Dates to visit Machu Picchu – Carnivals and Climate

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Best time of year for you to visit Machu Picchu

A trip to Peru wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Machu Picchu. Discovered in 1911 by Yale professor Hiram Bingham, Machu Picchu has ever since been a mystery to all and we are yet to discover the reason of even its existence let alone the mysteries that have unfolded since its discovery. Where is Machu Picchu located you ask? Well, It is located on the side of a mountain around four hours from the Imperial Inca City of Cusco. How high is Machu Picchu? Machu Picchu is around 2500 meters above sea level, where it remained hidden for centuries because due to its location. You may also ask when is the best time to go to Machu Picchu? Well that depends on many factors; the weather and the season, the festivals and carnivals you may want to see, the high and low tourist seasons, all factors which will help you to decide on the best time of year for you to visit Machu Picchu.

The months of December to February

Let us start with the weather and how that might affect your decision. The months of December to February are considered the summer season at Machu Picchu with warmer temperatures and clear views, but this period can also experience the rainy season and can get wet and muddy so be prepared. There are no Inca Trails for the month of February as the trial closes for maintenance for the entire month.

March to May

March to May is considered Autumn or fall by our Northern counterpart, and it is still the rainy season but the rain generally stops by May, which happens to be  a lovely time of year to visit Machu Picchu, as it falls just after the rain season making the mountains green and covered with plenty of flowers to admire.

June to August

June to August is winter at Machu Picchu and is considered by many to be the best time to go to Machu Picchu as this is the dry season with clear blue skies, best for hiking and sightseeing.

September to November

September to November is also one of the best times to go to Machu Picchu as the weather is still dry and the rain season hasn’t yet started.

The months June to September fall within the  high tourist season with crowds and queues getting somewhat excessive making extended wait times. However, these months will yield the best  photo opportunities and as they say a trip is only as good as the proof you can bring back. In the rain season from October to March, the crowds lessen, making your experience at Machu Picchu less rushed and more enjoyable. So, if you can cope with a little rain, this may be the best time of year  to go to machu Picchu for you (a good raincoat and waterproof shoes are advised).

The best time of day to visit Machu Picchu is normally in the early morning or midafternoon, the crowds tend to be the heaviest from around 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, so try and get to Machu Picchu early.

Cusco has many events and festivals going on all year round. Considering which of these festivals you would like to see should come into consideration when choosing the time of year to travel Machu Picchu.

The whole month of February not only in Machu Picchu, but in all of the highlands is Carnival. Carnival is a Catholic festival that brings the region to life with music and dance. Many couples take part in chopping down a tree filled with gifts, a site you will see in many parts of Cusco in February.

The Easter week holidays in Cusco and Machu Picchu are a big celebration of the Holy week with parades, floats, many civic functions, parties, large family meals and celebrations and the streets are filled with people wishing  to see the parades, this is a lovely time to visit and maybe the best time to go to Machu Picchu and take a Machu Picchu tour.

Corpus Christi

The festival of Corpus Christi in Cusco begins with the entrance of the saints to the Cathedral on June the 7th, with a lavish procession of the fifteen images of the saints. The festival even  has its own gastronomy and many of the local people indulge in a plate called chiriuchu.

Inti Raymi

Probably the most famous festival in Cusco is Inti Raymi which takes place on June the 24th. This festival centers around the greatness of the Inca religious ceremonies. The day begins in Koricancha, an Inca site in Cusco city and ends in Sacsayhuaman, another Inca temple not far from the city. The day attracts thousands of local and international spectators, making hotels rooms sometimes hard to come by, so if you wish to see this festival make sure to book your hotel well in advance.

Another festival worth a visit not far from Cusco is the Virgen del Carmen in Paucartambo, this party takes place in July and usually lasts for five days and makes Paucartambo come to life with hundreds of dancers in traditional wear  from different regions of Peru.

  1. Whatever you decide is the best time to go to Machu Picchu for you, whether on a Machu Picchu tour or independently, Machu Picchu has a lot to offer. Whatever time of year you decide to embark on your journey, you will not be sorry as this magnificent Inca city can only be seen to be believed.

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