When to Visit Machu Picchu

When Should You Visit Machu Picchu?

More than 1 million people visit Machu Picchu each year. Peru and UNESCO have jointly agreed to limit daily entrances to 2,500 visitors; although that limit is generally respected, it is also regularly exceeded by 10% to 15% during holidays.

Peak visitation months are May, July, August, September, and December. The less crowed months (our favorite times to visit) include April, June, and early October.

Landed_Travel_Machu_Picchu_Wide_Quarry_Clouds

Seasons

The region surrounding Machu Picchu has two main seasons: wet and dry. The wet season begins in late October and extends into April. If you’re concerned about rain, keep in mind that Machu Picchu is situated in a tropical forest zone on the eastern slope of the Andes. This is upper Amazon Basin; in an average year, rain falls on 8 out of 10 days. Average humidity is around 65% to 80% year-round.

Still, these are rarely torrential downpours. Even during the wettest month, January, rainfall averages only 6.1 inches for the month—about one-fifth of an inch per day. In case you’re wondering, lightning is uncommon, but it can occur. At this latitude, Machu Picchu isn’t high enough for snow.

A perfect photo of the ancient city of Machu Picchu, taken on a family vacation hiking tour in Peru

What about the wet season month of December, when many North Americans have enough vacation time to travel internationally? Average December rainfall is usually under 5 inches for the month.

During the wet season, mist and clouds can obscure the site at sunrise. These clouds usually dissipate as the day progresses and the air warms. The wet season’s dramatic skies nourish bright green landscapes. For those reasons, many photographers request to visit in wetter months. Those postcard or magazine photos of an emerald Machu Picchu shrouded in mist? Those were shot during wet season.

Peru-Vacation-Travel-Machu-Picchu-House-Mist-5-DT (1)

As soil saturation increases over the wet season, the ground becomes more unstable. Landslides, which usually only interrupt train travel, are more common in January and February. Due to rain, flight delays to and from Cusco are more common in those months.

Peru-Travel-Machu-Picchu-Postcard-MTS

During the drier months of May to September, average monthly rainfall is under 2 inches. June, July, and August tend to be the sunniest months. Clearer skies mean more visitors; June is busy around the solstice, and August is a top travel month for Europeans.

Golden sunrise over the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu

Temperatures don’t vary much throughout the year. Average highs are near 70F in early afternoon, although highs can reach into the 80s. Overnight lows average in the low 40s from September to April, but dip into the mid-30s from May to August.

A Caracara falcon, perched on an overlook of Machu Picchu, spotted on a tour of Peru's anchient ruins

No matter when you visit, weather at Machu Picchu can surprise you. Mist and rain can be present at any time of year; even September has its drizzly days, and March can be surprisingly sunny. Machu Picchu is surrounded on three sides by the Urubamba River. Morning mists, rising from the river, are common. So are rainbows, even in dry season.

Machu Picchu is open year-round, even on holidays. The site opens at 6AM and closes at 5:30PM.

Time of Day

Historically, most visitors were day trippers from Cusco. They arrived by train around 11:00AM and departed by 3:00PM. That caused crowding, especially in key locations within the site. Better protection of the ancient city was needed.

Starting July 1, 2017, the entry policy changed. Tickets are now pre-purchased for a specific, hourly entry time (e.g. 7:00AM to 8:00AM). Ticket times and dates cannot be changed, and tickets are non-transferrable.

If you exit and wish to re-enter the site, you’ll need a new ticket. Visitors can pre-purchase multiple tickets. Upon entry, tickets are stamped with a color code.

Entry times are offered each hour from 6:00AM to 3:00PM. Entry times from 6:00AM to noon have a maximum stay 4 hours. The last two shifts (1:00PM and 2:00PM) have a maximum exit time of 5:30PM.

Additional protections were added in May 2019. The most significant sacred sites are now open to visitors only at select times of the day:

  • Pyramid of the Inti Huatana (Hitching Post of the Sun)
    • Accessible from 7AM to 10AM
    • Only open to visitors with national park entrances for 6AM, 7AM, 8AM, and 9AM.
  • Temple of the Condor
    • Accessible from 10AM to 1PM
    • Only open to visitors with national park entrances for 7AM, 8AM, 9AM, 10AM, 11AM, and noon.
  • Temple of the Sun
    • Accessible from 1PM to 4PM
    • Only open to visitors with national park entrances for 11AM, noon, 1PM, and 2PM.

If you want to visit all three of these sites (each is special and worth visiting) you’ll almost certainly need to overnight in the Machu Picchu area and visit the national park on two days.

