Machu Picchu is one of the most picturesque parts of the earth!
It is one of the most popular sites of UNESCO – with one million people visiting Machu Picchu every year! UNESCO sites are popular for some reason, so I often think they are overcrowded and have suffered damage from mass tourism. But not Machu Picchu!
One of the best things about the ruins is that tourism is closely monitored and the number of visitors is limited to imposing the preservation of this archaeological miracle.
Having said that, choosing the right time to visit is very important! Weather and crowds can affect your experience and how difficult you will find the Inca Trail for hiking.
Here is my guide for the best time to spend the Inca trail and visit Machu Picchu!
Visit Machu Picchu
Before we find the Inca trail, I know that hiking is not for everyone. It's hard and it takes a few days to finish! If you are soon on time or do not care to take a long day trip, here are some useful tips for visiting Machu Picchu!
I would recommend an overnight stay at Aquas Calientes (the city is located a few miles from the area). It takes a few hours to get here from Cusco, so you can schedule a slow day's travel to get there, then stay all night and get to Machu Picchu for sunrise the following morning.
Where to stay
We passed the Inca path about 10 years ago as a backpacker, so I did not have luxury hotels on my radar. Belmond Sanctuary Lodge is now at the top of my list! Get to a comfortable stay here and take your luxury train to and from Cusco to get there!
Machu Picchu Ticket Prices range from $ 37 – $ 62 per person per night only 2,500 places are available each day to access the site.
If you want to visit Huayna Picchu (it is a difficult hike with rewarding views!), There are 200 available places per day and cost $ 71. Machu Picchu mountain tickets cost $ 67 and there is a daily limit of 400 people.
Go to and from
You do not have to go to Machu Picchu! The easiest way to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu is to take the train to Aguas Calientes (the city is a few miles from the area). It is a scenic trip of 3.5 hours each along the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley.
There are some trains running. I walked the path to get to Machu Picchu and took the Peru train back to Cusco. If I was to travel, I would travel (at least one way) to Belmondo Hiram Bingham, a luxury train train inspired by the 2020s. I'm obsessed with luxury train travel!
Helpful Hint: Book as early as possible! You will notice a subject with all the Machu Picchu things-that sells off! If the train tickets from Cusco are exhausted, do not panic. Try to buy a ticket to Aguas Calientes departing from Ollantaytambo to the sacred valley.
Ollantaytambo deserves a visit by itself, so you could also spend a night there. It is easy to find taxis and minivans between Ollantaytambo and Cusco and the trip is about 1 hour.
Hiking on the Inca Trail
For those planning to hike in Machu Picchu through Inca Trail, I greet you! I made the trip in 2011 (before this blog was still a thought!) And it was one of the best experiences on all my travels.
It will collapse the best time to plan your visit below, but keep in mind that the path is closed for repairs throughout the month of February! You can still visit Machu Picchu, but you will not be able to fly the path.
Also keep this in mind only 500 permits are allowed on the trail per day. Some seasons are more busy than others, so make sure to book your trip too early! You can check the availability of Inca Trail licenses or take a tour (including licenses) in advance.
Check out my crash on what to expect on the Inca Path in Machu Picchu!
Hiking on the Inca trail in the winter (June-August)
From June to August is the dry period of Peru It is one of the best moments to visit Machu Picchu because the weather is as close and perfect as possible. You will have a blue sky and less rain and fog that block your view.
During the winter months, the days are hot, the nights are cool and the rain is sparse. In June, July and August are considered the best months to visit the weather, but long crowds are coming. Recall that the Inca trail is limited to 500 per day, however, Machu Picchu allows 2,500!
If you want to spend the Inca trail during the winter season, you will need to book your trip in advance as sales are allowed (sometimes a year earlier)!
Hiking on the Inca trail in the spring (September-November)
Spring is another great time to spend the Inca trail. The weather is even more dry, the temperatures are pleasant and the crowds of tourists have mostly cleaned.
Seasonal serenity means that you are also more likely to find a good offer on tours. This time of year is ideal for travelers who want to experience ruins with fewer people.
Read more: Travel to the lost city and the last shelter of the Incas
Hiking in Inca Trail in the summer (December-February)
From December to February, Machu Picchu is experiencing annual rainfall. While the temperatures are still warm, the weather may be thick with fog, and the rain is unpredictable and may come in storms.
With the rain getting heavier as the months continue, fewer people try the Inca trail during this time. Although you can still make the trip, it is important to keep in mind that the path will be muddy and that some dangers, such as floods and landslides, are a real possibility.
I personally uploaded Inca Trail in mid-December. Not because I was planning the best weather but because I was spending Christmas at Cusco. We experienced some rains and cold nights. But nothing that obstructs our experience. I really liked the way the fog created a humid landscape and I prefer hiking at warmer temperatures!
Do not forget – the Inca trail is closed throughout February!
Hiking the Inca Path in the Autumn (March-May)
As the rainy season comes to an end, falling is another great time of year to pass the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. The sky begins to clear up and the heavy tourist season has not hit enough.
One of the best reasons to spend the Inca Trail during this season is that everything is booming! After the summer rains, the mountains are covered in green shades and you will see places of flowers and orchids blooming along the path.
The ruins are even more beautiful with a gloomy sky and a blanket of mist!
Are Inca Trail licenses exhausted during your visit?
Do not worry! There are countless ways to visit Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail is just one of the hikes to get there – it's only the most famous! If you are adamant in hiking there, do some research on the Lares Trek to see if it is right for you!
– Important dates to keep in mind –
During the school holidays, more families arrive in Machu Picchu. Many Inca Trail licenses and tours are kept steady, so if you plan to travel during these times, make sure to organize your tour or buy your months (or even a year's) leave in advance:
- Spring breaks
- Summer Holidays
All in all, from April to October is the best time to visit Machu Picchu. However, there is no bad time to spend the Inca Trail (except in February – when it's closed!)
Do you pass Inca Trail on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments!