If you’re looking for an awe-inspiring vacation destination this December, look no further than Machu Picchu. Located in Peru, Machu Picchu is an ancient Incan city perched high in the Andes Mountains. Known as “The Lost City of the Incas”, Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an architectural marvel.
This December, you can experience the ancient ruins of this breathtaking destination and explore its many wonders. From the iconic Inti Punku, the ancient sun gate, to the terraced ruins that tower over the Sacred Valley, you will be captivated by the beauty of Machu Picchu. Read on to learn more about the history, activities, and attractions of this magical place.
Weather in Machu Picchu in December
In December, Machu Picchu is in the middle of the rainy season, which runs from November to March. The difference between temperature highs and lows is not much this month, with highs around 68° F (20° C) and lows around 45° F (7° C). The region experiences its highest rainfall of the year, although there are always breaks in the showers. Generally, heavy rain comes in the afternoon, while mornings are often still dry. All the rain is good news for the flora which is once again flourishing following a few weeks of wet weather.
Crowds & Costs
Crowds are low at the beginning of the month because of all the wet weather, but spike again during the last ten days of December because of the Christmas holiday season. Many Peruvians from other parts of the country descend on Cusco and the smaller Sacred Valley towns to visit family and friends. With good luck and planning, you can still get decent weather on a visit to the region this month and not have to share it with too many other holiday-makers. Bad luck and no planning, and you could be surrounded by bus loads of other tourists in a continual downpour. Except in the Christmas holiday period, the low season bad weather inclines many hotels and tour companies to offer great deals at this time of year.
Pros of Visiting Machu Picchu in December
- Beautiful Cloud Formations: The cloud formations make the photos look even better, especially if you catch the picture right with a bit of sun poking through the mist.
- Fewer Crowds: In December, crowd levels in Machu Picchu drop considerably because of the rainy season. This means that you will have more space to explore the site and take in the beauty of the ancient ruins.
- Flourishing Flora: Many species of flora start thriving around Machu Picchu in December, such as lilies and orchids. This makes the scenery more vibrant with green landscapes, providing a beautiful and unique experience.
- Pluviophile Paradise: If you are a pluviophile type of person, late December may be a good option for you. You can experience the magic of the rainy season, with frequent showers and misty landscapes.
Cons of Visiting Machu Picchu in December
- Aggressive Mosquitoes: Aggressive mosquitoes swirl around and attack visitors, making the experience unpleasant.
- Waterlogged Trail: The trail can be waterlogged, which might make your experience not enjoyable. The path is often wet after the rain, making it very slippery and can often be slightly unnerving on the steeper sections.
- Thick Fog: Machu Picchu in the early hours and afternoon may be barely visible due to thick fog. This might hinder your experience, especially if you plan to visit the site for photography.
Recommendations for Visiting Machu Picchu in December
Book Your Tickets in Advance
December is a popular time for travel to Machu Picchu. If you plan to visit Machu Picchu in late December, we recommend booking your tickets at least 3 months in advance. During this time, many Peruvians travel to Cusco to celebrate Christmas and New Year, and take advantage of visiting Machu Picchu. Booking in advance will ensure that you secure your spot and avoid disappointment.
Visit Early in December
If you are planning to visit Machu Picchu in December, we recommend that you book early in the month. This is because the rain gets worse towards the end of December, and it can get quite crowded. Booking early in the month will help you avoid the crowds and the worst of the rain.
It’s important to pack appropriately for your visit to Machu Picchu in December. Make sure to bring a good rain jacket and a lightweight poncho, as well as appropriate apparel for the weather. We also recommend bringing mosquito repellent to anoint your skin, or covering your arms and legs with appropriate clothing.
Waterproof Your Devices
The weather in December can be quite unpredictable, and it’s important to take precautions to protect your devices from the rain. We recommend bringing a waterproof phone and camera, as well as a dry bag for your smartphones and other devices.
Wear Appropriate Footwear
Machu Picchu is a mountainous area with many steps and uneven terrain. It’s important to wear shoes with good soles and, if possible, gaiters to protect your feet from the elements.
Wait Out the Rain
If it’s raining heavily when you arrive at Machu Picchu early in the morning, we recommend waiting either at the café close to the entrance or in the Sanctuary Lodge hotel cafeteria. The rain usually lasts for 1-2 hours, after which it subsides, and the sun comes out.
Schedule Your Hikes for Later in the Day
If you plan to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, we recommend booking a later schedule. In the early mornings, the view from the top can be obscured with mist. Waiting until later in the day will give you a better chance of seeing the spectacular views.
Getting Machu Picchu in March
There are several options for getting to Machu Picchu. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Inca Trail: This is the classic and most popular option for getting to Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail is a 4-day trek that takes you through the Andes mountains, passing through ancient Incan ruins and offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The trek requires a permit and it’s important to book in advance, as permits tend to sell out quickly.
- Salkantay Trek: This is a popular alternative to the Inca Trail, and takes you through diverse landscapes and offers stunning views of the Salkantay mountain range. The trek is a bit more challenging than the Inca Trail, but also less crowded.
- Lares Trek: This is another alternative trek to Machu Picchu that takes you through traditional Andean villages and offers a glimpse into local culture. The trek is less crowded than the Inca Trail and the Salkantay Trek.
- Train: Taking a train is a comfortable and easy way to get to Machu Picchu. The PeruRail and IncaRail services operate year-round from Cusco to Machu Picchu Pueblo, the closest town to Machu Picchu. From there, you can either take a bus or hike up to Machu Picchu.
- Bus: You can also take a bus from Cusco to Machu Picchu Pueblo, and then either take a bus or hike up to Machu Picchu.
No matter which option you choose, getting to Machu Picchu is an unforgettable experience that offers a glimpse into the rich history and culture of Peru.
Read more at: How to get to Machu Picchu.
Reasons to Visit Machu Picchu in December
Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan city located in Peru, is one of the most visited destinations in the world. Every year, thousands of tourists flock to this iconic site to experience its stunning beauty and learn about its unique history. December is an especially great time to visit Machu Picchu, as the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. Here are some of the top reasons why you should consider visiting Machu Picchu in December.
The views of Machu Picchu in December are simply breathtaking. During the dry season, the landscape is lush and vibrant, with the snow-capped Andes Mountains in the background. The sunsets are especially beautiful, making it the perfect time to take photos and appreciate the beauty of the area.
More Affordable Prices
The prices for visiting Machu Picchu tend to be lower in December, making it more affordable for travelers. Since many people are busy with the holidays, there are fewer tourists and lower prices for accommodations, activities, and tours.
The weather in December is mild and comfortable, making it a great time to explore the ruins. Since it is the dry season, there is very little rain and the temperatures are more pleasant than in the summer months. This makes it easier to explore the ruins and take in the sights without having to worry about the heat.
Plenty of Activities
In addition to exploring the ruins, there are plenty of activities to enjoy in the area. You can hike the Inca Trail, go rafting on the Urubamba River, or take a day trip to the Sacred Valley. There are also plenty of markets and restaurants to explore, as well as nearby Incan archeological sites.
With its mild weather, beautiful views, and more affordable prices, December is an ideal time to visit Machu Picchu. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won’t forget.