Patagonia is a region of gorgeous extremes, from towering snowy peaks to deep valleys with exceptional scenery. Visiting this incredible and enormous stretch of land is always a fantastic treat. There is no other place on Earth quite like it, and I guarantee a Patagonia trip will be one of your favorite trips ever. Figuring out the best time to visit Patagonia depends on what you’re looking for, so read on to see the advantages of different seasons.
High and Low Seasons for Visiting Patagonia
The beauty of this region and one of its best aspects is that visiting is possible all year round, as there is no best time to go to Patagonia. There is a difference in weather, but there is a distinctive type of beauty to be found. For example, those wanting to create a stunning photograph may prefer the stunning colors and contrasts of the autumn months. Hikers may prefer the winter because of lesser winds and gales.
No matter the time of the year, the winds are a constant factor to keep in mind, but they’ll vary in strength. The gales in winter are significantly less powerful, so don’t expect any heavy winds from June to August.
However, low season tends to be in the winter, so you’ll find fewer businesses open. The summer season is the opposite. Deciding on what the best time to go to Patagonia is depends on how much the wind bothers you. The high season tends to be in the summer for this reason, but it will also be more crowded.
While the weather is much clearer and warmer from December to February, the winds are not as friendly. On the other hand, the rest of the year is something in between high and low season. Fall and spring are called shoulder season, and they’re a bit cooler than the summer with less powerful winds.
They’re generally damper, and that sometimes makes the weather seem colder than it actually is. Still, it’s easy to say that there is no best time to visit Patagonia, as the entire year has a lot of things to offer.
Read More: What to Know Before Camping in Patagonia
Visiting Patagonia in the Spring (September – November)
One thing is for sure – spring is the underrated season when it comes to the best time to visit Patagonia. There is something special about spring in Patagonia, especially when you’re surrounded by colorful flora that’s just waking up after a winter’s slumber.
When you look up at the mountain peaks filled with melting snow, you’ll see why this is a beautiful time to be there. The best part about spring here is that you’ll have access to all services and amenities like when during the peak of high season. But since spring is part of the shoulder season, you’ll spend considerably less money on everything.
This is the best time to go to Patagonia on a budget. The hotels and accommodations operate at full efficiency, and there is no shortage of places to stay. On the other hand, the weather is still cold. You’ll want to prepare for both calm and warm days as well as cold and rainy ones.
Rainfall is something that’s constant too, so that can be a disadvantage. This is especially true if you were planning on going exploring and wanted clear open skies. One downside is there is very little in the way of local transportation, so it may be harder to get around if you travel to Patagonia in the spring.
Things to Do in Patagonia During the Spring
Spring in Patagonia means that everything is readily available to you, but without the hassle of dealing with crowds. That’s why one of the best things to do is to hike Patagonia. There are many amazing hiking trails, such as Torres del Paine National Park. Another activity that a lot of people prefer doing in the spring is horseback riding.
The weather is warmer than in the winter, and there are very few bugs flying in the air. This time is perfect to do some riding, like in the regions around Lake Sarmiento. The area is suited for horseback riding, as you’ll be going through old forests and amazing valleys. This easily makes spring the best time to visit Patagonia.
The melting snow also means that rivers will be more filled with water. Just walking along them feels refreshing and relaxing. Going to see the Salto Grande Waterfall is something that everybody should do when choosing to travel to Patagonia. The scenery becomes fantastic after winter and this waterfall is the epitome of that.
If you don’t enjoy the cold but want to avoid the crowds, then spring is the best time to go to Patagonia.
Average Weather in Patagonia in the Spring: 46-54°F/8-13°C
Events in Patagonia in the Spring: Oktoberfest, Festival Internacional de Cine
Read more: The Ultimate Patagonia Packing List
Visiting Patagonia in the Summer (December to February)
The most popular time to visit Patagonia is definitely the summer. That’s when everything truly comes to life. The weather clears up drastically, which allows for sweeping views of the valleys and the surrounding nature. The weather also becomes quite warm, at least for Patagonia.
Days last for about 18 hours during the high season, so don’t be afraid to dedicate entire days to outdoor activities like hiking. The warm weather and abundance of activities make summer the best time to visit Patagonia if you’re an active person. The winds are the biggest problem, as they can get powerful.
Due to this, it’s smart to make sure to wear several layers of clothing. It can get cold on short notice, but when you warm up and the sun is shining again, you can simply strip down to the layer you’re comfortable with. The biggest downside to Patagonia in the summer are the crowds. This is also the most expensive time of the year.
No matter which activity you choose to do, there will always be someone around you. This is especially true if you’re spending time on a popular location. However, for a lot of people, the crowds aren’t that big of a problem. This is why almost everyone says that summer is the best time to go to Patagonia.
Things to Do in Patagonia During the Summer
Summer is considered the best time to visit Patagonia for a very good reason. This is the time when all of the tourist businesses operate at full steam. If you only speak English, then this might be the ideal time to travel to Patagonia. It becomes a place where English is almost the first language. No Patagonia trip in the summer is complete without hiking.
When you decide to hike Patagonia in the summer, it means seeing wonderful hiking trails such as the famous W trail in Torres del Paine or in Los Glaciares National Park. This is also when the wildlife fully wakes up and start freely roaming around. There are numerous spots where you can spend most of your time wildlife watching.
You can also observe many wonderful creatures go about their daily lives. One of the most popular choices when it comes to wildlife watching is observing penguin nests. There are a few spots like Isla Magdalena and Punta Tombo that are inhabited by penguins from September to March.
