When to visit Patagonia: Key information

  • Spring sees wild flowers and snow melt, the reopening of the best hiking routes and increased wildlife activity.
  • Summer brings up to 18 hours of daylight, with busy walking trails and high demand for accommodation.
  • Autumn colours light up Patagonia, making for beautiful scenery but with sparser crowds to make this a perfect time to visit.
  • Winter snows shut down most of the region, but some cold weather treks remain possible along with skiing. 
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Swoop says

The weather in Patagonia is famously changeable: no matter what time of year you visit, travellers should always pack for the chance of experiencing four seasons in a single day.

When to go to Patagonia: Season by Season

Spring in Patagonia

Glaciar Cagliero in Los Glaciares National Park

Magellanic penguins at Peninsula Valdes

Epic coastline of the Chilean Fjords

Spring starts to arrive in Patagonia in October, as the budding trees and flowers signal the end of the long cold winter, and lengthening days invite travellers to head into the great wilderness.

Patagonia's most popular hiking destinations such as Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares are a delight to explore at this time. The nights and mornings are still chilly but as the snows retreat to the high passes you have the pleasure of getting ahead of the summer crowds.

The spring melt and warmer days also reopen the hiking trails in the Lake District in Chile and Argentina, with the snow on top of the region's many volcanoes making this one of the most stunning times of the year to visit.

In Aysen, the Pacific weather systems can bring snowfall as late as October and it's not until November that spring really gets going. The Carretera Austral become accessible once more, and on the coast the Chilean Fjords start to come into their own.

In Atlantic Patagonia, southern right whales arrive in the waters off Peninsula Valdes making this a great time for whale watching, along with the Magellanic penguins who come ashore to start breeding after a winter spent on the open sea.

The penguins are also arriving at their rookeries in Tierra del Fuego. Being in the far south, spring is late to arrive here, though when it does the carpets of spring flowers in the national parks make it a notably pretty time to visit, also enjoyed by those heading south from Ushuaia for the new Antarctic season.

For Patagonia's gateway cities, Spring is one of the loveliest seasons to visit Buenos Aires as the city erupts with jacaranda tree blossom, while Santiago starts to heat up after the winter cool.

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Isidora says

Patagonia is reborn every spring after the long dark winter. I love seeing the new leaves budding on the trees, the carpets of flowers everywhere and especially all the baby animals! It’s a time of great hope and excitement.

Isidora Cruz Customer Experience Coordinator

Summer in Patagonia

Standing at the base of the towers

Kayaking in Los Glaciares National Park

Hiking in the Chilean Lake District

The Austral Summer is Patagonia's high season for visitors. The days are long with up to 18 hours of daylight available to squeeze the most out of your trip and as a rule these are the warmest and driest months of the year, though it's also the windiest time to visit.

For Torres del Paine and Los Glaciers summer is the busiest time for hikers, with high season prices for accommodation. Refugios book out well in advance, but summer temperatures make this the perfect time for camping. Getting off the beaten track can be the best option in summer with some less visited options, including the mountains and rivers of Aysen.

In the Lake District, summer means adventure activities. The rivers are in full spate for whitewater rafting, while the warm days are perfect for mountain biking and kayaking as well as hiking through the forests. January in Bariloche is particularly popular with locals, including students who come from across the country for graduation celebrations.

For wildlife, the Chilean Fjords offer great opportunities for whale watching in the Chilean Fjords, including the possibility of seeing migrating blue whales near Chiloé. Southern right whales start to leave Peninsula Valdes around December, but there are penguin chicks here and elsewhere across the region, along with plenty of sealion and elephant seal pups.

Tierra del Fuego enjoys its best weather in the summer, with better chances of clear skies and thinner crowds in January after the peak local season for local tourists in December.

Buenos Aires positively steams in summer, while outdoor tango raises the temperature even more. Santiago is equally hot but much less humid: this is the season when locals try to leave the city to head to the beach.

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Nicolas says

The long days of summer are my favourite time of year to go exploring. For me, it’s the strong winds that blow during this season that carry the true wild spirit of Patagonia: they’re an essential part of the travel experience.

Nicolas Araya Customer Experience Coordinator

Autumn in Patagonia

Los Glaciares National Park

Torres del Paine National Park

Laguna Esmeralda in Tierra del Fuego

Autumn is one of the best times of year to visit Patagonia. You'll find warm days with mostly clear skies and less wind, and better yet the whole region is dressed with spectacular reds and golds as the trees take on their fall colours.