Circuits within Machu Picchu

Since July 2017, visitors have been required to choose one of three guided circuits on their first entry to Machu Picchu.

Circuits 1 and 2 are similar and visit the major sites. Circuit 2 is less extensive and demanding than Circuit 1. Circuit 3 is adapted for visitors with impaired mobility.

Sunrise & Sunset at Machu Picchu

Because Machu Picchu lies approximately 900 miles or 13 degrees south of the equator, the hours of sunrise and sunset vary little with the seasons.

From June to August, sunrise is around 6:00AM and sunset near 5:45PM. During the longer days of the December to February summer season, sunrise is as early as 5:15AM, with sunset around 6:20PM.

A sunkissed photo of Machu Picchu in the late morning

The first bus up the mountain from Aguas Calientes begins its ascent at 5:30AM. The last bus returns from the national park gate at 5:30PM. For security and safety reasons, moonlight entry to the park is no longer allowed.

First light at Machu Picchu can be magical, but don’t expect a beam of light to shine over a mountain, through a rainbow, and hit the Inti Huatana. Most days, the site is obscured by mist or clouds in the morning. Even on clear days, sunrise is more of a gradual lightening of the sky.

Machu Pichu at dawn

Dreaming of Machu Picchu? Download our Machu Picchu guide.

LANDED provides personalized, custom travel within Central America, South America, and the Antarctic. We’ll design and manage a trip that’s tailored to you.

Experience the trip of a lifetime. Speak with one of our expert travel planners today at 801.582.2100.

La Lancha: Lago Petén Itzá

La Lancha Lodge

Perched above the shores of Lake Petén Itzá in the vicinity of Tikal, you’ll find La Lancha—director Francis Ford Coppola’s family retreat in Guatemala.

This boutique hotel highlights Guatemala’s artisans and craftspeople; the furniture, fabrics, and carvings, were lovingly hand-selected by Eleanor (Miss Ellie) Coppola.

Located less than one hour’s drive from the ancient citadel of Tikal, La Lancha is a great base for exploring the Maya Biosphere Reserve and other nearby Maya sites.

View from the reception at La Lancha Boutique hotel, overlooking Lago Peten Itza in Guatemala

Accommodations at La Lancha

La Lancha is an intimate boutique hotel, with only 10 rooms. Accommodation options include:

 

Rainforest Casitas

Set in the rainforest with a partial view of Lake Peten Itza, La Lancha’s Rainforest Casitas each feature a queen bed and private bathroom.

Full sized bed with teal comforter and bamboo hung on wall in Rainforest Casita at La Lancha Guatemala

Each Rainforest Casita also has a covered deck, outfitted with hammocks and chairs.

Lakeview Suites

Lakeview suites at La Lancha overlook Lago Petén Itzá. These suites feature a master bedroom with king bed and full bathroom, along with a separate living room with sleeper sofa.

View off the large covered porch of a Lake view suite at La Lancha Guatemalan boutique hotel

Other Lakeview Suite amenities include a wet bar, second half bathroom and large covered deck, equipped with a hammock and chairs.

Junior Rainforest Suites

Nestled in the tropical dry forest above Lake Petén Itza, Rainforest Junior suites are the newest addition to La Lancha. Designed for couples seeking a peaceful retreat, these suites are both private and intimate.

Jungle-Junior-Suite-La-Lancha-Guatemala

These suites features a king bed, separate living area with sleeper sofa, and full bathroom with dual shower heads. They also include a covered wooden deck, complete with chairs and hammocks.

La Lancha Day Tours

This lodge is well within reach of Yaxhá, Uxactun, Topoxte, Dos Pilas, Nakum, Aguateca, and Seibal. LANDED can arrange everything from transportation and guides to interaction with archeologists and traditional healers.

Due to La Lancha’s proximity to the Flores Airport (around 40 minutes / 19 miles,  Helicopter tours and charter transportation can also be arranged.

Some other helicopter charter day tour options include:

  • Tikal
  • Quirigua
  • El Mirador
  • Lake Atitlan
  • Dos Pilas
  • Cancuén
  • El Perú
  • Copan

Helicopter availability is dependent on a number of factors. If you’re interested in exploring your options, reach out to a LANDED travel expert today.

Pink sunset over an ancient structure at Tikal Ruins in Guatemala, photographed during private travel

Lago Petén Itzá

One of the key things that makes La Lancha special is its location. For those looking to explore the surrounding jungle or Lake Peten Itza, there are a number of  activity options available.

Guests of La Lancha can enjoy:

  • Zip Lining
  • Horseback Riding
  • Aerial Walkways
  • Jungle Hikes
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Boating

Holding the title of the second largest lake in Guatemala, Lake Petén Itzá is famous for changing colors— quicky shifting from cobalt blue to turquoise green.

