If you want to enjoy a sunny and not very variable climate, and with low tourist crowds, then traveling to Machu Picchu in September is your best option. In fact, it is also ideal for trekking tours such as the Inca Trail.
In September, the weather remains very cool, i.e., not too cold, but not too sunny either. However, rains may fall at one time or another, but not often, so it is vital to wear clothing suitable for all weather conditions.
September: is it a good time to visit Machu Picchu?
Being an intermediate season, visiting Machu Picchu in September has some advantages and disadvantages for travelers. One of the advantages is that you will get special offers and discounts for low season, so you can save some money.
Even with these unmissable offers, it is still necessary to make reservations a few months in advance, or at least 6 months in advance. On the other hand, the routes remain operational, and the weather is still pleasant, but variable, so it is vital to be prepared.
What is the weather like in September?
This month the weather remains sunny and dry on most days. But it is also possible for it to rain at the least expected times. In fact, September is when the first seasonal changes begin to be noticed, so the weather can vary many times.
You will experience maximum temperatures of 20°C and a minimum of 5°C at night. In addition, the road to the sanctuary is usually much more humid due to the approaching winter from November onwards. In this sense, it would be the last opportunity to take advantage of favorable conditions for outdoor activities, such as hiking.
Another activity that you can take advantage of and that you will possibly enjoy twice as much is to take a day trip in the rainforest before arriving at Machu Picchu. Thanks to these weather conditions, it is possible to observe some wild animals and fauna in the middle of a cloud forest to capture incredible photos.
What to wear for Machu Picchu in September?
In September the weather is rather dry, the days can be a bit hot and the nights cool. Therefore, your suitcase should contain some large sweaters and long-sleeved cotton t-shirts.
You will also need some good shoes for hiking the steep mountains if you plan to climb to the top of Machu Pichu. Also add several pairs of socks to avoid humidity and therefore blisters!
Also be sure to take with you fairly light clothing, but always with long sleeves to protect you from the sun’s rays. Opt for light but long pants to avoid insect bites. In fact, it is essential that you carry repellent spray to avoid mosquito bites.
Also don’t forget sunglasses, hat and sunscreen. Snacks and a bottle with enough water are also vital to withstand the hike. Also, these items have high costs if you buy them on the trail.
How crowded is the month of September?
There is no doubt that you will find better prices on hotels, flights and various activities throughout the Sacred Valley much better than in other high season months. In fact, they are usually the cheapest in this season when there is a drop in the arrival of travelers from other parts of the world.
But, despite the drop in costs, this is still a common month to visit Machu Picchu and it is advisable even now to book your rooms in hotels near Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail and the trains from Cusco to Aguas Calientes several months in advance.
Recommendations for visiting Machu Picchu in September
In September you will have a large part of the countryside for your sole enjoyment on many occasions – it’s a great opportunity to spend more time with the lovely llamas and alpacas!
In addition, you can visit other Inca ruins around Cusco, such as Q’enqo or Sacsayhuaman, close to the city, or the impressive sites of Moray, Pisac or Ollantaytambo further into the Sacred Valley.
As for the best activities to do, you have the alternative of trekking, which tends to be very popular in the Sacred Valley during this month. Among other options, there is the 5-day Salkantay trek, which climbs an impressive mountain pass, also passing by Inca ruins such as Llactapata before reaching Machu Picchu.
September is also a great month for birders and birdwatchers in the area. In the Andes, it is mating season for one of the country’s most charismatic and colorful birds: the Andean cock-of-the-rock.
These beautiful bright orange birds are most spectacular during this season. In addition, you will also see some of the bird species that migrate from the north to Peru, and you will enjoy seeing many of them beautifying the landscape and filling it with their music and color!
If you are someone who wants to travel to Cusco to relax and spend quiet time in the countryside and at tourist attractions, then you will enjoy this quiet period after some of the major celebrations in the previous months.
However, in September there is an interesting religious festival, called “Señor de Huanca”, which takes place on September 14th. Many people from other regions of Latin America, such as Bolivia, come to be part of the 6-hour walking pilgrimage to the chapel of the Señor de Huanca Sanctuary.
So, after the high tourist season in July and August, September is a quieter month in terms of the number of tourists, which means that there are fewer crowds at the tourist sites.
Also, because September is not such a popular month to travel to Cusco, prices for hotels, flights and tourist activities can be cheaper than during the high season. It’s a great month if you want to enjoy the pleasant weather, join in the celebration of festivities, avoid the crowds of tourists and save money without missing out on anything!