Visiting Machu Picchu in May? Here’s everything you need to know

Is May a good time to visit Machu Picchu? ABSOLUTELY! May is the end of the rainy season so this is a great month to go! Here’s everything you need to know about traveling to Machu Picchu in May.

May is considered one of the best months to visit Machu Picchu. It is at the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the dry season in the Andes, which means the likelihood of dry days increases significantly.

This makes for more pleasant hiking conditions, especially if you’re planning to trek the Inca Trail or explore the surrounding area. The temperatures are mild, typically ranging from 12°C to 24°C (53°F to 75°F).

Although Machu Picchu is a popular destination year-round, May is somewhat of a shoulder season. It’s just before the peak tourist months of June, July, and August, so while there will be visitors, it’s generally less crowded than in the peak season.

For those interested in hiking, the trails around Machu Picchu, including the Inca Trail, are in good condition. The rains would have nourished the flora along the trails, making the scenery especially vibrant.

However, it’s essential to book well in advance if you plan on hiking the Inca Trail, as permits are limited and can sell out months ahead.

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🌡️ Average Weather in Machu Picchu in May

The weather in Machu Picchu in May is generally favorable, making it an excellent time to visit. This period marks the transition from the rainy season to the dry season, with decreasing rainfall and an increasing number of clear, sunny days.

Here’s what you can typically expect in terms of weather in Machu Picchu in May:

  • Temperature: The daytime temperatures usually range from about 12°C to 24°C (54°F to 75°F). Nights can be cooler, especially at higher altitudes, so it’s advisable to have warm clothing for the evenings and early mornings.
  • Rainfall: May sees a significant decrease in rainfall compared to the preceding months. While occasional showers can still occur, they are less frequent and less intense, with more prolonged periods of dry weather.
  • Sunshine: There are more sunny days in May, providing excellent visibility and breathtaking views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains. The increase in clear days also makes for better conditions for photography and long hikes.
  • Humidity: While humidity can still be relatively high, the decreasing rainfall and pleasant temperatures make the climate comfortable for exploring the ruins and engaging in outdoor activities.

Given these conditions, May is considered one of the best times to visit Machu Picchu. The weather supports hiking, sightseeing, and other outdoor activities. However, because this is a transitional month and weather patterns can vary, it’s wise to prepare for a range of conditions.

🦙 Can you go to Machu Picchu in May?

Yes, Machu Picchu is open in May. May falls within the dry season (which runs from April to October), making it one of the most favorable times of the year to visit in terms of weather.

However, it’s essential to note that while Machu Picchu itself is open year-round, the Inca Trail, one of the popular routes to reach Machu Picchu, may have specific opening times and requires a permit that should be booked well in advance due to limited availability.

  • Purchase your Machu Picchu entrance tickets in advance, as there is a daily limit on the number of visitors allowed.
  • If planning to hike the Inca Trail, secure your permit as early as possible, as they can sell out quickly.

🥵 How hot is Machu Picchu in May?

Machu Picchu in May typically experiences mild to warm temperatures during the day. The average daytime temperatures range from about 12°C to 24°C (54°F to 75°F).

This range reflects the warmer conditions during the midday and early afternoon, while mornings and evenings can be cooler, especially given Machu Picchu’s elevation.

🥶 How cold is Machu Picchu in May?

In May, the nighttime and early morning temperatures at Machu Picchu can be cool, given its elevation of about 2,430 meters (7,970 feet) above sea level.

While daytime temperatures are mild and comfortable, ranging from 12°C to 24°C (54°F to 75°F), the temperature during the night and early mornings can drop, though it typically stays above freezing.

The nighttime temperatures can vary but generally hover around 8°C to 12°C (46°F to 54°F). These cooler conditions are more pronounced at higher altitudes, such as along the Inca Trail or in the surrounding Andean region, where temperatures can feel colder, especially when factoring in wind chill.

⛰️ Is May a good time to do the Inca Trail?

Yes, May is considered an excellent time to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu for several reasons:

May falls at the beginning of the dry season in the Andes, which means there is significantly less rain compared to the preceding months. The trails are drier and safer to navigate, reducing the risk of slips and making the hiking experience more pleasant.

The temperatures during May are generally mild, with daytime highs comfortable for hiking. Nights can be cooler, especially at higher elevations, but with proper gear, this should not be a problem.

The onset of the dry season brings clearer skies, offering breathtaking views of the Andean mountains and landscapes. The improved visibility is perfect for photography and enjoying the panoramic vistas along the trail.

While May marks the beginning of the high season for tourism in Peru, it is still somewhat less crowded than the peak months of June, July, and August. However, it’s still a popular time, so it’s essential to book your permits well in advance, as they are limited and can sell out quickly.

It’s important to note that the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance every February, but by May, it is open and in excellent condition for hikers.

☔ Does it rain in Machu Picchu in May?

The likelihood of rain in Machu Picchu in May is significantly low compared to the earlier months of the year, as it marks the transition from the rainy season to the dry season in the Andes region.

However, occasional light showers can still occur, but they are generally infrequent and less intense than during the rainy season, which peaks from December to March.

The weather in Machu Picchu and the surrounding Andes is known for its unpredictability, and brief rain showers can happen even during the dry season.

While you can expect more dry days and clearer skies in May, it’s wise to be prepared for the possibility of rain.

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Trisha Velarmino (43)

Trisha Velarmino is the Global Editor-in-Chief of the Insider Media Group operating in Europe, Asia, and North America. She lived in Peru for 1.5 years and has helped thousands of expats, digital nomads, and solo travelers easily visit Peru. Trisha has traveled Peru extensively from North to South.

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