Peru Weather in December 2024: Travel Tips for First-Timers

By Laura | Updated May. 25, 2023

December in Peru is the first full month of the wet season in Machu Picchu and the mountainous regions but is also the official start of Peru's beach season. Don't worry, though, as the wet season isn't in complete swing yet and the rain means lower costs and far fewer crowds when visiting the iconic ancient citadel of Machu Picchu.

Just be sure to bring some thick clothes, an umbrella, and raincoat to stay warm and dry when in the mountains, and your sunscreen for the beaches along the coast.

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1. Peru Weather in December Overview

  • Average temperature range: 5°C -31°C (41°F-88°F)
  • Wet season: Cusco, Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, Lake Titicaca, the Amazon Rainforest
  • Dry season: Lima, Arequipa, Trujillo, the Ballestas Islands
  • Rainfall: 35 mm (1.4 inches) in Cusco
  • Rainy days: 15 in Cusco, 1 in Lima

Located in the southern hemisphere close to the equator, the two major seasons in Peru are the dry season and the wet season. December is a summer month and temperatures are warm, but rainfall is common, especially in the mountains and in the Amazon.

Machu Picchu in December

Machu Picchu, PeruMachu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu in December is usually cool and pleasant but can become quite cold at night, with temperatures varying between 6°C (42°F) and 16°C (60°F). As such, it's important to remember to bring enough warm clothes.

December also marks the onset of the wet season in Machu Picchu but it's important to keep in mind that the downpours are typically not torrential and these drizzles are usually limited to only a few hours during the afternoon. There are even some days that are totally clear in Machu Picchu during the year-end.

To be on the safe side, it's best to be a little flexible and if possible, schedule your tour for the morning hours of the day to avoid the afternoon rain.

2. December Weather by Region

There are three distinct climate regions in Peru, and each of these regions has its own separate seasons and weather conditions. These include:

  • The high-altitude Andes Mountains
  • The arid coast
  • The wet Amazon Rainforest

If you plan on visiting more than one region in the Land of the Incas, make sure to check out more details about each region below.

Cusco and the Andes: 5°C-18°C (41°F-65°F)

The Andes Mountains, PeruThe Andes Mountains, Peru

December, being the first full month of consistent rainfall in Peru, sees an increase in humidity levels in the Andes but temperatures remain cool.

Due to this part of the country being located at a much higher elevation and as a result being much cooler, places like Cusco, Machu Picchu, Huarez, and Lake Titicaca see average daily temperature highs of around 18°C (65°F) and lows of around 5°C (41°F).

Although Cusco in December sees a whopping 98% chance of rain or snow on any given day of the month, the daily precipitation average of 35 mm (1.4 inches) means it's unlikely to be anything more than a mere drizzle.

Lima and the Coast: 21°C-24°C (70°F-76°F)

Lima, PeruLima, Peru

December signals the official start of Peru's beach season. The climate in Lima and along the coast during this month is dry and sunny.

Daily temperatures reach highs of 24°C (76°F) and lows of 21°C (70°F) on average along the Peruvian coast in December and these pleasant, dry, weather conditions with clear skies and no rainfall make for the perfect time to explore more places like Trujillo, Pisco, and Arequipa, and experience some of the most beautiful sunsets South America has to offer!

The Amazon and the East: 22°C-31°C (72°F-88°F)

The Amazon Rainforest, PeruThe Amazon Rainforest, Peru

December marks the beginning of the "wet season" in Peru's Amazonian East.

The average daily rainfall for December in this region which includes Iquitos, Tarapoto, Manu, and Puerto Maldonado, is 277 mm (11 inches). The majority of the month experiences heavy rainfall, resulting in extremely hot, humid, and rainy conditions.

Average daily temperatures range from highs of 31°C (88°F) to lows of 22°C (72°F).

3. Best Places to See in Peru in December

1) Lima

Lima, PeruLima, Peru

The fantastically pleasant weather in Lima in December results in tourists from all over the country and abroad descending upon the capital's pristine beaches to soak up the sun and cool off with a dip in the water.

The great weather during December also means you can explore the city's beautiful colonial architecture and bustling handicraft markets comfortably and without breaking a sweat!

