Peru’s seasonal trasures
Peru is one of the greatest empires the world has ever seen. The Incas are famous for their architecture and many of their buildings still stand to tell the story today, but Peru is much more. If you would like to find out what is the best time to visit Peru, keep on reading because this article is written just for you.
Every country has its own rhythm, climate and best time of year when the weather is just ideal, to some even life-changing. Located in the east coast of South America, meaning southern hemisphere, you must keep in mind the traditional seasons are opposite to those in North America, winter in Peru lines up with the summer months in the US and vice versa.
Peru is a country unlike any other. Blessed with three very distinctive regions each harboring unique climates and landscapes. However, don´t forget that weather will vary drastically across this large 496,225 square mile South American country. In one single destination prepare to experience three radically different climate zones due mainly to the differing landscapes; coast, mountain and rainforest. The seasons in Peru can be divided into wet and dry seasons and this goes for all regions.
Visiting Peru in the summer rainy season (November-March)
During the summer season, the temperature in the country is hot, even though it is the wettest period. There is high rainfall in the Amazon rainforest and the Andes mountains, while the Coast experiences minimal chances of rainfall.
Peruvian Coast and Dessert
The coastal desert of Peru extends from near the northern border with Ecuador to the southern border with Chile, a north-to-south distance of almost 990 miles. Summer is undoubtedly the best time to visit.
Peru’s coast is also home to the vibrant and cosmopolitan capital city of Lima. With average annual temperatures ranging 65ºF, during the summer expect the highest temperatures to be around 78ºF and one of the driest capitals in the world. The cold waters of the Humboldt Current create a moist fog called garúa allowing the vegetation to flourish without hardly any rainfall.
Beach and surf towns such as Piura and gorgeous Mancora are just minutes away and very welcoming to travelers. If you are looking for adventure the Nazca Lines, Paracas and Huacachina are your destinations. Peru’s desert stretches to the northern border of Peru, along the coast, and to the foothills of the Andes mountains.
Although summer is the best time to visit the Coast, unfortunately, it is not the best time to visit the Andes. This goes especially for Machu Picchu. During this time of year, there is a high amount of rainfall. Most pathways are slippery which become hard to trek and many trails like the Salkantay Trail are closed.
So, if you will like to trek on the Andes, the summer season is not the right time to go, unless that isn´t a problem for you. During the wet season the average temperature is 64ºF, this also includes Cusco, while at night expect temperatures to drop around 45ºF. Although during this time of year in the highlands you can undergo heavy showers, and thunder if you can wait out the storm you can be compensated with beautiful blue skies and rainbows.
Spanning eight South American countries, the Amazon rainforest is the largest remaining rainforest on the planet. A typical day in the rainforest is hot, humid, and rainy year-round, but that is exactly what you expect it to be.
Home to the world´s most biodiverse places on the planet, the rainforest is a magical wonder of jaguars, macaws, pink dolphins allowing the traveler to explore the flora and fauna of unique destinations and connect with hidden Amazonian communities.
The temperature in the Amazon is very similar throughout the year. During this season, destinations like Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado, and Esperanza experience an extreme amount of rainfall. The annual average temperature is 80ºF and the wettest month is March with an annual precipitation of 112.5 inches.
Visiting Peru in the Winter dry season (May–October)
The best time to visit Peru is during the dry and peak season. If what you are looking for is to go trekking, blue-skies, and endless outdoor activities, this is the season for you. The winter season is the driest and great time to visit Peru.
Peruvian Coast-Desert in the Winter
Ocean water temperatures in Lima in September, the coldest month, are as low as 57.9 °F similar to water temperatures near Los Angeles during its winter months. The winter season is the driest and the best time to visit Peru.
While it’s easy to imagine it hot, and sunny year-round, Lima´s winters come with long prolonged overcast, despite it never quite ends raining. Many Limeños, do wear scarves and jackets during the windier and colder winter months.
Winter seasons along the Coast are cloudy. Lima is sometimes referred to as «the grey City» because of the Coast’s humidity. The average temperature ranges from 66ºF and drops as low as 59°F. Most of the Peruvian coastal desert has average annual temperatures of less than 68 °F with temperatures dropping as low as 50 °F.
Winter in the Andes Mountains
From May to November, it’s incredibly dry on the Andes. If you intend to visit Machu Picchu or Cusco, located on a higher peak in the Andes, it will be a great choice. The coolest months are June and July, with an average high temperature of 77ºF and a low of 48ºF.
Visiting the Amazon jungle in the winter
Visiting the Amazon basin in the dry season is more desirable. There are fewer mosquitoes and a low amount of rainfall; you can tour through the jungle safely. The temperature in this area is relatively constant.
Visiting Peru in the shoulder season (April-October)
Probably the best time to visit Peru is shoulder season. Most places are less crowded, and the cost is lower compared to the peak season. There are a lot of places to go and hike at the Inca Trail, visit Cotahuasi Canyon, and travel north to observe incredible bird species, and surf at Cabo Blanco, Chicama, or Mancora.
Shoulder season along the Coast of Peru
The weather conditions during April to October are spring-like majestic and sunny. During this season, Lima does experience some fog and mist, however, it becomes sunny as you move closer to the Equator. Shoulder Season. April and May, October and November have a more moderate weather, with a constant mix of clouds and sunshine and expect temperatures to be between low 70º and highs of 77ºF.
Shoulder season in the Peruvian Highland-Andes Mountains
The best time to visit Arequipa and Colca Canyon is in April or May, during the shoulder season after the rainy season in the Andes region, this is when the area is at its most lush. Arequipa is blessed with over 300 days of sun. However, temperatures average only 59ºF year-round.
Peru’s Shoulder season in the Amazon rainforest.
During this season expect less rainfall, making it the best time to spot wildlife. However keep in mind that the beauty of the rainforest and the rainfall that it enjoys also promotes the growth of fruit, which draws animals out and marks the start of their mating season, making it a great time to go if you’re hoping to see monkeys, birds, and fascinating Amazon creatures.
With over 28 of the 32 world climates, there are many details to consider when it comes to the best time to visit Peru. Located entirely in the tropics it features desert and mountain climates as well as tropical rainforest and a gazillion microclimates and ecosystems. Its variable geographical regions make the climate unpredictable.
So, if you are considering visiting all three regions, the best time to visit Peru is the overlap. During shoulder season April-May and October-November. You’ll have better chances of good weather on the coast, clear skies in the Andes, and more excursions in the Amazon.