When is the best time to travel to Patagonia?
The truth is -- it completely depends! After all, everyone is different. You may be looking for an adventure sports vacation, a nature-spotting penguin boat trip or a Patagonia photography tour, so what works for one person may not be ideal for the next. To put it simply, there is no single best time. Each season has its advantages and drawbacks, so deciding when to go is entirely up to you. For example, some photographers may love the color contrasts between the blue lakes and the autumn foliage, while sociable travelers may prefer to bond with fellow hikers during peak season. Meanwhile, lower prices during shoulder seasons will draw in more budget-conscious travelers and wildlife lovers may want to witness Patagonia’s animals during spring.
Patagonia’s weather changes quickly and is relatively unpredictable. You can easily experience all four seasons in a single day. It’s not an exaggeration! Don’t be surprised if you are caught in snow during the height of summer or experience a clear, warm day during winter. But on average, Patagonian weather tends to be like this...
How are the Crowds?
Let us reassure you that whenever you go to Patagonia, it’s always going to be a remote and hidden corner at the end of the world. You’ll never find yourself in a traffic jam when near the region’s many national parks.
However, summer is the peak season in Patagonia so there will be more people on the trails during this time. This is especially true if you choose to hike the W, the Towers’ Base, or Fauna Trail around Laguna Amarga. Additionally, it is wise to book hotels, refugios (basic mountain lodges) and campgrounds in advance to secure your spot.
Spring & Fall
Spring and autumn are the ‘shoulder seasons’ and in general, you see fewer people on the trails and in the parks. This is also when you’re most likely snatch cheap flights within Chile and Argentina, as well as reduced hotel rates or bonus free nights
During winter, expect to see very few people. Some hotels and tours are closed at this time. But for those ready to brace the cold, you will see incredible, snowy landscapes in a pristine, remote environment.
The Downside of Crowds
It isn’t just a busy crossing on the way to the Towers’ Base; the reality is that so many people traveling at the same time has serious consequences on Patagonia’s fragile ecology. The Torres del Paine Legacy Fund, which we proudly support, was created partly to ease the effects of the 15,000 tourists that pass through each year during the high season. A big part of their work is in trail maintenance and reforestation, particularly as a fifth of Torres del Paine has been damaged by fires started by tourists. If you plan on visiting Patagonia, do your research so you can learn how to travel responsibly and protect the environment.
What to Do and When to Do it:
Just being in Patagonia is an adventure! However, we know that some of you adrenaline junkies may be looking for a little extra rush. Patagonia is perfect for excursions like kayaking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The best time for these sports is during the warmer months, November to March.
Ñandú, guanacos, pumas, huemuls, and condors are just a few of the unique animals you can spot in Patagonia. No matter what time of year you travel, you are sure to see some of them in the region. But if you’ve got your heart set on meeting one of Patagonia’s more elusive birds or beasts, it may be easier during the quieter travel seasons.
Additionally, if you’re looking to see a specific animal in the wild then it’s best to check out the particular habits and migratory patterns of the species. For example, to see penguins on the Strait of Magellan, we recommend traveling from November to March.
Trekking is one of Patagonia’s most popular activities. There are so many unique treks you can go on, some available year round!
Top things to do in Torres Del Paine National Park
The W Trek is definitely one of the most well-known treks in Torres del Paine National Park. It ranges from a 5 to 7-day trip and hits all of the park’s unbeatable views, including: the base of the Towers, French Valley, Grey Glacier and more. Now you can hike the W all year round, even in chilly winter!
Catch all of the highlights in Torres del Paine, in addition to some of its hidden secrets! This 9-day adventure takes travelers through popular trails and more off-the-beaten-path areas in the park on an exciting circuit trek. This experience is offered from November to March.
Get lost amongst the thrombolites, but watch your step - pumas are about! Check out this awesome day trek to catch incredible views and observe the native flora and fauna. The trek is available from September - May. But September and October are the best time to visit if you want to see the region’s iconic cat.
Check out Cerro Paine and be amazed by some of the best views in the park! You can take part in this day hike as part of the Wildlife Safari program or the Epic Patagonia Multi Sport Adventure program at EcoCamp. It is available all year.
Other Parts of Patagonia worth Exploring
Los Glaciares National Park & Fitz Roy Trek:
Explore the best of Argentine Patagonia with a 4-day trek through Los Glaciares National Park and Fitz Roy. It’s an opportunity to visit El Chaltén, Calafate and Perito Moreno Glacier. This experience runs October - April. See our recommended itinerary here.
Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre Trek:
Experience a different route in Mount Fitz Roy, Argentina. It’s an opportunity to explore the Laguna Los Tres and the glory of Mount Fitz Roy and Los Glaciares National Park. Sign up for this trek, running October to April.
Grey Glacier Day Trek:
Take part in a Grey Glacier trek extension and walk on one the most beautiful glaciers in Patagonia! It’s a unique opportunity to ice trek and see the park in a new way. This extension is available from October to April.
If Patagonia were a crown, then Cerro Castillo would be its jewel in the rough. This incredible trek is in Northern Patagonia and is open from November until March
Dientes de Navarino:
The world’s southernmost trek is out-of- this-world! It’s the perfect experience for dedicated trekkers who are up for a challenge. Come anytime from mid December to March.
World class fly fishing is to be had in this region, so dont forget your fly rod!
Pedal the beautiful singletrack that flows along the Paine basin and ride trails that tell the history of the settlement of these lands while visiting many of the park´s pristine lagoons. A wonderful extension to your trip through Patagonia whether staying in the park or not!
Visit an Estancia:
Get the full cultural experience by visiting one of the many local Estancias, they will prepare a traditional Patagonia BBQ Lamb while you sip Mate teas as the locals do.
Paddle along the icy waters of the Grey River & Grey Lake between the immense floating icebergs of the Grey Glacier. Enjoy indescribable views of Paine Grande and the surrounding valleys and peaks of this highlight region.
Contact one of our Travel Specialists to design the trip of a lifetime in the Patagonia Region!