Are you planning a trip to Machu Picchu in February? This ancient Inca citadel is one of the most iconic and popular tourist destinations in the world, and visiting in February can be a great experience.
February is considered the shoulder season for tourism in Machu Picchu, which means that the crowds are not as heavy as they are during the peak season, and the weather is still comfortable. If you’re looking for a more intimate experience, fewer crowds, and mild weather, then February is the perfect time to visit Machu Picchu.
In this travel blog, we’ll take a look at what to expect when visiting Machu Picchu in February, including the weather and temperature, the best time of day to visit, and things to do and see while you’re there. We’ll also cover tips for getting there, what to pack, and recommendations for making the most of your trip. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning traveler, this guide will help you plan an unforgettable visit to Machu Picchu in February.
Machu Picchu in February – What to expect?
- Mild weather: The average temperature during the day is around 20°C (68°F) and it can drop to around 10°C (50°F) at night.
- Fewer crowds: There will be less visitors at Machu Picchu, which means less waiting time to enter and more space to explore the site.
- Opportunity for more intimate experience: With less people, you’ll have more opportunities to explore the site in a more relaxed and peaceful way.
- Closed trails: The Classic Inca Trail of 4 days and 2 days are closed during February and Some hiking trails like Inca jungle trek or Salkantay Trek may be closed due to safety concerns, check ahead for availability and plan accordingly.
- Less crowded hiking trails: You’ll have a better chance to hike the trails with less people, making it a more enjoyable experience.
- Less expensive than peak season: The prices of tickets and accommodation tends to be less expensive in February than in peak season.
- Beautiful landscapes and weather: The weather is mild, making it perfect for outdoor activities and to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Machu Picchu.
- Good time to take photographs without many people in the background: The reduced number of visitors will make it possible to take photographs without many people in the background.
Weather & temperature at Machu Picchu in February
In February, Machu Picchu typically has mild temperatures with daily highs around 20°C (68°F) and lows around 12°C (54°F). Rainfall is also common in February, so visitors should come prepared with waterproof clothing and gear. The Inca Trail is closed in February due to heavy rainfall, but Machu Picchu itself is open year-round.
What is the best time of day to visit Machu Picchu in February?
The best time to visit during this month would be in the morning, when the weather is likely to be drier and clearer. Additionally, the morning light is ideal for photography as it highlights the natural beauty of the ruins. However, since it’s the rainy season, you should be prepared for the possibility of rain at any time of day. If the day dawned with rain, the best time is around 10 am to noon.
Pros of visiting Machu Picchu in February
- Fewer crowds: February is considered the low season for tourism in Machu Picchu, so the crowds are generally smaller than they are during peak season.
- Better prices: Due to the lower demand, prices for flights, accommodations, and other travel expenses may be more affordable during this month.
- More peaceful experience: With fewer tourists, you can enjoy the ruins and natural surroundings in a more peaceful and relaxed atmosphere.
- Unique photography opportunities: The mist and clouds that are common during the rainy season can create a unique and dramatic atmosphere for photography.
- The Inca Trail is closed: The Inca Trail is closed during February for maintenance, this means it is less crowded and less visitors.
- Chances of seeing rainbows: Rainbows are common in Machu Picchu during the rainy season, making it an ideal time to visit if you’re a fan of this natural phenomenon.
- It’s still open: Even though it’s the rainy season, Machu Picchu itself is open year-round, so you can still visit and explore the ruins.
- The vegetation is lush and green: February is a good time to visit to see the Andean vegetation in all its green and lush glory.
Cons of visiting Machu Picchu in February
- Rainy weather: February is considered the rainy season for Machu Picchu, and heavy rainfall and poor visibility can be an issue during this time.
- Muddy trails and slippery paths: The heavy rain can make the trails and paths around Machu Picchu muddy and slippery, which can be challenging to navigate.
- Closed Inca trail: As previously mentioned the Inca trail is closed during this month, which can be a disappointment for those who were planning to hike it.
- Limited access to certain areas: Due to the weather conditions, some areas of Machu Picchu may be closed or have limited access to visitors.
- Reduced visibility: The heavy rainfall and mist can limit visibility, making it harder to fully appreciate the beauty of the ruins.
- Limited outdoor activities: Due to the weather, outdoor activities may be limited or not available at all, such as hiking or sightseeing.
