If you’re looking for a way to visit Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley without the high-season crowds and costs, September is the perfect time to plan your trip. As an off-season month, September offers many advantages, including better deals on hotels and tours, while still providing sunny weather for exploring this stunning region.
Weather in Machu Picchu in September
The daytime temperature in Machu Picchu during September averages around 20.1°C (68.18°F), providing very pleasant weather for outdoor activities. The average nighttime temperature goes down to around 4.0°C (39.2°F), so you’ll want to bring some layers for warmth in the evening. September is a dry month with only 22mm (0.9 inches) of rain on average, but be prepared for around 7 rainy days during the month. However, the sun shines for around 195 hours in September, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to soak up the sun.
Crowds and Costs
September is still a popular month to visit Machu Picchu, but you can still get better deals on hotels and activities compared to the high season months. It’s recommended to book popular hotels close to Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail, and trains from Cusco to Aguas Calientes several months in advance to secure your spot.
Where to Go
One of the best things about visiting Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley in September is that you can have certain parts of the countryside almost to yourself. This is an excellent time to explore other Inca ruins around Cusco, such as Q’enqo or Sacsayhuaman, which are close to the city, or the impressive Moray, Pisac, or Ollantaytambo sites further into the Sacred Valley.
What to Do
Trekking is the main activity in the Sacred Valley, and it remains very popular in September. You can explore the 5-day Salkantay trek, which scales a stunning mountain pass and visits Inca ruins such as those at Llactapata before arriving at Machu Picchu. September is also an excellent time for birdwatchers, as it is the mating season for one of the country’s most charismatic and colorful birds, the Andean cock-of-the-rock. September is also when northern migrant species of birds begin to descend on Peru.
If you’re looking for an adventure, consider combining trekking with a jungle visit. September is one of the best all-around months for both activities, making it an excellent time to take a 12-day tour.
Getting Machu Picchu in September
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.
Although September is a quieter month for festivals in the Sacred Valley, there is one important exception. The Senor de Huanca festival on September 14 attracts pilgrims from all over Peru, Bolivia, and other locations in South America. Pilgrims embark on a 6-hour journey by foot to the beautiful chapel of Santuario Señor de Huanca close to the town of San Salvador, seeking cures for various ailments.
Pros and Cons
Visiting Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley in September has its pros and cons. On the positive side, you’ll visit Machu Picchu without the high-season crowds, still have sunny days for taking photos, and enjoy better deals on hotel prices and tours. On the negative side, you may encounter some rain in the afternoon, and mosquitoes can be aggressive towards visitors.
Here are some recommendations for your trip to Machu Picchu in September:
- Make sure to book your Machu Picchu tickets and train tickets well in advance, as the early entrance tickets tend to sell out quickly.
- Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen and a hat, as it can get quite hot at times.
- Be prepared for changing weather by bringing layers of clothing. Although it’s usually sunny and pleasant in September, early rains can occur, so it’s best to bring waterproof clothing.
- Familiarize yourself with the landscape before purchasing Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu tickets, and consider the differences between the two mountains.
- Finally, don’t forget to bring mosquito spray or repellent, as these little insects can be quite bothersome in September.