If you ask local hikers, many will tell you this is their favourite time to visit Torres del Paine or Los Glaciares. The crowds have died down and the changing leaves set the valleys ablaze in dramatic contrast to the grey granite mountains and blue glaciers.

As the days shorten there's a nip of frost in the evenings and a bit of rain and even snow in the mountains, especially in higher regions like Aysen where the beech and lenga trees are at their most beautiful.

The Lake District is also dressed for autumn and trails become quieter as the crowds thin out. Especially on the Chilean side, autumn is also one of the wettest times of the year.

It's mostly dry in Tierra del Fuego, making this a great time to hit the hiking trails, with the occasional dusting of snow offering a gorgeous contrast to the autumn colours. Services like the cruises to Cape Horn start to shut for the season. 

Cruises in the Chilean Fjords also start to wind down in spring but there is still plenty of wildlife to be seen elsewhere. Peninsula Valdes becomes the home of one of nature's most incredible sights, with orcas beaching themselves to hunt the seal pups that are starting to take to the waters.

In Buenos Aires, slightly cooler temperatures make it a perfect time to explore the museums and cafe culture. Even Santiago cools down, with cold winds tempering warm days – a great time to visit the vineyards to taste the new season's wine. 

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Marcela says

Autumn is always the time I choose to go travelling in Patagonia. I love the calm weather and the sunsets when all the crowds have departed. With the reds and golds of the changing leaves, the entire landscape blazes with colour.

Marcela Benegas Patagonia Customer Experience Coordinators

Winter in Patagonia

Winter trek in Torres del Paine

Winter snow near Bariloche in Argentina's Lake District

Taking a breather in the Atacama Desert

Winter is Patagonia's close season. Many national parks, hotels and transport connections shut down completely to wait until spring, but there are still options out there for adventurous travellers.

Torres del Paine remains open in winter, with reduced accommodation options. Although many trails shut completely, the W Trek remains accessible throughout winter for those hiking with a guide. In contrast, Los Glaciares National Park does not offer winter trekking options.

Aysen is also effectively shut for the winter, along with the Carreteta Austral. Those looking for winter adventure in Chile at this time head instead to the Atacama Desert with its canyon hikes, salt pans and old adobe towns.

In contrast, the Lake District wears its winter colours with great excitement at the arrival of winter sport season. The Swiss-German architecture of the region is at its alpine prettiest in the snow, with hot chocolate and aprés-ski everywhere. Bariloche in particular is famed for its ski resorts.

From August, the migrating southern right whales return with their calves to the waters of Peninsula Valdes, and in September male elephant seals fight on the beaches to claim space for their harems.

In Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia is busy for its winter solstice festival in June, but apart from a little skiing, the region is very quiet for visitors.

Buenos Aires is at its coolest in winter, though for sports enthusiasts it's a great time to try to see a match at Boca Juniors or River Plate, Argentina's two biggest football clubs. Santiago has cold nights and warm days; this is a time for locals to head to the ski resorts.

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Lisette says

I love getting wrapped up against the cold to embrace Patagonia’s epic winters. It's always a wild journey far from the crowds, full of endless snowy mountains and the deep mesmerising silences of nature.

Lisette Nunez Ogalde Patagonia Customer Experience Co-ordinator

What is the best month to visit Patagonia?

  • Patagonia in January

    See Patagonia at the height of the season, when you'll have 18 hours of daylight and feel Patagonia's infamous wind at its strongest. There are so many options open to you in addition to hiking, why not try glacier trekking, mountain biking and white water rafting on the rapids of the Futaleufu River? If you want to visit last minute, the key is moving quickly and getting your flights in place as soon as you can. In Torres del Paine the refugios tend to book out far in advance, but the warm weather is perfect for camping. Availability in El Chalten is generally better.

    Find tours and trips in January

  • Patagonia in February

    February is a great time to trek Patagonia's national parks as things quieten down as local holiday season is over. Torres del Paine, in particular, quietens down as Chilean visitors head back to their cities. The temperatures are perfect for hiking and this is a perfect time to visited walk less visited trails or areas like Aysen, as well as wildlife destinations like Peninsula Valdes or the Chilean Fjords.

    Find tours and trips in February

  • Patagonia in March

    March is the tail end of the season for adventure so the Patagonian wind will be on its way out, there'll be fewer people in the national parks so it generally quieter on the trails. Autumn colours make this a particularly beautiful time to visit, and you may find prices come down slightly as the local and international tourist number start to thin out. Some operators start to wind down for the season, including Chilean Fjord cruises.