- Colder temperatures: Even though the days are mild, the temperature at night can get quite cold, specially in the higher altitude.
- Less popular: Since it’s the rainy season, some tour operators and hotels might not be open or fully operational, which can make it harder to plan your trip.
Things to do in Machu Picchu in February
- Explore the ruins: Machu Picchu is the main attraction and the main reason most people visit. Take a tour of the ruins, learn about the history, and marvel at the impressive architecture.
- Take a guided hike: Even though the Inca Trail is closed, there are other guided hikes that you can take, such as the Machu Picchu mountain hike, which offers panoramic views of the ruins and Huayna Picchu.
- Visit the Inca Bridge: This ancient Inca bridge is located about 2 hours from Machu Picchu. It is a challenging hike, but the views are worth it.
- Visit the Machu Picchu Museum: The museum is located just outside of Machu Picchu, and it contains artifacts and information about the history of the Inca civilization.
- Visit the Aguas Calientes town: Aguas Calientes is the closest town to Machu Picchu, and it offers a variety of restaurants, shops, and accommodations.
- Visit the hot springs: The hot springs of Aguas Calientes are one of the most popular attractions in the area, and are a great way to relax after a day of exploring.
- Take a train ride: The train ride from Cusco to Machu Picchu offers spectacular views of the Andean landscape and is a unique experience.
- Yoga or meditation: Machu Picchu is an ideal place for yoga or meditation, and there are several studios and teachers offering classes.
- Sightseeing: Machu Picchu is surrounded by beautiful mountains and valleys, which can make for great sightseeing.
- Photography: As previously mentioned, the rainy season can offer unique opportunities for photography with the mist and clouds adding to the natural beauty of the place.
Holiday Events in Machu Picchu and Cusco during February
- Carnival of Cusco (Carnaval de Cusco): This is a pre-Lenten festival that takes place in Cusco, usually in February. It is a colorful celebration featuring parades, costumes, and traditional music and dancing.
- Feast of the Lord of Qoyllority: This is a religious festival that takes place in the small town of Ollantaytambo, near Machu Picchu. It features traditional music, dancing, and a procession of a statue of the Lord of Qoyllority through the streets.
- Festival of the Virgin of Candelaria (Fiesta de la Candelaria)
- Feast of Our Lady of Mercy (Fiesta de la Virgen de la Merced)
Foods in season in Machu Picchu in February
- Potatoes: Peru is known for its wide variety of potatoes, including the traditional Andean varieties such as oca, mashua, and ulluco.
- Quinoa: This ancient grain is a staple in Andean cuisine and is a great source of protein and other nutrients.
- Corn: Fresh corn is a popular ingredient in many traditional Peruvian dishes, such as tamales, choclo (Peruvian-style corn on the cob), and mote (boiled corn).
- Legumes: Beans and lentils are a staple in Peruvian cuisine, and are often used in stews and soups.
- Avocados: Avocados are in season during February, and are often used in traditional dishes like guacamole, or sliced and served on top of sandwiches and salads.
- Andean Fruits: Fruits like lucuma, granadilla, and passion fruit are also in season.
How to get to Machu Picchu in February
There are several ways to get to Machu Picchu in February, but the most popular options include:
- Train: The most popular way to get to Machu Picchu is by taking a train from the city of Cusco to the town of Aguas Calientes (also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo), which is the closest town to the Machu Picchu site. There are several different train companies and routes to choose from, including the luxury Hiram Bingham train and the more budget-friendly Expedition train.
- Bus: Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes, you can take a bus up to the Machu Picchu site. The bus ride takes around 25 minutes and departs frequently throughout the day.
What to pack?
When visiting Machu Picchu in February, it’s important to pack the right clothing and gear to make the most of your trip and stay comfortable. Here is a list of some essential items to pack:
- Warm layers: Machu Picchu is located at a high altitude, and temperatures can drop quickly, so it’s important to pack warm layers such as a fleece or a sweater, and a waterproof and windproof jacket.
- Comfortable walking shoes: The terrain at Machu Picchu can be uneven, so it’s important to wear sturdy and comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots.
- Sun protection: Even though February is considered as a low season it can be sunny and bright, so pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
- Camera: Machu Picchu is a photographer’s paradise, so don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the stunning views.
