Weather in Peru

Despite its equatorial situation, only the eastern lowlands of the South American country of Peru comply with the general characteristics of an equatorial climate. The climate of Peru is highly diverse, because of the influences of the towering Andes Mountains, and the offshore cold Humboldt current.  In official meteorological terms Peru experiences 8 of the 11 main Köppen climate classifications.

For purposes of describing the weather in Peru, the country can be divided into three regions:

The Pacific coastline to the west is generally warm and dry, with sub-tropical conditions, the only significant rainy season taking place in the north during the summer months (between late December and March). The south coast (including Lima) is known for its cloudy, misty conditions during the winter months (May to September), when the region is subject to overcast skies and constant drizzle. The almost permanent fog at this time of year is known as the garua.

The Andes Mountains run parallel to the coast further inland, the temperature dropping proportional to the rise in altitude, with a range of micro-climates existing in the valleys. In general the highlands are dry and cool to cold. There are seasonal rains in the valleys, but above 4,000 meters (12,121 feet) elevation conditions are very cold all year round, with snow and glaciers covering the mountain summits. Rain is heaviest on the eastern slopes, and can be very heavy during the recognised rainy season between October and March.

The mountains give way to Peru’s Amazon jungle region which encompasses the eastern section of the country. Here the climate is truly equatorial, with conditions staying very hot and wet throughout the year, temperatures ranging between 18 and 36 °C (64.4 and 96.8 °F). Occasional cool spells provide some relief when cold air drifts in from Argentina.

When is the best time to go to Peru?

With three distinct weather regions, deciding when to holiday in Peru is largely down to the activities planned for the trip. Beach-lovers will find the Pacific Coast unpleasantly murky and damp (particularly in the south) between May and September, but during peak season from late December to March the weather is hot and humid.

Those intent on trekking in the mountains or following the famed Inca Trail will find conditions excellent between June and September, when days are crisp, clear and usually sunny in the highlands, although it can be very cold at night.

When visiting the Amazon rainforest in Peru, it is virtually impossible to avoid rainstorms any time of year. Dodge the wettest months (December to May), unless you enjoy being drenched most of the time.

What to pack for a holiday in Peru

Packing for Peru depends on whether this is a luxury tour or an adventure trail. A luxury trip itinerary is simple, so pack lightweight clothing in summer and layers for winter: smart trousers, jeans, swimwear, light long sleeved shirts, a few T-shirts and shorts (at least knee length), comfortable walking shoes, trainers and something smarter for upscale restaurants and events.

Explorers will need a more robust bag and lightweight, so practice pack before take-off. Take long hiking trousers (zip-offs are very useful), thermals or second skins, T-shirts and long sleeved shirts, swimwear, shorts (knee length or longer), a lightweight but heavy-duty raincoat and a poncho, and something nice for a special evening. Carry three pairs of shoes if possible; sturdy hiking boots, comfortable walking shoes or cross-trainers, as well as a pair of sandals or flip-flops.

Everyone must bring sunscreen, sunhats and sunglasses, while hikers or those travelling to elevated areas should carry scarves, gloves and a warm hat. Bring along basic medical supplies for the trails and insect repellent is never wasted. 

Weather in Peru in January

Average temperature in Peru in January: 22.5°C, 73°F
Sea temperature in Peru (Paracas) in January: 20.3°C, 68.6°F
Average rainfall in Peru (Lima) in January: 1mm, 0in
Note: January is the peak of the seaside holiday season on the coast of Peru, where it is dry and sunny. By contrast it is very wet in the Andes, making trekking a muddy affair. The Amazon jungle is sodden too, and very hot and humid.

Weather in Peru in February

Average temperature in Peru in February: 23°C, 73°F
Sea temperature in Peru (Paracas) in February: 20.6°C, 69°F
Average rainfall in Peru (Lima) in February: 0mm, 0in
Note: The different regions of Peru experience markedly different climates, so although the coast is dry in February, this is the wettest time of year in the Andes mountains and the jungles of the eastern lowlands are subject to torrential showers.

Weather in Peru in March

Average temperature in Peru in March: 23°C, 73°F
Sea temperature in Peru (Paracas) in March: 20°C, 68°F
Average rainfall in Peru (Lima) in March: 1mm, 0in
Note: Peruvian school summer holidays have ended by March, so this is a good time to enjoy the beach resorts on the coast, where the weather is hot, dry and sunny. It is also a good time to visit the Andes Mountains, with the rainy season tailing off and temperatures mild during the day.The incidence of rain is also lessening in the Amazon jungle to the east of the mountains, although temperatures and humidity are uncomfortably high.

