Best Time to Visit PeruBy Sandra King; Updated June 08, 2017
Reserved for adventure: Secure a spot in your schedule to explore Peru
Peru invites you to experience an intriguing mix of ancient history, breathtaking landscapes and modern amenities. Check out surfing or sunning on the coast, take a mountain trek to ancient Incan ruins or explore the mysterious realm of the Amazon. If you prefer city life to jungle cruises, a visit to Lima offers hungry trekkers a taste of world-class cuisine, a dynamic nightlife and shopping venues that feature local artisans. The best time to experience Peru depends on the region that’s calling your name and whether you mind getting a little – or a lot – wet.
The Weather and seasons in Peru
The climate in Peru varies by region: eastern lowlands, central highlands and the western desert coast. Peru also has a distinct rainy season that may leave some travelers feeling soggy rather than inspired. There’s still plenty to see during that time, though, with fewer crowds to slow you down.
The eastern portion of the country, covered by rain forest, is hot and humid throughout the year with temperatures ranging from 86 to 100 degrees F. The rainy season runs from November through April and does little to cool the tropical nature of the Amazon but does increase the humidity factor as water levels rise.
In the central highlands, home to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, the most impressive rainfall comes in February. The trail is actually closed during February, but Machu Picchu continues to welcome visitors. Temperatures are mild during the rainy season with daytime highs of 64 to 68 degrees F and average nighttime temps in the 50s. During the dry season, May through October, daytime temperatures range from 68 to77 degrees F but can drop significantly at night, sometimes near the freezing mark in June and July.
The coastal region boasts two seasons, winter and summer. It’s hot and dry from December through April with temperatures ranging from 77 to 100 degrees F. During the winter, roughly May through October, the humidity rises as temperatures drop slightly, and all but the northern beaches are covered in a persistent, misty fog.
Avoiding the crowds
Peru’s peak travel time occurs during the dry season, May through October. Most visitors explore the country in July and August, so planning a trip during another month means less congestion and more accommodation choices. Another busy travel time occurs in December and January. Locals also travel extensively during these months due to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, as well as Three King’s Day on January 6.
Another heavy travel time for Peruvians is around their national holiday, July 28. Plan your trip early since it’s often difficult to find accommodations around that time. June through September is considered the best time for hiking the Inca Trail or spending time in the highlands. It’s winter in Peru at that time of year, but the days are pleasant with plenty of sunshine. If you’re craving sunshine and surf, the northern beaches are warm and sunny year-round.
Exploring the Amazon
Most travelers prefer June through September for cruising the Amazon or hiking through the rainforest, when mosquitoes are less prevalent – but still hungry. Monkeys, birds and other amazing fauna are much more active, increasing the odds of seeing some of the wildlife the Amazon is famous for. Still, choosing to experience this natural wonder during the rainy season gives visitors an opportunity to travel further into the jungle by boat, because water levels are much higher.