The Incas built the path more than 500 years ago to connect their cities. Also known as the royal highway, the Inca trail‘s stairs, bridges and endless streets complete a sophisticated system. You will walk these same roads crossing high mountain passes and the thickets of the jungle.
But when is the best time to take the Inca Trail up to Machu Picchu? When is the sun shining the most, the temperature convenient? What time of the year will you enjoy the quiet paths by yourself, when do you have to book far in advance to get a tour? Here is all you need to know for your to decide when to come to Cusco to conquer the challenging trail of the Incas.
One of the most popular sights in all of South America, the World Wonder of Machu Picchu is a most do. The four day or five day long Inca-Trail gives you more than just the citadel. Incredible mountain ranges with glaciers on the summits guarantee you surreal views from more than 4200 meters or 13800 feet.
The path once used by the Incas themselves takes you directly through the gorgeous depths of the Sacred Valley, through tropical forests and past mystical ruins. Lagoons in all shades of blue and green mirror the clouds of the Andes sky.
And then, you finally make it to Machu Picchu, watching the sun rise from the distance, through the Inti Punku Sun Gate. Exploring their ancient past and learning more about the culture. A breathtaking experience.
The Best Weather
The most sun, hence the warmest weather, you can expect in the months between May and October. Eight hours of sun a day ensure that you have an amazing hike. Sunny days climbing the summits of the Sacred Valley, being able to see the peaks in a distance hundreds of miles away.
Clear nights in your tent underneath the Andes sky, watching stars as bright as you might not have seen them before. Between the months of november and april the chance for rain is the highest. Rainfalls start and stop suddenly, they are hard to predict.
It usually doesn’t rain for a long time, you still might be surprised on the mountain. Make sure to bring a rain jacket or a poncho and proper boots to master the slippery hills.
There are a couple of pros though to come to Cusco during rain season. The Andean vegetation is flourishing, whereas it appear to be more dry during the months of may to october. Rainforests are super lush and green. Flowers and trees shining in powerful colors.
When it is Crowded?
The second pro is the little amount of people you will encounter between November and April. There are less queues at the ruins, you will have most of the path to your group. Enjoy the quiet nature of the Sacred Valley without the crowds.
The Inca-trail is incredibly beautiful any time of the year, but less people create a different atmosphere. More sun means more people.
In the dry season the Inca-Trail is crowded and you might have to stand in line to enter Machu Picchu. For that reason you should plan your trip ahead and book the Inca-Trail tour in advance. It might be hard to get any last minute tickets since the trail is limited to 500 people a day.
So when should I book?
The path of the Incas is an incredible sight and an experience you won’t forget, anytime. In the dry season you have warm and sunny weather, the rest of the year lush green nature and quiet paths.
Your best choice is probably to hike in the overlapping months between rain and dry season: March, April, May, or September, October, November. Then you will have a good compromise. A bit of rain, still green nature and maybe not empty, but certainly less crowded paths.