Best time to visit Peru

Updated: 20th February 2017

Machu Picchu - Best Time to Visit Peru - On The Go Tours
The best time to trek to Machu Picchu is during the dry season

Seasons and Weather

The weather in Peru can be divided into two seasons – wet and dry, with the wet season typically lasting from November to April, and the dry season from May to October. However, this being said, due to the varied terrain and landscapes there can be slight differences between regions. Generally speaking the country can be divided into three main climatic regions – the arid coast, cool mountains and humid rainforest.

The Amazon rainforest has a tropical climate meaning it is hot and humid with rainfall all year-round. However, from May to October the weather is slightly drier making for a better time to visit Peru with fewer mosquitoes and lower water levels. November through April is much wetter with frequent showers which swell up the river.

The central Andean mountains and highlands enjoy a much cooler climate thanks to their altitude. May to October is the dry season with warm, dry days and cool evenings making this a good time to go trekking in Peru. The wet season lasts from December to March bringing rain and milder temperatures. Rainfall is at its peak in the Andes from December to February and during this time hiking trails can become very muddy. The Inca Trail closes for maintenance in February each year.

The arid coastal desert is at its hottest between December and March with occasional showers and coastal fog covering the beaches and cities from April to November. The coast has a Mediterranean climate, it very rarely rains in Lima and the northern coastline is generally sunny year-round.

Climate | Lima

Temp Min °C191918171614141314141817
Temp Max °C282828272320191920222326
Rainfall (mm)300055888330

Climate | Cuzco

Temp Min °C777421-114667
Temp Max °C202121222121212122222322
Rainfall (mm)16315010951155510256676137

Climate | The Amazon

Temp Min °C222121211917161719192122
Temp Max °C313131313130303333323231
Rainfall (mm)2832492281708450463893192209264

Festivals and Events

With an ancient history that encompasses Inca traditions, indigenous beliefs and Spanish influences, there is a colourful variety of festivals and events held in Peru each year.

Virgin of Candelaria Feast

Held in the first fortnight of February, this festival honours the Virgin of Candelaria, the patron saint of Puno. The cultural and artistic traditions of the Quechua and Aymara people come alive in vibrant costumes, lively dance and music, and exquisite masks. Thousands of performers take part with the main procession following an icon of the Virgin paraded through the streets of Puno on the 2nd February.

Semana Santa (Holy Week)

Taking place the week immediately before Easter, the Christian Holy Week is celebrated with much reverence and splendour in Peru. Religious processions portraying the passion, death and resurrection of Christ are held throughout the country though some of the finest are to be found in Cuzco and the highland city of Ayacucho.

Corpus Christi

During Corpus Christi processions of icons of fifteen saints and virgins are carried from local churches to main cathedrals to 'greet' the body of Christ, sixty days after Easter. The festival is celebrated throughout the country but particularly impressive in Cuzco.

Fiesta de San Juan (Feast Day of St. John the Baptist)

Held in honour of St. John the Baptist who is credited with baptising Jesus in the River Jordan, this festival is one of the most important festivals in the Peruvian jungle for the saint's symbolic significance with regards to water, an element that provides the lifeblood of the Amazon. Events held on this day include public parties, local bands and delicious regional cuisine with a carnival atmosphere overcoming the jungle town of Iquitos.

Inti Raymi (The Inca Festival of the Sun)

Dating back to the Inca period, Inti Raymi marks the winter solstice and honours the Sun God with music, colourful costumes and the sharing of food. Since 1944 a reconstruction of the Inca festival is held at the anicent ruins of the Sacsayhuamán citadel outside of Cuzco with replica chariots, speeches delivered in the Incan language of Queachua and processions.

Fiestas Patrias (Independence Day)

On the 28th July 1824 Peru won its independence from Spain and every year the date is celebrated with national patriotism, official parades, folk and indigenous music and the flag displayed on buildings throughout the country. Some of the best celebrations can be found in the capital of Lima.

El Señor de los Milagros (Lord of Miracles Festival)

Every year in October hundreds of thousands of devotees crowd the streets of Lima to venerate an image of Christ painted by an African slave brought to Peru from what is now Angola. It's the largest procession in South America with participants wearing purple as a sign of devotion.

Puno Week

Held in the first week of November each year, Puno Week celebrates the founding of the Inca Empire and specifically Manco Cápac who is believed to have risen from the waters of Lake Titicaca and established the Inca civilization. A large procession journeys from the shores of the lake to the city's stadium with lively dances and music and the city enjoying plenty of alcoholic beverages.

2017 Calendar

To help plan your 2017 visit to Peru, here's an overview of the year's festivals and events.

February 1st-14th - Virgin of Candelaria Feast (Puno)
April 9th-15th - Holy Week (countrywide)
June 18th - Corpus Christi (countrywide)
June 23rd-24th - Feast Day of St. John the Baptist (Iquitos)
June 24th - Inti Raymi (Cuzco)
July 28th - Independence Day (countrywide)
October 17th-18th - Lord Of Miracles Festival (Lima)
November 1st-7th - Puno Week (Puno)

There's also a number of national holidays in Peru and on these dates many businesses and some tourist sites will close for the day so plan your visit accordingly.

Tourist Site Closures

Popular sightseeing spots in Peru may be closed at certain times during the year. Please plan your visit accordingly.

The official Inca Trail is closed for the entire month of February to allow conservation work to take place.

Churches and cathedrals in Cuzco and Lima are closed during the religious holidays, specifically Christmas and Holy Week.

See Also

For more help planning your holiday to Peru check out our Travel Guide resources:

Best Places to Visit - where to go in Peru and famous sights to see
Tourist Visas - what you need to know to enter Peru
Top Travel Tips - useful info on money and health
Style of Travel - what to expect on accommodation and transport on our Peru tours
The Inca Trail - details on the hike and necessary permits
Visiting Machu Picchu - a guide to the Inca citadel and ways to get there

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