When is the Best Time to Hike Machu Picchu?

The dry season is considered the best time to hike Machu Picchu in comparison to the wet season. The dry season lasts from May to September, while the other months mostly experience rainfall and cloudy skies. Therefore, to get the most out of your Inca trail hike, planning your trip during the dry season is the way to go.

Situated in the Andes Mountains of Peru, Machu Picchu’s topography is a combination of beautiful valleys and steep hills. The alluring lush vegetation, along with the historical and archaeological significance of the region, are the major attractions for travelers. Additionally, Machu Picchu’s recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site makes it a special place to visit. So, if it’s still not on your travel bucket list, you should add it right away. This must-visit place will definitely bless you with pleasant moments. However, learning about the seasons and the best time to hike Machu Picchu is crucial before finalizing your travel plans.

Travelers at the start of Inka Trail during the best time to hike Machu Picchu
Travelers at the start of Inka Trail, Machu Picchu

What are the Different Seasons in Machu Picchu?

The weather conditions in Machu Picchu change throughout the year, but there are two main seasons that are persistent: the dry season and the wet or rainy season. Before deciding which season is the best time to hike Machu Picchu for you, it is important to closely examine them to gain a better understanding. Let’s take a deeper look into these seasons through the pointers below.

1. Dry Season in Machu Picchu (May to September)

The dry season in Machu Picchu starts in May and lasts until September. During this six-month interval, the weather is typically hot and dry. However, since Machu Picchu is situated at an altitude of 2,430 meters (7,972 ft), the heat is not very intense. There is minimal rainfall during this season, and the atmosphere remains mostly dry. The hiking trail is more enjoyable due to the pleasant weather conditions. Some of the characteristics of the dry season in the Inca Trail region include:

  • The weather is dry and sunny with no risk of heavy rainfall.
  • The clear weather condition will allow you to explore the place better.
  • The dry season is the peak season for tourism and receives many visitors.
  • Day temperature ranges from 12°C to 24°C (54°F to 75°F).
  • Night temperature ranges from 5°C to 10°C (41°F to 50°F).

2. Wet Season in Machu Picchu (October to April)

The wet or rainy season in Machu Picchu starts in October and lasts until April. The atmosphere is primarily humid, with heavy rainfall occurring from mid to late December until late March. During this period, there is a higher risk of accidents. However, from September to early December, there is only light rainfall, making it possible to enjoy the hike. Some of the major characteristics of the wet season in Machu Picchu are:

  • Frequent light to heavy rainfall throughout the months.
  • The atmosphere becomes humid and cooler than in the dry season.
  • The downpour and fog can disturb the view of the landscape.
  • There is a chance of occasional occurrence of floods or landslides.
  • Day temperature ranges from 12°C to 20°C (54°F to 68°F).
  • Night temperature can go below 0°C (32°F).

Overview of Inca Trail Hiking in Different Months

The seasons of Machu Picchu are generally divided into dry and wet seasons. However, the weather conditions vary throughout the year. Because of the changing climate, hikers will have different experiences depending on which month they choose to travel. Read the following points to understand what it’s like to hike the Inca Trail in different months throughout the year.

Traveler enjoying the view of famous Machu Picchu; during the best time to hike Machu Picchu
Traveler enjoying the view of famous Machu Picchu

1. From January to February

These months are the peak of the wet season when Machu Picchu receives heavy rainfall. The atmosphere is highly humid and chillier. Hiking in these months can be a bit of a hassle because of the frequent rain. Also, the trail is slippery and there is a risk of landslides.

2. From March to April 

As there are the transitioning months from wet to dry season, the weather condition is fairly pleasant. No risk of heavy rainfall, but there is occasional light rainfall. Overall, this transitioning phase can also be the right time for the Inca trail hike. Also, the trail is less crowded during this time.

3. From May to September

These months are the dry season, the most pleasant time of the year. The skies are clear, rainfall occurs rarely, and temperature nuggets warmer. The pleasantness in the atmosphere makes it the best time to go to Machu Picchu. 

4. From October to November

These months are a combination of wet and dry seasons. You can expect light rain but the weather is still warm and the hiking trails are easier to walk. In general, it can be the best time to visit Machu Picchu. The lush vegetation will make the landscape an enjoyable sight.

5. Hiking to Machu Picchu in December

Mid-December marks the start of the rainy season. You can expect heavy rainfall, causing the hiking trails to close because of landslides. Because of potential weather hazards, it might not be the best time to visit Machu Picchu. 

