The Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu

Good time to visit Machu Picchu

Ideally, Machu Picchu will look something like this (photo © thecsman, flickr.com)

The best time to visit Machu Picchu depends to a certain extent on your plans and your personal preferences. If you want to avoid the crowds, then you’ll have to put up with more rain. And vice versa.

Quick Tip:  If travelling to or from Lima Airport, it is strongly recommended to use the luxury Airport Express Lima  bus to get to or from your hotel. Safer and cheaper than a taxi with no baggage limit as well as Free Wi-Fi and USB chargers onboard, it is ideal for travellers.

The Best Time of Year to Go to Machu Picchu

Below is a general guide to the best and worst months to visit Machu Picchu — keeping in mind that “best” and “worst” are subjective.

  • January –– A good month to go…rainy season has not yet begun and relatively quiet time of year so ideal time to get those perfect pictures
  • February–– Peak Rainy Season. Official Inca Trail is closed during the whole month of February. However, the benefits of going during this month are that there are not many other people during this time.
  • March –– Coming out of rainy season the weather is a bit hit and miss. It is low season however meaning you will be able to get those amazing selfies and incredible views which is great! Quite a good time to go all things being
  • April — With a bit of luck, April can work out well if you’re looking for a balance between not too many people and not too much rain. I took these photos of a rainy and misty Machu Picchu in April — things cleared up considerably later in the day.
  • May — The rainy season should pretty much be over by May, but you can still expect some rainy days. If it’s rainy and cloudy in the morning, it could easily be bright and dry by midday. The crowds begin to increase in May, but the herds have yet to become hordes. Overall, May is a good month to go to Machu Picchu.
  • June, July, August, (mid-September) — This is high season. Daily rainfall declines significantly and the days are drier and brighter. These months are great for photos, good for trekking and generally considered the best for visiting Machu Picchu. As for the hordes, they have most definitely arrived. As with popular sites around the world, the sheer number of tourists can detract from the overall experience. If that’s not something that really bothers you, then high season is the time to go. Be prepared for colder than normal nights during these months.
  • September, October — Kind of like April and May, September and October are good months if you’re looking for a balance between rain and people. Precipitation levels start to rise and daily sunshine hours start to decrease, but with a bit of luck you’ll find yourself standing at Machu Picchu on a bright day with not too many tourists.
  • November — The rainy season starts in November, but it can still be an OK month to visit Machu Picchu. Prepare for rain and hope for some sun.
  • December — Not ideal, but normally better than January. Expect plenty of mud and rain.

The Best Time of Day to Visit Machu Picchu

The best time of day to visit Machu Picchu is in the early morning or mid-afternoon. The crowds tend to be at their heaviest from about 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The site itself opens at 6:00 am. The earliest arrivals are normally the Inca Trail trekkers. Otherwise, the first buses from Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo) start heading up to the site at about 5:30 a.m.

If you are interested in a trip to this epic historical site we suggest you check out FindLocalTrips.com a tour comparison website with heaps of info and all the different options for taking that trip.

Quick Tip: If travelling to Cusco from Lima we strongly recommend to follow Peru Hop’s route along the coast and up to Cusco from the beautiful city of Arequipa, this will give you some time to acclimatise to the thinner air at altitude and help prevent any issues when visiting the UNESCO heritage site. Cusco the closest city to Machu Picchu and the launch point for almost all visits is located at 11,152 feet (3,399 meters).

  5 comments for “The Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu

  1. Jenny Garcia
    June 3, 2015 at 9:17 am

    I went to machu picchu on december, now i understand why i didnt enjoyed it much, well it was like 9 years ago, i love how you write about Peru :), it is a beautiful country. 🙂 greetings from Lima!

  2. Karl Pletz
    August 16, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    I have been 3 times in Agua Caliente during the month January and February and I will lead a group of retired persons in February 2017 again to Machu Picchu, I had never heavy rain or moody tracks but the advantage going on altiplano are the conveniant temperatures night/day in the above mentioned season. with all the recent climachanges in the world I see forward to a positive surprise regarding rainy season.

    regards Karl

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *