To be well prepared for your travels to Peru, it is important to know what the climate is like, depending upon which part of the country you plan to visit. However, the climate of Peru varies dramatically, from place to place and from season to season, with various different microclimates across the country.
What are the different climate zones in Peru?
The climate zone in Peru varies wildly but can be roughly divided into three areas: the Andes Mountains, the Pacific Coast and the Amazon jungle. All three have completely different climate types and it’s necessary to take this into account when you’re organizing a trip to the country.
Similarly, if you're looking to find out what is the average temperature in Peru, this depends firstly on the month you are travelling and secondly on where you plan to visit.
You can rely on two areas, the Pacific coast ( Lima
) and the Peruvian jungle ( Iquitos
) to generally have warm or even very hot temperatures, while the climates in the Andean highlands ( Cusco
) are more varied.
What is the best time to go to Peru?
The best time to go to Peru really depends on the types of activities you plan on doing. A general rule of thumb is that the rainy season in the mountains is not a great time for trekking, however, these same months (December through April) are a good time for sunning yourself on a beach along the coast, where temperatures are much hotter and weather generally stable.
Similarly, the longer rainy season (October – April) in the Amazon jungle is a favorite time among mosquitos – so you might want to take a riverboat tour and explore this region when there’s slightly less rainfall.
Ultimately, there are plenty of variables when it comes to the best time to visit Peru. Read on as we break down the average temperatures and climates for Peru’s three geographical regions.
Weather and Climate in the Peruvian Andes
In the Andean highlands, there are only two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. In Cusco, the rainy season starts in December and ends in April.
Wet season in the Andes
During the rainy season in Cusco
, the average temperature during the day is around 18˚C (64˚F). During the night, the temperature in Cusco and other parts of the Andes Mountains drops to around 7˚C (44.6˚F). During a typical day, it will rain hard for a few hours and then the clouds will part and the weather will transform into sunshine. Be aware that climatic events such as thunder and lightning storms are very common during Peru’s the rainy season. As most of Cusco is paved with cobblestones, it is important to be careful in the slippery streets when it rains.
Note that some of the main trekking trails around Cusco
become significantly more challenging during the rainy season in Peru and you may find some tour companies no longer offering treks such as the Choquequirao trek
or the Salkantay trail to Machu Picchu
due to safety concerns.
Dry season in the Andes
The dry season in the highlands of Peru lasts from May until November. In this season, the weather is more variable and the temperatures have a wide range between day and night.
During the day, the average temperature is approximately 20˚C (68˚F). However, in the absence of cloud cover, during the night, the temperature in Cusco can drop as low as 2˚C (35.6˚F), a fact that few travellers consider when preparing for their trip to Cusco.
Bear in mind that May, June and July are the coldest months in Cusco. These might also be the sunniest months in Cusco and known for clear blue and sunny skies, but the air is very cold in the evening and early morning.
Although you can buy a plethora of alpaca-wool scarves, sweaters, hats, and gloves in the markets of Cusco (which make great Peruvian souvenirs, too), it is advisable to bring warm clothes from home.
Also worth noting is the fact that there is no built-in heating in most hostels cafes or restaurants in Peru, so being well-prepared for the cold is essential.
When is the best time of year to visit Machu Picchu?
Of course, many travellers pass through Cusco on their way to the world-renowned Inca site. The best time of year to visit Machu Picchu
depends on several factors. For photographs with clear blue skies, May until November (the dry season) is best and the months of October and November also see orchids breaking into bloom at the site.
However, the crowds congregate in Machu Picchu in the months of June through August (and this is also the coldest time to hike the Inca Trail
), meaning those wanting a bit of quiet reflection at this spiritual site might find themselves disappointed.
Be aware that the Inca Trail closes during the month of February for reparation work so this isn’t a good month for visiting Machu Picchu.
Weather and Climate in Lima and the Peruvian Coast
Weather on the Peruvian coast is very different from the Andes.
Climate in Lima, Peru
The average temperature in the capital city of Lima ranges between 24˚C (75.2˚F) at its peak in December and 19˚C (66.2˚F) in the winter. Lima’s climate is generally quite stable and although you face the prospect of drizzle in the mornings and evenings during the worst of winter (June through August), Lima is a great destination with plenty of things to do year-round, with humidity levels remaining fairly consist at between 82% and 84% throughout the year.
In the coastal areas, there is a sub-tropical climate with high humidity and very little rainfall and the warmest months on the Peruvian coast are December, January and February.
Weather Along the Rest of the Pacific Coast
The Peruvian summer on the coast is characterized by hot, humid and sunny conditions, with occasional afternoon and nocturnal rain showers. The further north along the coast towards the border with Ecuador (from Trujillo up to Máncora), the more likely it is that you’ll see some rain.
For Peru’s long, arid coastline, the lowest average temperature in summer ranges between 20˚C (68˚F) and 22 °C (71.6 °F) and the highest, between 24˚C (75.2˚F) and 29 °C (84.2 °F).
The weather in Peru along the Pacific coast during winter is typified by cloudy skies and you’ll notice as you get a couple of kilometers inland from the coast that a thick layer of fog tends to linger during the months of May through October.
Average temperatures in this part of Peru during winter are between 15˚C (59˚F) and 21 °C (69.8 °F) with lows between 8˚C (46.4˚F) and 15 °C (59°F).
Weather and Climate in the Rainforest of Peru
The climate of the Amazon region in Peru is hot and rainy most of the year. Temperatures range between 18˚C (64.4˚F) and 36 °C (96.8 °F) year-round and rainfall is heavy, with levels varying between 1,000 mm (39 in) and 4,000 mm (39.4 and 157.5 in) per year.
The most popular parts of the Amazon jungle to visit in Peru are Manu National Park and the Tambopata Reserve. In both of these areas, the climate is typified by two seasons: the dry season (May through September), and the wet season (October through April).
Be aware of the fact that there are more mosquitos in the wetter months of the year – hikes and explorations of the rainforest thus are better to be done in the dry season and this is also the time of year when you’re more likely to spot the rainforest’s spectacular migratory birds.
However, rainy season in the Amazon jungle of Peru also sees a rise in river levels, meaning boats can venture deeper into the depths of the jungle and it’s common to actually see more wildlife during these months. And yes, this does include the infamous pink river dolphin