December is a very special time for Peruvians, a time to enjoy Christmas and New Year's holidays with the family. It is also the beginning of summer, due to the fact that Peru is located at the South Pole of the planet, but this does not necessarily mean sunny and clear days.
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Peru's geographic and climatological diversity makes December one of the most complicated months to plan a trip around the country, being very common in some territories the rains and in others the snows. Here we tell you all about it!
Summer starts in December and the best place to experience it is the coast of Peru, where the heat begins to dominate everything and the beaches start to fill up. The coast of Peru has places as magical as the highlands and the jungle and if you want to have a more complete picture of ancient Peru you must know it. All along the coast we have sacred places like Chan Chan, the largest mud citadel in the world; Caral, the oldest city in America; as well as Paracas and Nazca, two great cultures of worldwide renown.
December is a good time to visit Lima, where temperatures average between 18 and 25ºC (64 and 77ºF). In winter, the capital gets very wet and cold and the sky is covered in a white blanket that locals call the "donkey's belly sky". In summer, however, blue sky days become the norm and all of Lima takes on a more cheerful mood; most Limeños head down to the beaches on weekends, whether in the city or driving a couple of hours north and south. The beaches of Miraflores and Barranco come alive and fill with vendors, surfers and sunbathers.
To the north, the beaches of Mancora are as paradisiacal as the rest of the year, although temperatures also rise a bit to reach 30ºC or 86ºF. In the city of Trujillo, December temperatures are very similar to Lima, ranging between 17 and 24ºC (62 and 75ºF). The same happens in Paracas, which has good weather all year round, but in December it can reach 26ºC or 78.8ºF.
While the coast starts to get warmer and the skies clearer in December, the highlands and jungle begin to receive rains that last throughout the summer. The reason why the climates of these regions are so opposite is because of the Andes mountain range, which prevents the rains from reaching the Peruvian coast and they are trapped on the other side.
This climatological phenomenon is precisely what allows the existence of the Amazon rainforest, which depends on the large amount of summer rains.
Most people avoid going to the jungle from December to March because the rainfall is an impediment to trekking and seeing remote places.
Many roads also become impassable due to the large amount of mud that is generated. However, it is also a time when prices tend to go down and if you don't mind the rain or having mishaps on your trip, you can take advantage of the occasion.
In the highlands, rain and hail usually make many people decide to avoid summer for their trips. In December, it rains a lot all over Cusco and tourism drops a lot, also making prices tend to be lower.
In addition to the rain that displeases many visitors, the sky is usually cloudy and you cannot enjoy the powerful sun and blue skies that adorn the Peruvian highlands the rest of the year. In Ancash, in the Cordillera Blanca, in addition to rain and hail, there is often snowfall in December, making many choose to avoid these times for trekking.
Many people decide to avoid coming to Peru in December because they want to visit places like Cusco and Manu National Park.
However, if you will inevitably be around, at Tierras de los Andes we believe that every time of the year has its own magic to know, even the rainy season. For the Incas, the rainy season was sacred for the crops and was a time when everything came alive. Contact us if you would like advice on how to plan the best visit you can during these times, whether you decide to enjoy the summer on the coast or venture into the magical rains of the mountains.