Weather in Peru in April

Average temperature in Peru in April: 21°C, 70°F
Sea temperature in Peru (Paracas) in April: 18.5°C, 65.4°F
Average rainfall in Peru (Lima) in April: 0mm, 0in
Note: Average rainfall figures are given above for Lima, the capital of Peru, because it is difficult to rate the averages across a country of such diverse climates. Lima, on the coast, is dry and hot enough to enjoy a seaside holiday in April, and although temperatures are dropping in the mountain highlands, the weather is becoming drier than preceding months. The dry season arrives gradually in the rainforest of the Eastern Lowlands, but showers are still frequent.

Weather in Peru in May

Average temperature in Peru in May: 19°C, 66°F
Sea temperature in Peru (Paracas) in May: 18.4°C, 65.2°F
Average rainfall in Peru (Lima) in May: 2mm, 0.1in
Note: May is a good month for a holiday in the Andes Mountains, following the Inca Trail before the height of the tourist season sets in. The highlands are dry with cold, clear air, ideal for seeing the sights. On the coast the northern beaches are idyllic, but cool, misty conditions start to set in down south. In the jungle to the east the wet season has ended, and conditions are comfortably hot, with occasional cool days occasioned by bursts of cold air coming in from Argentina.

Weather in Peru in June

Average temperature in Peru in June: 17°C, 62°F
Sea temperature in Peru (Paracas) in June: 17.4°C, 63.4°F
Average rainfall in Peru (Lima) in June: 5mm, 0.2in
Note: The southern coast of Peru is cloudy, cool and foggy during June, but the beaches to the north are still enjoyable. The overall fall in average temperature is caused mainly by the arrival of very cold weather in the Andes mountains, but the dry conditions make this the start of the best time of year for trekking through the lush countryside. In the Amazon jungle rivers are low, the weather is relatively dry and it is a pleasant season to visit.

Weather in Peru In July

Average temperature in Peru in July: 16°C, 61°F
Sea temperature in Peru (Paracas) in July: 16.1°C, 61°F
Average rainfall in Peru (Lima) in July: 5mm, 0.2in
Note: July is the best month of the year to enjoy all the aspects of Peru, from the pleasantly warm sunny beaches of the north coast, to the cold but sparkling vistas of the Andes Mountains, and the fascinating depths of the Amazonian rainforest. The south coast of Peru, though, is not pleasant in July, being largely shrouded in mist and drizzle.

Weather in Peru in August

Average temperature in Peru in August: 16°C, 61°F
Sea temperature in Peru (Paracas) in August: 15.6°C, 60.2°F
Average rainfall in Peru (Lima) in August: 6mm, 0.2in
Note: August is peak season in Peru for a holiday to explore the country’s ancient sites, such as Macchu Picchu, Cuzco and Lake Titicaca, which are swamped with tourists from North America and Europe during this month. The weather in the Andes is cold and dry, with very low night-time temperatures. On the coast only the northern beach resorts are warm enough for swimming and sunbathing. The Amazon jungle to the east, however, comes into its own with August being the driest month of the year, bringing wildlife to the fore as they congregate on the river banks.

Weather in Peru in September

Average temperature in Peru in September: 17°C, 62°F
Sea temperature in Peru (Paracas) in September: 15.4°C, 59.7°F
Average rainfall in Peru (Lima) in September: 5mm, 0.2in
Note: Wrap up warm and head for the hills in Peru in September, which is remains a dry but cold month in the Andes mountains, but a great deal less crowded than July and August now the northern hemisphere tourists have headed home after their holidays. The southern coast is chilly and drizzly, but there is some bathing to enjoy at the northern beach resorts, and the rainforest to the east is dry and pleasant.

Weather in Peru in October

Average temperature in Peru in October: 17°C, 63°F
Sea temperature in Peru (Paracas) in October: 16.3°C, 61.4°F
Average rainfall in Peru (Lima) in October: 2mm, 0.1in
Note: Temperatures creep up on the southern coast of Peru in October, but it remains overcast and misty much of the time. To the north the beach resorts like Mancora and Punta Sal have great holiday weather. October is the last of the dry season months in the Andes Mountains and the eastern rainforest.

Weather in Peru in November

Average temperature in Peru in November: 19°C, 65°F
Sea temperature in Peru (Paracas) in November: 17.4°C, 63.4°F
Average rainfall in Peru (Lima) in November: 1mm, 0in
Note: The rivers in Peru’s Amazon jungle start to swell during November as the rainy season sets in and the rainforest is steamy. The highlands become wetter, making hiking a muddy and chilly affair. The clouds lift from the southern coast as the arid, hot summer season approaches.

Weather in Peru in December

Average temperature in Peru in December: 20.5°C, 69°F
Sea temperature in Peru (Paracas) in December: 19.4°C, 66.9°F
Average rainfall in Peru (Lima) in December: 1mm, 0in
Note: The coast of Peru attracts plenty of holiday-makers to the sunny beaches during December, but the rest of the country is wet and unpleasant – the mountains experiencing abundant rain (though relatively mild temperatures ranging from 18°C, 64°F, during the day to 15°C, 59°F at night) and the rainforest uncomfortably humid and hot with heavy showers.