If you’re accustomed to living anywhere north of the equator, the odds are great that you’re used to summer starting in June and ending sometime in September. And when you think of the months of January or February, the first things to come to mind might be frigid temperatures and treacherous ice.
Well, Peru’s weather is a different experience as it’s located south of the equator.
Summer in Peru begins in November and lasts through March. Part of this timeframe includes a dry season that lasts from November until early January, but afterward, the wet season begins. Heavy rainfall happens from mid-January to April, which is when the Peru summer season comes to an end.
The Peruvian climate is mostly binary. You have either a wet season or a dry season. But as you edge near coastal Peru, you will experience the summer weather that most folks from north of the equator are accustomed to as it rarely rains in coastal Peru in the summer.
Summer in Peru: The Weather in its 3 Regions
Because Peru is the third largest South American country, it is known to have areas with subclimates. There are three distinct regions in Peru:
- The Coast
- The Mountains
- The Amazon Jungle
Along the Coast you’ll see Lima, Huacachina, Mancora, Paracas, Nazca and Arequipa. Among the Mountains is Cusco, Machu Picchu, Puno and Lake Titicaca. And with the Amazon Jungle comes the Puerto Maldonado, Iquitos, Manu National Park, Tambopata and Manu.
Summer Weather in Coastal Peru (also known as the desert)
Do you ever wonder why Coastal Peru is sometimes referred to as the desert? The reason is less surprising than you think.
You’ll find that the climate there is a lot warmer than in the inland regions. Water, especially large bodies of it, can retain heat for much longer periods of time than the land itself. This helps greatly with temperature moderation.
During the months ranging from December through April, you’ll see temperatures that range from 77° to 95°F. These temperatures hold true for much of the north coast.
A journey 8 miles north of Lima takes you right to the foot of the great Andes mountains, otherwise known as the Peru Highlands.
Summer Weather in The Peru Highlands (The Andes Mountains)
The Peru Highlands has a wet season which starts in December and lasts through March. During this time, rainfall is at its peak from January and into February, even causing landslides in some areas. Mornings are mild and dry with the rain picking up during the afternoon and into the evening hours.
Summer Weather in Peru Amazon
This is the part of Peru that holds the famous Amazon Jungle. It’s a tropical haven that encompasses a vast territory spanning 8 different countries, including Peru. They are Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, and Venezuela.
The Peru Amazon shares the same wet season as the Highlands. You’ll have more rainfall during the months of November and into April. As a result, the rivers get full and spill over. But that doesn’t compare to its abundant biodiversity.
In fact, you’ll see more species of wildlife in the Amazon than almost anywhere else. If anything, the rain showers that crop up in brief spurts throughout the wet season are the reason for the metaphorical feast of wildlife and plant species that live there.
Summer in Peru: Things to Do in Peru
There are so many things to do and sights to see during your summer visit to Peru. The rainy season may impose restrictions on some local hotspots, but this could be the perfect time to take a trip along the coastal borders just to see what’s cooking there.
Visiting Peru with kids, check out this post to find Peru’s family-friendly tourist attractions.
Things to do in Coastal Peru in the Summer
The Malecón is a famous boardwalk in Lima. Here you’ll have the best of both worlds.
An afternoon stroll along this famous local legend offers you a glimpse of local life. You’ll be greeted by rich, colorful statues as you walk along the Pacific coast. At the same time, you’ll get a view of Lima’s high rises and neatly trimmed green lawns amongst a vibrant urban landscape.
Malecón is just one of the several .
2. Swim with sea lions
You can take a dive into the waters and swim among the sea lions.
Included is a guided tour of the Guanera Islands, where you’re free to take in the wonders of its natural landscape, including rock formations. The package includes travel by speedboat, a wetsuit, snacks, and bottled water.
✔️ Click here to book the sea lion boat tour ✔️
3. Paracas Ica and Huacachina
Characterized by a shapely landscape of fine, golden sand that’s perfectly sculpted, the Paracas Ica and Huacachina are full of nature and adventure.
You’ll enjoy a view of the Islas Ballestas with its vast array of vibrant wildlife, including Humboldt penguins and sea lions. The adventure continues with a visit to a winery and desert sports like buggies and sandboarding.
✔️ Click here for info on Paracas Ica and Huacachina with Buggies and Sandboarding Tour ✔️
4. NAZCA LINES
These archaic wonders known as the Nazca lines can take you to a time when tribes ruled the ancient Nazca Desert. Primitive etchings that date back as far as 400 BCE bear plants and animals as subjects. You can get an excellent aerial view of those geoglyphs from any mountaintop at 1,600 feet.
✔️ Click here for info on a day trip from Lima, which includes a helicopter view of Nazca Lines and Huacachina with Buggies and Sandboarding Tour ✔️
5. Mancora-Las Pocitas Beach
Stroll through Mancora and collect seashells along Las Pocitas. You can explore the wide wonders of this fine, tropical paradise. Las Pocitas is a private beach with acres of pure, white sand.
This beach is perfect for those who want to encounter sea life like turtles and whales while enjoying peace and quiet in a less crowded environment.
Things to do in the Peru Mountains in the Summer
6. Machu Picchu
Is a trip to Peru complete without visiting the world wonder of Machu Picchu? Go sightseeing along the historic Incan sanctuary of Machu Picchu. This 15th-century stone structure sits well over 2,400 feet above sea level.
Machu Picchu is open all year long, excluding February for maintenance. It’s recommended to avoid January through March due to the heavy rain.
✔️ Click here to book a tour to Machu Picchu from Cusco ✔️
7. Peru Rail to Puno or Cusco
Trust me, you want to take a train ride through the Peruvian Andes?