Explore the Best Time to Hike Machu Picchu

The best time to hike Machu Picchu generally depends on personal preferences. However, for most people, the dry season is the best time to hike Machu Picchu due to pleasant weather and safer hiking conditions. If you dislike humid weather, then the dry season is the ideal time for you to visit Machu Picchu. However, keep in mind that the trail can be crowded during this peak tourism season in Peru.

On the other hand, if you don’t mind some rain during your hiking experience, you can visit during the wet season, which has fewer travelers and allows for a more peaceful exploration of the region. Be prepared for a muddy trail and occasional rain showers during this time. It’s also recommended to avoid hiking during heavy rainfall due to the risks of landslides and flash floods.

Temperature Chart for Each Month in Machu Picchu

The temperature chart can help you understand the temperature variability in the region clearly. You can review the temperature changes throughout the year and plan your trip accordingly. 

Temperature Chart for Each Month in Machu Picchu

The following table summarizes the above temperature chart for each month in Machu Picchu in tabular format:

MonthAverage Temperature (°C)

Please note that these are average values and actual temperatures may vary from year to year. It’s always best to check the current weather conditions before planning a trip to Machu Picchu.

Rain Chart for Each Month in Machu Picchu

As the region experiences rainfall for almost six months of the year, understanding the rainfall pattern in the region is crucial for trip planning. The rainfall vastly affects the hiking trails and also introduces travelers to potential dangers during the peak rainy season. Therefore, get a detailed insight into the wet season in Machu Picchu through the rain chart below. 

Rain Chart for Each Month in Machu Picchu

The following table summarizes the above rain chart for each month in Machu Picchu in tabular format:

MonthAverage Rainfall (mm)

Please note that the values provided are averages, and rainfall may vary from year to year. It is advisable to check the weather forecast before planning a trip to Machu Picchu or any other destination to ensure accurate preparation.

What are the Different Hiking Routes to Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is known for its different hiking trails with unique experiences. There are mainly six trails to reach there and each trail comes with its own difficulty level. Explore each hiking trail from the pointers below.

Group trek on the famous Inca Trail
Group trek on the famous Inca Trail

1. Inca Trail

The Inca trail is the standard hiking trail to Machu Picchu and is the most preferred one. The 4 days long Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu will walk you through the spectacular sight of the landscape. The lush hills, the astounding site of stone ruins, and the famous Sun Gate will make your trip rewarding. As this trail is the most crowded, the permit is limited to 500 per day, including guides and porters. 

2. Salkantay Trek Route

It is known for its diverse ecosystem and topography. In Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, you will experience the stunning scenery of snow-covered mountains, lakes, and Andean villages. This 5 days hike is less crowded compared to the Inca trail, but the trail can be a bit more challenging for beginner hikers.

3. Lares Trek Route

This route is famous for the sight of the beautiful Lares Valley along the way to Machu Picchu. You will come across the traditional Andean communities and get to explore their lifestyle closely. The 3-5  days trip is moderately challenging and is one of the famous routes.

4. Choquequirao Trek  Route

It is a 4-5 day trip that takes you through the ruins of Choquequirao. This trail is a comparatively challenging hiking trail and is less crowded. But, if you are a fan of challenging trails, the Choquequirao route will bless you with an unforgettable experience.

5. Vilcabamba Trek Route

This is another less crowded route that promises the stunning sights of mountain terrain and incredible Inca ruins. It will also take you through the Vilcamba Mountain Range. The 6 days trip is quite challenging, but the experience is worth your time and effort.

Some of these routes are easier while some are challenging. But, each route provides a unique experience. Therefore, you can go through each one of the trails in detail and pick the one that suits you the best. Besides, you can also explore the best places to travel in Peru if you wish to learn more about Peru. 

Do We Need a Permit to Hike Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is a highly sought-after hiking destination with a lot to offer adventurers. Its growing popularity has drawn in numerous local and international tourists. However, daily visitor permits are limited to just 500, including guides and porters for the Inca Trail. During school holidays and festival breaks, there is a surge in local travelers visiting Machu Picchu. As daily permits are limited, it is essential to book in advance to secure your spot.

In Conclusion

With this information, you can choose the best time to hike Machu Picchu based on your personal preferences. If you want to avoid the crowd, plan your trip during the off-season. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy the landscape without the risk of rainfall, go for the peak season. You can make your Machu Picchu trip a success by planning it with us. Contact us to arrange a hassle-free trip to Peru or reach out to our team of experts via WhatsApp at (+1-410-307-0007)

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