Machu Picchu Weather; best time of the year to visit Machu Picchu?

As with many once in a lifetime – bucket lists destinations, one wants to make sure the conditions are optimal to enjoy the wonder you are about to visit. The same goes for Machu Picchu as it may not be that easy to pin down the best dates for your visit weather wise. First of all Machu Picchu is located in the Cloud Forest and hence enjoys the typical and highly fluctuating climate of the region. Cloud forests are often found as a transition zone between the highlands and low jungle and therefore enjoy a little of both climate types. As the name already reveals; cloud forests can often be shrouded in low hanging clouds caused by the humidity of the jungle on one side and the colder winds from the highlands on the other. Temperatures in general are very agreeable and can even be quite hot when the sun comes through. Humidity levels are always quite high. When it comes to rain the main rule is that for Machu Picchu it can rain on any given day throughout the year.  Nevertheless there are basically two seasons during which the chances on rain are higher or lower. The rainy (or better said; green) season runs from November through March and the dry season from April through October. The first and last months of each season are of course transitions months. In general January and February are the wettest months and July and August the driest. In July and August temperatures are also the lowest on average.
 
Maximum temperatures do not differ much during the year; around 22ºC (71ºF) but during June through August night temperatures can sometimes drop to 10ºC (50ºF). For a lot of days, also in the dry season, Machu Picchu starts the day covered in clouds which gives it an even more mysterious feel and adds up to the experience. These clouds will disappear during the day and reappear later again. Sometimes the clouds are rushed over the ridge Machu Picchu is located on by the winds and this provides another beautiful spectacle, especially seen from higher points. This often happens in the  transition months and green season during which there are less visitors, another more than valid consideration for planning your Machu Picchu trip.
 
Therefore according us the best time to visit Machu Picchu would be anywhere from April to November as the chances on rain are slightly less and the temperatures very agreeable. For those looking to hike the 4 or 2 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu the recommendations would be the same and it would be best to avoid January as this is the month with most rain. During February the Inca Trail (both the 2 day Inca Trail as the 4 day Inca Trail) is closed due to maintenance.
 
So what to expect for visits to Machu Picchu weather during each season;
 
Machu Picchu Dry Season
  • The dry season runs roughly from April through November
  • Rain is always possible but occurs less this time of the year
  • Most chances on rain are in the very early morning
  • Afternoons are in general the time with the clearest skies and visibility
  • Machu Picchu Day temperatures will range from 15ºC to 25ºC (59ºF - 77ºF)
  • Machu Picchu Night temperatures will range from 10ºC to 15ºC (50ºF - 59ºF)
  • The weather can rapidly change
  • Winds can pickup in the late afternoon
 
Machu Picchu Rainy Season;
  • Rainy season roughly runs from November through April
  • It does not necessarily rain every day or all day
  • Most rain falls in January and February
  • Machu Picchu Day temperatures will range from 17ºC to 25ºC (63ºF - 77ºF)
  • Machu Picchu Night temperatures will range from 12ºC to 15ºC (54ºF - 59ºF)
  • Early morning and late afternoons are the moments with most rain
  • Machu Picchu can be clouded all day but can clear rapidly as well
  • Hike and walks can be muddy and somewhat slippery
  • Humidity levels can be slightly higher this time of the year
 
Please keep in mind that Machu Picchu is a place where weather predictions are of not much help due to the fluctuating nature of the climate here. This is true for the whole year and therefore it is best to come prepared as you may have rain one moment and the next burning sun or the other way around. The good thing is that no matter what time you would visit the site Machu Picchu every season has its perks.