The Weather of Cuzco, Male and Female

These days are sunny in Cuzco, but when the Pachamama, the Earth Mother, wishes everything can change in an eye blink. The weather changes suddenly. You never know how ephemeral a rain storm or burst of sunshine will be. Sometimes they even take place at the same time. You never know which it will be with Cuzco’s weather. There is a very popular phrase in the city of Cuzco. “The climate of Cuzco is like its women’s character.”

You simply never know exactly how the weather will be. But one can generally say that the rains end during the first days of April, even though the latest reports the rains will last longer this year.

Rain in Cuzco
Rain in Cuzco

It may be that a good part of April may still be wet this year. The last few days have begun with a radiant sun, with its intense light that illuminates the city as if a marvel. It fills people with an amazing energy. On a sunny day you feel so different than you do on a rainy day. When the sun shines people fill the streets, they wander around and enjoy the weather and being outdoors.

When it is raining and the sun is shining at the same time people look for the rainbow that appears in between them.

Suddenly, with almost no warning, that weather can change. The sky will fill with clouds and rain can fall. These days they call the rain “macho” or male, because it comes quickly and is intense. The female rain, the hembra, is softer and lasts for a long time.  It has smaller, more gentle drops that are constant. These are description of the weather that pass from generation to generation in Cuzco.

Rainbow between the Sun and Rain
Rainbow between the Sun and Rain

To think of the rain as female or male is not strange as it may sound to outsiders. In the Andes we see the division between male and female as something that makes the universe work, from a sky that has a sun that is male and one that is female, to the mountains and hills, the earth, our mother, and animals. Everything is male and female and the tension and movement between them is very important for us. It is a key for understanding Andean civilization.

In any case, any visit to Cuzco is marked by its weather and its changes. Even in the height of the dry season, when the sun is at its most intense, the clouds can boil up and rain can fall. It is just far less common than in the rainy season, or in the times of transition, like today.

As a result we see the weather as being capricious and changeable, one of the images we use for women, with the other being long lasting and constant. These are strong ideas for us.

Tourists Enjoying the Sun
Tourists Enjoying the Sun


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