Welcome to Visit Machu Picchu! In this post, we will be sharing our experiences and tips for visiting Machu Picchu in the month of March. Known as one of the most iconic and mysterious ancient sites in the world, Machu Picchu is a must-see destination for any traveler.
March is a great time to visit, as the crowds are typically smaller and the weather is mild. Join us as we take you on a journey through the history and beauty of Machu Picchu, and provide you with everything you need to know to plan your own trip to this incredible place.
Machu Picchu in March – What to expect
- Crowds: Machu Picchu is a popular tourist destination and March is not yet the high season, so it is a good option to visit it.
- Weather: March is considered the beginning of the dry season in Machu Picchu, with temperatures ranging from the low 60s to the high 70s during the day and dropping to the low 40s at night. Expect sunny weather with occasional rain.
- Altitude Sickness: Machu Picchu is located at an altitude of 7,970 feet (2,430 meters) above sea level, so some visitors may experience symptoms of altitude sickness such as headaches, nausea, and shortness of breath.
- Hiking: The site of Machu Picchu can be explored by hiking on various trails, such as the Inca Trail, which offers stunning views of the surrounding Andean mountains.
- Cultural Experience: Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important historical and cultural site for the Inca civilization. Visitors can learn about the history and culture of the Incas through guided tours.
- Limited Access: To preserve the site, the Peruvian government only allows a limited number of visitors per day, so it is important to book tickets in advance.
Weather & temperature at Machu Picchu in March
Machu Picchu is located in the Andes Mountains of Peru, and the weather can vary depending on the altitude. In general, March is considered to be part of the rainy season, so it is likely to be quite wet. The average high temperature during the day is around 68°F (20°C), and the average low temperature at night is around 44°F (7°C). However, it is also important to note that temperatures can drop significantly at night, especially at the higher elevations, so it is important to bring warm clothing.
What is the best time of day to visit Machu Picchu in March?
The best time of day to visit Machu Picchu in March would be in the morning, before the cloud cover and rain sets in. The morning is also the busiest time of day, but it can also be the most rewarding as the weather is usually clearer and the sunlight illuminates the ruins nicely. Additionally, the morning is also the best time for photography as the light is most favorable.
Pros of visiting Machu Picchu in March
- Fewer tourists: March is considered the shoulder season for Machu Picchu, which means there are fewer tourists compared to the peak seasons, allowing for a more peaceful and intimate experience.
- Good weather: Although March is part of the rainy season, it is also the end of the rainy season, which means there is a good chance that the weather will be clear and sunny.
- Affordable prices: Since March is considered a low season, prices for lodging, transportation, and tours are often lower than in the peak seasons.
- Good for photography: The morning light is ideal for photography, and the morning is also the best time to see Machu Picchu before the clouds roll in.
- Beautiful scenery: The Andes mountains are beautiful year-round and during the rainy season, the surrounding vegetation is lush and green.
- Special events: March is a month when Machu Picchu celebrates the Inti Raymi, a festival of the sun, which is a great opportunity to experience the local culture and traditions.
Cons of visiting Machu Picchu in March
- Rainy season: March is considered part of the rainy season, so there is a higher chance of rain, which can make hiking and exploring the ruins more difficult and less pleasant.
- Crowds: Although there are fewer tourists in March compared to the peak seasons, Machu Picchu still receives a significant number of visitors, which can make the experience less intimate and more crowded.
- Limited Visibility: The clouds and fog can obscure the views of the ruins, making it harder to fully appreciate the site.
- Cold temperatures: Nights can be chilly, especially at the higher elevations, so it’s important to pack warm clothing.
Things to do in Machu Picchu in March
- Hike: The Inca Trail is open in March and is a great way to see the surrounding Andes and reach Machu Picchu.
- Take a guided tour: A guided tour can provide insight into the history and significance of Machu Picchu.
- Visit the local markets: The nearby town of Aguas Calientes has a variety of markets selling local crafts and souvenirs.
- Relax in the hot springs: The nearby town of Aguas Calientes is home to a variety of hot springs, which can be a great way to relax after a day of hiking.
Holiday Events in Machu Picchu during March
- Holy Week: During this festivity, 12 dishes are eaten in Cusco and no meat is consumed.
- Feast of the Lord of Temblores: This is a religious festival that takes place in the district of San Sebastian. It celebrates a statue of Jesus that is believed to have saved the area from an earthquake. The event includes a procession, mass, and other religious ceremonies.
- Feast of Saint Joseph: This is a Catholic religious festival that takes place on March 19th and is celebrated throughout Cusco. It honors the patron saint of the city and includes a mass and a procession with the image of Saint Joseph.
