2021 may be the best time in a lifetime to visit Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail without the usual crowds for an authentic andean experience. Skip to main content

Why travel to Machu Picchu in 2021?

An empty Machu Picchu makes for an authentic Andean experience.

2021 may be the best time in a lifetime to visit Machu Picchu. The following are a few reasons why:

 

Have Machu Picchu all to yourself

As international tourism plummeted in 2020, only local tourism was re-booted this year. A couple of friends from Lima took the chance earlier this year and decided to visit Machu Picchu as soon as it re-opened in October. 

They ecstatically told me it was one of the best experience of their lives, having had the epic ‘Lost city of the Incas’ all to themselves.

With local tourism alone, it is impossible to overcrowd Machu Picchu, so if you are an overseas tourists who wants to take a Machu Picchu trip in 2021, you might be in for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

And this looks ever more likely as the Peruvian government intends to keep a limited number of visitors to Machu Picchu to conform to bio-security protocols and not jeopardize the safety of tourists and locals alike. 

 

An authentic Andean feel

With the COVID pandemic having run riot over the tourism industry in 2020, a lot of ‘Cusqueños’ as the locals call themselves, have left the big cities and have returned to their villages. 

It appears that a lot of them are re-discovering the advantages of keeping a more ancestral way of life in the Peruvian Andes.

Not knowing how long this trend could last, 2021 might be the best time to have an authentic feel of life in the Andes without the influence of mass tourism and globalisation.

 

Have the Inca trail all to yourself

As Machu Picchu was recognized as one of UNESCO’s New Wonders of the World in 2007, the Inca Trail inevitably became one of the most famous treks in the world. This was great for tourism, but some felt that the epic trek was starting to lose its authenticity. 

But is seems that 2021 might be the best time to experience the hike into Machu Picchu by entering the citadel through the portal of the glorious ‘Sun Gate’, just like the Inca emperors used to do 500 years ago.

Bear in mind that a tour of the Inca Trail has to be booked in advance, as availability might still be scarce since current bio-security protocols mandate a limit of 120 hikers per day.

 

Supply and Demand

With an overwhelming decrease in demand for tourism in a region that had been enthusiastically building its tourism infrastructure over the last decade, it is obvious that supply in 2021 will exceed demand by a huge margin. 

As such, expect 2021 to be the cheapest time to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu before full post-pandemic normality (well, semi-normality) returns.

 

When to visit in 2021?

The other news is that Peru is going to be experiencing a ‘La Niña’ climatic phenomenon for the first quarter of this year, which basically means the weather will be very unpredictable.

In general, the ‘rainy’ but warmer season in Machu Picchu runs from December to March, while the ‘dry’ season from May to September has sunnier days and crisper nights. However, during ‘La Niña’ this tends to get jumbled up a bit.

The consequence is that that apart from February (when Machu Picchu and the Inca trail are closed for maintenance), there is definitely no best month to visit Machu Picchu as it looks like the weather in 2021 is going to remain a question mark. 

 

Sleeping near Machu Picchu

As mentioned earlier, as people have moved from the cities to villages because of the pandemic, it means that life in this corner of the Andes seems to have ‘slowed down’. Perhaps this is a good time to adapt and also travel more slowly to Machu Picchu, as opposed to taking a rushed tour. Staying for a couple of nights in Aguas Calientes, where many of the coolest restaurants and hotels are due to re-open in early 2021 might be a cool idea.

Casa del Sol Boutique Hotel provides an opportunity to unwind and experience Machu Picchu in a unique way. Experiences range from Private tours of the citadel to shaman-led vow renewals, we cater for all. Our bartenders offer Pisco Sour Classes in our exclusive river-side bar while our chefs and masseurs can make you indulge in a relaxation banquet. 

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