Peru is home to Machu Picchu, the Nazca Lines, Lake Titicaca, and more famous landmarks. From sand dunes in the deserts to the Amazon jungle and Andes Mountain Range, Peru has it all!
The best time to visit Peru depends on a couple of different factors. First off, consider which regions you plan on visiting, and then ask yourself which activities you want to check off your bucket list.
Before discussing the best time to visit Peru, it’s important to understand a few of Peru’s cultural quirks.
In Peru, taxis do not use meters, so it’s important to agree on a price beforehand. Be warned that as soon as you step outside of the Airport you might be bombarded by taxi drivers offering rides.
It can be overwhelming at first, but just take a deep breath and have the address or name of your accommodation on hand. They usually only accept cash.
Many places in Peru do not accept card payments so it’s best to always have cash on you – especially when traveling to rural areas. Also, if the ATM gives you 100s, go inside the bank and exchange them for twenties, tens, and coins. You will thank me later!
Do not underestimate Cusco’s and Lake Titicaca’s altitude! If you have a headache, are short of breath, or feel low on energy – that’s probably just the Andes Mountains giving you warm welcome. Luckily, symptoms usually subside with lots of water and coca tea.
Cusco & Machu Picchu
Cusco has the closest airport to the famous Machu Picchu ruins so even though it’s a quaint little airport, it has thousands of visitors flying in and out each year.
If you plan on visiting Cusco, the best time to travel is from May to October. This time of year is considered the dry season.
Take it easy for a couple of days in Cusco before setting off on any treks or excursions. This will give your body time to acclimate while exploring the magical streets of Cusco.
Between bottles of water, stop at El Duende bar and have a Te Pitiado (hot tea with pisco) or try the local cuisine at Morena Peruvian Kitchen.
Cusco’s weather is unlike anywhere else in the world. One moment it is bright and sunny, and the next you are pulling on an alpaca sweater to keep yourself warm.
Unfortunately, you can’t rely on your handy dandy weather app either. The moral of the story is – be prepared for anything! Remember to bring along a backpack with a sweater, rain poncho, sunscreen, and water.
You are better off avoiding the rainy season because in Cusco when it rains, it pours! The heavy downpours often cause trip cancelations due to the fact that many of the streets are nothing more than dirt paths meandering up the mountains.
Let’s face it a trip to Peru isn’t complete without a trip to Machu Picchu so when is the best time to visit the ancient Incan ruins? April and May because the rainy season is over, and there are fewer tourists than there are in June or July.
The Amazon Jungle
The most convenient time to visit the Jungle is during the dry season. (May to October).
Just like the roads outside of Cusco, the infrastructure is easily destroyed by flooding and can cause major delays. One plus side of going during the rainy season is that you have a higher chance of spotting wildlife.
Huacachina & The Nazca Lines
In the southwest of Peru, you will find the Oasis of Huachina. In Huacachina you can go sandboarding down the desert dunes one day and fly over the Naza Lines the next.
Huacachina is home to the largest sand dunes in South America and dune buggies take tourists into the desert for a day of sandboarding.
All you need is one day in Huacachina, and there is no bad time of year to visit the desert. The sun shines year-round, and the temperature stays in the 20s (80s).
June through August is the best time to visit giant geoglyphs known as the Nazca Lines because the weather is comfortable and it is the low season so accommodations cost slightly less.
The lines depict various plants, animals, and shapes that can only be seen from above.
Lake Titicaca is the highest lake in the entire world! At 13,500 feet it stretches for miles. The local people known as the Uros still live on Lake Titicaca’s floating islands.
The weather is quite similar to Cusco so April to October is the best time to visit. You can expect clear blue skies and chilly weather.
The city of Arequipa has the best weather of any city in Peru. It is sunny for about 300 days of the year and the best time to visit is anytime from April to November.
Arequipa is a six-hour drive to the Colca Canyon, and although it is possible to visit the Colca Canyon any time of year, it’s best between March and June when the condors ( large birds with a 10 ft. wingspan) are the most active.
Peru’s capital has a lot to offer and in contrast to Cusco, the best time to visit is from December to March. During the winter months in Lima, the weather is ideal. Lima’s gray skies turn to blue, and people are out and about enjoying the great outdoors.
To Sum Up
Peru is a diverse country that has many different landscapes and climates. Once you decide where and what, it will be easier to decide when to go.