Peru: When is the best time to travel to Machu Picchu?

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One of the seven wonders of the modern world, the “Lost City” of the Inca civilization receives thousands of tourists every year who go there to enjoy its stunning beauty. If you are thinking about this itinerary, it is worth finding out the best time to go to Machu Picchu, to avoid unfavourable weather.

 

After all, bad weather can spoil your enjoyment of the famous natural beauty of these Peruvian ruins. Bearing that in mind, you should read the following information to help ensure the success of your trip.

 

Arriving at Machu Picchu

The monument is fairly well-known worldwide, but in case you didn’t know, Machu Picchu can be found in Peru, in South America. It is an archaeological site constructed by the Incas, an ancient civilization which lived in the Andean region.

The mountain is approximately 8000 feet high, and visitors usually leave from the city of Cusco, travelling almost 70 miles to the site, which was discovered in 1911.

Since then, Machu Picchu has charmed people around the world with the richness of its 172 historic buildings, where the green mountains surround large piles of stones creating a truly breath-taking view.

Despite being unable to make the entire journey by train, one of the biggest issues focused on here is ecotourism. The eco-trails attract many people and complement the tour to the Inca city with its lush landscapes. Check below for some of the best known.

 

Inca Trail

This is one of the most traditional ways to get to Machu Picchu, incorporating a section of an ancient Inca road that crosses the mountains. It is recognized to be one of the best trekking trails in the world.

The 28 mile hike features views that look more like paintings; a mixture of ruins and forests that combine to provide the traveller with a truly unique experience. The route is considered moderate, and can be done in two days by the more energetic, though most people take about four days to make the full journey.

Routes such as the Inca Trail should be undertaken with an authorized guide, so it is best to look for a travel agency that is licensed by the Peruvian government to operate here.

Arriving at your destination, it is possible to climb the mountains of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu (the famous ones you see in photos). For this, you need to reserve a place in advance, and prepare for an hour or two of climbing.

 

Salkantay

This is a well-known alternative trail to Machu Picchu, by-passing the distinct paths of the Inca Trail. It requires a little more preparation, as it is considered more difficult because of the altitude – which reaches 15,000 feet at its highest point, the Abra Salkantay.

However, this is a cheaper and usually less busy option. The complete route is about 46 miles and usually takes between 4 to 5 days, with a daily average of 8 hours walking. Fitness is important, as is the willingness to sleep in camps, and possibly even go without a bath!

But the path has some beautiful landscapes, which can combine a huge variety of sensations, such as hot and sunny days, cold nights, rainy days and even snow.

Fortunately, the packages for both routes generally offer a return by train which you may prefer to take, unless you are a glutton for punishment and prefer to walk back! As you can see, it is better to research the prices and what each package offers in terms of meals, sleeping bag rentals, zip line, etc…

Escaping the rainy season

When planning a trip, you need to research some relevant data to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises. And one of the most important decisions you will need to take is the best time to go to Machu Picchu, a destination steeped in nature, and it will help if you spend some time researching the local climatic conditions.

Some visitors like hot, sunny days, while others prefer milder temperatures. Despite this, the most important thing is to try to avoid the rain so you can travel in peace.

Furthermore, when the weather closes the region, it can be difficult to get to the main attractions, use the trails or even take traditional photos with a backdrop of beautiful scenery.

So try to avoid the rainy season, which is usually from November to March. Even if it’s not raining, a cloudy day can still spoil your plans.

Of course, if this is the only time you are available to travel, it’s still worth going, but keep your eye on the weather forecasts to try to avoid the worst times. And if you’re going to go in the rainy season, it’s a good idea to include appropriate clothing and shoes (waterproof and non-slip) when you’re doing your packing …

It’s also worth researching other important details not to “miss” anything on the trip. The Inca Trail and the trains, for example, are closed on days when the rainfall is very high due to the risk of landslides and other such complications. During the month of February the trail also closes for maintenance.

But in the end, your attitude of mind is probably more important than when you choose to travel. Machu Picchu is such a special place that you should include it in your travel plans even if you can’t go there in the ideal season!

 

Avoiding high prices

The problem of trying to avoid the rainy season (particularly in a place that attracts people from all over the world), is that the rest of the year (April to October) is regarded as “high season”,

Because of this, the prices tend to be higher, and at the same time, the number of tourists increases. This is particularly true for June, July and August – because these months coincide with the traditional holiday time for many visitors from both the southern and northern hemispheres.

Between March and May, the rains begin to subside, but the tourist traffic has not yet reached its peak. Therefore, if you value tranquillity as well as more competitive prices this may be the best time for you.

In fact, some visitors to Machu Picchu choose this as one of the best times of year to visit, as the rains have left the vegetation very green and lustrous.

After the peak of the high season, September and October are also quieter as prices begin to fall. The main advantage of visiting during this period is that the arrival of spring means the nights are a little warmer as spring approaches.

Finally, to experience such a beautiful place, and one that’s so rich in culture, is like taking a journey back in time where you are able to appreciate the heart of the Inca empire, a culture steeped in the worship of nature, with the sun as its true god.

When you remember that this paradise is among the few vestiges of a civilization that you can still visit, you realize that it can be difficult to describe the experience into words – you have to live it.

So, I hope that has that helped you to decide on best time to go to Machu Picchu. To receive more information and travel tips from around the world, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter!

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