Planning a trip to Peru? Know about the weather before you go! The climate of Peru is generally divided by its three main types of regions: the coast, the highlands, and the jungle. When planning your trip, make sure to consider the type of weather the country usually experiences in different regions at any given type so you can set yourself up to have the best experience! Read on to know when is the best time to go, how to pack, and what kind of weather you can be prepared for further in advance than the weather forecast can tell you. There’s no bad time to visit Peru, but there’s no such thing as being too prepared either!
First things first: the oft-referenced high and low, wet and dry seasons. For those of you coming from the Northern Hemisphere, remember that the seasons are reversed! So summer is December to February, and winter is July to September.
The winter is actually the high season in most of Peru because it is the dry season (expect colder temperatures but clearer skies). The summer is the wet season, so the rain deters (literally) fair-weather travelers. Some travelers opt for the best of both worlds by traveling on the “shoulder” of the seasons (so in spring or fall).
Weather on the Coast (Lima, Nasca, Northen Peru, etc.)
The coast experiences moderate temperatures, and the best time to visit anywhere on the coast is actually in the “low season” (summer, December- February). The weather is at its hottest, best for the many beach activities, and there is basically no rain during this time.
If you visit coastal cities such as Lima outside of the summer, you may experience what locals call the “Donkey’s Belly”. Overcast skies are common, so beachgoers should aim for the warmer months. The weather still remains quite moderate though, and never interferes with city sightseeing, but won’t be ideal beach weather in the south. The only place with warm enough water for swimming and beaching during this time is areas in the north, such as Mancora and Punta Sal.
Weather in the Highlands (Cusco, Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, etc.)
The weather in the highlands (any mountainous area; this includes Machu Picchu and Cusco) is always best in the high and dry season (June-August). These areas can experience a ton of rain other times throughout the year, and since most activities here revolve around trekking and exploring outdoors, you want to avoid having the weather interfere with your plans.
If you are going to be visiting in the rainy, low season, just make sure to pack a ton of waterproof gear (jackets, sturdy hiking boots, ponchos). Check if the activities you want to do will be open during this time (for example, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu closes in February), and know that bad weather can lead to road closures at any time (mainly an issue if trying to visit more remote destinations). However, the rainy season is when most of the major festivals in Peru take place (and are largely celebrated in the highlands), so if you’re coming for any of those it’s worth it.
Ideally, visit the highlands during the shoulder of the seasons (Sep-Nov & Mar-May). The spring and fall weather is moderate, not rainy but not at the coldest temperatures, and you’ll beat the crowds (and the prices that come with them!).
(If you’re heading to Machu Picchu, you can read more details here on the best time to visit, as well as what to pack based on the time you’re visiting!)
Weather in the Jungle (Amazon)
In the Amazon, you can experience anything at any time, but during the low, rainy season you can count on a ton of rain from December all the way until May. It won’t impact activities much since everything here is quite adventurous anyways, but expect things to get muggier, buggier and totally wet. Smaller excursions in canoes and involving trekking may be moved around at the last minute, but rain doesn’t usually last more than a few hours so activities can always resume later in the day.
If you plan to do rainforest trekking, aim for November for the best happy medium in temperature and rainfall.
If you plan to visit during the dry season (April-October), you can count on less rain, fewer mosquitoes, and you’ll see that beaches are exposed as rivers lower. During this time, animals stay close to the rivers and are more easily seen.
Ready to go? Don’t hesitate to contact our travel specialists if you have any other questions regarding the weather in Peru- let us help you plan your trip at the best time that works for you! You can reach out to our travel specialists here or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or read about the trips we offer on the coast, in the highlands, or in the Amazon all year-round!