If you’re planning to go to Cusco, you might want to know several things about this beautiful city before you go. Most importantly: the climate. Often people want to research the weather of a place before they arrive to be prepared. If you’re one of those people, read carefully, because the weather in Cusco is a bit more complicated than most destinations…
Basically, don’t count on anything. No matter how prepared you are, whether you’ve read Cusco weather forecasts or printed out “Cusco Weather For The Next 10 Days,” “Cusco Weather In May”, anything… It doesn’t work here. You can try, but you may end up spending all of your money on waterproof everything and come to find beautiful sun, or head on a hike in shorts and feel the temperatures drop quicker than you can head back to town.
There are 2 seasons clear seasons in Cusco, the rainy season and the dry season, and here’s what to expect from them.
Running from around October to March, you can expect it to rain occasionally throughout the week, but the weird thing about this season is that one minute the sky will fill with dark clouds and everything will be instantly soaked in rain, and the next the sun appears and everything returns to perfect, normal weather.
A lot of people hear this and wonder if it’s safe, or even possible, to trek during this season, and most of the time it’s fine. The rain is sporadic, usually not constant, and if you are just a bit outdoorsy you’ll see it’s not as bad as you’d expect. If not, you can still get to Machu Picchu other ways, such as by train, car or bus. (For more advice, click here: How to Get to Machu Picchu)
The rainiest month is definitely February, when they usually have to close some routes to Machu Picchu due to heavy rains along the way. If you have your heart on trekking, this may not be the best time. To be on the safe side, it’s usually not advisable to go in January, February or March if you want to plan a trek. But if you’re determined to go and this is the only time, you can always get there one way or another, and I wouldn’t miss these amazing ruins no matter what the weather. You just might not get the perfect picture…
As you may have guessed, the dry season means sun and no rain! It’s extremely rare if it rains during this season, running from April and ending in September or so.
April, May and June, in my opinion, are the best months to visit Machu Picchu and Cusco, because the rainy season has just finished so everything is beautifully green and the weather is more predictable. It’s a dream traveling to Cusco at this time of year.
Read more: How To Get To Machu Picchu
If you’re going to Cusco rain or shine, whichever season, keep in mind that the climate of the Andes is very different to any other climate. If you’re going to the Andes of Bolivia or Ecuador you’ll see this as well- if you stand in the sun, you’ll be boiling hot, and want to go out in shorts and a tank top. The minute you cross the street into the shade, you’ll be shivering and scrambling to buy every llama sweater you see.
Always carry something warm in this kind of weather because you never know when the sky will fill with clouds, it’s just a matter of luck. Remember that, even if you see a shining sun and cloud-free sky when you head out for the day.
Despite the inconvenience it sometimes causes, the climate is impressive and Cusco has so many incredible things to offer that you can’t miss. No matter what kind of traveler you are, no matter what the rest of your trip looks like, you’re going to want to see Cusco and Machu Picchu. Just know which season you’re visiting in and come as prepared as you can!
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