To be well prepared for your travels to Peru, it is important to know what the climate is like. First and foremost, it’s important to know that the climate of Peru varies dramatically, as it we can find numerous microclimates throughout the country. Preparing for your trip to Peru will depend on if you are planning to visit the Andean highlands (Cusco, Puno, Arequipa), the coast (Lima, Trujillo, Ica, Nazca, Máncora), or the Peruvian jungle (Iquitos, Manu, Tambopata).
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, the average temperature during the day is around 18 degrees Celsius. During the night, the temperature drops to around 7 Celsius. Typically, it will rain hard for a few hours throughout the day, and then the clouds will part and it will be partly sunny. Thunder storms and lightning are also very common during the rainy season. As most of Cusco is paved with cobblestones, it is important to be careful in the slippery streets when it rains.
Dry season in the Andes
The dry season in the highlands lasts from May until November. In this season, the weather is more variable and the temperatures differ highly between day and night. During the day, the average temperature is approximately 20 degrees Celsius. However, during the night, the temperature can drop as low as 2 degrees Celsius. Not many people are aware of this fact while packing their backpack for Cusco. Although you can buy a plethora of scarves, sweaters, hats, and gloves in Cusco, it is advisable to bring warm clothes from home.
May, June and July are the coldest months in Cusco. Although these months are also the sunniest, known for clear blue and sunny skies, the air is very cold in the evening and early morning. Warm clothes and dressing in layers is advisable, since there is no built-in heating in most hostels, agencies, cafes, pubs or any buildings in Peru.
Climate on the Peruvian Coast
Weather on the Peruvian coast is very different from the Andes. In the costal areas, we find a sub-tropical climate with high humidity and very little rainfall. The warmest months on the Peruvian coast are January and February. Peruvian summer on the coast is characterized by hot, humid and sunny conditions, with occasional afternoon and nocturnal rainshowers. The farther north on the coast, the more rainshorwers do occur. The lowest average temperature in summer is between 20 and 22 °C (68.0 and 71.6 °F) and the highest, between 24 and 29 °C (75.2 and 84.2 °F). Winter is characterized by cloudy and conditions. A few kilometers inland from the coast, a thick layer of fog occurs in winter. High temperatures in winter range between 15 and 21 °C (59.0 and 69.8 °F) and the lows between 8 and 15 °C (46.4 and 59.0 °F).
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 18–36 °C (64.4–96.8 °F) year-round and rain showers vary between 1,000 and 4,000 mm (39.4 and 157.5 in) per year. In the region around the Manu National Park and Tambopata Reserve of Peru, there are two seasons: the dry season during the months of May – September, and the wet season October – 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.