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Peru – its weather, seasons and best time to visit

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Urus Morraine, Cordillera Blanca, Peru

Urus Morraine, Cordillera Blanca, Peru

 

Kathy, director of Andean Trails since 2008, gives some tips on the best time to travel to Peru:

You can certainly visit Peru on holiday at any time of year, but some months are definitely better than others depending on what you want to do and which part of the country you would like to see.

I always think it is better to think in terms of wet and dry season, rather than winter/summer, as it is the amount of rainfall that is most likely to influence when you choose to travel.

The drier months in the mountains are best for trekking (April to October) but they are the cloudier, cooler months on the coast. The hottest months on the coast (January and February)  are the wettest months in the mountains, and not so good for trekking.

 

lares trekking group -peru

Lares Trek

 

The best time of the year for trekking in Peru

If mountain trekking in the Cusco area or the big ranges of the Huaraz area is your focus then April to October are the driest months of the year and the best time of year to trek for dry stable weather.

The average max/min temperature in Cusco from April to October: 21ºC /4ºC.

At this time of year you can expect clear blue skies with sunny days, but beware as soon as the sun goes down temperatures can plummet to below freezing. There is no heating in most Peruvian homes and only some hotels provide heating. On trek high camps over 4,000m can see very sharp frosts, with temperatures well below freezing, so do go prepared. Any precipitation will fall as snow or sleet, with gloves, hats, down jackets and four season sleeping bags definitely required.

I would not rule out trekking in other months –  In March and October/November you may have afternoon showers, but this is still a nice time for trekking as the nights are mild and this is a quieter time in the mountains in terms of numbers of trekkers.

The average max/min temperature in Cusco November to March: 22ºC /8ºC.

December to March is the rainy season proper and it can rain a good few hours a day. So, whilst you can still trek you need to have good boots and waterproofs. The trails get seriously wet and muddy and sometimes passes are blocked with snow. If you don’t mind the wet you will enjoy empty trails and can still get lovely mornings and dry off quickly in the warm sunshine. Note that the Inca Trail is closed in February each year.

April is my personal favourite, as the weather is usually pretty good, with very little rain. In my opinion this is when the landscapes look their very best, verdant and bright with new growth and flowers after the rainy season.

 

Descending from Urus, Cordillera Blanca, Peru

Cordillera Blanca

 

The best months for climbing the Andean peaks in Peru

June, July and August are the best months for climbers to attempt the big peaks in the Cordillera Blanca, Cordillera Huayhuash and Cordilleras around Cusco.

The weather tends to be stable, with clear sunny days and clear star filled night skies. Visibility is usually excellent and you are in for some stunning mountain vistas.

High up in the Andes night time temperatures drop well below freezing.

 

Up river Amazon peru

In the Amazon jungle

 

The best time of the year for visiting the Amazon rainforest

If you are adding an Amazon visit to your holiday then it makes little difference what month you choose to go.  Year-round, weather in the Amazon is hot and humid, although the lowland rainforests of Tambopata and Manu are cooler and drier between May and October.  This ties in well with the main trekking season. Between May and October you can expect the average daytime high temperature to be between 25°C and 34°C and the average night time low to be between 16°C and 22°C.

Even in the drier season there are frequent heavy downpours every few days.

In the wetter season in the Amazon, from November to April it can rain heavily every day. Around 80% of annual average rainfall – approx 2,000 mm in Manu and Tambopata and 1,400 mm in Iquitos – occurs in the wet season (Nov to April).

Occasionally, between May and September, cold fronts known locally as  ‘friajes’ – can sweep into southwest Amazonia and push temperatures down to 9° C. (Friajes usually last between 1 and 3 days).

 

Paracas fishing boats, Peru

Paracas

 

The best months to travel to Lima and the coast of Peru

The coastal region of Peru is a narrow strip of desert 2,250 km long, crossed by the many fertile river valleys flowing from the Andes.

From May to October, Lima is often overcast as the cold Humboldt sea current gives rise to a blanket of mist – the garua – which hangs above coastal cities. There may be some sunny spells and there is minimal rain.

Inland, away from the coastal fog,  the climate is generally warm and sunny.

The average max/min temperature in Lima from May to October: 20ºC /13ºC. What makes the Lima climate so uncomfortable is the 98% humidity – which means you can easily feel chilled if not moving around, and clothes seem to be permanently damp.

On the north coast, it’s generally sunny with average max temp: mid to high 20’s ºC.

From Nov to April, Lima and the coast are at the height of summer.

The average max/min temp in Lima: 26ºC /20ºC, & on north coast, 30ºC/20ºC.

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