When you travel to Peru, all you want is the weather to be nice, of course. Besides that, you wouldn’t like it to be too crowded. Traveling off-season is also better for the impact on the visited destination. We are happy to advise you on the best time to travel to Peru, while looking at both the weather and the busiest times throughout the year. This way you can make the best decision about when to travel to Peru.
If you don’t depend on the school holidays, it is recommended to visit Peru outside of the high season. Not only will airline ticket prices be a lot lower, destinations and attractions will be less crowded allowing you to experience them well. Do keep in mind that there are certain periods of the year where there are festivities in (parts of) Peru which could be an additional reason for you to travel, or avoid traveling, to those places. We will also give you those details in this article.
In general the best time to travel to Peru is in the months of May to October. April, November and December are also good options to make a Peru trip.
Our favourite travel period in Peru is in (the end of) April, May and the beginning of June, because it’s less crowded then, with green valleys and clear skies.
Peru is located in the southern hemisphere, so the seasons are opposite to those in, for example, Northern America and Europe.
There are three main geographic regions, very different from one another: desert coast, mountains of all kinds, and humid-hot jungle. In Peru the elevation ranges from 0 to 6.768 meters (0 to 22,200 feet). Below, we describe the climate in each of those areas separately:
The Climate at the Coast of Peru:
The climate in the coastal area of Peru is very different from the climate in the mountains. The coastal area consists largely of desert and it is very dry all year round. In the capital Lima no more than 10 millimeters of precipitation falls annually. From December to March it is nice and sunny over there. In the other months it is often foggy (mostly in Lima and south from there) and it can get really humid even with a lack of rain. It’s not a reason to avoid Lima and the Peruvian coast though: it can be visited throughout the year.
The Climate in the Peruvian Andes:
When it comes to the best travel time for your Peru visit, the climate in the Andes is particularly important, because most of the highlights are located there. In the Andes, the rainy season lasts from (roughly) November-December to April. The best time to travel to the Andes of Peru in terms of climate is therefore during the months of May to October – the dry season. In April and May the weather can feel like spring, accompanied by beautifully green mountains with full rivers and waterfalls.
The dry season looks like this:
- There is hardly any rain and you will enjoy clear blue skies most of the time;
- During the day the temperature is (very) pleasant, around 20 degrees;
- However, it cools down considerably in the evenings and at night; at altitudes above 3000 meters the temperature can even drop below freezing point.
The main tourism destinations in the Peruvian Andes are: Cusco with the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, Arequipa with the Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Huaraz with its Cordilleras and Chachapoyas (although the latter is quite low in the Andes and has a very nice climate).
The Climate in the Peruvian Jungle:
The Amazon rainforest has a tropical, hot and humid climate, with the presence of torrential rains throughout the year, increased in the months of summer (December – March). The average annual temperature is 25ºC/77ºF. Day/night temperatures can differ between 15ºC/59ºF and 37ºC/100ºF. The colder temperatures occur during the so-called friajes, generally around June/July in the southern jungle areas. These short periods of extra cold temperatures are something to keep in mind because you will definitely need that extra sweater then! But normally, it will be very hot when you travel to the Peruvian Jungle.
Did you know, you can distinguish 32 different climate types worldwide?
– 28 of them can be found in Peru alone!
Avoid the heaviest rains
During the months of January through March, a visit to Peru is not really recommended. It rains a lot then in the Andes and the jungle, which can occasionally lead to dangerous situations. Sometimes, changes to itineraries have to be made due to landslides on (rail)roads.
Avoid the crowds when traveling to Peru
Even though many of our trips go off the beaten path, it’s always good to avoid the crowds when traveling to Peru.
The busiest months in Peru are July and August, the period during which many schools in Europe have their holidays. If you want to go to Peru during this period, it is important to book very early! As far as flights are concerned: the longer you wait the more expensive the prices get. It’s best to start your search (and book) by the end of the year before.
As for the Inca Trail, up to 500 people are allowed per day (including guides and porters), permit sales start in November each year and the trail can be fully booked up to 6 months in advance, so please keep this in mind! Every February, the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance. Fortunately, there are also a number of wonderful alternative trails for the Inca Trail.
If you travel to Northern Peru, you will probably not be bothered by crowds any time of the year. This part of Peru is a lot less visited than Southern Peru and is therefore less touristically developed. So keep in mind you will witness less maintained roads, have less connecting options between cities, and meet fewer English-speaking Peruvians. The real adventurer will certainly feel at home here, as it is a beautiful region, worth exploring!
Special events in Peru
Easter is a special event in Peru and takes quite a long time compared to the celebration in western countries. The week of Easter is called “Semana Santa” and during this week there are many parades and other activities, and you can enjoy festive celebrations and traditional dishes. This period may entail price increases in some destinations, because also Peruvians tend to travel quite a lot in these days.
June 24th: Inti Raymi
One of the most important traditional fiestas in Peru takes place in Cusco: the Sun Festival. If you want to witness this celebration, which consists of unique traditional ceremonies, you are not alone. Many tourists and Peruvians flock to Cusco for Inti Raymi, so prepare for big crowds (and since pickpockets could be present, please take only what you need and watch your camera and other belongings closely).
July 28-29th: Fiestas Patrias
These are the holidays where Peru celebrates its independence. In the week before, this can be experienced in many places, because concerts and other cultural activities are organized everywhere on squares and in parks. The Peruvians (especially those from the big cities) tend to travel a lot during these days as well; it’s their main holiday of the year. They will visit their relatives in the interior of the country, or travel to Peru’s highlights. In several destinations these days will entail price increases: please check with your travel designer for the latest information.
Other special events worth mentioning are:
- Fiesta de la Candelaria (in Puno, in February), a very colorful carnaval festival;
- Paucartambo festival (in July, Cusco region, in the village of Paucartambo) a unique traditional fiesta with many activities;
- Corpus Christi (celebrated big in Cusco, exactly 60 days after Easter Sunday). Many locals prepare 12 typical dishes on this day, that are part of this festivity.
- Quyllurit’i (often at the end of May or beginning of June, Cusco region).
- Of course, Christmas and New Year are important events in Peru, as well; with fireworks in most cities on both dates!
Personalized briefing to prepare for your trip to Peru
Remember that for those booking a custom Peru itinerary with RESPONS will receive a personal briefing with their travel specialist from the RESPONS team. During this pre-departure briefing they will be given all the necessary advice. Not only about the climate, but also on What to Pack, How to be a RESPONSible Traveler and about what to expect every day of their itinerary. They will also be part of a Whatsapp group during their trip where our team will be ready to advise them with anything they need whilst traveling through Peru.
In conclusion, our favourite time to travel to Peru is between half April and half June. But you can’t really go wrong between April and December; taking into account that it might always rain and there might always be busy times.