Best Time to Visit Cusco
Cusco, Peru is a fascinating destination for travelers seeking a unique and unforgettable experience. With its rich cultural heritage, stunning natural scenery, and vibrant local traditions, it is no wonder that Cusco is a top destination for visitors from around the world. However, in order to enjoy your visit to Cusco the most, it is important to know when to travel. The best time to visit Cusco can depend on a variety of factors, including weather conditions, tourist crowds, and local festivals. In this comprehensive travel guide, we will provide you with everything you need to know about the best time to visit Cusco, Peru.
The city of Cusco is located in the Andes Mountain Range in southeastern Peru, and its elevation is approximately 3,399 meters (11,152 feet) above sea level. The high altitude can be a challenge for some visitors, and it is important to take precautions to avoid altitude sickness.
To avoid this we advise you to drink plenty of water and eat lightly on your first day, you should also drink Coca tea or Muña tea. Many hotels in Cusco also offer Coca tea and oxygen (if needed) to help alleviate altitude sickness symptoms. Despite the potential challenges of high altitude, visiting Cusco can be a rewarding and unforgettable experience for those who take the time to acclimate properly.
You can also choose to stay in Ollnatytambo or Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Either of these two places are the best places to acclimatize to the altitude since they are at a lower altitude than Cusco.
Climate in Cusco
Cusco has a subtropical highland climate, which means that the city experiences distinct seasons throughout the year. (Believe it or not, you can experience all 4 seasons in one day). The dry season in Cusco runs from May to October, while the wet season lasts from November to April. During the dry season, the weather is generally warm and sunny during the day, with cooler temperatures at night. In contrast, the wet season is characterized by frequent rain showers, and temperatures that are slightly milder during the day and warmer at night.
Best Time to Visit Cusco for Weather
If you are looking for the best weather conditions in Cusco, the dry season is the ideal time to travel to Cusco. During this time, the weather is generally sunny and warm during the day, with comfortable temperatures at night. This makes it the perfect time to explore the city of Cusco, including Machu Picchu, the historic center of Cusco, and the stunning natural scenery of the Sacred Valley.
Dry Season in Cusco
The dry season in Cusco, Peru typically runs from April to October. During this time, the weather is generally sunny and dry. However, it is important to note that even during the dry season, rain showers can occur from time to time, so it is always a good idea to pack a rain jacket and be prepared for changing weather conditions.
Best Time to Visit Cusco to Avoid Crowds
Cusco is a popular destination for travelers from around the world, and as a result, Cusco can get crowded during peak tourist season. The busiest months in Cusco are typically June, July, and August, when visitors flock to the city to take advantage of the warm and sunny weather. If you want to avoid the crowds, it is recommended to visit Cusco during the shoulder season, which runs from April to May and September to October. During this time, the weather is still pleasant, there is little chance of rain but that’s okay. The crowds are smaller, making it easier to explore the city’s many attractions without feeling overwhelmed.
Shoulder Season in Cusco
The shoulder season in Cusco, typically runs from April to May and September to October, this time can be the best time to visit Cusco, Perú for several reasons. Firstly, the weather during the shoulder season is generally still enjoyable, with relatively low chances of rain and moderate temperatures. This makes it a good time to explore the city without being affected by the intense heat or frequent rain showers that can occur during other times of the year. Additionally, in the shoulder season there are usually fewer people than in high season, allowing visitors to enjoy a more relaxed and less crowded travel experience in Cusco and surroundings. Finally, prices for accommodation and tours can often be lower during the shoulder season, making it a more affordable time to visit. Overall, the shoulder season can be an excellent time to visit Cusco for those who want to avoid the crowds and enjoy favorable weather conditions.
Best Time to Visit Cusco for Festivals
Cusco is a culturally rich city and home to a number of colorful and vibrant festivals throughout the year, and if you are interested in experiencing the most beautiful traditions and events, it is worth planning your visit around the dry season. Actually the best time to visit Cusco for festivals depends on which festivals you would like to attend.
Here are some of the most popular festivals in Cusco and when they take place:
- Inti Raymi (June 24th): This is Cusco’s most important festival of the year, it takes place at winter solstice that honors the Inca sun god, Inti. Although this was later changed to the feast of St. John being celebrated on June 24. The festival includes processions, music, dance, and a reenactment of the Inca ceremony at the Sacsayhuaman ruins just outside Cusco.
- Corpus Christi (late May or early June): This festival combines Inca and Catholic traditions and includes processions, music, and dance, with the highlight being the carrying of statues of saints and virgins through the city streets.
- Qoyllur Rit’i (May or June): This festival takes place high in the Andes near Cusco and is a celebration of the mountain spirits. The festival includes traditional dances, music. This party is more attended by the locals, since reaching the place is through a perigrinecion that the locals make by faith.
- Virgen del Carmen (July 16th): This festival is celebrated in the Quechua town of Paucartambo and includes traditional dance performances, music, and parades. There are some travel agencies that offer this option for tourists, it is advisable to stay one night because of the distance of the place.
- Semana Santa (Easter week): This is a religious festival that includes processions, music, and reenactments of the Passion of Christ. This event is celebrated in Cusco with the procession of the Lord of the Tremors which comes to make a statue of a brown Christ that the locals worship.
Best Time to Visit Cusco for Hiking
If you are an avid hiker or outdoor enthusiast, the best time to visit Cusco is during the dry season. This is because the weather conditions during this time are ideal for hiking around Cusco, Perú, with clear skies and warm temperatures during the day. hiking during this season is safe, since hiking during the rainy season is somewhat difficult because the trails are muddy due to the rains and a fall can be extremely dangerous.
Some of the most popular hiking trails in Cusco include the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the Salkantay Trek, the Lares Trek, Choquequirao and Huchuy Qosqo trek to Machu Picchu.
In conclusion, the best time to visit Cusco, Peru depends on your personal preferences and the activities you plan to do. If you are looking for ideal weather conditions, the dry season from May to October is the best time to visit. If you want to avoid the crowds go during the shoulder seasons (from April to May and September to November ) can also be a good time to visit Cusco.
If you need help planning your trip to Cusco contact us, we offer personalized and tailor-made tours that perfectly fit your travel itinerary. Give us a try for a unique and unforgettable experience.