing rare wildlife. Visit Huaraz in the Cordillera Blanca region of Peru to see steep glaciated peaks and icy alpine lakes.
Explore Peru's coast, mountains, and rainforest in this 10-day highlights trip. Start in metropolitan Lima and soak in the coastal vibe, then head east deep into the Amazon rainforest. Explore the peaceful reserve, enjoy wildlife viewing, and stay in a comfortable lodge on the banks of a mighty river. Continue to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca empire, and explore archaeological sites and the stunning Sacred Valley. Visit the famed Machu Picchu citadel, then keep going south to Lake Titicaca—South America's largest lake—to explore cultures who predate the Inca by millennia. Take a tour onto the lake to see the floating reed islands, textile weaving, and ancient stone ruins. Whether by plane or bus, you will be amazed at how quickly the landscape changes as you discover Peru.
From metropolitan Lima to the remote Peruvian Andes, this 6-day adventure brings you to the heart the action. Start in Lima— the capital of Peru—then take a scenic bus trip to Huaraz, a mountain town popular with outdoor enthusiasts. Explore the city's history, then head into the mountains to see stunning glaciated peaks, bright blue mountain lakes, and Peru's highest mountain—Mt. Huascaran, which towers at 22,205 ft.
From the hustle and bustle of Lima to the remote Machu Picchu citadel, this one-week highlights tour is perfect for travelers with a time crunch and a thirst for adventure. Explore the bohemian neighborhoods and exciting food scene of Lima, then continue to Cusco—the ancient Inca capital. Spend several days in the ancient Sacred Valley discovering colorful textile markets and monolithic ruins, walk in the footsteps of the Inca and visit a brilliant blue alpine lake. Finish your visit with a tour of Machu Picchu—the famed 15th century citadel.
From the hustle and bustle of Lima to Peru's dramatic coast, this tour of Peru's south and Pacific seaboard is perfect for travelers with a thirst for adventure. Explore the colonial-era southern city of Arequipa, then explore the nearby Colca Canyon—the 2nd deepest in the world. Visit pre-Inca petroglyph sites, dinosaur prints, and mummified trees, then continue to Camana on the coast. From soaring Andean condors to the Paracas nature preserve, this exploration of Peru's wild nature is a must-see.
This three-week itinerary is ideal for avid hikers looking for a unique adventure. Explore the ancient Incan capital of Cusco before embarking on the 5-day Ausangate trek, a beautiful and off the beaten path trek to Machu Picchu. During the trek, you’ll discover the beauty and rugged highlands of the Ausangate region, hike past glacial lakes, and wander amidst herds of alpacas. After completing the trek, venture to Machu Picchu citadel to explore Peru's most iconic ruins. Next, head out to explore the colonial city of Arequipa, then travel to Colca Canyon, one of the world's deepest canyons. After trekking through the canyon, depart for Lake Titicaca to spend a few days hiking, kayaking, and exploring the region's rich history, culture, and natural beauty.
Explore Peru's iconic cities, ancient archaeological sites, and coastal wildlife in this 7-day exploration. Start in the capital of Lima, then head south to Paracas for a marine wildlife tour and views of a 2,200-year old geoglyph. Try your hand at sandboarding in the desert oasis of Huacachina before heading to the imperial Inca city of Cusco. Explore Inca ruins, bustling textile markets, and the local culture of the Sacred Valley. Finish your visit with a day trip to Machu Picchu, the iconic 15th-century citadel.
From the remote Machu Picchu ruins to the lush Amazon rainforest, this 7-day itinerary brings you to Peru's iconic landscapes. Fly to metropolitan Lima, then connect with the Inca capital of Cusco. Explore colorful textile markets, small towns, and Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley before traveling east to Puerto Maldonado, your launch point to the lush Amazon. Spend three days viewing wildlife, like the giant river otter, river cayman, and vibrant parrot species, while enjoying a comfortable stay at an eco-lodge.
