May is widely considered to be one of the best months to visit Peru. The weather is sunny and beautiful in the mountains, the hills are covered in lush green vegetation, and you'll still find good rates on flights and hotels.
May is the last shoulder month before the tourist season begins and is the perfect time to visit Peru to experience high season weather without the high season crowds.
Peru Weather in May Overview
- Average temperature range: 6°C-31°C (42°F-86°F)
- Wet season: Amazon Rainforest
- Shoulder season: Machu Picchu, Cusco, Lake Titicaca, the Sacred Valley
- Dry season: Lima, Trujillo, Ballestas Islands, Arequipa
- Rainfall: 23 mm (less than 1 inch) in Cusco
- Rainy days: 6 in Cusco, 0 in Lima
Because Peru is located just below the equator, the temperatures in each region of the country don't change much throughout the year. The biggest change in weather is the transition from the wet season to the dry season.
May sees dry and misty weather on the coast, clear and sunny weather with a few popup showers in the mountains, and humid rainy weather in the Amazon.
Machu Picchu in May
May is a beautiful time to explore Machu Picchu. With the rainy season almost completely over, the mountains in the Sacred Valley are covered in lush green vegetation and the skies are sunny and clear. May is not quite the dry season, so there may be a few showers during this month. However, for the most part, you will experience crisp cool mountain weather with clear skies.
In May, Machu Picchu has average highs of around 30°C (86°F) and lows of 6°C (42°F) making it a moderately warm month in the mountains. At this time, visitors can wear shorts during the day but will likely need a jacket at night. Also, bring an umbrella or rain jacket in case of stray showers.
May Weather by Region
Peru has three different climate regions that each have its own distinct weather patterns. These regions include the high-altitude Andes Mountains, the dry coast, and the wet Amazon Rainforest.
If you are visiting multiple regions, you will need to prepare for different weather!
Cusco and the Andes: 6°C-30°C (42°F-86°F)
May is a great time to travel in the Andes if you want clear sunny skies and pleasant weather. In the mountains, this is a shoulder month between the warm wet season and the cold dry season. This means that nights will be cool, but daytime temperatures will still be warm and comfortable. Although it does rain in the mountains in May, it is not very common with only around 6 rainy days on average for this month.
Lima and the Coast: 16°C-22°C (61°F-72°F)
The coastal region of Peru is very arid and receives little to no rainfall all year long. In May, temperatures are pleasantly cool making it a perfect time to tour the colonial architecture of gorgeous cities like Lima and Arequipa. The Pacific is too cold for swimming in May, but you can still enjoy the ocean views and thriving nightlife along the coast.
The southern portion of Peru's coast may start to experience days of heavy fog. However, cities like Lima and Trujillo typically remain clear and sunny.
The Amazon and the East: 22°C-31°C (72°F-86°F)
While other regions of Peru transition into the dry season, the Amazon Rainforest is still in the midst of its hot and humid wet season. While it is still possible to visit the Amazon in May, you will need to prepare for a high likelihood of rain and thunderstorms.
If you don't mind getting a little wet, the high and fast waters of the Amazon River in May allow travelers to explore areas of the jungle that are impossible to get to during the dry season.
Best Places to See in Peru in May
May kicks off the period of Peru's best weather in the mountains. It is also the beginning of the season of festivals in the Sacred Valley and Cusco. Check out the best places to visit and see in Peru in May below!
1) The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu
When there is great weather in the mountains, there is no better place to go for incredible views and beautiful Incan citadels than the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Your first stop in the Sacred Valley will be Ollantaytambo where you can explore handicraft markets and lesser-known Incan ruins. From there, catch the scenic Incan rail to Machu Picchu to take in the breathtaking ruins of the Incan Empire.
If you have more time, make sure to visit the smaller towns of Pisac and Sacsayhuaman to see glacial lakes, snowcapped peaks, and colonial villages and get a taste of authentic Peruvian mountain culture.
Local Festivals: San Isidro Labrador on May 15 in Pisac and Senor de Choquechilca in late May in Ollantaytambo.
Once the capital of the Incan Empire and later the seat of the Spanish colonial government, Cusco is a city that is steeped in history and beauty. May is a great time to see the city and enjoy exploring it in comfortable and dry weather. First, take a tour of the beautiful streets lined with colonial-era buildings. Then, head to the Plaza de Armas to relax while taking in the view of the surrounding mountains and the Cusco Cathedral.
Cusco is also the jumping-off point for a day trip to the famously beautiful Rainbow Mountain.
Local Festivals: Fiesta de las Cruces on May 2nd or 3rd
3) Arequipa and Colca Canyon
Arequipa is a charming colonial-era city located in the mountains of southern Peru and is ringed by three beautiful snow-topped volcanoes. What makes this city so special is that most of the buildings, including the cathedrals, are made from local white volcanic rock giving the town its nickname of the White City. The pace of life here is slow and relaxed and it's a great place to hang out in a café to read a book or explore local markets for one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Take a day trip to the nearby Colca Canyon to get breathtaking views of one of the world's deepest canyons and possibly catch a glimpse of an Andean Condor.
4) Lake Titicaca
In May, a trip to Peru is incomplete without a stop at this stunning high-elevation lake. At an altitude of 3,800 meters (12,500 feet), Lake Titicaca is the highest large lake in the world. Dry weather and clear skies make for beautiful views of this tranquil blue lake with its floating islands and abundant wildlife. Take a boat tour of the manmade Uros Islands to learn about the traditional local culture.
5) Lima and Paracas National Park
Lima is likely the first city you will visit during your travels in Peru. Although it is commonly seen as a layover city, Lima is one of the biggest up-and-coming culinary hotspots in the world. Spend a day here on a food tour of this lively city where you can try everything from popular local spots to fine dining Michelin star restaurants.
Wildlife lovers can take a day trip out to Paracas National Park to see some of Peru's beautiful beaches, towering sand dunes, and diverse wildlife.
Local Festivals: The art festival of Noche en Blanco in early May in the Miraflores district
May Crowds and Costs
Because May is well-known for being a good time to visit Peru, this month tends to see more visitors than the rainy season months but not as many visitors as the high season months of June, July, and August. If you want to avoid the crowds and get more affordable rates on hotels and travel, try to visit in early May.
If you want to avoid higher prices and more travelers, try not to visit during the last week of May when prices quickly rise in anticipation of the start of the high season.
What to Wear in Peru in May
May is a pleasantly warm month in Peru, but temperatures can get cool at night. Most travelers will be comfortable in summer attire during the day but will need to throw on a hoodie or fleece at night to stay warm. Because of this, it is a good idea to dress in layers. This is especially true in the mountains where the temperature can drop quickly and unexpectedly.
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