When is the best time to visit Cusco?
Cusco is a beautiful city, full of history and thousands of places to discover. It is located in the Peruvian Andes, southeast of the country and offers unique experiences for tourists that are willing to learn about the Inca culture.
However, deciding when is the best time to travel to Cusco can present a challenge… But do not worry! From the rainy season to the dry season and famous festivals like Inti Raymi, each time has its own magic and will make the trip unforgettable.
Both, the low season and the high season in Cusco, are ideal to enjoy this city. Here we will detail some of its characteristics so that you can decide when to visit Cusco and enjoy this incredible experience.
How is the weather in Cusco?
To know when is the best time to travel to Cusco, we must take into account some general aspects about its type of climate, which varies a lot depending on the season of the year.
The climate of Cusco is cold and temperate, the temperatures, on average, vary from 0 ºC (32 °F) to 22 ºC (71 °F) and it mainly presents two specifics seasons; the dry season (from April to October) and the rainy season (from November to March).
Since many tours involve visiting archaeological areas on foot or getting to know what Mother Nature herself has to offer us, it is important to take into account the time in which we decide to visit the city, since its climate is very changeable and it is an important factor to consider to take advantage of our stay in this wonderful city and can influence our decision on when to travel to Cusco.
One fact to take into account, due to the varied temperatures, is that it is very advisable to wear the appropriate clothing when visiting the tourist attractions, especially those located in the mountain area.
Considering that due to the altitude, on a sunny day the heat can feel more intense, it is useful to dress in layers of clothing to be able to remove as the temperature gets higher. If the day turns cloudy or starts to get dark, in that case it is necessary to have an extra coat.
Caused by the intensity that the sun can have during the day being so many meters above sea level, it is also recommended, when going on an excursion, to have a cap or hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
And if we decide to travel to Cusco at the time when the rains are more frequent, it is highly recommended to have a poncho/rain cape and trekking shoes.
Dry season and rainy season in Cusco
The dry season
The dry season begins in April and ends in October, being June and July the driest and sunniest months, when the rains are very sporadic.
At this time, during the day, although the temperature is not extremely high, the sun is intensely felt, since the city is 3,400 meters above sea level.
It must be taken into account that, although during the day you may be accompanied by intense sun, at night, during the dry season, the weather in Cusco is cold and windy, sometimes reaching 0 °C (32 °F) and frosts can also be frequent.
Thanks to the majority of sunny days, this is the season most chosen by tourists and we can say that this time is when it is the high season in Cusco.
The rainy season
The rainy season begins in November and ends in March. The most frequent rainy months are January and, mostly, February.
When is the high season in Cusco?
Thanks to the majority of sunny days, normally, the dry season (from April to October) is the season most chosen by tourists and we can say that this time of the year is when it is the high season in Cusco.
Advantages of traveling to Cusco in the rainy season
Although it can be said that fewer tourists decide to travel to Cusco in the rainy season (from November to March), since they prefer to opt for the sunny days that the months of June and July offer us, we must also highlight that traveling to this beautiful city at this time really has some advantages, and depending on what we are looking for, besides the dry season, this can also be considered the best time to travel to Cusco.
Here we are going to mention some points in favor that we will find traveling to Cusco during the rainy season:3
- The landscapes: thanks to the fall of rainwater, the green landscapes intensify their color and their appearance, at this time there is an abundance of beautiful foliage in the plants and trees that cover the mountains, which really does not shine in the dry season, where the general landscape may look a bit dry or brownish. This is, no doubt, the time in which the best photographs of the different landscapes can be taken.
- The temperature: during the rainy season, the city of Cusco has more warm weather than in the dry season.At this time the maximum temperatures are around 21 °C (69 °F) and 22 °C (71 °F) and the minimum temperatures average around 8 °C (46 °F).
- Fewer tourists: because most people choose the dry season when deciding when to visit Cusco, the rainy season is considered low season for tourism and this gives us less crowds when visiting different points of interest or when taking tours.
- Greater hotel offer: being considered the rainy season, low season, we can say that we are going to find more options when booking a hotel and that is when we are going to find the best prices for lodging.
Machu Picchu: when should you visit it?
This is a question frequently asked by tourists, since Machu Picchu is one of the main attractions in Peru and one of the tourist spots that most travelers receive throughout the year.
It should be noted that both Cusco and Machu Picchu can be visited at any time, each season having advantages and disadvantages.
We can say that the high season in the ancient inca city occurs in the dry season (from April to October). It is at this time, especially in the month of July, when most tourists decide to visit this renowned tourist spot, perhaps trying to avoid, if possible, rainy days, since in this month the sun is very present.
For a matter of cost and availability, if we decide to visit this characteristic point of the Sacred Valley in high season, it is advisable to book the entrance tickets in advance online.
Visiting this tourist attraction during the rainy season (from November to March) can also be a good idea, since, despite what many people believe, actually, it does not rain throughout the day, mostly the rains are present during the afternoon.
And while it is true that at this time the Inca city dawns covered in mist, it gradually disappears during the morning.
During the month of February, it is when more rains can occur, in any case, this archaeological site can be perfectly explored. The only recommendation to keep in mind is that perhaps this is not the ideal time for hiking.
As we already mentioned, traveling to Cusco in the rainy season has some advantages, and Machu Picchu is no the exception.
During this time we can visit this archaeological site more calmly, due to the lower flow of tourists.
In addition, many people prefer to visit it in low season, since they can access better prices, especially in hotels and restaurants.
And what many travelers agree on, is that during this time, thanks to the increase in natural irrigation from the rains, the landscapes that this amazing archaeological complex has to offer present a much more intensified green and that is, undoubtedly, when you can get the best pictures of this amazing place.
To conclude, we can affirm that the high season in Cusco coincides with the sunniest season (from April to October), however, we must recognize that the rainy season (from November to March) also has its charms and is still a good opportunity to visit this incredible city of Peru.
So, when to visit Cusco? We can say that regardless of the time of year in which you decide to visit Cusco, you should always be prepared for the sun and the rain since the Andes present unpredictable weather.