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The high season is between June and September with July and August being the busiest months. This is because this is the dry season in the sierra and jungle regions (Cusco, Lake Titicaca, Amazon jungle) and also because this period coincides with summer holidays in Europe and North America, Canada etc. However since Peru is in the Southern Hemisphere it is also our Winter so the nights can be cold in the Cusco region, often falling to freezing in July and August.
|Av. High (°F)||66||66||67||68||68||67||67||68||68||70||69||68|
|Av. High (°C)||19||19||19||20||20||19||19||20||20||21||20||20|
|Av. Low (°F)||44||44||44||41||37||34||34||34||39||42||43||43|
|Av. Low (°C)||7||7||7||5||3||1||1||1||4||6||6||6|
June, July & August
This is the dry season with little chance of rain. During the day you can expect blue skies pretty much of the time. Since we are close to the equator and very high up, the sun can be very strong so always bring sun protection cream, a hat and sunglasses. It is comfortable to trek in shorts and t-shirt. However when the sun goes in it can get cold very quickly so always have a warm sweater, fleece and long pants close at hand. you also need a good 4-season sleeping bag at night and a warm jacket, woolly hat and scarf.
The scenery can be fairly dry and brown during this period with not much activity in the fields apart from gathering in the harvest and drying it. This is a time for the people in the village to relax and enjoy some of the many festivals. August is a month when many people make offerings to Pachamama (Mother Earth) in thanks of a good harvest and to bring a luck in the next year. Book hotel rooms / flights etc well in advance.
September & October
Some years the rains can start as early as September. However usually we just get a couple of heavy showers each week and the rest of the time it is sunny or overcast. The rain just lasts for a couple of hours and dries up pretty quick. A plastic rain poncho is recommended. The nights are milder and a 3-season sleeping bag is usually sufficient on the Inca Trail.
November, December, January, February & March
The wet season usually starts around mid-November and can last until the end of March. January and February are at the height of the wet season. During these months you can expect rain on 2 out of the 4 days of the Inca Trail. Although downpours can be heavy during this period they rarely last for more than a few hours and then the sun comes out. Being in the Southern Hemisphere this is also the summer in Peru. The sun can be very strong and soon dries up the rain. The nights are fairly mild. Bring good waterproof clothing, pack your sleeping bag within several plastic bags, bring sun protection cream and a good hat. In fact prepare for just about all four seasons in one day!! Cusco is generally quieter during these months with hotels prices dropping a little. You can find rooms in most hotels upon arrival in Cusco. The maximum limit of trekkers on the Inca Trail is normally still reached during November, December and March so it is still important to book in advance although 2 months in advance is sufficient. The limit on trekkers is only met on about half of the days in January so if you are flexible about your Inca Trail departure date you could risk waiting to book your trek 4 or 5 days in advance (although not with Peru Treks). The Inca Trail is closed throughout February to allow for maintenance, conservation projects etc. In fact the Peru Treks office is closed from 01 February to about the 25 February as we all take a holiday to the sunny beaches of north Peru and escapes the rains.
April & May
These are two excellent months to visit Cusco and do the Inca Trail. The wet season should be over by early April so hopefully you'll miss the worst of the heavy showers unless rains continue longer than usual. The overnight temperatures can be cool but not as cold as in June & July. A 3-season sleeping bag should be sufficient. The vegetation on the Inca Trail is also green and lush and a good time to see orchids in the cloud-forest sections of the trek. The month of May is even drier making it one of the best times to do the trek. Plenty of other people have also read this and there is usually very heavy demand for this month requiring you to book well in advance (think 7-12 months). However the number of people on the trek is strictly controlled so once you are on the trek it won't feel any busier than normal. During April and May there is also plenty of activity going on in the fields around Cusco. Sunshine and cloud with occasional showers make for interesting photos of people and landscapes. Hotels can fill up quickly around Easter Week so book these well in advance.
Peru Treks & Adventure Tour Operator
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Specialists, working to help the community
Office Address: Avenida Pardo 540 (in the corner of the small park), Cusco, Peru