For those planning to hike to Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail, it is one of the best experiences in South America. We will break down the best time to plan your visit below, but keep in mind that the trail is closed for repairs for the entire month of February. You can still visit Machu Picchu, but you won’t be able to hike the trail.
Also, keep in mind that only 500 permits are allowed on the trail per day. Some seasons are busier than others, so be sure to book your trip well in advance! You can check the availability of Inca Trail permits or book a tour (that includes permits) in advance.
June to August is Peru’s dry season. It’s one of the best times to visit Machu Picchu because the weather is as close to perfect as it gets. You’ll have blue skies and less rain and fog blocking your view.
During the winter months, days are warm, nights are cool, and rain is sparse. June, July, and August are considered the best months to visit “weather-wise”, but with great weather comes large crowds. Remember that the Inca Trail is restricted to 500 permits per day, however, Machu Picchu allows 5,000.
If you want to hike the Inca trail during the winter season, you’ll need to book your trip well in advance as permits sell out (sometimes a year in advance).
Spring is another excellent time of year to trek the Inca Trail. The weather is still mostly dry, temperatures are pleasant, and the crowds of tourists have mostly cleared. The seasonal calm means you’re also more likely to find a good deal on tours. This time of year is perfect for travelers that want to experience the ruins with fewer people.
From December to February, Machu Picchu experiences its annual rainfall. While the temperatures are still warm, the weather can be thick with fog, and rain is unpredictable and can come in downpours.
With rain getting heavier as the months go on, fewer people attempt the Inca trail during this period. While you can still make the trek, it’s important to keep in mind that the trail will be muddy and some dangers, like flash floods and landslides, are a real possibility.
Don’t forget– the Inca Trail is closed all of February!
As the rainy season comes to an end, fall is another great time of year to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The skies begin to clear and the heavy tourist season hasn’t quite hit.
One of the best reasons to hike the Inca Trail during this season is that everything comes into bloom! After the summer rains, the mountains are blanketed in shades of green, and you’ll spot tons of flowers and orchids blooming along the trail.
The ruins are even more beautiful with gloomy skies and a blanket of mist!
Inca Trail Permits Sold Out During Your Visit?
Don’t worry! There are countless ways to visit Machu Picchu, and the Inca Trail is only 1 of the hikes to get there– it’s just the most famous! If you’re adamant on hiking there, do some research on the Lares Trek, Inca Quarry Trail or Anacascocha Trek to see if it’s right for you!
Important Dates to Keep in Mind
During school holidays, more families make their way to Machu Picchu. A lot of Inca Trail permits and tours are booked solid, so if you’re planning to travel during these periods, make sure you organize your tour or buy your permits months (or even a year) in advance: