What’s the Best Month to Go to the Inca Trail?
The most enjoyable times of year to enjoy the Inca Trail and see the best weather are April and May or September and October. These times of year are a little quieter regarding tourists and the climate is remarkably pleasant with little precipitation.
However, many tourists like to organize their trip around other attractions in Cusco, and June is the best month of the year for this. June is the anniversary of Cusco and there’s always something going on, including the amazing reenactment of the Inca festival Inti Raymi.
Do keep in mind, though, that this month is busier in general, and booking hotels, restaurants, and trips way beforehand is a must.
Keep reading to discover the weather each month of the year along the Inca Trail route—during the dry and wet season—so you can properly plan your trek to Machu Picchu.
The Inca Trail Rainy Season: What to Expect
During the rainy season, the weather is a bit hit and miss on the Inca Trail. You should always be prepared for a sudden downpour. If you’re going to travel at this time of year, you must take waterproofs and carry them with you in your backpack. Don’t be surprised, though, if you also find you don’t see any rain for a day or two.
The months with the most precipitation are January and February. The Inca Trail is actually closed in February due to the showers and for the government to carry out maintenance.
Let’s take a closer look at what to expect during the rainy season month-by-month.
In November, the dry season has come to an end and the rainy season is here. Along the route, you’ll see that fields are dry and not very green due to many dry months. The later you travel in November; the more precipitation you’re going to see. The temperature on the Inca Trail in November is nice overall and you’ll feel warm most of the time. The average temperature this month is 66°F in the day and 41°F at night.
December marks the start of the Peruvian summer and is when most national tourists travel. The general temp on the route is still generally warm (66°F in the day and 45°F at night), but you should expect to see more showers. December is a nice month to travel if you want to avoid large crowds, but make sure you take your waterproofs.
The rain is really starting to fall now and there are showers most days. The sun will do a lot of hiding behind the clouds but comes out to quickly dry up the wet ground after a downpour. You’ll still get to experience sunny spells during the day and feel temps of 64°F in the day and 45°F at night.
As we already mentioned, the Inca Trail is closed in February. There are heavier showers and the wet ground could cause accidents and slips. You won’t be able to book a spot on the trail this month, but some other routes are open if you happen to be in Cusco. The weather is still mild, though, and in the day you’ll experience around 64°F and at night 46°F.
Downpours are still consistent through March, but there’ll be more breaks in the cloud and the sun shows his face more often. Visitors start to hike the Inca Trail again and the ground will be a little drier. Don’t leave your rain gear behind, though. Expect temps of 66°Fin the day and at night 46°F.
At last! It’s almost time to bid farewell to the heavy rains for a few months. There’s still a little rainfall in April, but it’s dropped dramatically. You’ll feel plenty of sun on your skin and enjoy temperatures of 66°F in the day and 45°F during the night.
The Inca Trail Dry Season: What to Expect
The dry season is associated with some gorgeous sunny days and the chance to enjoy the most spectacular views of the impressive Andean landscapes. This does also mean, though, the arrival of a lot more visitants to Peru who want to make the most of the dry weather. The Inca Trek is sold out many months in advance at this time of year.
As we mentioned before, preparation is essential when traveling during the dry season as everything gets reserved early. Making bookings around four months in advance is usually a good idea to ensure you get spaces on the trek and in the hotels you like. If you wish to hike up Huayna Picchu once inside Machu Picchu, you MUST book well in advance.
Here’s a better look at each month during the dry season on the Inca Trail.
That’s it, folks. The rainy season is behind us and the dry season is here. It’s not unusual to see the odd light shower, but nothing that’ll affect your hike too much. The amount of rain has decreased a lot by now and May is known as one of the nicest climates of the year. This is a lovely time to visit before large crowds hit Machu Picchu. You’ll feel temps of 66°F during the day and things start to get chillier at night around 39°F.
June is renowned for being the driest time of the year and you probably won’t see any rain. However, winter is now upon us and the nights on the Inca Trail are getting pretty cold. In the day it’s still mild at 66°F, but at night it starts to go down to 34°F. Also, keep in mind that June is one of the busiest months in Cusco, so be prepared for lots of other visitors at Machu Picchu.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any colder at night, along comes July. It can go down to 32°F, but you’ll warm up in the day again at around 66°F. This is actually the coldest month of the year, so make sure you take warm clothes for the evening and a decent sleeping bag. The sun is very strong at this time of year, so take strong sunscreen.
Winter is almost over, but it’s still pretty cold at night. Expect it to be around 37°F in the evenings and up to 66°F in the day. The days are getting sunnier and there’s still very little precipitation. August is busy with visitors and you should expect some outstanding views with clear skies along the Inca Trail.
This is a lovely time of year weather-wise. The temperatures are finally getting warmer again and you won’t see too much rain. You’ll feel generally very warm and get to bathe in the sun most of the day. Tourism is declining again at this time of year so it’s a nice time to come. You’ll feel temps of 66°F during the day and 41°F at night.
Another one of our favorite months. It’s one of the warmest and you’ll avoid large crowds at Machu Picchu, while still enjoying fantastic views. Expect blue skies and perhaps the odd light shower now and again. In the day the temperature will be around 66°F and at night 43°F.
What Is the Average Temperature of the Inca Trail?
As you can see, the temperature doesn’t change a great deal throughout the year. During the day, you’ll most likely experience a temp of 66°F and at night around 40°F. Of course, it depends on what part of the trail you’re on. The first campsites are colder and you’ll be at a higher altitude before making your way down to the warmer jungle sections of the trail.
What Is the Coldest Month on the Inca Trail?
The coldest month of the year on the Inca Trail is July without a doubt. At night, the temp can drop to as low as 32°F, but it still warms up in the day again to around 66°F. June comes a close second with night temp dropping to 34°F.
If you travel during these months, you need to ensure you take warm clothing and a sleeping bag that can withstand colder climates.
Does the Weather on the Inca Trail Affect Flights?
The weather on the Inca Trail is very similar to that in Cusco. So, when there are heavy showers on the trek, they likely are also in the city where the airport is. Occasionally the downpours are so heavy that a flight might be delayed or even canceled. But you don’t need to worry as the airlines will always put you on another flight as soon as possible.
What to Pack When Visiting the Inca Trail
You can check out our detailed Inca Trail packing list for a detailed description of each item and some recommendations. But, if you want a quick look, check out this brief list:
- Clothing - thin layers that you can take off and put on as the temperature changes.
- Raincoat or waterproof poncho.
- A warm jacket and sweater.
- Hand towel.
- Hiking boots or shoes - well worn-in.
- Warm pajamas.
- Sun hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen factor 50+.
- A warm hat, scarf, and gloves for the cold nights and for when you’re up on a mountain on a trek.
- Insect repellent.
- Reusable water bottle.
- Daypack to carry all your things around in.
- High-quality camera or phone with a good camera.
- Personal medication.
- Guide book/map.
- Lock for bags.
- Adaptors for plugs (if needed).
Book Your Trip Now
Hopefully, by using our detailed weather guide for the Inca Trail, you now have a better understanding of what to expect and when you’d like to travel. Of course, it depends if you don’t mind getting wet or if you want to avoid or be with the large crowds.
The majority of travelers come to Peru between May and October, but you can come any month. Just remember that the Inca Trail is closed in February.
If you decide to join us on this epic route in the rainy season, you’ll still have an awesome time. But remember to take all your waterproofs to keep you dry and some great hiking boots to give you a good grip.
Whenever you want to join us on the Inca Trail, we’ll be ready and waiting with open arms to take you on the adventure of a lifetime!