Machu Picchu in March: Weather, Pros and Cons

Machu Picchu in March

March marks a transition in the weather around Machu Picchu, situated in the heart of the Sacred Valley. While it’s still considered part of the rainy season, there are promising signs of drier days ahead. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you make the most of your visit.

Weather

In March, the Sacred Valley experiences the tail end of the rainy season. Following February, it ranks among the wettest months, along with January. Despite this, as the month progresses, you can expect more frequent appearances of the sun. However, it’s worth noting that the ruins are still often veiled by clouds. Temperatures range from a high of 65°F (18°C) to a low of 42°F (6°C). This variation necessitates packing for a mix of hot, wet, and cold weather.

Read: Best time to visit Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu by Train 2 days

Crowds & Costs

March witnesses a substantial surge in tourists compared to the previous month, resembling levels not seen since October. This spike can be attributed to the improving weather conditions, signaling the approach of the dry season. Moreover, the arrival of Semana Santa, or Holy Week, adds to the influx.

Semana Santa, a week-long festival celebrated in March or April, just before Easter, marks a holiday season for many Peruvians and South Americans. While the early part of March offers opportunities for deals on accommodations and tours, the latter part, especially if it coincides with Semana Santa, sees prices rise so better to book in advance.

Where to Go

March brings the reopening of the Inca Trail after its annual closure in February. However, it’s important to be aware that the trails, including the Inca Trail, can still be muddy and slippery due to the lingering effects of the wet season. There is also an increased risk of landslides, as the earth remains destabilized by the rains.

If Semana Santa falls in March, consider allocating time to explore the towns and villages in the Sacred Valley to partake in the pageantry.

What to Do

While hiking may not be at its prime during this season, the Inca Trail is accessible again. Caution is advised, particularly on steeper trails like the ascent to Wayna Picchu, which can be extremely slippery.

Despite its highland setting, Machu Picchu is surrounded by lush jungle, predominantly cloud forest. This presents a unique opportunity for activities like the Inca Jungle Trek, which combines cycling, zip-lining, and rafting over a 4-day adventure leading up to Machu Picchu. These activities are particularly suited for this wet time of year.

The increased rainfall leads to rivers reaching high levels, making it an excellent time to try rafting. Venturing onto the water in the jungle also brings you closer to canopy wildlife, including monkeys. Many rivers around Machu Picchu boast Class IV rapids this month. Additionally, wildlife enthusiasts will delight in observing the blooming plants and flowers in the region, which are at their prime following a season of rain.

For travelers considering the train option from Cusco to Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes station), note that services from Cusco’s Poroy station are not operational this month. Instead, you’ll be transported by bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, and continue by train to Aguas Calientes from there.

March Events

The standout event in the Sacred Valley for March, particularly if Easter falls in this month or the early part of April, is Semana Santa. This “Holy Week” is characterized by vibrant festivities. Noteworthy celebrations in Cusco include the festival of Señor de Los Temblores on the Monday of Holy Week. This event commemorates the earthquake of 1650, which caused significant damage to Cusco. During this festival, an effigy of the ‘Lord of the Earthquakes’ is paraded through the city.

Read: Best things to do in Cusco.

conclusion

March offers a transitional experience at Machu Picchu, with the promise of improving weather and vibrant celebrations. However, it’s important to be mindful of the potential challenges posed by the lingering effects of the rainy season. By weighing these pros and cons, you can plan a memorable and enriching visit to this iconic site.

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