Planning a vacation to Peru in May? Here’s everything you need to know

Is May a good month to visit Peru? ABSOLUTELY! Peru in May is shoulder season and one of the best months to visit. Here’s everything you need to know in terms of weather all over the country.

May is an excellent month to visit Peru as it falls during the transition from the rainy season to the dry season in many parts of Peru, including the Andes and Machu Picchu.

This means you can expect fewer rain showers and more clear, sunny days, especially as the month progresses. The weather is generally comfortable for hiking and outdoor activities.

Since May is just before the high tourist season, which starts in June and runs through August, you’ll encounter fewer tourists compared to the peak months. This makes it a good time to visit popular attractions like Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, and Cusco without the heavy crowds.

peru in may

The end of the rainy season means the landscapes are especially lush and green, making it a beautiful time for photography and nature hikes. In the Amazon rainforest, the water levels are still high, allowing for excellent riverboat tours and wildlife spotting.

However, it’s always important to consider the specific regions of Peru you plan to visit, as the country has diverse climates and conditions. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the different areas of Peru in May.

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🌡️ What is the weather like in Peru in May?

Peru’s diverse geography means it has a variety of microclimates. Here’s an overview of the weather in Peru in May, broken down by area:

Coastal Region of Peru in May (Lima, Paracas, Nazca)

Peru in May marks the transition from summer to winter along the coast, offering a mild and pleasant climate ideal for exploring. During this time, the coastal region, including cities like Lima, experiences increasing cloud cover and cooler temperatures, a phenomenon known as “garúa” – a fine, misty drizzle.

Despite the grey skies, rain is rare, making outdoor activities and sightseeing comfortable. Temperatures typically range from 18°C to 22°C (64°F to 72°F), with cooler evenings.

Tourist activity begins to decrease as the high season winds down, providing a more relaxed atmosphere for visiting popular attractions such as the historic center of Lima, the Ballestas Islands, and the Nazca Lines.

The cooler weather is perfect for enjoying the rich culinary scene, especially in Lima, which is known as the gastronomic capital of Latin America.

Andes Region of Peru in May (Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca)

May in the Andean region of Peru is one of the most favorable times for travel, as it coincides with the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the dry season. This transition results in spectacular clear skies and lush landscapes, providing breathtaking views of the Andes and its archaeological sites.

Temperatures during the day are pleasantly warm, ranging from 12°C to 20°C (54°F to 68°F), while nights can be quite cool, dropping to as low as 0°C to 5°C (32°F to 41°F), especially at higher altitudes.

Peru in May is perfect for trekking to Machu Picchu or exploring the Sacred Valley, as the trails are in good condition and the reduced likelihood of rain makes for a more comfortable journey.

Additionally, the decrease in rainfall enhances the experience at Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake, by offering clearer views and smoother boat rides. Tourism begins to pick up in May, but the crowds are still manageable.

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Amazon of Peru in May (Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado)

The Amazon rainforest in Peru experiences its transition from the wet to the slightly less wet season in May. The weather remains warm and humid, with temperatures consistently around 23°C to 31°C (73°F to 88°F), providing an evergreen backdrop for jungle expeditions.

Despite being the tail end of the rainy season, expect frequent rain showers, which contribute to the rainforest’s vibrant ecosystem and enhance wildlife viewing opportunities, as animals are more active and visible.

The high water levels from the previous months begin to recede, yet they still allow for excellent riverboat tours, a unique way to explore the Amazon’s waterways and remote areas.

Tourist activity in the Amazon is generally lower compared to the peak months, offering a more secluded experience of the jungle’s immense biodiversity and the cultural richness of its indigenous communities.

🥵 How hot is Peru in May?

peru in may

May weather in Peru varies significantly across its different regions due to the country’s diverse geography. Here’s a general overview of what to expect in terms of temperatures across the main regions of Peru in May:

  • Coastal Region (Lima, Paracas, Nazca): In the coastal areas, the weather starts to cool down as Peru enters its winter season. Average temperatures range from 18°C to 22°C (64°F to 72°F). Days are generally mild and cloudy, with cooler evenings and very little to no rain.
  • Andean Region (Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca): The Andean region experiences the end of the rainy season and the beginning of cooler, drier weather. Daytime temperatures can vary widely but generally range from 12°C to 20°C (54°F to 68°F), with nights getting quite cold, especially at higher altitudes, where temperatures can drop to between 0°C to 5°C (32°F to 41°F).
  • Amazon Rainforest (Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado): The Amazon region remains warm and humid, with average temperatures ranging from 23°C to 31°C (73°F to 88°F). Rain is still common, although May is moving towards the drier part of the year in the Amazon basin.

🥵 If you’re sensitive to humidity, you’ll find the Amazon in Peru in May to be very humid. The Amazon rainforest is the most humid region in Peru throughout the year, often reaching upwards of 85-95%.

☔ Does it rain in Peru in May?

Rainfall in Peru in May varies significantly by region due to the country’s diverse geography and climates.

