Machu Picchu, a wonder of the world, is on the bucket list of many travelers. If you’re planning a trip to this magical place in October, it’s important to know what to expect in terms of weather, crowds, and costs. In this article, we’ll give you all the information you need to make the most of your trip to Machu Picchu in October.
Weather in Machu Picchu in October
October is the very end of the dry season in the Andes, even though rain will get more frequent as the month wears on. Still, compared to the five months that follow it, October has little wet weather and is still shoulder season, with tourists taking advantage of the last decent month for trekking and many other outdoor activities until the following April comes around.
The Cusco region will see highs around 70° F (21° C) this month: a full 4° F warmer than in June. This is a great month to see the Sacred Valley bathed in sunshine without too much rain. But wet season does not fall on any one set date, and if it comes early, the end of October can see the rain begin in earnest. At this time of year, the rains usually come in the afternoon, so it’s better to plan your outdoors activities in the morning.
Best Time of the Day to Visit Machu Picchu in October
The best time for a good visit to Machu Picchu Park in October is around six in the morning. At this time of the day, the solar heating warms the surface and destroys the clouds, and all the rising fogs vanish, revealing Machu Picchu early. After 2 pm, most of the tourists (at least 80%) have left Machu Picchu, and you can enjoy it much better without any crowd. At this time of the day, the park rangers are more flexible and allow you to stay a bit longer at some spots of the Inca Citadel. Another plus of visiting Machu Picchu in the afternoon is that the sunset views are impressive and quite underrated.
Getting Machu Picchu in October
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.
Crowds and Costs
Cusco will still seem busy compared to the vast majority of South American tourist destinations this month. But authorities have clearly felt that there is enough of a drop in visitors this month to warrant devising a way to extend the tourist season that little bit longer: the Semana Turistica de Cusco, or Cusco Tourist Week. You are perhaps slightly more likely to be pounced upon for your custom at major tourist destinations in the Sacred Valley this month because there are fewer international visitors around.
It is worth shopping about for a deal on a hotel or tour. There are many more rooms available, and some hotels may give you a discount or upgrade you to a better category of room for no extra charge.
Where to Go
Cusco, gateway to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, deserves some of your time this month, as the Cusco Tourist Week puts on a wide range of events aimed at foreign tourists. The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu still remain quite crowded, so the temptation remains to go off exploring some of the less-visited places and less-busy treks in the Sacred Valley. Come the heavier rain next month, outdoors destinations will seem much less appealing!
What to Do
It is the last month of decent trekking weather, but lots of visitors are aware of the advantages of this time of year, and big attractions like Machu Picchu remain busy. It’s a great time to try one of the lesser-done alternative treks to Machu Picchu, such as the Lares trek.
Pros of Visiting Machu Picchu in October
- Easy Boarding and Entries The boarding process for trains, park entries, and buses are smoother in October than other peak seasons. Visitors do not have to wait for long hours in queues to get on the transport.
- Clear Skies Mornings and noon are the best times to witness clear and beautiful skies, and October provides just that. You can enjoy a breathtaking view of the surrounding areas and the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.
- Orchid Blooms Orchids are one of the many beautiful flowers that bloom in Machu Picchu. The early rains in October bring them back to life, and you can see them in full bloom on the trek.
- Llamas Galore On a good weather day, Llamas come by close, and you can spend more time with them. It’s a great opportunity to get up close and personal with these friendly animals.
- Great Views from Sungate and Huayna Picchu Mountain The view from Sungate and Huayna Picchu Mountain is worth the trek. You can witness the beautiful landscape of the region and take in the rich history of the Incan civilization.
- Restaurants are Less Crowded During the October season, restaurants are less crowded than other peak seasons, and visitors can easily find a table to enjoy a meal.
Cons of Visiting Machu Picchu in October
- Annoying Sandflies Sandflies can be a significant problem during the trek in October. We recommend bringing mosquito spray or repellent to keep them at bay.
- Unpredictable Rains Although early rains bring orchids back to life, they can also lead to unpredictable weather. Rain threatens in the afternoon hours, and it can be a mood spoiler for visitors.
- Intense Sun Heat The sun’s heat is intense during the sunny day in October. We recommend wearing a hat or cap, and packing layers and jumpers for cold occasions.
Recommendations for Visiting Machu Picchu in October
- Visit Early in October We recommend visiting Machu Picchu in early October because the last two weeks of October witness more intense rain. Visitors can enjoy better weather and avoid the rainy season.
- Bring Mosquito Spray and Wear Long Pants and Sleeves We recommend bringing mosquito spray or repellent and wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts to protect against sandflies and mosquitoes.
- Book Machu Picchu Tickets in Advance for October tend to sell out quickly, especially for the 9 am to 12 pm schedules. We recommend booking your tickets at least two months in advance.
- Pack a Waterproof Jacket Visitors should pack a waterproof jacket in case it rains in the afternoon.
October Events in Cusco
Cusco celebrates Tourist Week in October, dedicated to tourists. The events put on throughout the city during Cusco Tourist Week offer unique insights into the region and its culture. The Semana Turistica de Cusco, held at different times during October, is a great opportunity to experience the local culture.