Arabia Weather - A hot strip of coastal desert. The endless snow-capped peaks of the Andes. A vast expanse of rainforest intertwined with mighty rivers. These three types of terrain form a trio of very different climates, ensuring that there is never a bad time to visit Peru.
This is a land steeped in tradition and focused on celebrations, with at least one lively celebration a week to add color to your trip. Whether you're a city lover stopping in the famous food capital of Lima, or an adventurer heading down the Inca Trail, you'll find what you need to plan the perfect Peruvian vacation here.
Most Western travelers prefer winter in Peru. This is not only because it coincides with their main holiday period, but also because the clear weather lights up the Andes Mountains, home to the country's most famous tourist attractions, with bright sunlight.
Many enchanting festivals also take place in this period, and the ground is dry underfoot during the adventurous period. Adventure season is now at its peak.
The ancient capital of the Incas, Cusco, gets the most attention, as well as the nearby Sacred Valley, where valleys beautifully decorated with Inca ruins pass to the grandest site of them all: Machu Picchu.
The major treks - especially the Inca Trail, as well as other treks in the Sacred Valley and those in the snow-capped Cordilleras Huehues and Blanca mountains - are irresistibly beautiful in bright sunshine, but it is during the peak trekking season that they become very crowded.
June brings a variety of wonderful celebrations, bringing life to the streets in Cusco and other cities in the region almost daily, the most notable of which is Inti Raymi, the Inca celebration of the winter solstice.
And the most exclusive south of the Andes, Lake Titicaca sparkles like a blue jewel, with islands rich in fond traditions. The Silvamonos Festival in Oxapampa begins at the end of the month, and its live music and cultural celebrations are a great way to spend a week in the valley.
It's dry season in the Amazon Basin too – July is the driest in the Amazon, although it's never really dry there! The brighter weather in the cloud forest attracts birds out, including the bright orange-red Andean cockerel, the national bird of Peru, which mates at this time.
In the lowland jungle, it is easier to view wildlife from the riverbanks, and hikes across rivers such as Tambopata, near Puerto Maldonado, yield particularly diverse sightings.
Low water levels mean excellent conditions for paddle boarding: the Apurimac River near Cusco and Tambopata are ideal for surfing. In mid-July, locals in Paucartambo celebrate La Vergen del Carmen with music, dancing and colorful costumes – it's like a mini Mardi Gras festival.
Everywhere is the shoulder period, especially in the Andes, where clear sunny days continue until September. For mountain trekking lovers who prefer to be alone in the mountains, this is the best time to go – complete solitude awaits you on many hiking routes.
The Inca Trail is always crowded, but alternatives like the Salkantay Trek, which traverses a 4,630-meter (15,190-foot) elevation higher than any point on the Inca Trail, allow you to escape the crowds.
September also marks the end of the jungle's dry season, so it's a good time to try rainforest hikes or wildlife viewing on a boat trip from Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado before the spring rains come in and travel becomes more complicated.
With less activity inland, this is peak season on the coast. At the end of spring, the thick haze (garua) that has shrouded Lima since July begins to dissipate, but it's still worth visiting Peru's dynamic gastronomic capital earlier.
Temperatures are rising on the country's sandy beaches, but the crowds have not arrived yet. By November, the waves at Peru's best surf spots – including home of the world's longest left-handed wave in Puerto Chicama – are approaching their best.
Dia de los Muertos is celebrated across the country at the beginning of the month. Although this occasion is about our loved ones who have died, the atmosphere is not somber at all – it is a celebration of love and life.
This is the perfect season to see Peru's gorgeous beaches at their best. Sunbathing on the sun-baked northern beaches is fun – temperatures regularly hover between 30 and 40 degrees Celsius (86 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit), and crowds flock to see and be seen at resorts like trendy Mancora.
Cusco hosts the largest celebrations for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 - a national holiday in Peru.
This is surf season too. But for a different coastal experience, take a boat trip to the rare, rarely seen mangrove forests near Tumbes, or to the rocky marine life reserve on the Ballestas Islands near Paracas, where sea lion pups are born in January.
From Paracas, it's direct access to Peru's largest sand dune at Huacachina – and sandboarding is the coastal region's greatest thrill. Lima is completely devoid of garua, so take advantage and try activities like paragliding over the city.
Inland, the rainy season is at its peak, and the Inca Trail is closed until February. Carnaval begins at the end of February and the biggest party in Latin America is celebrated in grand style across the country.
Except for the wild celebrations before the crazy Easter Semana Santa (Holy Week), this is an affordable time to visit Peru. The summer crowds are over, the coast still maintains pleasant weather well into March and deals can be negotiated as popular venues try to exploit their customers.
Carnival season in Peru lasts from February through March with an explosion of colors and celebrations everywhere.
It's not yet peak season in the Andes or the Amazon, although the weather is sunny and the slopes are lush, so accommodation and tour prices will be much lower than peak season.
The coastal strip attracts with its grapes ripening to the optimum point, and explodes in Ica's grape-picking celebration "Fiesta de la Vendemia" in the second week of March.
In the mountains, against a backdrop of ever-improving dry and bright weather, May can rival peak season in terms of amazing festivals.
Enjoy the Festival of Mr. Moroai, one of the largest in South America, held near Tarma, or the exotic religious celebration of the "Fiesta de las Cruces" in cities such as Cusco, Ayacucho and Lima.
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