2) Cusco

Cusco, PeruCusco, Peru

Cusco's Catholic ties means the city comes alive during the weeks leading up to Christmas, and Christmas Eve. This holiday and the next day itself are both sights to behold in this ancient Incan capital. The Plaza de Armas comes alive with grand Christmas lights and decorations and is the perfect place for photo ops.

If you want to spend some time Christmas shopping, Santurantikuy market is a must-visit!

3) Ballestas Islands

Ballestas Islands, PeruBallestas Islands, Peru

The Ballestas Islands – officially known as Islas Ballestas – are home to many species of penguins, fur seals, and dolphins as well as countless endangered birds. The Humboldt Current is largely responsible for the levels of biodiversity on the islands as it drives temperatures down and nutrients up to the surface.

The Ballestas Islands are part of the Guano Island, Islets, and Capes National Reserve System and environmental laws prevent visitors from setting foot on the islands, so if you plan on visiting make sure to book a boat tour in advance.

4) Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, PeruMachu Picchu, Peru

The probable afternoon drizzles in December result in far fewer crowds at Machu Picchu compared to the peak season months of June, July, and August meaning that prices are more affordable. Temperatures are also warming up making it a more comfortable time to be in the mountains at night.

Atop the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu during this time of year, if you're lucky, you could even find yourself enveloped in rolling clouds as you take your time and leisurely stroll through these iconic ruins.

4. December Crowds and Costs

The Paracas Reserve, PeruThe Paracas Reserve, Peru

It is much less crowded during the month of December than it is during the peak tourist months. This is mainly due to December being the first full month of the wet season. That being said, you can still find relatively larger crowds in Cusco, Sacred Valley, and Lima during the period leading up to, and right after, Christmas time.

While visits to Machu Picchu are comparatively less expensive during December due to fewer crowds, the opposite is true of the coastal regions – prices surge in these parts of Peru as everyone wants to visit the beach and make the most of the good weather.

Crowds are low in the eastern interior regions of the country as well and considering the fact that the rain is usually only confined to a few hours during the day, visits to the rainforest can be completed without much, if any, hassle, and at comparatively relaxed prices.

5. What to Wear in Peru in December

Hiking in the Cordillera Mountains, PeruHiking in the Cordillera Mountains, Peru

The weather in the coastal regions during December, the official start of beach season, is very pleasant and summer attire should suffice for your visit to these parts of Peru. A good pair of sunglasses are a must if you plan to spend lots of time exploring Lima. If you're especially sensitive to slight drops in temperature, a light jacket for the evenings will prove useful.

In the mountain regions of the Andes, prepare for cooler and wetter conditions. This means bringing jackets and more importantly, raincoats, umbrellas, and waterproof shoes are necessary. It doesn't rain all day in these parts during December but you want to be well prepared for the short periods of precipitation.

If you plan on visiting the Amazonian eastern interior of the country, bring your waterproof shoes, umbrella, and raincoat or poncho to stay dry as it's almost certain to rain. Winter wear is absolutely not needed as conditions are hot and humid in the jungle at this time.

6. December Festivals in Peru

Peru is a land known for its rich history, celebrated diversity, and endless festivals. If you're in the country for the month of December, do make sure you don't miss these holidays:

Christmas/New Year (Navidad/Ano Nuevo): The city of Cusco is home to Santuranticuy, which translates to the "sale of saints" and is an outdoor Christmas market designed for shoppers to get in the spirit of the holidays. One can shop for Catholic nativity scenes that adorn many a Peruvian homes, sculptures, figurines, and trinkets. This, along with the grand decorations at the Plaza de Armas, are must-sees during Christmas time in Cusco.

Don't leave Cusco right after Christmas, though, as the celebrations are far from done. New Year celebrations in the city are a big affair and somewhat of a point of national pride among locals. Spectacular firework shows and decorations all around the city make for a vibrant atmosphere no matter where you are in Cusco.

Fiesta de Concepcion Inmaculada: On December 8, Cusco also plays host to the procession honoring the Virgin Mary. This is a major national holiday and other places in and around Cusco also put on performances and dance shows.

Monthly Weather in Peru

Explore Peru with Global Highlights

For the perfect December trip to Peru, look no further than Global Highlights! We specialize in creating tailor-made tours that not only consider your travel goals but also work with the weather to make your dream trip.

If you'd like to visit Peru in the rainy season to avoid the crowds, we can plan the perfect adventure for you. Let us deal with the planning stress so that you can just enjoy your trip.

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