The Best Time to Visit Chile

When is the best time to travel to Chile?

Located in the southern hemisphere with seasons opposite to North America, Chile is genuinely a year-round destination for travel. But given the diversity of regions shoehorned into its narrow borders—a northern desert, a lengthy coast, and a chain of alpine peaks, to name but a few—you might wonder, when is the best time to visit Chile?  

Broadly speaking, Extraordinary Journeys South America travel experts favor October through May as the best time to visit Chile. With pleasant weather throughout most of the country during spring, summer, and fall, you can enjoy Chile’s enchanting landscapes and the outdoor pursuits they inspire. If you’re prepared to embrace snowy conditions, June, July, and August are nothing short of a Patagonian winter wonderland. 

The best time to visit Chile really depends on where you want to go and what you want to do. Some are impacted by the forecast, and others are not.  


A word about weather: Bear in mind that this guide is founded on historical “norms” and trends based on our cumulative travel expertise. Weather patterns, average temperatures, rainfall, and natural phenomena that react to seasonal changes are becoming less easy to predict as the climate warms.

Chile Climate & Weather Guide 


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Atacama Desert

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Chilean Wine Country

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Lake District and Chiloé

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Aysén Region, Northern Patagonia

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Torres del Paine

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Chilean Fjords

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One of the lengthiest countries in the world, Chile stretches ~2,700 miles from top to bottom. Within this span lays a range of diverse landscapes. 

At the northern end of the country sits the Atacama, the driest non-polar desert in the world with dry heat, little rain, and crisp, clear skies that are ideal for stargazing. Located in the center of the country, the forests, volcanoes, and lakes of the Lake District enjoy temperate weather with ample sunshine in summer, but plenty of rain in fall, winter, and spring. Running along the eastern edge of the country like a sawtooth spine, the Andes has a mountain climate unto itself, with hot summers and frigid winters. At Chile’s southern reaches you find Patagonia, famous for its granite towers, hardy wildlife, and more notoriously, four-seasons-in-a-day weather. Not to be forgotten, Easter Island sits anchored off the coast in the southeastern Pacific with its humid, hot summers and mild, drizzly winters. 

The best time to visit Chile by region: 

  • The north and Easter Island are temperate and can be visited year-round. For ideal stargazing in the Atacama, plan your trip not around the weather, but to avoid full moons.   
  • The Lake District is warmest from December to February, making it a popular vacation destination for Chileans during their summer months. Spring and fall are lovely, too, and winter offers snow sports.  
  • Summer is peak season in Patagonia, but fall and spring are still good, and you’ll experience thinner crowds. 
Santiago cityscape wrapped by snowy Andes Mountains

When to visit Chile: a month-by-month guide

Visiting Chile in summer: December, January & February

December, January, and February mark the height of the austral summer and peak travel season in Chile, especially in popular outdoor destinations like Patagonia. Keep in mind that Chilean families are on “summer break” from mid-December through February.  

Summer is hiking season in the south of Chile now that trails are clear of snow. While the weather can still be unpredictable in Patagonia, summer is the warmest time to visit, and the longer days are helpful for logging more trekking miles. (Consider luxury glamping!) Naturally, it’s also the time when national parks and iconic sites, like Torres del Paine, are at their most crowded. Consider other parts of Patagonia, like the Aysén Region, for lesser visited but equally rewarding parks and hiking trails.  

Come December and January, Patagonian rivers are loaded with migratory salmon and trout, making this the ideal time for anglers to book a luxury Chile vacation. 

Summer in coastal Chilean Patagonia is prime whale-watching season, with opportunities to spot migrating humpback whales in the Francisco Coloane Marine Park near Punta Arenas between December and February. If you’re lucky, you may see orcas in December. You can also see Magellanic penguins on Isla Magdalena and Isla Marta in the Strait of Magellan near Punta Arenas. Protected as part of the Los Pingüinos National Monument, 60,000 breeding pairs come to the area each spring and summer to breed and raise their chicks. 

Other outdoorsy destinations like the Atacama and the Lakes District are also busy during the summer, with families vacationing at coastal resorts like Viña del Mar or Lakes District towns like Pucon and Villarrica. Cities like Santiago and Valparaiso can be busy too, but the agreeable weather is an irresistible invitation to explore on foot.  