Two canoes tied to the shore of Lake Peten Itza under La Lancha Boutique hotel in Guatemala

La Lancha provides complimentary canoes for guest use.

Dining at La Lancha

Under the thatch roof of the main lodge, La Lancha operates an open-air restaurant overlooking Lago Petén Itzá. Here, you can enjoy traditional Guatemalan cuisine while taking in the views of the jungle and lake below.

Located just above the restaurant, guests can also grab a cocktail at the newly-built La Lancha rooftop bar.

La Lancha Guatemalan Boutique hotel open air restaurant with straw roof overlooking Lago Peten Itza at dusk

Are you thinking about booking a stay at La Lancha? LANDED provides personalized, custom travel within Central America, South America, and the Antarctic. We’ll create a unique itinerary plan tailored to your interests and dreams. Experience the trip of a lifetime. Speak with one of our expert travel planners today at 801.582.2100.

Hotel Otavalo

Hotel Otavalo

Hotel Otavalo is a boutique hotel located in the historic market town of Otavalo, Ecuador.

This hotel is located in a historic, renovated building on Roca Street within easy reach of shops, cafes, and the market plaza.

Guestrooms at the hotel feature polished woods, exposed brick, and contemporary furnishings.

Twin beds backed with intricately-decorated headboards in wood accented, warmly lit room at Hotel Otavalo Ecuador

Hotel Otavalo Rooms and Amenities

Hotel Otavalo has 31 rooms. Available options include:

  • (8) Deluxe Rooms
  • (7)  Superior Rooms
  • (8) Premium Rooms
  • (6) Luxury Rooms

In room amenities at Hotel Otavalo include: television, security box, bathrobes, slippers, and hairdryer.

Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.

Modern ceramic tub and sink in Luxury Room at Hotel Otavalo in Ecuador

Are you thinking about booking a stay at Hotel Otavalo? LANDED provides personalized, custom travel within Central America, South America, and the Antarctic. We’ll create a unique itinerary plan tailored to your interests and dreams. Experience the trip of a lifetime. Speak with one of our expert travel planners today at 801.582.2100.

La Lancha: Lago Petén Itzá

La Lancha: Lago Petén Itzá Boutique Hotel

Perched above the shores of Lake Petén Itzá, you’ll find La Lancha—a Coppola family boutique hotel in Guatemala.

This Lago Petén Itzá lodge is adorned with authentic Guatemalan furniture, fabrics and carvings, each hand-selected by members of the Coppola Family.

Located less than one hour’s drive from the ancient citadel of Tikal, La Lancha is a great base for exploring the Maya Biosphere reserve and other nearby Maya sites.

View from the reception at La Lancha Boutique hotel, overlooking Lago Peten Itza in Guatemala

Accommodations at La Lancha

This is a small boutique hotel, with only 10 rooms available. Accommodation options include:

 

Rainforest Casitas

Set in the rainforest with a partial view of Lake Peten Itza, La Lancha’s Rainforest Casitas each feature a queen bed and private bathroom.

Full sized bed with teal comforter and bamboo hung on wall in Rainforest Casita at La Lancha Guatemala

Each Rainforest Casita also has a covered deck, outfitted with hammocks and chairs.

Lakeview Suites

Lakeview suites at La Lancha overlook Lago Petén Itzá. These suites feature a master bedroom with king bed and full bathroom, along with a separate living room with sleeper sofa.

View off the large covered porch of a Lake view suite at La Lancha Guatemalan boutique hotel

Other Lakeview Suite amenities include a wet bar, second half bathroom and large covered deck, equipped with a hammock and chairs.

Junior Rainforest Suites

Nestled in the jungle, overlooking Lake Petén Itza, Rainforest Junior suites are the newest addition to La Lancha. Designed for couples seeking a peaceful retreat, these suites are both private and intimate.

Jungle-Junior-Suite-La-Lancha-Guatemala

These suites features a king bed, separate living area with sleeper sofa, and full bathroom with dual shower heads. They also include a covered wooden deck, complete with chairs and hammocks.

La Lancha Day Tours

This lodge is well within reach of Yaxhá, Uxactun, Topoxte, Dos Pilas, Nakum, Aguateca, and Seibal. For those interested in day tours, LANDED can arrange everything from transportation to guides.

Due to La Lancha’s relative close proximity to the Flores Airport (around 40km),  Helicopter tours and charter transportation can also be arranged.