- Feast of the Lord of Huanca: This is a religious festival that takes place in the district of Huanca. It honors a statue of Jesus that is believed to have saved the area from an earthquake. The event includes a procession, mass, and other religious ceremonies.
- Feast of the Lord of Qoyllority: This is a religious festival that takes place in the district of Qoyllority. It honors a statue of the crucified Christ that is believed to have saved the area from an earthquake. The event includes a procession, mass, and other religious ceremonies.
Foods in season in Machu Picchu in March
- Quinoa: A staple grain of the Incas, quinoa is a nutritious and versatile grain that is in season in March.
- Potatoes: There are over 4,000 varieties of potatoes in Peru, many of which are grown in the region around Machu Picchu.
- Avocado: Avocado is in season in March and is often used in local dishes like guacamole.
- Citrus fruits: Lemons and oranges are in season in March, and are used to make marmalade and juice.
- Andean berries: March is a good time to find Andean berries such as strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries.
How to get to Machu Picchu in March?
The best way to get to Machu Picchu in March would depend on your specific travel plans and preferences. Here are a few options to consider:
Read our complete guide: How to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco.
- Train: The most popular and convenient way to get to Machu Picchu is by taking the train to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu. From there, you can take a bus or hike up to the site.
- Hiking: Another option is to hike the Inca Trail, a popular trek that takes you through beautiful Andean landscapes and ends at Machu Picchu. However, it’s important to note that the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance during the month of February, so it would be available to trek in March.
- Bus: If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, you can also take a bus from Cusco to Santa Maria, and then another bus to Santa Teresa, from there you can hike or take another bus to Hidroeléctrica, from there you can take a train or hike to Aguas Calientes, then take the bus to Machu Picchu.
It is important to note that Machu Picchu is a very popular tourist destination, and the number of visitors is limited. So it is advisable to book tickets and tours in advance, especially during high season like March.
What to pack and wear for Machu Picchu in March?
Here is a suggested packing list for a trip to Machu Picchu in March:
- Lightweight, quick-drying clothing: It can be warm during the day and chilly at night, so pack layers that can be easily added or removed.
- Hiking boots or sturdy shoes: The terrain around Machu Picchu can be rough, so you’ll want footwear that can handle it.
- A waterproof jacket and pants: Rain is always a possibility, especially in the rainy season.
- Sunscreen, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat: The sun can be intense at altitude, so protect yourself from UV rays.
- A daypack to carry water, snacks and other essentials while exploring the site.
- Camera and extra batteries: Machu Picchu is a beautiful place to take photographs.
- Insect repellent: to avoid bugs and mosquitoes.
- Personal hygiene items: toothbrush, toothpaste, and toilet paper, etc.
- Travel documents: Passport and Machu Picchu entrance tickets.
- Cash in local currency: Not all places in Machu Picchu accept credit card.
- A good book or a journal to enjoy the beautiful moments.
- Warm clothes: for night time, thermal underwear, a fleece, and a jacket are recommended.
- A first aid kit.
- A reusable water bottle.
Note: You should consider leaving some of your valuables in a safe place or in your hotel, as well as some unnecessary items to make your backpack lighter.
- Weather: March is considered the shoulder season for Machu Picchu, so the weather can be unpredictable. It can be warm and sunny during the day, but cool and rainy at night, so be prepared for all eventualities by bringing layers of clothing.
- Crowds: March is considered low season for Machu Picchu, so there will be fewer visitors than during peak season. This can be beneficial for those who want to avoid crowds and enjoy the site with fewer people around.
- Hiking: The Inca Trail, one of the most popular routes to Machu Picchu, is closed in February for maintenance, but it reopens in March. If you want to hike the Inca Trail, make sure to book your permit well in advance as they are limited and they tend to sell out quickly.
- Altitude: Machu Picchu is located at an altitude of 2,430 meters (7,970 feet) above sea level, so it’s important to acclimatize properly to avoid altitude sickness. Spend a few days in Cusco before heading to Machu Picchu to allow your body to adjust.
- Guided tours: A guided tour is a great way to learn about the history and significance of Machu Picchu and to get the most out of your visit. Guided tours are also mandatory for visiting some areas of the site such as Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain. Make sure to book your tour in advance.
- Be respectful: Machu Picchu is a sacred place for the Inca people, so be respectful of the site and its history. Follow the rules and regulations, and do not disturb the wildlife or damage any of the structures.
March is a good time to visit Machu Picchu. It’s open, weather can be variable, bring layers, waterproof gear, sturdy shoes
Yes, Machu Picchu is open in March.
The temperature at Machu Picchu in March can range from warm to chilly. It’s important to be prepared for variable weather conditions by bringing layers of clothing.
Lightweight, quick-drying clothing, hiking boots or sturdy shoes, waterproof jacket and pants, sunscreen, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat, warm clothes.