August is officially the month that closes the dry season in Cusco, so going up to Machu Picchu and its surroundings on these dates is an excellent alternative. Although the number of tourists is still high, the weather conditions do not change and we can enjoy all the activities and festivities of the month.
For some experts, traveling to Machu Picchu in August is considered as an intermediate month, because the weather is little variable, so it is important to organize your trip well to go prepared. Let’s see now, everything you should know before traveling to the emblematic Inca sanctuary in these dates.
August: is it a good time to visit Machu Picchu?
Being a dry season and with a lot of tourists, the high costs of activities and hotels are maintained in this month. After all, it is a vacation season for international tourists, mainly from North America and Europe.
However, it is possible that the crowds will drop slightly. Nevertheless, it is still a month full of fun and optimal weather for enjoying many activities, such as hiking, camping, wildlife viewing and, of course, a wonderful tour of the ruins with lush mountain scenery surrounding them.
What is the weather like in August?
Weather conditions remain pleasant in August, with clear skies and the sun illuminating the trail at its peak. In this month, rainfall is very scarce, but it can appear at any time, with a short duration.
During the day, the atmosphere feels warm, with a maximum temperature of 20°C, and a minimum of 5 to 6°C at night. On the other hand, at night and especially before dawn, the atmosphere feels cool, so it is best to wear warm clothing.
In the jungle near the ruins of Machu Picchu, water levels are still low, but we can still see many fish and wild animals on the banks of the rivers.
What to wear for Machu Picchu in August?
If you visit Machu Picchu in August, you should be prepared to be comfortable in case there is a lot of sun or, at any moment, a light rain. Here I share with you some recommendations for clothing that you could wear in this month:
- First, although daytime temperatures in Machu Picchu in August are usually warm, the nights can be quite cold. Bring a wool jacket or sweater to keep you warm when temperatures drop. You can also include in your suitcase a thermal pajama, gloves and any other accessories that will keep you warm.
- Also bring a poncho or a waterproof coat in case you encounter sporadic rain, especially in Machu Picchu, where weather conditions are more humid.
- Be sure to bring comfortable and light clothing for walking and exploring Machu Picchu. Opt for comfortable pants and a shirt or blouse with short or long sleeves, depending on your preference. I recommend wearing thin cotton clothing. You can try clothing designed with layers, so you can remove or add a complement according to the weather.
- Shoes suitable for hiking or mountain walking. Be sure to wear comfortable, sturdy shoes for hiking in Machu Picchu. The trails can be steep and rocky, so you will need proper footwear to avoid injury. Make sure they have grippy soles to avoid any slipping!
- Hat and sunglasses to be protected from the sun’s rays. They can be very intense!
As we can see, wear comfortable and versatile clothing that will allow you to adapt to changes in temperature and climate. Also, don’t forget to bring snacks and a bottle of water for the road.
How crowded is August?
Unfortunately, August is the end of the dry season in Cusco, so the arrival of tourists continues, causing hotels and tourist agencies to offer their services at high costs.
On the other hand, it is possible that you will not find availability of lodging or tickets for the different attractions of the Sacred Valley if you do not make your reservations beforehand. In general, it is recommended to make your reservations half a year in advance.
Recommendations to visit Machu Picchu in August
The list of activities and excursions that you can do in August in Machu Picchu are so many, that in this article I could not cover them all. However, now I will tell you about some of the most interesting ones.
One of the main attractions and one of the most popular is to go trekking in the countryside, not only to get away from the crowds, but also to spend time with the llamas and alpacas.
There are also many incredible ruins in the Sacred Valley, such as the concentric circular terraces of Moray near Maras, or the steep terraces of the historically and culturally significant Ollantaytambo ruins.
If you wish to hike the Inca Trail, you should know that reservations are required a few months in advance. However, there are also other treks you can do if you are passionate about mountain hiking.
You can try the Inca Jungle Trek, which gives tourists a jungle experience before taking them to Machu Picchu on the last day.
On the other hand, if you decide to move to Machu Picchu using the train, you should know that early in the day (from 6 to 8 am), it is possible to find the archaeological site shrouded in clouds, which makes it difficult to appreciate the surrounding mountains and wonderful vegetation.
As for the festivities, be sure to be part of the Andean mega-festivities of Pachamama Raymi and Willka Raymi. The first is celebrated on August 1 in honor of the Inca Mother of the Earth in the ruins of Moray, and the second on August 31 where they present displays of gratitude to the Andean Condor, performing shows with live traditional music and beautiful festivities typical of the region.