When to Go
The traditional time to visit Peru is in the South American winter, June–August, when dry, sunny weather opens up over the mountains and the Amazon. Because Peru’s dry months coincide perfectly with summer vacation in North America and Europe, this is also when most travelers visit Peru. Prices for lodging tend to go up during these months, and hot spots like Machu Picchu can be crowded. Especially crowded times are Inti Raymi, the June 24 sun festival in Cusco, and Fiestas Patrias, the national Peruvian holiday at the end of July.
The bulk of the rainy season is December–April, when trekking and other outdoor activities are hampered by muddy paths and soggy skies. To avoid crowds, we heartily recommend squeezing your trip in between the rainy season and the high tourist months. April, May, September, October, and even November are excellent times to visit Peru. The weather is usually fine and prices for lodging tend to be lower.
There are some dry spots in the country, however, even during the wettest months. Peru’s largest jungle city, Iquitos, is far enough down the Amazon basin to have a less-pronounced wet season. Clouds move in most afternoons throughout the year, drop a load of water, and then shuffle away again to reveal sun. The only thing that fluctuates in Iquitos year-round is the Amazon River itself, which heaves up and down in tune with highland rains. So Iquitos is a year-round option for visiting the Amazon, and Peru’s desert coast can also be visited year-round because hardly any rain falls here. Ironically, the sunniest months on the coast are the wettest in the highlands, December–March. The weather is especially bright and sunny in Peru’s extreme north coast, where surfers congregate for the white-sand beaches and huge seasonal breaks.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition