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Peru Vacations: Cusco and Machu Picchu in the Rainy Season

Peru Vacations: Cusco and Machu Picchu in the Rainy Season

Go to any weather website and look up a 10-day forecast for Cusco. If you’re submitting your query in any of the months between November and April, you are likely to see the following for each of the 10 days: Showers. 60%.

It is the rainy season in Cusco, which officially extends from October until April. Showers are common. There’s no schedule. It doesn’t rain only in the morning, or only in the afternoon, or only for 1 hour. It can rain at any time of day. It can be a light shower that lasts 30 minutes, or it can pour for hours on end.

Should this fact dissuade you from booking your Peru vacation in Cusco and Machu Picchu? Not at all. In fact, with a positive attitude and the proper rain impermeable gear, Cusco in the rainy season can be downright lovely.

Definitely dress in layers. A wind and water resistant top layer is ideal. Underneath that, a light sweater and maybe a t-shirt will do. If the sun comes out, it tends to get warm in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Also, appropriate foot gear is important. Rainboots are always cool to splash around in, but in lieu of that, any shoe that will keep your feet fairly dry will go a long way in making a rainy day more comfortable.

On the plus side, rainy season is also the low season for tourism. This translates into fewer tourists, which means that you’ll be sharing transport, tours, treks, etc., with a smaller total number of people. This is not to say that Cusco becomes a ghost town. There are still plenty of travelers in town. But a key advantage to visiting Cusco in low season is that the hordes of tourists are significantly smaller.

Another benefit is that the rain provides an additional polish to the city’s already shiny surface. It’s like stepping onto a Disneyfied historical reconstruction. The historic center in general and the Plaza de Armas in particular are always spectacularly maintained. The rain keeps a lot of people off the street, increasing your chances of getting that spectacular photo of you, alone, dwarfed in the mighty presence of the Cathedral.

An additional thing to consider is that the rainy season does not mean 24-7 rain, this despite the neat forecast research. Most days it rains for an hour, or at night. Often, there are periods of sunshine and warm temperatures in the 60s (F). The rainy season in Cusco means you should definitely expect showers at some point in day, but with the proper gear, a stop in Cusco on your trip to Peru should be quite enjoyable.