The Peru Rail is a luxury train that’s made up of mostly glass offering extraordinary views of the mountainside at 14,271 feet above sea level. Not only will you be wowed by the beauty of the train and nature, but you will also be entertained by the various performances the train offers.
✔️ Click here to book Peru Rail to Puno or Cusco ✔️
8. Lake Titicaca
Along the Bolivian border lies magnificent Lake Titicaca. It’s a vast and expansive body of pure natural water surrounded by a hodgepodge of Incan ruins.
And that’s not the only treasure it harbors. You can look among the borders and see the Titicaca National Reserve where the giant frogs live.
✔️ Click here to book a 2-day tour from Cusco ✔️
9. Rainbow Mountain
Located in the heart of the Andes, this secret treasure earns its remarkable reputation.
Rainbow Mountain’s peak is a vast spectrum of deep red-brown, gold, lavender, and turquoise hues with various llamas and alpacas roaming around. If you plan to hike to the peak, be prepared. This beauty sits at 5,200 feet above sea level.
Luckily, there is an option to ride a horse up to the peak. Unfortunately, the ride stops a bit short of the top, leaving you to walk to the very top.
If you plan to visit this Peru attraction in the summer, note that it’s the rainy season, and can experience a significant amount of rain January-March.
✔️ Click here for the unique experience to explore Rainbow Mountain via ATV ✔️
10. Lake Humantay
Treat yourself to another breathtaking scene by visiting Peru’s Lake Humantay.
Similar to Rainbow Mountain, the hike can be challenging due to its altitude. A horse option is also available at Lake Humantay. Once you reach the top, a pristine body of pure turquoise water amid a background of magnificent green mountains comes into sight.
Since Lake Humantay is located in the Peru Mountains, it can experience significant rain from the end of summer, January- March.
✔️ Click here to book a tour to Lake Humantay from Cusco ✔️
Things to do in the Peru Amazon/ Jungle in the Summer
11. View wildlife
The idyllic sites of the Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado offer breathtaking views of the Peruvian Amazon and the opportunity to view wildlife. If you want to see the pink dolphins and explore the Amazon River, the second longest river in the world, go to the Iquitos.
However, Puerto Maldonado is located on a tributary of the Amazon, a narrower body of water, allowing you to see the wildlife closer up.
While in the jungle, be sure to stop at one of the National Parks or reserves to see the various local land animals and birds.
✔️ Click here to learn about a 4-Day Excursion discovering Tambopata National Reserve ✔️
12. Boat down the Amazon River
Cruise quietly in the deep forest regions and discover the rich abundance of wildlife in its element. The low water season (June to December) allows animals and plants to thrive, and that offers you more of a spectacular experience for your bucket list. Plus, you won’t have pesky mosquitoes or floods.
During the high water season, you can boat deeper into the rainforest and give access to better wildlife watching. Similarly, November to January, and March to April are less crowded offering you the opportunity for a more private experience
Summer in Peru: National/Local Holidays
Traveling during a local holiday can either be amazing or overwhelming depending on your perspective. Summers in Peru are normally less crowded due to being low tourist season. However, some local attractions can become crowded with locals during holidays.
So if you like to hang with the locals and don’t mind a crowd, traveling to Peru in the summer during a holiday may work for you.
November 1st- All Saints Day, a national holiday in Peru.
Festivities are a blend of ancient tribal and Christian cultures. Masses are offered followed by a celebration with suckling pig and tamales.
November 2nd– Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
This one harks back to ancient traditions where the dead were mummified and given a proper burial. Roast pork is a popular treat among the locals, followed by a baptism.
November 1-7th– Puno Festival.
Going back to ancient Andean tradition, the Puno festival marks the celebration of the founding of Puno by the Spanish. It also honors the establishment of the Inca civilization by Manco Capac and his sister Mama Ocllo. A local celebration of live dancing is expected.
November 1-30th– International Bullfighting Competitions.
You can watch live bullfights throughout the month. The most famous is at the Plaza de Acho in Lima.
November 12-28th– Pacific Fair.
This event occurs twice a year. Festivities are huge and occur at the Av La Marina near Lima Central.
December 8th– Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Local festivities include special Masses honoring Mary.
December 25th- Christmas Day
Celebrations begin with a 10 pm Mass on Christmas Eve and are followed by a meal of holiday meats and tamales.
January 1st– New Year’s Day.
A national holiday celebrated with various local festivities throughout the region.
February 2nd– Candlemas.
Enjoy a blend of festive dancing and local music throughout the region along with Puno’s Fiesta de La Virgen de La Candelaria or discover events within the mountains.
February X– Carnival.
A general festival prior to Lent that’s celebrated at different times throughout Peru.
Holy Week and Easter.
You’ll find an immense amount of colorful celebrations throughout Cusco and Ayacucho. Good Friday kicks off with a live procession followed by another on Easter Saturday.
What’s the Best Time to Visit Peru?
May thru September are ideal times to vacation in Peru. It’s dry season, high-travel season, i.e. larger crowds and more expensive.
October thru April are also good options However, note these months are a part of the wet season, especially January-March.
April thru June and late September to October offer you the best of both worlds, dry season and smaller crowds.
Holiday travel can be tricky, especially for popular destinations such as Cusco and Machu Picchu. You’re most likely to see larger crowds in those places.
Is It Less Expensive to Travel to Peru During the Summer?
The wet season offers the best prices. There’s less demand which means better prices. So if you’re looking to explore Peru, going in the summer may be the best option for your pocketbook.
Is It Worth Traveling to Peru During the Summer?
Yes, especially November thru December! These months are the best time to travel to Peru in the summer to any part of Peru.
If you’re looking to stay in coastal Peru, you can go any month during summer. The weather will be dry but prepared for the heat.