Lots of people want to know if they should trek the Inca Trail or an alternate trail near Machu Picchu over the December/January holiday season. After all, this is a time when many of us have time off from work, meaning we can travel without using up all our vacation days.
Unfortunately, this holiday time is also the rainy season in the Cusco / Machu Picchu area of Peru. The rainy season usually starts sometime in November, or early December, and runs through March or even April. The rain is not consistent every day at the same time, or for a predictable duration, like in some places. It could rain all day, or it might not rain at all on any given day. Usually it doesn’t rain for more than a few hours, as scattered showers, not long downpours, are the norm. January and February are the rainiest months.
Does this mean you shouldn’t trek in Peru over the Christmas/New Years holidays, or other times during the rainy season? The answer is, it depends!
First, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is closed for all of February every year, so if you want to trek that trail you’ve got to do it at another time of year.
Trekking during the rainy season means you will get wet, and you will get muddy. Sometimes your views won’t be too impressive, as clouds or mist will obscure the view.
Of course, it can rain at any time of the year in this region, not just the rainy season, so trekking at another time doesn’t guarantee a dry trip or clear skies. And, traveling in the rainy season almost guarantees you will miss most of the crowds that flock to the area in June, July, August, and September. Plus, average temperatures are a bit warmer at this time of year than in August and September, when temperatures regularly drop below zero on high altitude trekking routes.