In Chilean Wine Country, skies are blue, temperatures are hot, and the vines are painted green. Find some shade and sip bright and refreshing whites.  

February is also when the Tapati Festival of Rapa Nui takes place on Easter Island, with traditional dances, feasts, and other festivities. 

Visiting Chile in fall: March, April & May

Extending from March to May, the fall shoulder season sees comfortable temperatures and thinning crowds. In some parts of Chile, it also brings a kaleidoscope of fall foliage.  

You may encounter more rain and cloudy forecasts in the Lakes District and southern Patagonia, but the weather is (generally) still favorable enough for hiking and other outdoor recreation. You’ll encounter fewer people trekking along popular trails and routes. With less jockeying for photo opps at iconic attractions, we prefer to visit Patagonia in fall for a more serene experience in nature. For a few weeks, trees ablaze in yellow and red offer a stunning contrast against milky-opaque lakes, creeks, and glaciers.  

Autumn is also a superb season for wine touring—one of the best things to do in Chile. It‘s harvest in wine regions near Santiago like Casablanca, Colchagua, and Maipo. Rows of grapes turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, making a postcard-perfect backdrop for wine tasting and picnics. During the harvest, travelers who want a first-hand experience might attend vendimia festivals in small towns for tastings, live music, and the chance to stomp Chilean grapes. 

Early and mid-fall are also a lovely time for a road trip along Chile’s famous Carretera Austral.

Visiting Chile in winter: June, July & August

Winter is low season in most of the country, but for snow seekers and winter sport enthusiasts, it’s the best time to visit Chile.  

You can find world-class ski resorts in the Andes near Santiago—like Valle Nevado, which boasts some of the largest skiable terrain in South America. Sitting on the edge of a glittering turquoise lake surrounded by sheer slopes, An hour or so west, Portillo is Chile’s premier ski resort, with world-renowned downhill runs and breathtaking high mountain views.  

Although the proximity to Santiago makes Chile’s central ski resorts some of the most popular, great skiing, snowshoeing, and Nordic skiing can be found further south in the Lakes District. Here, you can ski and snowboard on the slopes of actual volcanoes like Villarrica and Osorno.  

Even if you’re not a skier, it’s still worthwhile to visit Chile in the winter. The central coastal zones remain temperature and mild, and you’ll have cities like Valparaiso and Santiago pretty much to yourself and the locals who call it home.  

It’s even possible to explore Patagonia in the depths of winter. In the past, properties would shutter during the slower, colder months. But now, some luxury Patagonia hotels remain open all winter. Hunker down at a gorgeous luxury lodge—like The Singular Patagonia with its snow-capped mountain and glacier views—to feel as if you have this wonderland all to yourself. With luck you might spy puma, guanaco, and other wildlife, contrasted against the stark white landscape.  

Visiting Chile in spring: September, October & November

Similar to fall, spring is one of the best times to visit Chile if you want to shirk the crowds while enjoying fair weather. Some regions like the Atacama and Patagonia may still be a bit chilly and snowy, but the days are gradually warming and getting longer.  

Throughout the country you’ll see spring wildflowers, like the start of lupine season in Patagonia come November.  

In Chilean Wine Country, vines are stirring back to life. It’s a good time for wine touring, especially if fall’s harvest season is a bit too busy for your liking. But that’s not the only thing to do in these valleys. Spring’s milder temperatures are ideal for outdoor activities like biking, walking, and horseback riding that might be unbearable for some in summer.   

If you’re looking for a taste of quintessential Chilean culture, visit in September for Fiestas Patrias. Taking place on the 18th and 19th of September, Fiestas Patrias celebrates Chile’s independence from Spain. Although the official holiday only lasts two days, festivities can extend up to a week or longer and take place throughout the country. Santiago has grand parades, and every town sets up a fonda, which is a public party where people gather to dance the “cueca” national dance, eat traditional food and drink, sing, and celebrate with friends and family. It’s a great time to get a taste of Chilean culture and history, as well as experience Chileans’ convivial, fun-loving nature. 

September, through to April, kicks off cruising season. Ships are once again navigating the fjord-pocked Pacific Coast of southern Chile. Offshore, October and November are Easter Island’s driest months.  

Each season in Chile introduces you to a different side of the country. Deciding the best time to visit really depends on where you want to go and what you want to do. Still unsure when to plan your luxury Chile vacation? Our South America experts are here to help. 

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