BEST TIME TO GO TO MACHU PICCHU: When To Travel, Visit, And Hike

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Machu Picchu Mountain Peak

Machu Picchu is an Inca site located in the southeastern parts of Peru. It was built in the 15th century and is thought to be a place of worship for the Incas. Some experts believe that it is also a vacation site of the emperor Pachacuti between 1438–1472.

MUST-READ: Machu Picchu Hike; Everything you need to know

Today, no one knows exactly what the site was used for because the Incas never developed a written language, so no record was left to provide archaeologists with a clue of what Machu Picchu’s real purpose is.

Nevertheless, Machu Picchu is still an architectural feat and a symbol of the ingenuity of the people of ancient times. It still baffles many experts as to how the structures were made despite the primitive technology in the past.

If you’re one of those people in search of the fascinating and awe-inspiring destinations around the world and Machu Picchu is your next place to be, read on to learn about the best time to go to Machu Picchu.

ALSO READ: Where to stay in Aguas Calientes

WHEN TO GO TO MACHU PICCHU

Machu Picchu’s weather is always fluctuating. It can be hot during the day and cold at night. For locals and most tourists, the best time to visit Machu Picchu is during the dry season, which is between May and October, though there is still a chance of rain because of its location and the fact that it’s sitting on top of the mountain.

ALSO READ: Things to know before travelling to Peru

When is summer in Machu Picchu

The summer months in Machu Picchu is also its rainiest. Many travellers avoid going to Machu Picchu during this season because not many people enjoy travelling when the likelihood of rainfall is high, and the trails are slippery. The good side of the low season is that the prices are lower, and it is less crowded.

  • Months: October – March
  • Temperature: 15°C – 25°C (59°F – 77°F)
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Overview of the Citadel and the Andes Mountains

When is winter in Machu Picchu 

The best time to travel to Machu Picchu is during the dry season, which is also the winter season. It is also the season considered during these times, the sun is almost always in the mood to brighten each visitor’s day in the Inca citadel. However, this is also the season when tourists from all over the globe are flocking here, so it might not be the best season for most travel-loving introverts to come here.

  • Months: May to August
  • Average temperature: 11°C – 20°C (52°F – 68°F)

When is rainy season in Machu Picchu 

Although it is still safe to go to Machu Picchu during the rainy season, know that the trails can be slippery, and sometimes the trails will be closed if there are storms. This is the season with the lowest number of travellers, as well as the lowest prices, making it an advantage over the peak season.

February is the month with the heaviest rain and Machu Picchu is likely to be closed for safety reasons. While this is also the time of the year for the maintenance check for the trails to make sure everything is in order

  • Months: November – March
  • Average temperature: 11°C – 20°C (52°F – 68°F)

WHEN IS THE PEAK SEASON IN MACHU PICCHU 

The peak season in Machu Picchu is between May and August. For many, it is also the best time to go to Machu Picchu. Although, in my opinion, it isn’t exactly the best time to visit Machu Picchu. Firstly, there’s too big of a crowd. I am an introvert traveller, and I prefer going to places where there aren’t many people, that way I can “connect” with the place and enjoy the “feels” that it brings to my soul.

Secondly, Machu Picchu tickets and train tickets are sold out 3 months in advance, and everything is very expensive, too. As a traveller, enjoying my trips is just as important as saving money. By saving money, I get to travel more and experience more, that’s why I typically avoid the peak season wherever I go.

The best climate to visit Machu Picchu is within these months, hence, the visitors tend to come in this time of the year often.

Machu Picchu Hike Facts, tours, location, budget, how to get to
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Getting on a train to Aguas Calientes from Cusco

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO  GO TO MACHU PICCHU

When going to a different country, I usually consider the months and time of the year where there aren’t many people. Though I love travelling, I am also an introvert, and I feel shy and awkward whenever I am exposed to many people. Another deciding factor for me is the climate; I generally prefer temperatures that aren’t too cold or too hot.

Personally, I went to Machu Picchu between the end of November and the first week of December, and it was perfect! The temperature is just about right and suits my preference. There aren’t that many people, too. So, when to travel to Machu Picchu?

If you ask me, it is between September to December, but then again, if you’re the type who loves being exposed to a lot of people and assure great weather, I’d say, go during the peak season, which is from May to August.

