Being Peru travel experts we often get the question what the weather is like in Peru and what kind of clothes to bring for the different climate zones and times of year. One will never be able to provide a “waterproof” and complete guide of the different climates for the time of year in a country as diverse as Peru but following we will at least try to give a general overview of the climate zones and their particular weather pattern during the year.
Peru has three main climatic zones: the dry coastal desert and lowlands to the west, the tropical Amazon Rainforest jungle to the east and the Andean highlands running through the middle of the country. Peru as a whole knows two seasons – a wet season and a dry season – nevertheless this is only a general classification as the weather varies greatly depending on the geographical region. Apart from the specific regions in the country mentioned above the temperatures also depend a lot on the altitude.
Andean Highlands (Cusco, Puno, Colca Canyon, Arequipa)
The Andean Mountain range runs from north to south through the middle of the country and especially the southern part is very popular, as it is here that Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and the Colca Canyon can be found. The highland seasons are divided into two seasons the dry and wet season. Even though every year is different these are more or less the times of these two seasons:
Mid April till November
This period is the dry season, with hot, dry days and cold, dry nights which often are just above freezing point, particularly in June and July. May is perhaps the best month with the countryside exceptionally lush after the rainy season creating superb views and fine weather. Often days are covered in a bright blue sky, a sure sign that plenty of sunscreen may be necessary, especially for us Irish. This also comes at the time of year where one can awe at the snowcapped mountains all around this amazing country.
End-November - April
This is the wet season with most rain in January and February. It’s usually clear and dry most mornings with outbursts of heavy rain in the late afternoons and at night. As this is the summer period in Peru, the day and night temperatures are a lot milder than during the dry season. This season usually attracts less visitors than the dry season making the sites such as Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail much more accessible and quiet. These sites also look different this time of year as the cloud forming may contribute to a more mystical feeling.
Peruvian Coast (Lima, Nazca, Ica, Trujillo, Mancora)
The Peruvian coastline runs from the border with Ecuador in the north all the way to the border with Chile in the south. The most part of the coastal strip is made up out of desert in different forms and sizes. Even though the weather is somewhat more stable all year round on the coast, one can still make a division between the two main seasons.
May till November
This is the winter period and the time of year temperatures on the Peruvian coast are at there yearly low. In central and southern Peru, the temperatures will be around 15°C (60°F) and the coast is cloaked in garúa (coastal fog) that can often be quite thick. This gives the feeling of a somewhat colder climate due to the humidity. In this season, sometimes Lima and the south coast can have a little rain now and then. Although the southern beaches are deserted at this time, the coastal cities can be visited at any time. In the north, the coast usually sees more sun all year round, so beach lovers can hang out there all year-round.
End November till April
This is the summertime on the coast with hot and dry weather, ideal for swimming and getting a tan. Temperatures on average range from 25 – 35°C. There is little or no rain during these months. The beaches around Lima and the North are often packed during the months of January and February which coincide with school holidays.
The Amazon Rainforest (Tambopata, Manu, Iquitos)
The jungle region of Peru in general is hot and humid all year round. Rain is always a possibility but is more common in the rainy season than the dry season.
April till November
This is the 'dry' season with daily temperatures averaging 30–35°C. However cold fronts from the South Atlantic are common when the temperatures can drop to 15°C during the day and 13°C at night. The dry season is the best time to visit the jungle region as there are fewer mosquitoes and the rivers are low, exposing the beaches. It’s also a good time to see bird nestings and to view the animals at close range, as they stay close to the rivers and are more easily spotted.
December till March
This is the wet season, hot and humid, where you can expect heavy rain at any time. It only rains for a few hours at a time, but these can be quite heavy showers. Nevertheless this should not stop anyone visiting the jungle during this time as with the higher rivers, mobility is a lot better. Good rubber boots are a must though, as some of the jungle trails can become small rivers.
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