Peru is one of the most ancient, diverse and engaging countries on Earth. People come here from around the world to hike the Inca Trail to Manchu Picchu, surf the incredible waves that pound the Peruvian coast, raft down white water rapids that pour from the Andes Mountains, and to discover thousands of years of ancient and mysterious history.
The pretty South American country is home to mountains, deserts, beaches and the Amazon rainforest, offering an incredible variety of vacation options, but also making it a little tricky to figure out the best time to visit Peru. — So when is the best time to go to Peru?
Seasons in Peru
The first thing to keep in mind is that Peru sits south of the equator, so the seasons are reversed. Summer in Peru runs from December to March, winter is June to September. It’s located near the equator, so you may tend to think of it as a hot tropical country, but the reality is quite different. Peru’s incredible geographic diversity means that there are a number of regional climates in the country. Summer in Peru runs from December to March, winter is June to September.
There are three distinct regions in Peru: coastal, mountain and jungle. The best time to visit will depend on where you’re going, so determine what you want to do on your trip.
When to visit the Coastal region of Peru
Lima and Trujillo sit on the coast, which is mostly a desert region. The Nazca lines are also in the desert, in the southern part of Peru. In this region, summers are hot and sunny, with cool evenings. April to September is the coolest time of year along the coast.
If you’re planning a surf vacation, you’ll want to go during the Peruvian summer (December to March) when it is hot and sunny. You can swim all year round here, but April to October often sees misty mornings on the coast, and it can get cold.
When to visit the Andes in Peru
In the Andes, there are two distinct seasons. The rainy season runs from November to March, and afternoon rain can last for several hours. The mountains put you high up into the cloud, which also keeps the temperature cool. The dry season features bright blue skies and comfortable temperatures, though it can get cool in the mornings and evenings.
If your dream is to hike the Inca Trail to the world heritage site of Manchu Picchu, the best time to go is in the dry season, from June to September. However, that is when it is the most crowded. Consider going in May, which is slightly off-season, but worth risking the occasional rainfall for fewer people. Do not plan to go from December to March, when it is too wet for anyone but hard-core trekkers.
When to visit the Amazon in Peru
In the Amazon, there are also two seasons. The rainy season runs from November to May, and it rains every day, for many hours. The dry season runs from June to October, but don’t be fooled by the name! It still rains during the dry season, but usually only for short periods of time. You can’t have a rainforest without rain!
If you are planning a jungle excursion, plan to go after the rains, from June to September. It is still very humid and hot in the rainforest, even in the dry season, but it will be less rainy.
Whatever you plan on doing on your trip to Peru, whether you want to visit the ancient and mysterious Nazca Lines in the southern desert or see the historic churches of Cuzco in the Andes, Peru is a stunning country of dramatic landscapes and history. Figure out your ideal vacation itinerary, and then plan the perfect time for your visit accordingly. With a little research and good packing, you can be sure you will have the trip of a lifetime in breathtaking Peru.