ALSO READ: Different ways to get to Machu Picchu

IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER

To get the most out of your Machu Picchu adventure, you’ll need to consider a few things, such as the weather, the crowd, your budget, and the things to bring.

Altitude sickness is another thing to be prepared for. Most importantly, you have to be mentally and physically prepared if you’re hiking your way to Machu Picchu. Read on to learn more:

Climate and season 

The things you’ll need to bring depends on which season you’ll be going to Machu Picchu. Even in the dry season, there’s a chance of heavy rains. It is always a good idea to bring waterproof jackets with you in case of a sudden pour from the skies.

Also, remember to bring something that’ll keep you warm when the nights are cold, because it will get cold when the sun sets low.

ALSO READ: Travel vaccinations for South America

Book things in advance 

Even if you plan on going to Peru during the low season, make sure to book your tickets in advance especially Machu Picchu tickets and train tickets.

The same thing applies when looking for accommodation. Booking things in advance will make your trip as smooth as possible. Remember, this destination is one of the most visited places all over the world.

MACHU PICCHU TOURS AND TICKETS

Machu Picchu Hike Facts, tours, location, budget, how to get to
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Machu Picchu Citadel and Mountain ticket prices and schedules

Altitude sickness 

If you are going to Machu Picchu for the first time, you’re likely to experience symptoms of altitude sickness.; it can be as mild as a headache or slight dizziness (like what I’ve personally experienced), or as severe as vomiting, loss of appetite, rapid pulse rate, and shortness of breath.

It’s best to acclimate yourself to the altitude for a few days. I stayed in Cusco to let my body adjust to the surroundings before actually embarking on a journey to Machu Picchu.

Understand different hike options 

There are a lot of hike options to choose from and different ways to get to Machu Picchu. It is important to know the differences between several routes to avoid wasting time and spending too much money, and ultimately, to match the experience that you’re expecting the most.

The cheapest and easiest way to get to Machu Picchu is going there without hiking via a day trip from Cusco, but it is the option I recommend the least unless you have a mobility issue or have very limited time.

If you are the type of person who always chooses the “hard mode”, and have a lot of time to spare, going on a difficult hiking route such as Vilcabamba Traverse Route will excite you most; the hike can take up to 13 days.

On the other hand, if you want to go to Machu Picchu the easy way, but you don’t want to pass on the hiking experience, take the One-Day Inca Trail instead; it’s when you hike one of the mountains around the Citadel; Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu.

MUST-READ: Machu Picchu Hike; Everything you need to know

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Machu Picchu Citadel and the Alpacas

A limited number of visitors allowed 

In early 2019, the Peruvian government released a new regulation to limit the foot traffic in Machu Picchu. The new rule states that there can only be 3 daily shifts or waves of people going to the Unesco World Heritage site (Early morning: 6 am to 9 am; late morning: 9 am to 12 pm; early afternoon: 12 pm to 3 pm).

Furthermore, only 600 people can stay in the citadel at a time, and each visitor is only allowed to stay for up to 4 hours.

CHOOSE YOUR EXPERIENCE

Ultimately, the best time to go to Machu Picchu depends on each person’s preferences. Some may enjoy the opportunity of having a cultural exchange with travellers from other countries, and some prefer a more quiet and peaceful experience.

Travelling is a great way to learn more about ourselves because by travelling we are forced to think about what we really want in life; what we want to see, what we want to feel, and what we want to experience externally and internally.

How about you? Why do you want to go to Machu Picchu? Do you prefer the difficult route or the easy route? We’d love to hear your thoughts, and if you have tips to share, too! So, leave your comments below!

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Find out when is the best time to go to Machu Picchu depending on the crowd, season, and budget. Plan when to travel, which hike to choose, and travel tips. #machupicchu #southamerica #perutravel #traveldestinations #traveltips #bucketlisttravel #travelideas #travelguide #amazingdestinations #traveltheworld via @amaryroad
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Find out when is the best time to go to Machu Picchu depending on the crowd, season, and budget. Plan when to travel, which hike to choose, and travel tips. #machupicchu #southamerica #perutravel #traveldestinations #traveltips #bucketlisttravel #travelideas #travelguide #amazingdestinations #traveltheworld via @amaryroad
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Stefan von Imhof is a travel writer and photographer. He loves going off the beaten path, exploring cities by foot and finding under-explored, hidden gems. After living in California for the past 15 years, he and his wife now live in Melbourne, Australia.

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