How Is the Weather at Machu Picchu in December?

How Is the Weather at Machu Picchu in December?

Do you plan to take a trip to Machu Picchu in December? Know what’s important, such as the best time to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu, the weather and what to wear.

This blog post provides helpful guidance about everything you need to know about your December trip to Machu Picchu.

Table of contents:

Weather in December at Machu Picchu

sunny machu picchu ruins

December is part of the rainy season, which is why you have to be aware of more rainfall and more clouds surrounding the ruins of Machu Picchu.

However, December is known as a mild month at Machu Picchu, with average daily highs of 17°C (63°F) to a low of 8°C (47°F). Thus, it’s important to pack the right clothes for your adventure.


Temperature Range

A typical day in December at Machu Picchu can have temperatures ranging from a high of 17°C (63°F) to a low of 8°C (47°F). Some would characterize it as cool, wet and somewhat chilly.


How Much Does It Rain in December?

Rainfall increases in December, so travelers should prepare for sporadic, intense rainstorms. Despite the increased amount of rain, Machu Picchu and its surroundings are lush and green, providing the area a special and attractive feel.

rain chart december

Overview of monthly rain or snow at Machu Picchu. Source: Wanderlog


Humidity and Clouds

In December, the sky at Machu Picchu is foggy or cloudy most of the time, so the sun barely gets through. This means that the ruins are covered in fog, which adds a mysterious touch, in the early morning and the rain increases in the afternoon.

With an average relative humidity of 100% in December, Machu Picchu has extremely high humidity.

cloudy surroundings

Even though it’s raining a lot in the afternoon at Machu Picchu, you’ll also face dry periods and enjoy mild temperatures. If you want to visit Machu Picchu with as few tourists as possible and benefit from lower prices, this is one of the best months to visit.

To find out more about the various months and seasons, make sure to read our blog post about the weather at Machu Picchu.


Pros and Cons of Visiting Machu Picchu in December

There are a number of pros and cons to traveling to Machu Picchu in December. Let’s explore each of them for your visit this month.

Pros of Visiting in December

  • Less Travelers: December is a good month to visit Machu Picchu as there are fewer travelers than in any other month before. However, there will be a small peak due to the Christmas vacations and New Year.
  • Green Surroundings: Due to the increased amount of rain, the surroundings of Machu Picchu are probably going to be lush and green.
  • Festive Atmosphere: Peru has a variety of events for Christmas and New Year’s. Although this may not have an immediate effect on your trip to Machu Picchu, it might add to the happy national vibe.

travelers standing with guide at ruins

Cons of Visiting in December

  • Rainy Season: Because December falls during the region’s rainy season, there may be strong rainfall. This could make it difficult for you to completely appreciate the area, and hiking on the Inca Trail can be difficult.
  • Trail Closures: Trail closures are more likely during the rainy season, especially on the Inca Trail or Salkantay Trek. Road closures for a while might happen due to landslides and other safety concerns.
  • Impaired View: The famous views of Machu Picchu may be clouded by the dark foggy weather that the rainy season frequently brings. There’s a chance that fog will cover the sight, reducing the panoramic view.

In summary, December is a decent month to visit Machu Picchu because there will be fewer visitors, better deals, and beautiful green views due to the increased amount of rain. Even if it rains more often in the afternoon, there are times when it stays dry and the sun comes through.

Let’s evaluate some options for visiting Machu Picchu in December.


General Recommendations for Visiting Machu Picchu in December

travelers surrounded by the andean landscapes

It takes planning to get the most of your December trip to Machu Picchu. When you visit the ruins, you might find these five trip recommendations helpful.


1. Enter Machu Picchu Before Noon

The best time to enter Machu Picchu in December is from 9 am – 2 pm. During this time of the day you have the best chance to get your unforgettable picture and face the least amount of rain.


2. Wear the Right Clothes

Wear layers so you stay warm and comfortable during the increased amount of rain. The weather in the Andes is known to be unpredictable, which might include cloudy, sunny or rainy periods. Therefore, carry a rain jacket, sturdy hiking shoes, a hat and use sunscreen.


3. Make Your Reservation in Advance

cloudy ruins of machu picchu

December is less popular than the previous months, however it is still important to get your tickets in advance, especially if you plan to travel around the holidays. That will guarantee your preferred entrance time for Machu Picchu and in case you want to hike one of the two mountains.


4. Choose a Guided Tour

The best way to learn more about Machu Picchu’s history is to take a guided tour. With support of our knowledgeable guide, who will personally come with you and offer essential background information and insights into the significance of this historic site, our highly recommended Machu Picchu tour  provides all of this and more.


5. Get Used to The Altitude

Remember to give your body enough time to get used to the higher altitude. It’s highly recommended that before starting your journey, you should spend some time at the Sacred Valley, which is close to Cusco.

To make sure you have the best time possible at Machu Picchu, we recommend reading our blog post about altitude sickness all you need to know and how to avoid it.


December Travel Packing List for Machu Picchu

different travel gear such as yellow hiking jacket, hiking shoes, backpack and more.

It’s crucial to plan early and pack appropriately for your vacation, because December weather can be unpredictable. Make sure that everything on the following checklist is included.


