When to Visit Machu Picchu
March - May
Some would call this the shoulder season, yet we call it the ideal; The blend between weather, crowds and local happenings. As the Andes mountains comes out of its wet season (December to February), the green fields come alive with large families harvesting Andean potatoes and corn. The vacation season for North America has not yet arrived during this time, so the visitors to the region are a fraction of what they are in June through August. While tolerating some sporatdic showers in March and maybe early April, the days are sunny and crisp, and the landscape is green.
June - August
These four months represent the high season for visitors to Machu Picchu. It's a time when the weather guarantees a mostly dry experience and many of the aspiring Machu Picchu visitors around the world are on vacation. While having to tolerate an increase in crowds, you're compensated with the numerous festivals that celebrate the sun around the June summer solstice. Most notably is Inti Raymi in Cusco, yet the many smaller communities in the Andes also celebrate this important celestial moment with colorful and unique traditions going back hundreds of years.
September - November
The heavy crowds are back to school and work by now, the fields have begun to shimmer in a golden brown as the locals till and prepare the fields for planting prior to the wet season and the mighty flows of the Andean rivers are tamed after a respite from rains in the preceding months. Cusco hosts one of its most important Colonial era festivals, Senor de los Milagros during this time and the Andes begin to see sporadic showers going into November. It's a charming time of year that spontaneous travel can always yield some hidden gems.
December - February
This is the season of contrasts. The weather has the potential to go from clear skies and bright sun, to heavy downpours for days on end. The crowds go from light to extreme in the few week period between December 15 and early January. During the holiday rush, the visitors have to work harder to navigate the crowds, yet they are awarded with some of the best holiday festivities on the continent.