    Find tours and trips in March

  • Patagonia in April

    In April the season is coming to an end, so try to get there in the first half of the month for more availability and better weather conditions. The weather will be a little colder, but the colours are amazing and there are far fewer people on the trekking trails. Many mountain lodges and estancias are far less busy at this time which can make the W or Full Circuit easier to plan. It's a great time to visit Bariloche and the Argentinian Lake District in general.

  • Patagonia in May

    Winter is getting into full swing now so you may want to try out volcano skiing in the Lake District or tailor-made tours that take into account the potentially difficult weather conditions. As many operators and lodges wind down for the winter, fewer travellers visit the trails and parks so private departures on most trips are likely. Many national parks close for the winter but it's still possible to hike in Torres del Paine.

    Find out more about visiting Torres del Paine in winter.

  • Patagonia in June

    At this time of year, the snow is starting to settle in Torres del Paine National Park and the trees are brown and orange – a beautiful time to see the highlights, but with fewer transoprt and accommodation options. June is also when operators launch their Winter W Circuit. Although days are short and weather temperamental, if you can see Patagonia in winter, it will be serene and picturesque.

    Find out more about visiting Torres del Paine in winter.

  • Patagonia in July

    July is deep midwinter in Patagonia. This is a great time to take advantage of the skiing Patagonia has to offer, particularly in the Chilean and Argentinian Lake Districts. Bariloche is home to the popular Cerro Catedral Resort but also caters for off-piste skiing. For adrenaline junkies, you can ski down the slopes of several volcanoes on certain trips.

    If you hope to visit Torres del Paine this month, find out more about visiting Torres del Paine in winter.

  • Patagonia in August

    This is a great time for snow shoeing in Bariloche, or skiing in the Patagonian Lake District. There are also some winter trips in the Torres del Paine. Come prepared however: cold temperatures, short days and snow mean that your trip may not go 100% according to plan.

    If you're keen to see Torres del Paine covered in snow, find out more about hiking in winter.

  • Patagonia in September

    In September, it's still pretty chilly in Patagonia, with snow still in the major national parks. If you're hoping to trek the main national parks, you may find that operators don't have any groups heading out, so you may have to go on a private trip with just your guide. The season really kicks off at the end of September well as estancias and lodges starting to open their doors to clients.

    Find tours and trips in September

  • Patagonia in October

    This is the month when Patagonia really wakes up for the spring. Get in before the crowds: you won't see many people yet on the W Circuit and you'll have the northern part of the park pretty much to yourself on the Full Circuit. There will still be some snow but not too much to affect your hike. It's still a bit too early for horse riding and rafting trips, but the whales and penguins start arriving on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

    Find tours and trips in October

  • Patagonia in November

    November is a great time to visit, with the weather ever-improving and the days still getting longer. If you want to visit this month, you need to book as far in advance for major destinations like Torres del Paine, as refugios bookings start to fill up as far as nine months ahead. Outdoor activities in the Lake District are at their best at this time.

    Find tours and trips in November

  • Patagonia in December

    Mid-summer in Patagonia means 18 hours of daylight and there will probably be days when you're hiking in shorts and t-shirt. Many Chileans and Argentinians will come down to Patagonia for their Christmas break so availability may be tight and you can expect the national parks to be busier.

    Find tours and trips in December

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What our customers think of The best time to visit Patagonia

April trips can be cold - below freezing at night, but 1 layer weather with sun in the afternoon. Read the full review

Travelled: April 2022

Seth Pound - USA

On the first day of our trek, we were turned away by the rangers less than 1km from the Torres viewpoint because it was snowing so hard! It was disappointing to not see the towers but being caught in a summer snowstorm in Patagonia will be something we will never forget. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2022

Robert Gallagher - USA

We were there in the shoulder season, mid-November to mid-December. If you like no crowds and are able to withstand some industrial-strength weather, excellent time. If you want more sunshine and are able to put up with more people, maybe go a little later. I would not trade our time there for more sunshine and people. It made for an exceptional opportunity to interact with the staff and guides, one on one. SWOOP ROCKS! Read the full review

Travelled: November 2019

Grover Meyrose - United States Of America

Dress in layers, and come near the start of the season to avoid crowds. I went in October and the weather was perfect! Read the full review

Travelled: October 2019

Kristin De Guzma - United States Of America

Review:

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