Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond
South America

Best and Worst Months to Visit Peru

Dry season is best time to visit Machu Picchu; source: Wikimedia Commons

For most cruise or stopover visitors, deciding when to visit Peru is quite difficult because the country covers three major geographic and climatic zones.

As such, the climate will vary depending on which particular destination one chooses. North and south are clearly defined by the Andes Mountain range while the Amazon Rainforest coves the east.

Peru’s climate essentially features two distinct seasons, the wet season from November through March and a dry season from April through October.

Peak Season

Peak season for travellers is in great part determined by weather. Peru’s high season for travel coincides with the cooler, dryer months: June to August, with by far the greatest number of visitors in July and August.

The dry season is the best time for hiking the Inca Trail (a four-day hike that only allows 500 people a day) and Machu Picchu due to the clear skies. The dry season is also the best time to visit the jungle.

In particular, May and September are great months to visit much of Peru. Most Airlines and hotels consider the period from June to August as peak season.

Wet Season

During the wet season, roads and trek paths can become impassable, especially in the mountainous area. Simultaneously, the coastal areas are typically arid and mild, the Andean region is temperate to cold, and the eastern lowlands are tropically warm and humid.

Peruvians visit the beaches during the most hot and humid time of the year, from late December through March.

Summer and Winter

Summer in Peru is December through April. During this time, the desert coast is hot and dry, with temperatures reaching 25°C-35°C.

The period of June to September is particularly important in Peru. This period is generally considered winter in the Southern Hemisphere, but not necessarily winter in Peru, as far as the prevailing idea of ‘winter’ is concerned. During this period though, days are clear and often spectacularly sunny, with chilly or possibly cold nights, especially at high elevations.

Many tourists contend that for trekking in the mountains, including the Inca Trail, these are by far the best months. Though some people like to explore the Amazon during the wet season, some travellers visit the basin at this time as mosquitoes are fewer, and many fauna stay close to the rivers.

During this period, temperatures are much milder, though with high humidity. At this time, only beaches along the far north are suitable or swimming. However, rain is scarce along the highlands as daytime temperatures reach 20°C-25°C, while nights are often quite cold.

People can and do visit the highlands year-round, though the wettest months of December to March, though a wet and muddy proposition.

Dry and Wet Season

From December to March, one can expect much rainfall in Peru. At this time, temperatures are slightly milder at 18°C-20°C.

Still, the wettest months in Peru are January and February. While most mornings will begin dry, the afternoons are often drudged with downpours.

The Amazon

Numerous tourists travel to Peru every year just to visit the Amazon Basin. Although the forest is consistently humid and tropical, with significant rainfall year-round, temperatures vary according to the season.

May to October is the dry season. During this time, temperatures reach 30°C-38°C during the day. From November to April, there is frequent rain and high temperatures, causing the rivers to swell.

Public Holidays

First, note that Peruvians travel in huge numbers around July 28, the national holiday Fiestas Patrias, and so finding accommodations in popular destinations around this time can be difficult.

Apart from the standard holidays such as Christmas, other national public holidays in Peru include Three Kings Day (Jan 6), Labour Day (May 1), Battle of Angamos (Oct 8) and Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec 8).

Deciding when to travel to Peru often comes down to making a decision as to whether to go during the wet or dry season. As a matter of compromise, April to June or September to November can often provide the best of both worlds.

They typically have fewer crowds and warmer temperatures than the height of the dry season. Amazingly still, these periods tend to have relatively little rain.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
February 17, 2020

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