Some other helicopter charter day tour options include:

  • Tikal
  • Quirigua
  • El Mirador
  • Lake Atitlan
  • Dos Pilas
  • Cancuén
  • El Perú
  • Copan

Helicopter availability is dependent on a number of factors. If you’re interested in exploring your options, reach out to a LANDED travel expert today.

Pink sunset over an ancient structure at Tikal Ruins in Guatemala, photographed during private travel

Lago Petén Itzá

One of the key things that makes La Lancha special is its location. For those looking to explore the surrounding jungle or Lake Peten Itza, there are a number of  activity options available.

Guests of La Lancha can enjoy:

  • Zip Lining
  • Horseback Riding
  • Aerial Walkways
  • Jungle Hikes
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Boating

Holding the title of the second largest lake in Guatemala, Lake Petén Itzá is famous for changing colors— quicky shifting from cobalt blue to turquoise green.

Two canoes tied to the shore of Lake Peten Itza under La Lancha Boutique hotel in Guatemala

La Lancha provides complimentary canoes for guest use.

Dining at La Lancha

Under the thatch roof of the main lodge, La Lancha operates an open-air restaurant overlooking Lago Petén Itzá. Here, you can enjoy traditional Guatemalan cuisine while taking in the views of the jungle and lake below.

Located just above the restaurant, guests can also grab a cocktail at the newly-built La Lancha rooftop bar.

La Lancha Guatemalan Boutique hotel open air restaurant with straw roof overlooking Lago Peten Itza at dusk

Are you thinking about booking a stay at La Lancha? LANDED provides personalized, custom travel within Central America, South America, and the Antarctic. We’ll create a unique itinerary plan tailored to your interests and dreams. Experience the trip of a lifetime. Speak with one of our expert travel planners today at 801.582.2100.

Puerto Valle Argentina

Puerto Valle Hotel de Esteros

Puerto Valle rests within a private forest reserve on the banks of a wide lake in the Parana River, near Laguna Valle and the vast Ibera wetlands.

Entering the grounds, the road passes through a natural tunnel of towering bamboo. Guests are welcomed with fresh fruit juices, verbena-scented towels, and views of the sparkling Parana.

The tidy hotel grounds are planted with fig, palm, avocado, hibiscus, and an organic garden.

Profile of man in large white cap and white fishing shirt, in front of green field near Puerto Valle hotel at sunset

Puerto Valle’s original, whitewashed ranch house, or Casco Viejo, was constructed in 1868. The surrounding forest is home to howler monkeys, cuckoos, trogons, macaws, and parakeets.

In the nearby Iberá Wetlands, guests can observe capybaras, black caimans, marsh deer, otters, storks, and herons. Some of our favorite viewing is after dark; the southern night sky is especially brilliant here.

Food is a highlight at Puerto Valle; fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruit compliment simple, flavorful preparations. The full-board program includes three meals daily, non-alcoholic beverages, guided excursions, and Posadas airport transfers.

PUERTO VALLE LOCATION

Puerto Valle is located 210 miles southwest of Iguazu Falls and 33 miles (40 minutes) southwest of the Posadas airport via Route 12. The roads leading to the property are well-paved.

The scenery looks like east Texas, but with an occasional palm tree.

Trees lining beautiful Parana river in Argentina

Puerto Valle Amenities

The Puerto Valle property offers the following amenities:

  • Palapa
  • Lounge
  • Boat Dock
  • Restaurant
  • Game Room
  • Use of Bicycles and Kayaks
  • Ambient-Temperature Swimming Pool
  • 24-hour Coffee / Tea service
  • Movie Collection
  • Hiking Trails
  • Barbecue
  • Gardens
  • Library
  • Wi-Fi

There’s no hot tub at Puerto Valle. The pool has a subdivision into kiddie depth off to the side. The pool house has bathrooms and outdoor shower.

Wi-Fi is good. Cell service is patchy.

Uniquely-shaped pool at Puerto Valle hotel in Argentina, lined with white umbrellas and lounge chairs and backed with lush trees

PUERTO VALLE ROOMS

This hotel has total capacity for 32 in 13 guestrooms. Room options include:

(4) Casco Viejo Rooms 

The Casco Viejo Rooms (517 ft2) are next to the dining room / reception building. Room 2 is next to TV and game room.  Room 5 is farthest from dining. Each Casco Viejo room features air conditioning and a shared porch.

These rooms are outfitted with either one king or two twin beds. Max occupancy is 3 adults. Each has a concrete shower / bath combo, specifically made for these rooms. No televisions.

(8) Deluxe Rooms

Rooms 6 & 7 (645 ft2) are closest to dining room, Rooms 8 & 9, 10 & 11, 12 & 14 are farthest from dining room. There is no room 13. These are the duplexes with private patios with benches and chairs, outdoor showers. Deluxe Rooms have wood burning fireplaces (Bosca brand) a mini fridge with cold water.

