Chile holidays. Exploring Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile

Best time to visit Chile

Given the immense distance from north to south it’s not surprising that the weather and climatic conditions vary widely across Chile and the best time to visit depends on where you plan to go, so each month has its attractions.

Top to toe, multi-climates and regions

Chile extends 4,270km from north to south which results in contrasting weather conditions in different parts of the country which can be divided into four main regions each with its own climate. There are three seasons, too, all shown below. Bear these in mind when working out the best time for your visit to Chile.

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Guanacos, Chile © Shutterstock

Seasons in Chile

Chile has three holiday seasons, peak, shoulder and low, each with its own pros and cons.

Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile © AGMarks

Peak

December to February is Chile’s summer and a popular time to visit. As a consequence, prices are higher and availability more of an issue, particularly in Torres del Paine National Park while coastal areas become busy in late December when many Chileans take their annual holidays. We recommend booking well in advance for peak season holidays.

Pier at Llanquihue Lake, Frutillar, Lake District, Chile © APantoja,Shutterstock

Shoulder

September to November (spring) and March to May (autumn) are good months to visit much of central Chile with generally mild temperatures. The northern regions are good in autumn with pleasantly warm days though nights can be chilly.

Horses at Rio Pingo, Patagonia, Chile © PCook

Low

Low season lasts from June to August, Chile’s winter months. This is a good time for skiing, there are several ski resorts close to Santiago. If you head to the lower regions there is an increased chance of rain. The day-time desert temperatures are pleasant though they can reach freezing at night. Many hotels in Torres del Paine close over this period so there are fewer visitors but the weather can be unpredictable.

Weather by region

It is easiest to understand the best times to holiday in Chile by dividing the country into four regions.

Rainbow Valley, Atacama, Chile © AGMarks

The north

North of Santiago is considered a desert climate, both on the coast the Andean area, and can be visited all year. It rarely rains and this region includes the Atacama Desert often cited as the driest place on earth. Average temperatures on the north coast in winter (June to August) are around 18°C and 25°C in the summer. Inland temperatures are a few degrees higher. In the higher altitude of the Andes it becomes much cooler.

Degrees in Celsius
  • 25 J
  • 25 F
  • 24 M
  • 22 A
  • 20 M
  • 19 J
  • 18 J
  • 18 A
  • 19 S
  • 20 O
  • 22 N
  • 24 D
Santiago, Chile © GQMarks

The centre

The central region of Chile has a pleasant Mediterranean climate and is a year-round destination. Winter sees mild temperatures and rain whilst the summer brings warm, sunny days. Most rainfall usually occurs from May to August with barely any rain from November to March. The higher inland areas of the region see snowfall and you will find the ski resorts of Portillo and La Parva open between June and August.

Degrees in Celsius
  • 22 J
  • 22 F
  • 21 M
  • 19 A
  • 17 M
  • 15 J
  • 15 J
  • 16 A
  • 16 S
  • 18 O
  • 20 N
  • 21 D
Rainfall in mm
  • 0 J
  • 0 F
  • 0.5 M
  • 1.5 A
  • 5.5 M
  • 8.5 J
  • 11 J
  • 0.6 A
  • 0.3 S
  • 1 O
  • 0.8 N
  • 0.1 D
Torres del Paine, Patagonia, Chile © AGMarks

The south

This region is the coolest with temperatures getting increasingly cold and conditions wetter the further south you go. Patagonia makes up much of this region and is best visited in the summer, December to February, when daytime temperatures are mild, ideal for trekking and other outdoor pursuits. November and April are possible, though the weather is less predictable. In Punta Arenas, gateway to the Antarctic, average temperatures in winter are a little above freezing and in summer they reach the heady heights of around 14°C. It is best to avoid the south between May to September when cold weather and strong winds predominate.

Degrees in Celsius
  • 22 J
  • 22 F
  • 20 M
  • 16 A
  • 12 M
  • 10 J
  • 10 J
  • 11 A
  • 13 S
  • 16 O
  • 18 N
  • 20 D
Rainfall in mm
  • 5 J
  • 4.5 F
  • 6.5 M
  • 13 A
  • 28.5 M
  • 32.5 J
  • 28.5 J
  • 21 A
  • 14 S
  • 10.5 O
  • 8 N
  • 6.5 D
Moais at Easter Island, Chile © ALoyo,Shutterstock

Easter Island

Easter Island is 3,500kms off the coast of mainland Chile and has a subtropical climate. It is at its hottest in January and February, good for the beach but maybe a little too hot for hiking and biking. It is coolest in July and August, but not cold and fine for outdoor activities. There tend to be fewer visitors in these months. You can expect tropical rains at any time of year, but particularly in April and May, so you may want to avoid those months, but Easter Island is a year-round destination.

Degrees in Celsius
  • 25 J
  • 25 F
  • 25 M
  • 24 A
  • 22 M
  • 20 J
  • 19 J
  • 19 A
  • 19 S
  • 20 O
  • 21 N
  • 24 D
Rainfall in mm
  • 79 J
  • 85 F
  • 95 M
  • 120 A
  • 147 M
  • 107 J
  • 104 J
  • 92 A
  • 83 S
  • 71 O
  • 79 N
  • 91 D

When to see . . .

. . . specific wildlife or exciting cultural events in Chile

Puma, Chile © Shutterstock

Puma tracking

The best months to try to find pumas in Torres del Paine tends to be October-November (Spring) and March-April/May (early autumn). In winter, from around June to September, the pumas are still around and there are far fewer visitors - which in some ways makes it a better time - but it’s very cold.

Chocolate © JS

Pucon Chocolate Festival

Every year Pucon, a resort town in the northern Lake District, holds a four-day chocolate festival. The date varies each year but it's often around late May. What's not to like!

Dave Lock
Talk to Dave - Travel Consultant

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