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With the world’s largest rainforest and mystifying ancient Inca ruins in its borders, Peru’s contrasting landscapes are bound to enchant you.
Most visit Peru to follow in the footsteps of ancient Incas towards Machu Picchu, but Peru also offers ample opportunities to delve into its rich history through its colourful festivals and tantalising local cuisine. However, with all of these areas to cover, you may be wondering when’s the best time of the year to book that once-in-a-lifetime trip. Read on to find out…
The best time to go to Peru…
For the festivals
Holding an amazing mix of religious and foodie festivals throughout the year, you’re bound to stumble on a culture-enriching experience in Peru no matter when you go, but there’s one festival in June that’s sure to leave you speechless.
Inti Raymi‘rata – “Festival of the Sun”, one of the most traditional and colourful events in the Peruvian social calendar. Held on 24 June every year, this festival marks the beginning of the winter solstice, with Andean people travelling far and wide to honour the Inca sun god Inti and celebrate the beginning of the Inca Solar New Year.
This extraordinary spectacle takes place on the archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman Esplanade. The leading Sapa Inca guides the lively procession towards Cuzco’s main plaza, Plaza de Armas, where an estimated 750 participants congregate to hear a coca-leaf reading in Quechua – the ancient language of the Inca Empire.
From the intricate, rainbow-hued traditional dress of the Inca Queen, warriors and sun maidens to breath-taking performances parading through the streets, the Festival of the Sun is an experience not to be missed.
For the weather
When it comes to Peru, its winter season lasts from May until September and this is usually when the country experiences its driest months of the year, making it the best time to book your trip.
The Peruvian Andes highlands typically have two seasons: wet and dry. So, to get the best panoramic views overlooking the mystical peaks of Machu Picchu against a backdrop of clear blue skies, you’ll see the lowest amount of rainfall and longest periods of sunshine during April – November.
However, this shouldn’t discourage you from booking outside the winter season. Between the cloud forests where the Peruvian Andes meet the Amazon Basin, there are still plenty of breaks between showers, giving you a great opportunity to see the diverse range of flora and fauna at its best.
Summer’s also prone pleasant temperatures with endless days of sunshine along Peru’s coastal desert strip near Trujillo, Paracas and Lima.
For the food
Anytime, all-year-round. Practising some of the world’s most ancient cooking methods, Peruvian cuisine effortlessly embraces influences from the indigenous Inca populations combined with staples brought in from colonisers across Asia, Europe and West Africa.
Typically Peruvian food
Lima – the melting pot of Peruvian food – offers wildly contrasting regional dishes from colourful heirloom potatoes cooked in sod huatia to the mouth-watering Aji de Gallina – a delicious creamy chicken stew infused with local ají Amarillo chillies.
We’d recommend going off the beaten track for the evening to the bohemian district of Barranco. Coffee aficionados should head to the hip, family-owned café, Biscetti, for the freshest cup of Americano in town.
Or wander towards another longstanding local favourite – La Canta Rana, for an eclectic mix of classic Peruvian seafood and ceviche. Don’t forget to grab a couple of citrusy Pisco sours too – Peru’s national cocktail.
Colourful Peruvian market
Next, we make a pit stop at the intricate Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley. For lunch, we invite our group to join us for a traditional ‘pachamanca’ meal, where the meat is marinated in spices, cooked with hot stones and buried in the earth to give it a rich, unique flavour. If you’re looking to explore a country with an amazing culinary heritage – you’ve come to the right place.
From traditional homecooked meals in the Sacred Valley to attending Cuzco’s “Festival of the Sun” procession, our Peru trips offer a great glimpse into the Peruvian way of life and its vibrant history, no matter what time of year you choose to visit.
Find out more about the places you can visit on our Peru tours below.