The rains are usually present during the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. These can occur at any time of the year, however, they are definitely more frequent in the rainy season, from November to March. Even in February, the wettest month of the year, the hiking trail remains closed due to constant rains. Learn more about this time of year and how it influences the Inca Trail.
In Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail there are two seasons a year: the dry season (from April to October) and the rainy season (from November to March). The latter presents the highest frequency of rains. The rainiest months are January, February and March. For tourists who do the Inca Trail it is a good opportunity to enjoy the green Cusco landscape. However, for other visitors the route is difficult to travel and even dangerous.
The rainy season in Cusco
In the department of Cusco, between the months of November to March the rains increase. The rainy season in Cusco occurs in all its provinces, even in Machu Picchu.
This brings a series of effects such as: the melting of glaciers, the increase in the flow of rivers, the greening of landscapes and more.
A clear example of the rainy season is what happens in the Urubamba River. At that time, its flow increased considerably by 400 cubic meters per second.
According to the SENAMHI (National Service of Meteorology and Hydrology of Peru) in the month of January the rains in Cusco and Machu Picchu reach 1,600 to 2,300 millimeters, with a tendency to increase by 10%.
In February the average humidity is 91%. The rains show showers accompanied by thunder and lightning. It can rain all day without stopping as well as rains interspersed with dry days.
In Machu Picchu, when it does not rain at this time, the days are cloudy with the presence of mist.
The Inca Trail in rain
As in Cusco, on the Inca Trail it can rain at any time of the day. However, also like in Cusco, the rains are more frequent from November to March.
The rains can bother hikers who seek to exceed 38 kilometers to reach Machu Picchu. To better withstand them, it is essential to bring a rain poncho.
The rains also cause the greening of the landscapes during the Inca Trail. This especially with Machu Picchu, which shows its best face at this time of year.
However, the rains can also cause cloudiness at major archaeological sites. If this happens, it is difficult to get a good photo of Machu Picchu and the other archaeological sites that are visited.
It should be noted that the rest of the year, from April to October, is when the rains are not so frequent. Those months are considered ‘dry season’. That is, the fields become dry and the river flows decrease. For many, it is the best time of year to do the Inca Trail and visit Machu Picchu.
The closure of the Inca Trail in February
February is the only month of the year that the Inca Trail route remains closed. This is because it is the month with the highest frequency of rains. This can cause stones to fall from the mountains, a danger for tourists.
It should be noted that Machu Picchu does not close in February. Given the closure of the Inca Trail, the only way to get to the wonder of the world is through the classic train ride from Ollantaytambo station.
Because February is the rainiest month and, therefore, dangerous; Hiking routes such as: the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu, the Inca Jungle or the Choquequirao trek are not recommended.
The Inca Trail tour reservation in the rainy season
Despite the rains, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the preferred route for tourists. Either in the rainy season or the dry season, the tour to this route must be purchased 6 or 7 months in advance (online).
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu has availability for 200 people a day. Whether in the rainy season or the dry season, this number of spaces are completed. This limit of spaces makes it necessary to buy the tour well in advance, either in the dry season or in the rainy season.
It should be said that traveling the Inca Trail can only be done with a tourism agency. The route is not free for people. Only tourists who purchased their tour can walk its trails.
If you decide to do the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in the rainy season, it is very important to bring waterproof clothing, a rain poncho, non-slip shoes (the floor will always be wet) and everything you need to better withstand rainy weather.
The rainy season in Cusco coincides with the low tourism season in the region. Due to this, Machu Picchu will not present an importable traffic and the tourist will be able to visit the archaeological site with greater freedom.
In the low tourism season you can also find lower prices. The low offer of tourist services reduces the prices of the hotel offer, tours, restaurants, etc.
By Inca Trail Machu Picchu - Last updated, 21-06-2021
The routes of the Inca Trail are surrounded by Natural Beauty typical of the Ceja de Selva and the Andes.