What Is The Best Time To Visit Machu Picchu & the Galapagos?

The Galapagos Islands have a pleasant climate year round, so there isn’t really a bad time of year to visit. The first half of the year (January – June) sees warmer ocean currents and warmer, sunnier, and more humid weather. From June to December the climate gets drier and colder, sometimes characterized by “garua” (a marine layer that often burns off during the day). The wildlife is abundant and active all year long in the Galapagos, though there are variations between the seasons in terms of behaviors, mating rituals, nesting behavior, and the size of certain animal populations. At any given time of year you will see unique and interesting things in the islands and it is very difficult to say that any particular time is “better” than others for seeing wildlife in the Galapagos. One species that leaves the Galapagos seasonally is the Waved Albatross. From about January through March, the population is out to sea hunting. In the colder, drier season, marine life can be more active and abundant, but the Galapagos is a great place to snorkel or dive year round. One consideration for some travelers is that the seas are a bit choppier in the August to October period than at other times, and calmest in the January to March period.

Machu Picchu has more marked climate changes. Rainy season in the Andes is around Dec-April, during which time the ruins can be shrouded in clouds, obscuring some views but also offering glimpses of the “classic” Machu Picchu vista – mountaintop ruins veiled in swirling fog. The heaviest rains fall in the February and March time period, and during February the Inca Trail is completely closed. While this is not a busy time of year due to being the rainy season, if you are not trekking, it is not a bad time to go, because sites are generally less crowded and the rain is often in the form of afternoon downpours, rather than all day rain. We have people traveling all year round to Peru and Machu Picchu, and it is extremely rare that we hear anyone comment about how the rain had a significant negative impact on the trip. Often enough people are quite glad they went during the rainy season because the weather is better than they expected and it is less crowded.

The dry season in Machu Picchu is May – November, with the peak season for travel in late June through early September. The “shoulder” seasons in late April to June and late September/October are an excellent time to go, when weather is good and the area has generally fewer tourists. In the dry season, skies tend to be clear and the view will be unobstructed by clouds, if not by fellow visitors. May is probably the best month for catching the best of the weather while avoiding the busiest travel period. In terms of combining Machu Picchu and the Galapagos, we often tell people that if they have complete freedom to choose, May is the best month to combine these two destinations: weather is good in both and it’s just outside the tourist high season.


Please see our full list of Machu Picchu and Galapagos Tour Packages here.
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