When planning your trip to Cusco, you are sure to see that there are essentially two seasons in this beautiful region: the dry season from May-October, and the rainy season from November-April. When hearing about the extreme differences between these two seasons, it can be tempting to want to delay your trip until the rain clouds clear. While the words “rainy season” may sound unappealing, this does not mean that there is a constant downpour of rain for 6 months straight. Since the city is located high in the Andes mountains, the weather is constantly changing. Some days may bring only an hour of rain, while others may have downpours lasting throughout the day. However, the rain is not always an indicator of how good or bad your trip might be.
The Rainy Season technically runs November through April. However, January through mid-March is the wettest/muddiest time of year and we really don’t recommend traveling during this period unless you have inexhaustible patience and a penchant for mud slogging. While this is just slightly off from our rain calendar below, the ground just seems to dry out more quickly early in the season so a bit of rainy hiking in early-December isn’t as taxing as a mid-March muck-fest.
The majority of visitors come from May-September, which means Machu Picchu is fully booked for months, the central areas are filled with tourists and the hiking trails are highly trafficked. The large number of foreign visitors can take away from the authentic Peruvian lifestyle that still remains in Cusco and make the more popular destinations less desirable. Also, because there are less visitors during the rainy season, many hotels also offer lower prices during this time of the year.
In addition, the rainy season is an excellent time to see a more tranquil Cusco, one that is surrounded by green mountains instead of brown. During the rainy season, there are many plants and flowers that only bloom during this time of year, such as different types of orchids along the Inca Trail.