- Water bottles: It’s important to stay hydrated, so bring a refillable water bottle and fill it up before starting your visit to the site.
- Snacks: There are not many options for food in Machu Picchu, so it’s a good idea to bring some snacks like granola bars, nuts, or fruits.
- Insect repellent: During some months, specially in the rainy season, the Machu Picchu area can have a high presence of mosquitoes and other insects, so it’s recommended to bring insect repellent.
- Cash: Some of the souvenirs shops and restaurants in Machu Picchu only accept cash, so make sure to bring enough to cover any purchases you may want to make.
- Original ID or passport and the Machu Picchu ticket: This is a must-have to enter the site, make sure to bring a valid ID or passport and the Machu Picchu ticket.
- First aid kit: It’s always a good idea to pack some basic first aid items, like band-aids, painkillers and any necessary medications.
What to wear?
When visiting Machu Picchu in February, it’s important to wear clothing that will keep you comfortable while also being appropriate for the weather and the setting of the site. Here are some recommendations on what to wear:
- Lightweight, moisture-wicking layers: To stay comfortable and dry, wear a moisture-wicking undershirt, a lightweight long-sleeve shirt, and a fleece or sweater for warmth.
- Hiking pants or leggings: Wear comfortable and durable pants or leggings that will allow you to move freely and easily navigate the uneven terrain.
- Comfortable walking shoes: Wear sturdy and comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots that provide good support and traction for the Inca Trail or for climbing around the site.
- Waterproof jacket: In case of rain, bring a waterproof and windproof jacket to keep you dry.
- Sun protection: February is considered as a low season, but it can still be sunny, so bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
- Warm headwear: Bring a warm hat or earmuffs to keep your head and ears warm at the high altitude of Machu Picchu.
- Light backpack: Bring a small backpack to carry your essentials like water, snacks, and a camera.
February is considered a low season for tourism in Machu Picchu, which means that there will be fewer visitors and the prices will be lower. Here are some recommendations for visiting Machu Picchu in February:
- Reserve your tickets in advance: Because of the limited number of visitors allowed in Machu Picchu, it’s important to reserve your entrance tickets and train tickets as soon as possible.
- Plan ahead: Make sure to plan ahead and research the best way to get to Machu Picchu and the best time to visit to avoid waiting in long lines.
- Wear appropriate clothing and footwear: As I have mentioned before, Machu Picchu is located at a high altitude and the terrain can be uneven, so make sure to wear comfortable and sturdy shoes, warm layers, and bring a waterproof jacket in case of rain.
- Be prepared for the weather: The weather in Machu Picchu can be unpredictable, so check the forecast and be prepared for any changes in weather.
- Get an early start: To avoid the crowds, plan to arrive at Machu Picchu early in the morning, when the site first opens.
- Bring snacks and water: As I have mentioned before, there are not many options for food in Machu Picchu, so it’s a good idea to bring some snacks and water to keep you going.
- Hire a guide: Hiring a guide can enhance your experience by providing you with detailed information about the site’s history and culture.
- Respect the site: Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, so it’s important to be respectful and follow the rules to help preserve the site for future generations.
- Be mindful of the altitude: Machu Picchu is located at a high altitude, so be prepared for the effects of altitude sickness, such as headaches and shortness of breath.
- And lastly, enjoy the experience: Machu Picchu is one of the most beautiful and mysterious places on earth, so take your time and enjoy the experience.
February is considered a low season for tourism in Machu Picchu, which means that there will be fewer visitors and the prices will be lower. However, the weather can be unpredictable and it can be colder than other months. It can be a good time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy lower prices.
Machu Picchu is open year-round, including in February.
The temperature in Machu Picchu in February can be quite cold, especially at night and in the early morning. Daytime temperatures can reach around 20°C (68°F) but it can drop to around 5°C (41°F) at night.
It’s important to wear clothing that will keep you warm and dry. This includes a moisture-wicking undershirt, a lightweight long-sleeve shirt, a fleece or sweater, comfortable and durable hiking pants or leggings, and a waterproof and windproof jacket.
What are the alternative months to visit Machu Picchu?
- Visiting Machu Picchu in December
- Visiting Machu Picchu in January
- Visiting Machu Picchu in March
- Visiting Machu Picchu in April