Machu Picchu Weather: the good, the bad, and the ugly
The most frequently asked questions about traveling to Machu Picchu are regarding the weather. We've collected the best intel we have along with a few other facts to help you determine when to travel.
The good news about Machu Picchu:
- Machu Picchu is open every day of the year from 6 am to 5:30 pm.
- there are 2 seasons: WET from late November to early April with plenty of sunshine possible. DRY season is perceived as the best time to visit the ruins. Temperatures are slightly cooler in the dry season.
- temperatures are not extreme. Average low is from 40 F/5 C at night to average high of 70s F/20s C during the day, with short spikes up to 80 F/25 C. Year round variations are only 1-2 degrees each way.
- Cusco temperatures average 65 F high / 45 F low year round.
- afternoons are generally the most consistently good time to visit the ruins for clear conditions. And possible beautiful sunsets
- more permits for Inca Trail hikes were added beginning 2016. Permits for the 1-day hike rarely sell out
The bad news about Machu Picchu:
- due to altitude 8000 ft. / 2440 m. weather which can change suddenly
- only open during the daytime from 6 am - 5:30 pm
- weather predictions and apps are not reliable. Always plan to carry rain gear even in the dry season.
- Inca Trail is closed during the month of February. The only way to get to Machu Picchu is by train
- early morning tends to be foggy/misty until burn off which can occur late morning
- there is no daylight savings time. It gets dark about 5:30-6 pm.
- sunrise can be cloudy and misty. Best time of year to see sunrise is during the dry season (May - October)
- permits for the 4-day Inca Trail hike sell out months in advance
The dirty, ugly secrets about Machu Picchu:
- the only way to get to Machu Picchu is on foot by hiking the 4 day or 1 day Inca Trail and by train. There are no roads and you can't rent a car and drive there.
- it is recommended you buy train tickets and entry tickets at the same time. One without the other is useless
- if you forget your passport, you cannot enter the ruins.
- strikes usually occur in places where they are most likely to interrupt access to Machu Picchu. This is viewed as the best way for local people to get attention for their cause.
- Since July 1, 2017, all entry tickets are half day and the number of tickets available each day is more than double than before.
- No additional shuttle buses have been added and you can expect to wait on average at least 1 hour each way to get from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu.