Best Time to Visit Patagonia
Oh, that view, though…
The most unpredictable of climates and terrain crown one of the most dynamic and visually appetizing corners of the world, Patagonia. First off, before we break down when to start your trip to Patagonia, let's talk about that vast landscape that drops jaws and makes visiting Patagonia a worthwhile adventure for every traveler.
Believe it or not, Patagonia boasts over 400,000 square miles of sparsely populated land. Within these corridors, you find the Andes Mountains’ connecting the northern point of Patagonia to world-famous glaciers and fjords to the west, the desert to the east, and Cape Horn to the south.
If you are coming to Patagonia to hear the glaciers crackle and pop, trek the valleys, observe the penguin migrations, sightsee, ski, climb, raft, be entranced by flora and fauna, and cruise the fjords, we have to say that there is a definitive “best time” to do each. However, there is truly no “perfect time” to see and experience it all in one trip – further adding to Patagonia’s allure for repeat trips. That said, a wide-ranging Best of Patagonia Tour is an excellent option to cram as much of Patagonia as possible into one trip
But if you’re looking for the best time to visit Patagonia for a specific activity, let’s dive into our recommendations.
Weather in Patagonia:
Hold onto your hats, literally! And your glasses, phones, bandanas, pack covers, small children, and anything else that is loosely attached. Because Patagonia surely gives you a good run for your money when it comes to the term “fly by the seat of your pants”. The famous “westerlies” you hear of are not a myth, and the wild wind in Patagonia surely has its own personality. Get ready for 30-120 mph gusts that seem to come completely out of nowhere, but always make a guest appearance when you least expect it – from hiking to skiing. Speaking of hiking, let’s discuss the best time to undertake one of Patagonia’s top activities.
Without a doubt, summer (late December - February) is the most popular time for hiking, bringing warmer daytime temps on average of 60º Fahrenheit. That said, strong wind patterns reaching up to 100mph are also present in some regions. Spring (September-November) and Fall (March-May) tend to be less aggressive with winds but attract fewer crowds on the trails due to cooler temperatures and higher precipitation averages.
When it comes to trekking, the Torres del Paine O Circuit ranks among the most jaw-dropping adventures in Patagonia. Or, if you’d prefer to explore Torres del Paine with a little more protection from the rain, then an Ecodome adventure may be just the ticket depending on your preference and comfort levels.
For Snow Sports
If you’re looking to ski on a snow lathered mountainside, experience off-piste touring terrain in the backcountry, drink some of the best Malbec your lips ever touched from Aprés, Argentina, then Patagonia is the place for you. During winter (June to late September) you can find many areas within Patagonia bustling with powderhounds searching for the perfect slopes
For Water Sports
Patagonia waterways often boast exciting whitewater from Spring (September-November) and early Summer (December) thanks to the seasonal snowmelt. This whitewater provides a phenomenal opportunity for rafting, especially in northern Chilean Patagonia – where rafting on the Futaleufú River is a rite of passage for many Patagonia adventurers. Generally speaking, temperatures in the Spring to early Summer time period fluctuate from just above freezing to 60º Fahrenheit.
For Animal Photography
If you came to Patagonia to experience and photograph more elusive creatures, such as pumas, then the shoulder seasons of Spring (September-November) and Fall (March-May) are your prime times. These periods give many of the area’s shyer animals the space they need to make a guest appearance. Luckily, guanacos, pudus, and condors are generally out strutting or shaking their tail feathers all summer, and are easier to observe. To visit ideal locations for viewing Patagonia’s finest inhabitants from pumas to penguins, consider visiting Torres del Paine and nearby Magdalena Island.
For Fall Foliage
While this region already has obvious beauty, the Fall (March-May) brings Patagonia’s electricity to another level when the colors change. The forests of flaming red, orange, and yellow foliage are a vast contrast to the creamy blue lakes reflecting the rainbow of colors. Be prepared for crisp temperatures, however, that will float between the 30s and 50s Fahrenheit.
Crowd Control and Seasonal Trail Closures
With summer being peak season in Patagonia, expect to be in company with more hikers on the trails. Booking hotels, refugios, and campgrounds up to 6 months in advance to secure your spot has now become the standard with this growing hotspot. If you have the flexibility and want the serenity of a quiet landscape, late fall (October) and early spring (April) is when the trails have less foot traffic and more solitude. If you plan to trek any of the trails in winter, be aware that trail closures are in effect due to snow accumulations and safety measures, and you oftentimes must be guided.
There you go, intrepid travelers. Pick your activity, match it with a timeframe, and start planning your trip to Patagonia. And always remember, FlashpackerConnect is here to take all the hassle out of planning your Patagonia adventure. Just book your trip with us, and we’ll take care of the rest!