Average Weather in Patagonia in the Summer: 57-58°F/14-15°C
Events in Patagonia in the Summer: Puerto Montt International Jazz Festival, Semanes Musicales de Frutillar
Visiting Patagonia in the Fall (March to May)
Similar to spring, fall in Patagonia is highly underrated. Out of all the seasons, this one is ripe with colors because it’s the time when summer’s hotness and strength slowly dies off before the lands are filled with the snows of winter.
The contrast of colors is absolutely striking as the entire Patagonia blossoms once again before snowfall. Being shoulder season also means smaller and fewer crowds, as most of them would have moved on by now. This means that a lot of the wildlife will be less scared to come out of hiding.
For those that prefer the melancholy of these months, then fall is definitely the best time to visit Patagonia. It’s not all wonderful though, as the weather is very similar to the one in spring, and heavy rainfalls are to be expected – even more so than in spring.
Also, while most of the businesses still operate, many of them are preparing for winter, so don’t expect that everything will operate fully efficiently. In some cases, nothing is open at all. This includes the towns that function only in the warm summer days.
Things to Do in Patagonia During the Fall
Fall in Patagonia is arguably the least active season of the year, but that doesn’t mean that what’s there is in way worse than the other seasons. Nature is constantly breathtaking in this region, and that still holds true for fall. Naturally hiking is an activity that a lot of people prefer to do in fall for the same reason as with spring.
Fewer crowds and smaller winds. Spots like El Chalten are vastly popular, and that’s easily evident when fall comes around. The colors feel as if they could pop out, and if you love observing gorgeous scenery, then fall is definitely the best time to visit Patagonia. On the other hand, this is probably the best time to take a wine tour, or simply sample some of the finest wines in the world. Beer and other types of alcohol might not be that great in the region, especially in Argentina.
However, wine is the specialty thanks to many exquisite wineries situated in Patagonia. Any time of the year is the best time to visit Patagonia when you’re wine tasting.
Average Weather in Patagonia in the Fall: 43-55°F/6-13°C
Events in Patagonia in the Fall: Fiesta de Cuasimodo
Read more: How to Travel to Patagonia on a Budget
Visiting Patagonia in the Winter (June to August)
Winter climate in Patagonia is a peculiar aspect of the region. There are plenty of glaciers, snow storms, and generally harsh environments, but it’s not too cold to spend time there. In fact, the winter climate is not unlike New York and Chicago in the winter. There is definitely beauty to be found in the winter in Patagonia.
For those that prefer the cold, it may be the best time to visit Patagonia. Out of all the seasons, this one’s the calmest. There are few people out and about, and because of that many of the business will be completely closed. Some towns may even feel as if they’re hibernating.
The worst part is the transportation, as it can be excruciatingly difficult to find regular transport. Sometimes there is none at all. Many of the hiking trails are either completely frozen or filled with snow.
Traveling anywhere by foot can be a dangerous affair, especially if you’re not well equipped for a frosty Patagonia trip.
Things to Do in Patagonia During the Winter
Once the snow and frost set in, Patagonia becomes the skier’s dream destination. Thanks to some amazing landscapes and geographical details, there are countless amazing ski trails and centers found all over Patagonia. Naturally, some are more developed than others, but the general rule of thumb is that winter sports are always fun in Patagonia.
The entire lake region of Bariloche is probably the best place to do some winter sports. The ski trails are generally considered the best, but that’s not the only thing Bariloche is famous for. It’s a place that produces plenty of chocolate, so those that have a sweet tooth might find this place exceptionally welcoming. It may even be one of the highlights of your Patagonia trip.
The winter season is when arctic species of wildlife come to life. If you want to observe these wonderful creatures from up close, then winter is the best time to visit Patagonia, specifically Puerto Madryn.
Patagonia is also unique because numerous whales migrate to its coast every winter in order to give birth to their young ones. You’ll not only see some of the planet’s most spectacular species, you’ll also see them tending to their young ones.
Average Weather in Patagonia in the Winter: 38-42°F/4-5°C
Events in Patagonia in the Winter: Lluvias de Teatro, Fiesta Nacional de la Noche Mas Larga del Ano, Patagonia Folklore Festival, Carnaval de Invierno/Fiesta de la Nieve
Best Time to Hike Patagonia
If you want to hike Patagonia, you’ll need to be prepared. It’s a harsh region and one that’s filled with an infinite number of hiking trails and locations. This is due to the changing weather and terrain depending where you hike in Patagonia.
Unfortunately, the best time to visit Patagonia to go hiking isn’t in the winter. Almost every hiking trail is completely inaccessible due to heavy snow and frost. This is the main reason that hikers generally prefer summer, or at least in the warmer days of shoulder season. That’s when the snow has already melted and it’s easier to get around.
Summer is fairly warm, but there still is a chance of getting cold unexpectedly due to the winds. Patagonia is one of the most scenic spots in the world to go hiking, so it’s hard to have a bad view with whichever one you pick.
Spots like Torres del Paine, El Calafate, Grey Glacier, and Puerto Natales are a few to add to your list. While choosing to hike Patagonia in the shoulder season might not be ideal, you can still get in some great hikes if you have the right gear. There are no other regions in the world like Patagonia.
There are few places in the world where you can ride horses one day and hike glaciers the next. It’s truly a magical place, and anyone that has the chance should visit Patagonia at least once in their life.
The best time to visit Patagonia will vary for each person, so take into account how much the weather bugs you and what activities you plan on doing.
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