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Peru or Ecuador at Christmas?

I'm thinking about going to Peru (specifically Lima/Cusco/Machu Picchiu) or Ecuador (including the Galápagos Islands) in late December. Ideally I'd spend 8-10 days in one of these places. Most likely I will travel solo with a tour group. I have never been to South America. I'm also a pretty active person (run a lot, have hiked around the U.S.).

Any thoughts on doing one over the another? Thoughts on weather during this time of year?

Thank you!

Posted by
528 posts

That time is the rainy season especially in the mountainous areas like Cusco and Macho Picchiu. The guides we had on our tour said they do not schedule anything during the months of December through February.

Posted by
5630 posts

We have visited about half the South American countries, including Peru and Ecuador.
We loved Peru. However, as the previous poster stated Christmas is probably not a good time for Machu Picchu.

Consider Argentina or Chile. Better, a cruise around Cape Horn from one to the other.

Posted by
203 posts

My husband and I did the in a trail in December and then spent Christmas in La Paz 20 years ago. It was a bit wet but still fun. (Obviously I can't help with groups as it would all be old info) Cisco was cool but lovely at that time of year.

Posted by
11 posts

Hi, all -- Thanks for all the feedback. Due to the weather and other commitments, I decided to postpone. Any thoughts on going to either in February or March?

Posted by
1179 posts

I have done both trips in November/December. March is coming out of the rainy season, but could still be wet in the Andes. One thing to consider, is whether or not you will be trekking to Machu Picchu. If this is the case then you really need to spend at least three days in Cusco to acclimatize due to the mountain passes you will be hiking over. I hiked the Salkantay trail, which went over a 15,000 foot pass. I only saw glimpses of 20,000 foot Salkantay because of the rain. It was quite cold.
You can always take the train from Cusco to Agua Caliente and take the bus up to Machu Picchu. This means you will not need to acclimatize. I would recommend taking the vista dome luxury train ride back. It's quite fun. Cusco is a destination in itself. I would strongly recommend getting a guide and touring around the area for a few days. Chinchineros, Pisaq, Moray, Maras Salerinas are interesting. I also suggest taking a docent tour at the Larco Museum in Lima. It is excellent, having artifacts from not just the Incas, but the other civilizations that preceded it.

The Galapagos are always good weather. are you considering taking a cruise? These are very expensive but also very worth it. They work better if you are traveling as a single.

One destination I must mention is a 5 day trip to the Tambopata research station. This is in the Amazon basin on the east side of the Peruvian Andes. It is AMAZING. This is a Macaw research center. I have never seen so many and different macaws in my life, as well as hundreds of other animals. You sleep in a thatched lodge and go out at least 3x a day with naturalists.
http://www.perunature.com/tambopata-research-center.html

Posted by
323 posts

Went to both in the last week of March and into the next 10 days of April in 2014.
Did the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador first 10 days then Peru. It only rained for two days in Peru for us, it might have rained in the evenings while we were on the boat, not during the day.
We visited Machu Picchu for two full days. It rained the second day there, but it was a positive experience because at the site you could see all of the "waterworks/pipes" at work.
Saving up to go again!

Posted by
1540 posts

If you are looking for a tour. I would recommend Gate1
Here is a link to Peru and Ecuador in December.....
Gate1 Tour

There are several other dates and tours available with Gate 1.
I did Peru and Ecuador for almost 3 weeks and it was amazing and the price was great.