May is the best month to visit Machu Picchu because it is a dry month with very little rain, and with few tourists and it is easy to get spaces in the hotels and permits for the entrances to Machu Picchu. The days are sunny and without clouds, very good time to take pictures.
The nights are already cold because the winter months are arriving with temperatures even at zero 0-22 degrees. May is low season especially the first weeks, but we recommend booking in advance the spaces for both Machupicchu and Inca Trail.
Best time of the day
The best time to visit Machu Picchu in May would be early in the morning, around 6am to 8am. The site opens at 6am and it’s best to arrive as early as possible to avoid the heat and crowds of tourists later in the day. Additionally, the morning light is better for photography and the sun is not yet at its strongest, which can make for a more comfortable visit.
Why visit Machu Picchu in May?
- Sunny days with plenty of flora.
- Chances of seeing spectacled bears approaching the citadel of Machu Picchu.
- Wide view of the Milky Way at night with clear skies.
- Many possibilities to see the sunrise at Machupicchu llaqta.
- Nights with clear moons.
- Very little rain but will be sunny days.
- Breathtaking views of the mountain range and snow-capped peaks near Machu Picchu.
- Machu Picchu by Train
- Classic Inca Trail 4 Days
- Short Inca Trail 2 Days
- Sakantay Trek 5 Days
- Inca Jungle Trek 4 Days
Why you should not go to Machu Picchu in May?
- May is the beginning of high season, it is better to book tickets in advance.
- Last days of May is the beginning of high season.
- The first weeks of May there is still some rain.
- The nights are very cold.
- The last days of the month everything is filling up with tourists.
Here are a few recommendations:
- Book tickets in advance: Machu Picchu has a daily visitor limit and tickets sell out quickly, so it’s important to book tickets well in advance of your visit.
- Arrive early: As mentioned before, the site opens at 6am and it’s best to arrive as early as possible to avoid the heat and crowds.
- Dress in layers: The weather can be unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to dress in layers that can be easily removed or added as needed.
- Hire a guide: While you can explore the site on your own, hiring a guide can greatly enhance your experience. Guides can provide context and insights that might otherwise be missed.
- Remember your passport: Your passport is required to enter Machu Picchu, so be sure to bring it with you.
- Be prepared for altitude: The citadel is located at an altitude of 2,430 meters (7,970 feet) above sea level, so visitors should be prepared for the effects of altitude, including shortness of breath and fatigue. Drinking plenty of water and taking it easy during your first day can help mitigate these effects.
- Respect the site: Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important cultural monument. Visitors are asked to respect the site by staying on designated trails and not touching or climbing on the ruins.
- We recommend visiting within the first 15 days of the month, after that it is difficult to get tickets and spaces for tours, hotels, trains, etc.. Remember that June, July and August are high season months.
- Moisturizing creams for the lips will be essential, such as cocoa butter that you can buy in pharmacies in the city of Cusco, also take sunscreen creams. Wear warm clothes and if possible feather jackets for the early mornings and cold nights.
- Bring binoculars to appreciate the birds of the area.
- Always wear your sunglasses,
Other months to visit Machu Picchu
I am founder and content creator of Lorenzo Expeditions, since 2006 I started with the Inca Jungle tour, guiding and serving thousands of tourists in a personal way to get to know Machu Picchu in a unique and authentic way.