Embarking on a journey to the ancient wonder of Machu Picchu is an experience like no other. It’s no surprise that this site, considered one of the World’s New Seven Wonders, draws hundreds of people daily. Whether you’re an adventurer seeking stunning views or a history buff in awe of ancient architecture, Machu Picchu promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, there is one question that our travelers often ask us: when is the best time to visit Machu Picchu? Morning or afternoon? Let’s find out!

Machu Picchu, the lost Citadel

Before we dive into the pros and cons of visiting Machu Picchu in the morning versus the afternoon, let’s talk about Machu Picchu Citadel. Machu Picchu, meaning “Old Mountain” in the Quechua language, holds a special place in history. This archaeological gem, hidden from the world until 1911, captivates with its beautiful architecture and isolated location. It is believed to be a winter retreat for Inca royalty during the reign of Pachacutec, one of the empire’s most significant rulers, but there is no certainty about it.

What we are sure about is its huge popularity. All the people that travel to Peru know about the site and, of course, want to visit every nook and cranny of it. That’s why, to protect this UNESCO World Heritage site, the Peruvian government regulates the number of daily visitors. Although the specific figures may vary, it’s essential to book your entry tickets well in advance, ensuring a smooth and memorable journey.

Machu Picchu citadel, Cusco

Now, many people get up very early in the morning to be the first ones to enter and visit Machu Picchu, while others prefer to take their time and go in the afternoon. Ah, the timeless debate – visiting Machu Picchu in the morning or in the afternoon? Let’s unravel this mystery together and discover which option suits you best!

Visiting Machu Picchu in the Morning

Machu Picchu Hiking tours

Rise with the Sun – Early bird catches the magic: If you’re a morning person, this option is right for you! Entering Machu Picchu in the morning allows you to witness the citadel awaken with the first rays of sunlight, creating an ethereal ambiance. The tranquility and peace during this time provide an unmatched experience, giving you a sense of solitude with the ancient ruins. But keep in mind that it’s not possible to see the sunrise at Machu Picchu since the site opens at 6:00 am.  

Weather Advantage – Chase away the fog: Mornings tend to have clearer skies, reducing the chances of fog obscuring the iconic panoramic views. Imagine standing atop Machu Picchu and gazing at the surrounding peaks and valleys with absolute clarity.

Early Morning Trek – Going for an Adventure: If you’re up for a little adventure, you should consider visiting Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Montaña. The only way to include those interesting hikes is by visiting the site in the morning.

Visiting Machu Picchu in the Afternoon

machu picchu family adventure

Magical Afternoon Light – Painting the Landscape: Machu Picchu glows in the golden hues of the afternoon sun, creating a mesmerizing and picturesque scene. The warm light accentuates the stonework and adds a unique charm to your photographs.

The Relaxed Pace – More Time to Explore: By choosing the afternoon, you have the luxury of taking your time during the visit. Leisurely wander through the ruins, read up on the history, and enjoy the serene beauty without feeling rushed.

Fewer Crowds – The Path Less Traveled: Visiting in the afternoon means fewer tourists meandering through the citadel, granting you unobstructed views and better photo opportunities as the majority of the travelers are already leaving the place. You’ll have more space to explore and connect with the spirit of this awe-inspiring place.

Season & Machu Picchu Weather

Machu Picchu citadel, Cusco

An important note to consider while you’re debating whether visiting Machu Picchu in the morning or afternoon is the season. During the rainy season (December to March), you might encounter showers, especially in the afternoons. However, the days remain mild with frequent sunny intervals. On the other hand, the dry season (April to October) offers clearer skies, making it ideal for those who wish to explore the site under the bright Andean sun until later in the day. 


Peruvian Soul Inca Trail Peru Machu Picchu

Ultimately, whether you choose to visit Machu Picchu in the morning or the afternoon, the experience will undoubtedly be awe-inspiring. If you crave a serene and uncrowded experience, the afternoon entry is your ticket. On the other hand, if you want to make sure of a clearer sky or wish to hike to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Montaña, opt for the morning entry. Just remember, booking your tickets in advance is essential to ensure you secure your spot. You can check our Machu Picchu: All you need to know blog to know more about this impressive site.

Morning or afternoon, visiting Machu Picchu will undoubtedly leave you spellbound. I’m confident you’ll be left with unforgettable memories and a deep appreciation for this mesmerizing site. So, let’s embark on this extraordinary journey, shall we? Machu Picchu awaits your exploration!

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