Clothing Recommendations

As previously said, the secret to adjusting to changing weather conditions is to layer your clothing. Pack breathable shirts, a light jacket, a warm mid-layer, and a waterproof jacket in case of sudden rainfall for further comfort on rainy days. When the time comes, hopefully, never forget to protect your eyes from harsh sunlight by wearing a cap and sunglasses!


Recommended Footwear

Wear solid, water-resistant hiking shoes with the right amount of traction for a fun and safe hike. It is essential to wear resilient shoes because the terrain can get dangerous particularly after the intense rainfall.

It is necessary that you wear sturdy hiking shoes if you want to climb Huayna or Machu Picchu mountain. Take the opportunity to learn more about the differences between Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain so that you can decide whether or not to add this extra adventure into your itinerary.


Gear and Accessories

  • Backpack: Pack together everything you need for your trip to Machu Picchu in a small, lightweight bag, such as documents, snacks, water bottles, and sunglasses.
  • Sun Protection, Lip Balm and Insect Repellent: To protect yourself from sunlight, make sure you wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Use an effective insect repellent to keep mosquitoes away and apply SPF lip balm to protect your lips from the sun.
  • Snacks: To sustain your energy throughout the trip, pack portable snacks like fruits, nuts, or energy bars.
  • Power Bank: Take a power bank with you so that you can make sure that your phone is always charged for your amazing pictures or if you are looking for one of the best restaurants in Aguas Calientes before heading back to Cusco.
  • Altitude Sickness Medication: Given the high altitude of Machu Picchu, you might want to think about taking an altitude sickness medication such as acetazolamide (Diamox). This can improve your visit by preventing or lessening symptoms including headaches, nausea, and exhaustion.
  • Local Currency: Take some local money (Peruvian soles) with you to your Machu Picchu trip in case you need it for little purchases, tips, souvenirs, or other expenses.

Pack ahead of time to really enjoy the stunning surroundings that enhance a fantastic December vacation to Machu Picchu.


Frequently Asked Questions

ruins of machu picchu surrounded by clouds

Is December a Good Time to Discover Machu Picchu?

Yes, December is a good time to visit Machu Picchu. Even if it’s in the rainy season, you’ll encounter fewer travelers at the ruins than in previous months and that leads to a better overall experience.


What Kind of Weather Can I Expect in December at Machu Picchu?

December is known for an increased amount of rain, but you’ll also have dry periods with an increased amount of fog, clouds and sometimes sunshine. However, it’s also a mild month at Machu Picchu, with average daily highs of 17°C (63°F) and lows of 8°C (46°F). Therefore, make sure to take the right clothes with you.


How Should I Dress for Machu Picchu in December?

Be sure to pack the following items in your bag: sunscreen, hats, gloves, bug repellent, reusable water bottle, layers of clothes, waterproof equipment, and sturdy hiking shoes. Check the weather report and change your packing if necessary.


Is December a Good Time to Hike the Inca Trail?

Yes, you can hike the Inca Trail in December. However, you should check for the accessibility of the routes because some may not be accessible because of maintenance or extreme rainfalls.


What Is the Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu in December?

machu picchu ruins

The best time to enter Machu Picchu in December is from 9 am – 2 pm. During this time of the day you have the best chance to get your unforgettable picture and face the least amount of rain.


Are Guided Tours Still Available in December?

Yes, we provide guided tours throughout the entire year. Our guided tours will inform you of everything you need to know about Machu Picchu, and we can take care of all the trip planning, including purchasing train and bus tickets, paying entrance fees, and adding either Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu Mountain to your journey.


Is Machu Picchu Crowded in December?

December is a good month to visit Machu Picchu, as fewer travelers come to the ruins at the beginning of the month. However, be aware of the increased number of visitors that are coming at the end of the month, because then the holiday season begins. All in all, it is a good time to visit the ruins in a relaxed environment.


Does It Rain at Machu Picchu in December?

Yes, December is part of the rainy season and for that reason you will face an increased amount of rainfall. Especially in the afternoons! However, in the morning you will face a higher probability of dry periods and only an increased amount of fog and clouds at the ruins.


Are There Restrictions or Trail Closures in December?

Before your visit, it’s important to find out about any planned repairs or trail closures, as they can be caused by severe thunderstorms or other circumstances.

travelers at cloudy machu picchu ruins


Traveling through Machu Picchu’s Cultural Tapestry in December

In summary, visiting Machu Picchu in December has a lot of pros and only a few cons.

Even if you visit Machu Picchu in the rainy season, you can expect some dry periods, with clouds and some sun. One of the biggest advantages is that you will face less travelers at the ruins and benefit from cheaper prices for hotels and travel.

However, traveling in the rainy season means limited visibility of the ruins due to the clouds and fog. This can potentially influence the quality of your visit.

When planning your Machu Picchu trip arrangements, take into consideration your own preferences and level of flexibility. Whatever your situation is, a visit to the fascinating Machu Picchu is sure to be an amazing experience.

Now that you know more about the weather at Machu Picchu in December, let’s see why you should combine the Sacred Valley with Machu Picchu.

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