They can be outfitted with a King or twin beds. One of these duplexes is interconnected (10 & 11). Rooms 6 & 7 are closest to the lodge . Deluxe rooms can accommodate 3 adults max. None have bathtubs or televisions.

Queen bed with red comforter and brown leather headboard on wood floor in room at Puerto Valle hotel in Argentina

(1) Suite Duplex

The Suite Duplex (Approximately 1,000 ft2 ) is connected to the Puerto Valle dining room / reception building. Bedroom and bathroom on the first floor, with a living room upstairs. This suite can accommodate five people. The suite can be set up with either a King or twin beds downstairs, and up to 3 rollaway beds upstairs.

TV can be added upstairs by request.

Puerto Valle Room Amenities

  • Bathrobes
  • Ceiling Fans
  • Security Box
  • Drinking Water
  • Air Conditioning
  • Egyptian Cotton Sheets
  • Mate Tea Service
  • Pillow Menu
  • Evening Turn-down Service
  • Telephone
  • Slippers
  • Wi-Fi

Alcohol and laundry service carries an additional fee. Massages can be arranged upon request.

Additional Puerto Valle Information

Puerto Valle is owned by a forestry and agricultural company called GRUPO INSUD. This property exudes a strong sense of peace and tranquility; well-being, without a false yoga / crystal overlay.

This is relaxing country living.

Is Puerto Valle too close to the highway? Maybe. The distance between the road and rooms is around 1KM but is separated by trees. As this is a very narrow territory between the Parana River and the wetlands—there wasn’t much choice on where to put the lodge.

We rarely heard the road during our most recent stay.

Trees-Puerto-Valle-Hotel-Argentina

PUERTO VALLE EXCURSIONS

Puerto Valle offers two half-day excursion options, one in the morning, one in the afternoon.

They typically follow this format:

Monkey / forest walk (an hour); kayak (flexible); Parana River (1.5 hours); horseback (90 minutes and you can canter if you want); garden (20 mins); biking (flexible); tree nursery (20 mins); wetland (3 hours, with sundowners, often). Garden + tree nursery takes about 40 minutes.

Excursions on the river are weather dependent. Wind is sometimes a factor. Wetland excursions are limited to 7 guests maximum. Parana River excursions are limited to 8.

Useful Expedition Information

For an additional cost, you can tour a yerba mate factory or nearby missions. Visits to the Ituzaingo Dam and fishing can also be arranged. These activities  are typically a full day experience.

Nobody swims in the wetlands. Totally clear / pure water, but caimans and relatives of piranhas (which eat fish but can bite you).

Ants and termite mounds everywhere.

While encounters cannot be guaranteed, lucky participants can observe the following species:

  • Peccary
  • Armadillo
  • Maned Wolf
  • Giant Anteater
  • Anaconda
  • Jaguar
  • Tapir

The macaws found around Puerto Valle are red and military (green). There are no hyacinth macaws (purple) or blue macaws here.

Red Macaw perched in a tree at Puerto Valle hotel in Argentina

What to Expect at Puerto Valle

Food at Puerto Valle is a highlight—fresh, simple, and flavorful. The menu also features a nice selection of herbal teas and Argentine wines.

This property is ideal for those who want relaxation and sense of place. If you are go-go-go and time is limited, it likely won’t be a good fit.

Puerto Valle feels like a beach property is some ways. The Parana lake (made by a dam) is so wide, you would not know you’re on a river unless you tested the water.

However, no swimming is allowed in the Parana and there’s no beach to speak of.

Average Stay and Tipping Guidelines

Guests usually stay 3 or 4 nights. About 60% are Europeans, who generally have more time than North Americans. Birdwatchers love Puerto Valle. Children are welcome, and the hotel is popular with families.

For guest transfers, the property uses comfortable, airconditioned light SUVs for guest transfers. Transfers take about 40 minutes on average

Tips are paid in an envelope at the front desk (put in a box there). Tip envelopes can be found in each room.

A tip of $50 per room per stay is recommended. These tips are split between restaurant staff, housekeeping, reception, and guides.

Puerto Valle only accepts cash tips. We recommend tipping at the end of your stay.

Sunset over the Parana River, photograhed from Puerto Valle Hotel in Argentina

Are you thinking about a stay at Puerto Valle? LANDED provides personalized, custom travel within Central America, South America, and the Antarctic. We’ll create a unique itinerary plan tailored to your interests and dreams. Experience the trip of a lifetime. Speak with one of our expert travel planners today at 801.582.2100.