When Is the Best Time
Machu Picchu in Peru is open year-round, every day from 6 AM to 5 PM (restrictions apply, read more below). Please read our detailed season overview below and the best tips on how to avoid crowds.
The Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu | Shoulder Seasons
The best time to visit and travel to Machu Picchu in terms of climate and vegetation is from the end of March to mid-May and from early October to mid-November. During this time, the climate is pleasant, and the Andean meadows are green, farming is in progress, many flowers and orchids bloom around Machu Picchu in October. However, many of the blooming can only be seen in the rainy season.
Possible Rain: There might be some rain during this season. Thus, it is advisable to plan two days for Machu Picchu. Late March to mid-May is also the perfect time for a trip along the coastal desert of Peru, to Lake Titicaca, and with restrictions to the Salt Lake of Uyuni and the Galapagos Islands.
Year-Round Seasons: However, you can visit Peru and Machu Picchu all year round. In March, the rainy season ends, and the dry season begins, which again turns into the rainy season in October, November, and December. That means from April to October, the chances of pleasant weather at Machu Picchu are high.
From May to September, the risk of rain at Machu Picchu is at its lowest, about 20%, and in the transition months before and after, it increases and decreases, respectively.
Machu Picchu Tour Booking | Highly Recommended
With the new restrictions, since 2021, in place (see below), the only way to get into Machu Pichhu is with a guide. The most reliable, safest, and the best way is to book a tour ticket in advance: View the tour selection below:
Pre-book as early as possible!! Check the best tours via GetYourGuide with a mobile or printed voucher and excellent customer service: Machu Picchu – Peru – Tours via GetYourGuide
The Worst Time to Visit Machu Picchu
The worst time to travel to Machu Picchu is in January and February.
During that time, a lot of rain occurs, resulting in possible obstructions on roads and rails. In the rainy season, rain is expected almost every day, and the risk of rainfall increases to 80 to 90% compared to other periods.
Intriguing atmosphere: However, clouds and fog can offer a fascinating spectacle in Machu Picchu during the rainy season.
Local Holidays: Not so great either are local holidays and school vacations. In each case, very many Peruvians and travelers from neighboring countries travel to Cusco and Machu Picchu. Main school vacations in Peru and neighboring countries are from Christmas to the end of February.
Public Holidays: There is a big rush to Machu Picchu at Easter and on Peru’s National Day around July 28 and 29. In addition, Machu Picchu, like Cusco, is very crowded and during the week leading up to the Sun Festival, Inti Raymi, from June 18-24.
International Holidays: In July and August, when there are school vacations in Europe and the USA, Machu Picchu is also very well visited.
Rainy Season | November – March
The rainy season in Machu Picchu lasts from November into March/April. This means that frequent rain showers happen, cloudy skies, and random storms. This is the least crowded period, as it practically rains every day here. However, the rainy season offers the warmest weather, resulting in pleasant temperatures during the short dry times.
Flowers: Many fascinating orchids are blooming during that time
Clothing: When visiting in the rainy season, definitely bring rain gear: a waterproof jacket and good boots.
Heavy rain: January and March are the months with the most precipitation.
Closures: Each February, the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance.
Dry Season | Late April – October
The dry season at Machu Picchu usually lasts from mid- or late April until the end of October. The air is crisper, the skies are blue without many clouds, and sunshine is mostly seen in the weather forecast. The pleasant weather draws many more visitors to Machu Picchu, and the site gets crowded.
Cooler temperatures: Especially in the morning and evening, the temperatures drop at Machu Picchu. It can still rain sometimes and dense fog in the afternoon happens quite often.
This time of year brings the clearest and most sunny days. However, you have to deal with larger crowds as well.
Peak Season | July – August
Both months offer the most stable and predictable weather conditions of the whole year. However, it’s peak tourist time, and you will share the site with so many other tourists.
Best Time of Day
The best time of day to avoid the crowds is as early in the morning as possible. However, it’s not always the best time for photographs. We don’t know why, but there is a rumor that persists: Sunrise is supposed to be the best time to visit Machu Picchu for photography. Honestly, this not true at all!
Sunrise facts: On more than 90% of the days of the year, you have fog at sunrise. You can’t see anything at all. Of course, sunrise, in general, is the most beautiful for photos. However, you’ll take these great photos with the sun, fog, and ruins from about 9- 10 AM. No earlier than 9 AM the fog and clouds lift. Only then the Inca ruins become slowly visible.
The previous recommendations for the best time of day (before 2017) were:
Early: Get here first thing in the morning by staying the night before in Aguas Calientes and taking the earliest bus at the bus depot to arriving at 6 AM at Machu Picchu. You have to buy a morning ticket for this (at the moment, it’s still fine without a guide / Sept. 2017. Or you can get a guide in front of the site).
Late: Get there in the afternoon when many groups have already left, and you get the chance to enjoy the place again. The last bus leaves at 5:30 PM. Enter about 4:00 PM (last entrance at 4:30 PM).
Visiting Times and Restrictions | Since 2021
Visiting Machu Picchu on your own is no longer possible since 2017. Now, in 2020/2021, they implemented additional restrictions about timing and the number of visitors.
- Visiting without a pre-booked tour: At the entrance, you will be assigned a guide. Without a guide (or a pre-booked tour), you can only go to Huayna Picchu, which does not require a guide.
- Exception (no guide needed): You don’t have to book a guide if you already did the tour with a guide the day before. You have to show the ticket from the day before and give the name of the guide.
- Route: You have to follow a fixed path as part of the tour. Unfortunately, you can no longer walk among the ruins on your own.
- Maximum time: The visiting time is restricted to 4 hours max—no matter what time slot you choose.
- Passport: Since 2017, it’s required to carry your passport with you because your ticket contains your passport number. Without it > no matching > no entry.
- Maximum visitors: During the pandemic (2020/21), the government in Peru established security protocols for Machu Picchu. With the Machu Picchu Tickets 2021, the number of visitors is reduced to 1000 per day.
- Tour group size: For guided tours of Machu Picchu, the size of groups has been minimized to 4 travelers + 1 guide. You won’t get in without a guide anyway.