Being in the southern hemisphere, Chile’s summer extends from December to February and its winter extends from June to August. Since Chile is the world’s longest country, you’ll see the seasons have vastly contrasting effects as you travel from north to south. Carpeted by thick snow during winter, Mountainous Patagonia is only open during late spring, summer, and early autumn, whereas the Atacama Desert in northern Chile is welcomingly warm year-round. In Santiago, the summer is hot-hot-hot, yet the winter welcomes a snowy ski season.
Meanwhile, the wine regions of central Chile are best reserved for early autumn when the summer heat has lifted a little, the autumnal hues are popping, and the vineyards are ready to be harvested. Between each of Chile’s must-visit regions, the country has something to offer at any time of year. But if you want to see all of its highlights in one epic trip, including Patagonia, Atacama, Santiago, and the wine regions, early autumn is the best time to travel. Not only will you be catching Patagonia and Atacama in their quieter shoulder seasons, but you’ll be able to make the most of the cities and wine regions thanks to the cooler and more bearable weather that this season brings. For those seeking luxury travel experiences, our selection of luxury Chile tours offers a range of exclusive opportunities to explore the country’s natural wonders, cultural hotspots, and gourmet delights in style and comfort.
- Chile In January & February
- Chile in March & April
- Chile in May & June
- Chile in July & August
- Chile in September & October
- Chile in November & December
Chile in January & February
With the Chilean new year comes the height of the Chilean summer, which makes it a bustling place to be this time of year. While every region of Chile is very pleasant to visit in January and February, it’s the ideal time to visit Patagonia. Much of the snow has melted, clearing the way for hikers to navigate their way around the national parks. While temperatures in the south rise to a relieving 52 °F (11 °C), temperatures in Santiago and the surrounding regions soar up to 86 °F (30 °C). Meanwhile, the Atacama desert enjoys a refreshing drizzle of rain.
Chile in March & April
As summer draws to a close during March, as does the tourist season in Patagonia. However, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of lower prices and catch the gorgeous autumnal leaves at their most vibrant. In central and northern Chile, the temperatures remain in the 70s (low 20s) making the cities and desert much more pleasant to explore. There’s also no better opportunity to harvest the fruits of Chile’s vineyards (figuratively and literally). You can catch the Vendimia (Harvest) Festival in the Maipo Valley and other Chilean wine regions throughout April each year.
Chile in May & June
While June brings the low season in Patagonia, there’s no better time to visit the Atacama Desert. Temperatures remain in the 60s (16-20 °C) during the day, an optimal range in the dry desert climate! It’s also much less busy than in earlier months and so you can enjoy its famous lunar landscapes with lower prices and fewer crowds. Temperatures in Santiago are similar, although feel a bit cooler than in the desert, which makes it much much pleasant to explore than in the heat of summer.
Chile in July & August
The winter season peaks between July and August in Chile. Patagonia is still partially ‘open for business’ during this time, but the sub-zero temperatures and deep snow are only to be braved by the most experienced adventurers. While temperatures continue to peak in the 60s (16-20 °C) in the Atacama Desert, Santiago, Valparaiso, and the central region anticipate generous rain and snowfall. Once the Andes Mountains surrounding Santiago are blanketed in snow, the ski season in the city gets well underway. After getting a dose of vitamin ski in the mornings, you can spend your afternoons keeping dry in the city’s landmarks and museums.
Chile in September & October
As Chile passes into September and October, spring returns along with the tourist season. Slowly but surely, Patagonia comes out of hibernation as its hiking trails clear. Since the Patagonian spring is still quite dark and cold compared to the summer, expect lower prices and a greater sense of solitude amongst the mountains. Meanwhile, Independence Day celebrations kick off in the cities on and around September 18th. With street celebrations, festive foods, and plenty of Chilean cheer, there’s no better time to immerse in the culture, customs, and traditions of Chile.
Chile in November & December
High season kicks into high gear in November as summer shows its glowing face. From Patagonia to the Atacama Desert, the country is abuzz with Chilean and international vacationers alike, making it a very exciting time to visit. While prices are higher and crowds are larger, you’ll benefit from good and stable weather and a wider choice of things to do, see, and experience. These months are particularly ideal for visiting Patagonia as the sea ice and snow will have fully melted from the hiking and boating routes (but not from the mountaintops), making the region’s famous mountain peaks, glaciers, and lakes very accessible.
Since Chile is a country of vast contrasts, there’s something spectacular to experience no matter what time of year you go. However, it’s clear that some months are more opportune than others depending on what you want to see and do. Extra careful planning is required if you’re particularly keen on seeing the powerful Patagonian landscapes during your trip as your travel window is much narrower than other parts of the country. To help you decide when are where to travel, you should assess what you’d most like to experience on your Chilean adventure. The main factors to consider are:
- What you’re most interested in seeing and doing
- What is open and available during your preferred dates of travel
- Whether you’d prefer to save by traveling in low seasons
- How well you can tolerate Chile’s hot Santiago summers or chilly Patagonian falls