  • Coastal Region (Lima, Paracas, Nazca): May is typically dry along the coast, including in Lima. The coastal desert climate means rain is rare throughout the year. However, a misty drizzle known as “garúa” can occur, especially in Lima, but it seldom amounts to measurable rainfall.
  • Andean Region (Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca): In the Andean region, May marks the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the dry season. Early May might see occasional showers, but as the month progresses, the likelihood of rain decreases significantly. This makes May a relatively dry month, ideal for trekking and visiting archaeological sites.
  • Amazon Rainforest (Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado): The Amazon experiences a tropical climate with a higher chance of rain throughout the year. While May is transitioning towards the drier season, rain showers are still common but less frequent and intense compared to the peak rainy months. The weather remains warm and humid, with rain providing relief and maintaining the lushness of the rainforest.

If you’re looking to avoid rain, the Coastal region and the Andean Highlands are your best bet in Peru in May. While the Amazon will be wetter, it’s drier than in the peak rainy months, making it a viable option for those interested in exploring the rainforest.

📍 Places to visit in Peru in May

Here are the top 5 places to visit in Peru in May with favorable weather conditions:

Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley in May

Visiting Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley in May offers travelers the perfect blend of favorable weather and stunning scenery.

As the rainy season comes to an end, the region welcomes clearer skies and warmer days, with temperatures typically ranging from 12°C to 20°C (54°F to 68°F) during the day, cooling off significantly at night to between 0°C to 5°C (32°F to 41°F).

This makes May one of the best months for hiking the Inca Trail, exploring the numerous archaeological sites, and enjoying the lush landscapes that are especially green from the preceding rainy months.

Tourism starts to pick up, but the crowds are not as overwhelming as they can be in the subsequent months, allowing for a more relaxed experience at Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

The weather is conducive to photography, offering clear, mist-free mornings and dramatic sunsets. Additionally, the Sacred Valley, with its pleasant climate, fertile terrains, and lower altitude compared to Cusco, provides a comfortable acclimatization spot for visitors.

Cusco in May

Cusco in May is a vibrant and bustling city, alive with the anticipation of the upcoming dry season and the cultural festivities it brings. As the historical capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco serves as a gateway to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

The weather in May is generally dry and pleasant, with daytime temperatures hovering around 12°C to 20°C (54°F to 68°F), and nighttime temperatures dropping to between 0°C to 5°C (32°F to 41°F).

This comfortable climate makes it an excellent time for sightseeing, exploring the cobblestone streets, and visiting the numerous Inca ruins and Spanish colonial churches.

The city begins to see an increase in tourists, yet it’s not as crowded as in the peak months, allowing for a more enjoyable exploration of its attractions. The clear, sunny days are perfect for outdoor excursions to nearby archaeological sites like Sacsayhuamán or for enjoying the vibrant plazas and markets within the city.

May also marks the start of the festival season in Cusco, with various celebrations and ceremonies taking place, offering visitors a glimpse into the rich cultural traditions of the region.

Lake Titicaca in May

Lake Titicaca, straddling the border between Peru and Bolivia, is renowned as the highest navigable lake in the world and a cradle of Andean civilization.

Visiting Lake Titicaca in Peru in May is particularly appealing due to the onset of the dry season, bringing with it clear, sunny days and crisp, cool nights.

Daytime temperatures range from 10°C to 17°C (50°F to 63°F), while nights can be quite cold, dropping below freezing.

The weather is ideal for exploring the unique floating Uros Islands, made entirely of reeds, and the traditional communities on Taquile and Amantaní islands, where age-old customs are still a way of life.

Tourism is on the rise, but not yet at its peak, allowing for a more tranquil experience of the lake’s vast expanse and its cultural offerings. Moreover, the landscape around the lake is breathtakingly beautiful in May, with the surrounding fields and hills showing off their vibrant greens.

🏊 Can you swim in Peru in May?

Swimming in Peru in May is possible and enjoyable in certain areas, though the experience varies significantly across the country’s diverse regions:

In coastal regions, including Lima and the north coast (e.g., Máncora, Punta Sal), the Pacific Ocean begins to cool down as May marks the transition from summer to winter.

While Lima and nearby beaches might be too cool for comfortable swimming, with water temperatures dropping, the northern coastline remains warmer and suitable for swimming.

Northern beaches are popular for their warmer water temperatures even as the air begins to cool, making them a preferred destination for beachgoers and surfers looking for milder conditions.

The Amazon region, with its tropical climate, maintains warm temperatures year-round, including in May. Swimming in the Amazon River and its tributaries can be an exhilarating part of a jungle lodge stay or river cruise. However, it’s important to follow local advice and safety guidelines due to the presence of wildlife and currents.

For those seeking a warmer water experience, Peru offers thermal baths in various locations, such as the hot springs in Colca Canyon (La Calera) and near Cusco (Aguas Calientes, the town near Machu Picchu). These natural hot springs are an ideal way to relax and can be comfortably enjoyed in May.

🎉 Events and festivals in Peru in May

Photo: Ana G. Pumacayo

Here are the main festivals in Peru in May that you shouldn’t miss:

FestivalDestinationDate
Festival of the Virgin of ChapiArequipaMay 1st
Festival of the Lord of the Holy SpiritHuancavelicaMay 2nd (runs for 28 days)
Alasitas and Crosses FestivalPunoMay 3rd
Cotahuasi AnniversaryArequipaMay 4th
Lord of QoyllorityCuscoMay 14th (runs for 47 days)
Lord of TorrechayocCuscoMay 15th
Lord of MuruhuayJuninMay 26th

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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