When to visit Chile
Chile’s remarkable 2,653-mile stretch and diverse landscapes create an intriguing challenge when determining the best time to visit. The country offers a captivating blend of extremes, from Andean adventures to volcano vistas. Regardless of your preferences or the season, Chile promises an exhilarating experience. For Patagonia, the prime months are October to March, enjoying warm summer temperatures around 72°F (22°C). October and November offer fewer crowds, clear skies, and blossoming spring landscapes. Easter Island is a year-round gem, with March being particularly pleasant. The Atacama Desert, Santiago, and central valleys are inviting year-round, but December to February is busier. Winter, from June to August, beckons skiers near Santiago while the city enjoys a mild 59-61°F (15-16°C).
December - February
Summer is the busiest time in Chile with many Chileans taking their vacations in December, bringing bigger crowds to areas on the coast like Valparaiso as well as popular spots like Torres del Paine National Park. As Santiago residents often take this time to enjoy their own escapes, the city will be less congested now. January and February are the peak months for tourists at popular destinations throughout the country. No matter where you go now, make your reservations well in advance. Torres del Paine accommodation tends to fill up very quickly and prices will be at their highest of the year. The upside is that the weather will be at its warmest, although in the Atacama Desert, there may be some heavy rainfall over late January and early February.
Those who are here for New Year’s Eve on December 31st might want to celebrate in Valparaiso with fireworks displays over the bay starting at midnight and lasting for about 20 minutes before dissolving into a massive street party. It’s the largest display in South America.
March - May
Fall is a much quieter time in terms of visitor numbers, with temperatures cooling and vibrant colors creating even more spectacular scenes. While many hotels are closing for the season in Patagonia, for those who want to experience Torres del Paine at its wildest, the park will be open providing an even more tranquil setting for watching the abundant wildlife with much thinner crowds. For those who want to see the elusive puma, the animal is most often spotted in April or May. Santiago, the Atacama Desert, and the central wine valley are all fabulous destinations to visit in autumn as well. The wine growing areas will be hosting wine harvest festivals complete with wine tasting, grape stomping, and local music. Fall is also a wonderful time to travel to the Lake District and its dozen lakes, rivers, waterfalls, hot springs, and forests as the colours will be especially dazzling now.
June - August
June through August is winter in Chile, with July the peak of the season. The ski resorts will be open in the Lake District and the central Andes. It’s also a great time to visit the wine valleys and Santiago with comfortable temperatures that are typically in the high 50s or low 60s Fahrenheit, around 15-16 Celsius. For the driest, warmest weather you’ll want to stay in Santiago or further north. In Patagonia, daylight will be limited and temperatures cold, often staying right around freezing in the 30s Fahrenheit, 1 to 2 degrees Celsius. Those who are willing to brave it, however, are likely to enjoy stunning winter landscapes. If you visit northern Chile, expect few crowds and discounted accommodation rates along with the mild weather. Keep in mind that the mountain resorts that draw skiers and boarders will be busier and much more expensive.
September - November
September ushers in spring, a fabulous month for a trip that combines Santiago, the northern region of Chile (including the Atacama Desert), and the central valleys. The temperatures are beginning to warm while crowds are few, and there will also be festivities for Independence Day, September 18, held to mark the anniversary of the country’s independence for Spain. In October, the flowers will be blooming in the Lake District creating beautiful scenes, but you’ll want to bring a rain jacket as the weather is often wet here this time of year. Patagonia starts to get crowded in November, so you’ll want to be well ahead for your trip if you plan to visit then.
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