As the most well-known archeological site still left standing and dating back to the Incan civilization from the 15th and 16th centuries, tourists come to Cusco to visit Machu Picchu all year round. Getting from Lima to Cusco is only the first part of the adventure. You’ll visit Machu Picchu from Cusco, which itself is rich with Andean and Peruvian culture.
There are vastly different opinions on the best month to visit Machu Picchu, depending on weather, crowdedness, and Cusco celebrations that can enrich your Machu Picchu trip.
- February: Known to be one of the most colorful months of the year, this is the month of Carnival in Peru with celebrations and parades all over the country.
- March-December: During the Peruvian school year, each school in the city often plans a parade in and around the main Plaza de Armas, including costumes and traditional dancing.
- March-April: Cusco’s traditions during Semana Santa (Holy Week) are unique to the rest of Peru, including a huge procession dedicated to Taytacha Temblores, its patron saint.
- April-May: Catching the end of the rainy/spring season means Machu Picchu is glowing at its greenest.
- May-June: Declared a “Cultural Heritage” asset in Peru, the Corpus Christi celebration typically happens at the end of May or sometime in July – processions of various saints from participating churches make their way to the Cusco cathedral in the main plaza.
- May-August: The driest months for a Machu Picchu tour are May to August.
- June: Not only is this Corpus Christi month, but the Inti Raymi celebration is also on June 24th – a.k.a. the “Sun Festival” or “Festival of the Sun,” this traditional ceremony involves theatrical performances in three different sacred areas of the city (due to the pandemic, this year’s performances were streamed live – see the video below).
- July: Peru’s Independence Day (Fiestas Patrias) is on July 28th, 2021 (this year, we celebrated 200 years since proclaiming independence).
- October: Known as Mes Morado (Purple Month), you’ll see processions of El Señor de los Milagros, one of the oldest Catholic traditions in Peru (and maybe even all of the Americas).
- November-March: These are the less crowded months, which means more of an adventurous exploratory feel and the possibility of better photos when visiting Machu Picchu.
We’ve also tracked down the opinions of professional Cusco tour guides – click here to see what they have to say.”