For a quick trip that includes the highlights of the Sacred Valley as well as Lima's culinary scene, look no further than this 5-day Peruvian jaunt. Take in the sights and tastes of Peru's cosmopolitan city of Lima, then head off to tour the explore the incredible landscapes, culture, and history of the Sacred Valley. Top it all off by spending a day exploring the bucket-list-worthy wonder of Machu Picchu.
Trek through the Lares Valley, where you'll pass between glacier-capped mountains where llamas and alpacas graze in the surrounding hills. You'll visit the town of Lares, a colorful traditional town in the heart of the valley. Combined with the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, this is a trek that combines two wonderful valleys & mountain ranges with very different ecologies & landscapes. Next, enjoy a kayaking adventure on Lake Titicaca and delve into the beauty and history of the region.
Pair a short trek in the Lares Valley with Amazon exploration on this ten-day tour. Spend two days hiking past glacier-capped mountains and grazing alpacas, ending in the traditional town of Lares in the Sacred Valley. Then, walk a short section of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu before heading to Puerto Maldonado—gateway to the rainforest. Enjoy wildlife and botany tours, ride the river in a dugout canoe, and spend your nights in the comfort of an eco-lodge.
Lake Titicaca, Machu Picchu, and beyond: this itinerary takes you to Peru's major highlights. Explore metropolitan Lima before heading to Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca. Then, explore the colorful textile markets of Cusco and small towns of the Sacred Valley, hike the short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and top it off with a day exploring the iconic citadel ruins.
December marks the official start of Peru's beach season, with warmer Pacific temperatures and great waves. As for the mountains, rains start falling on the trails, though you can still opt for Christmas treks that end in Machu Picchu for holiday cheer at the world's most famous Incan ruin.
Though the dry season is coming to an end, November is still a good month to travel to Peru with pleasant conditions and uncrowded treks, lots of festivals, and waves returning, calling all surfers to the coast. There's also an abundance of birdlife and flora, particularly orchids, in the Amazon at this time. Get the best out of your November trip with this monthly guide.
Visiting Peru at the height of its spring shoulder season means less-crowded Sacred Valley trails. October is also one of the best months for rainforest treks in the Amazon, where wildlife-watching is at its best. Meanwhile, Peru's coast starts to attract surfers picking up the early summer swells. Find out what to do and where to go with this monthly guide.
The start of Peru's shoulder season, September offers highland trekking without the crowds. The great weather still lends itself to enjoying Machu Picchu, Northern Peru, and the Amazon region—not to mention a 10-day culinary festival in Lima. Find out what to do and where to go in this monthly guide.
August is the busiest month of the year in the Sacred Valley. With warm, sunny days and crisp evenings, the ideal weather lends itself to enjoying all the attractions Peru has to offer, from admiring Machu Picchu to adventure sports in lesser-known areas of the country.
July sees the continuation of high-season tourism with warm, sunny days and chilly, crisp evenings. This time of year offers some of the best weather nationwide and lends itself to enjoying all the attractions Peru has to offer, from admiring Machu Picchu to adventures in Northern Peru or the less-rainy Amazon region. Beat the crowds and make the most of your July trip with this guide.
June is an excellent time to visit Peru's interior. This month marks the start of the driest season of the year—the most ideal time to trek, especially if you're planning to visit Machu Picchu and the Cusco region. Find out what to do, where to go and how to skip the crowds in this monthly guide.
In May, the rains come to an end in the Sacred Valley, making this a great time to visit Peru. Take advantage of the especially verdant scenery, light crowds, and numerous festivals before the high season kicks in. Find out what to do and where to go in this monthly guide.
April is a great time to visit Peru when rain levels dip significantly in the Sacred Valley. There are few crowds before the high season begins (with the exception of Holy Week). You'll also have sunny weather and lower rates along the 1,500 miles of Pacific coast. Find out what to do and where to go in this monthly guide.
March is a solid time to visit Peru as the rains start to diminish in the Sacred Valley. The Inca Trail reopens and there are plenty of peaceful treks to choose from before the high season begins. You'll also have dry, sunny weather along the Pacific coast with lowered rates and great swimming and surfing conditions. Find out what to do and where to go in this monthly guide.