Best time to visit Peru

I often get asked when is the best time to visit Peru. There is not a simple answer to this as Peru has three main micro climates all with very different climatic patterns. When we plan your holiday to Peru we always take into account the different seasons to ensure that you visit places during the best weather conditions.

The three regions are: The Andes are the mountains that run down central Peru, The Coastal area that is on the West side of Peru adjacent to the Pacific Ocean and The Amazon Rainforest is located in Eastern Peru. Although they are three very different regions, they are similar climatically in that they have two main seasons- the rainy season and the dry season. The guide below outlines the main weather conditions of the three main regions.

The Andes

Mid April – October (Dry Season)
The weather in these months is dry and hot during the day which makes it perfect for outdoor activities, be it cycling down a volcano or taking a guided tour around the majestic Machu Picchu the weather is very reliable and beautiful in this season. Due to the high altitude of the Andes temperature decreases significantly at night often hitting lows of 1 or 2 degrees Celsius.

The beginning of the dry season (May) is the best time to visit the highlands as the weather is dry and sunny, but the rainy season has just finished and the rivers are full and the vegetation is refreshed.

November – mid April. (Wet Season)
Although November to April is classed as the rainy season, most of the rain falls in January to February. The mornings are normally bright and crisp, but rain often interrupts the afternoon. Think Peru take into consideration these weather patterns and schedule indoor excursion in the afternoon and outdoor ones in the mornings.

The Coast

December – April
This is the Peruvian summer and the coast comes alive with families flocking from inland Peru looking to enjoy some sun, sea and sand. The beautiful warm weather of these summery months co insides with many a national fiesta- none are bigger than the famous Carnival. This energetic party begins on the Saturday and ends on Mardi-Gras (Shrove Tuesday).

Temperatures are very hot in this season and range from 25 – 35°C. The Pacific Ocean is perfect for a cool down after absorbing some strong equatorial sun rays.

May – November
The temperature in these months’ drops and the sea cools down in most areas. The northern beaches are by far the best beaches to visit during this period despite them being a little cooler. Many Spas and tasty restaurants are open all year around catering for anyone looking for some rest and relaxation. This is also the beset time to visit the archeological ruins like Chan Chan as the hot arid location is cooler and walking around the site can be done at your own pace without worrying too much about the temperature.

The Rainforest

The weather is always hot and humid in the rainforest and each season offers something a little unique. This climate is very sticky, but our hand selected lodges will ensure that you are kept well refreshed and fed with beautiful fresh produce.

April – October (Dry season)
This is the most popular time to visit the rainforest as the dry conditions make it possible to follow some of the nature trails deep into the heart of the jungle from where you will come up close with many rare and exotic species.

November – March (Wet season)
The rainforest is very wet in this period and the Amazon River rises and fall by as much as 40 feet each year. Although some of the nature trails may be too difficult to walk, canoes become the main mode of transport in this region and your guide will to take you through this exciting ecosystem.

If you would like more information on the best season to trek The Inca Trail, visit the ‘White City’ of Arequipa or cruise down the Amazon please send me an email or give me a phone call and I would be delighted to help.

Holy Week

Coming from a large extended family, we have always used Easter Sunday as an opportunity to come together, enjoy each others company whilst catching up on everyone’s news. This is our annual reunion that is filled with great laughter, a large Sunday roast, a hunt for chocolate eggs and a competitive multi generational game of football!

For Peruvians Holy Week, known as ’Semana Santa’, is also a time for gatherings. Families and friends meet up throughout the week to celebrate the variety of different festivals and religious observances. The week is filled with a number of different processions that can last hours as different floats, statues and crucifixes are hoisted aloft and carried through the towns streets. The processions are a huge affair for those observing, and for those participating, as they bang on drums, sing hymns, and some are dressed in traditional hooded capes in a variety of colours. The largest procession takes place on Good Friday with all parishes participating in the solemn procession however the largest fiesta of the week is Easter Sunday when everyone joyfully celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Domingo de Resureccion).

These huge processions are colourful and passionate affairs as Peru, like all of Latin America, is a Catholic country which combines Catholic teaching with pagan beliefs, festivals and traditions. The Spanish Conquistadores brought Catholicism to Peru, yet many of their pre conquest beliefs still co-exist in a rare blend.
I have spent several, ‘Semana Santas’ in Latin America, but the one I remember most vividly was when a friend of mine and I found ourselves in a deserted town plaza with no sign of life. As we sat reminiscing about what we would be doing if we were in the UK- both feeling rather glum as the only gringos in this small town, thinking we had nothing to do, until we heard a bellowing beat in the distance. Intrigued, we followed the sound waves across the town, and as we walked down a dusty road the volume of this beat became increasingly louder. As the volume increased, so too did the pace at which we were walking, we turned a corner and we saw where everyone was! The road had been cordoned off with a couple of chopped down trees, and a DJ was pumping out hits to the locals, some seated around tables enjoying a drink and many more directly in front of him dancing.

The party was in full swing and large litre bottles of a fizzy lager were being sold through a little window protected with metal bars. Half way through the night, the music suddenly stopped and people started departing without much commotion, as the only two foreigners , we were invited to a house where we were treated like one of their extended family members to enjoy an evening meal. We crouched on make shift benches and wobbly chairs around a table that was filled with rice, pork, beans, potatoes and a large cake. This was only half time; the main event came after dinner when the salsa started to heat up, and the drinking also got quicker! By around 3am many had retreated to their houses, but the hardy few remained either dancing away or slouched over their drinks, equally, or in some cases a little more wobbly than the chairs on which they were seated!
The day began with my friend and I feeling a little homesick, but as honorary Peruvians for the night, we were treated to hospitality you would only normally receive or dare to expect from your own mother. The festivities had made me smile, laugh and almost cry with embarrassment as I failed to grasp the basic steps to successfully dancing salsa!

Peruvians know how to party and this particular party came at a perfect moment: I may have been missing the family reunion back home in the UK, but my adopted Peruvian family made me more than welcome and gave me some great memories that made me grow even fonder of these people and this wonderful country
Johnny recommends visiting the Sacred Valley of The Incas and Cusco in Holy Week where you will get to see many religious festivals and fiestas.

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