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Patagonia – its weather, seasons and best time to travel

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Refugio Chileno Torres del Paine National Park Patagonia Chile

Best time to travel to Patagonia

Temperate, tempestuous, terrible and terrific – some of the words that define Patagonia and its fascinatingly energetic and changeable weather.

Our guide to Patagonia’s weather and seasons will be vital when planning travel and holidays to this beautiful region.

 

Key points

Nov-March:  +5 to + 20°C, four seasons in a day possible, up to 18 hours’ daylight in Dec/Jan, strong winds

May-Sept:  -10°C to +5°C, 6-8 hours of light, not much wind, snow possible

Best time to visit:  Nov-March (Patagonia summer)

 

Introduction to Patagonia’s weather

Strong winds are Patagonia’s main accomplice during the trekking and travelling season during the Patagonian summer (Nov-Mar).

You can wake to glorious sunshine, be caught in a ferocious squall, battle a head wind, feel a snow flurry on your cheeks and emerge an hour later back to that gloriously warming sun.

Every season has its travel highlights, be it the stunning Autumn colours (April) or the crisp October spring.

The cold and still winter (May-Sep) sees the national parks almost empty and offers better chance of seeing wildlife, including the puma.

Below is a more detailed breakdown, region by region, of the weather in Patagonia.

Some trips, such as cruises, treks, kayaking and biking, are only possible during the spring/summer/autumn months (Oct-Apr). Patagonia winter (May-Sept) is a great time for self-drive holidays.

 

Overview

In Patagonia, the further south you go, the cooler it gets.

As a general rule, the further west you go – towards the Andes and Pacific coast – the wetter and less predictable the weather is.

The further east – towards and across the Patagonian plateau – the drier and more stable.

The best time to visit Patagonia is in the southern hemisphere summer (November/December to March/April), when days are long and climate (relatively) dry and mild.

Nevertheless, spring and summer is also when the central and southern Patagonian regions sometimes get buffeted by strong, westerly winds.

 

Cascada Puma Patagonia Chile

Puma, Patagonia Chile

 

Central Patagonia (Paine/Fitzroy/El Calafate)

Summer days (Nov-Mar) in the national parks can bring sunny, windless conditions, and you may well find yourself hiking in shorts and t-shirt.

Afternoons in Los Glaciares and Paine can be warm with lots of sunshine. (Note: Patagonian UV rays are very strong).

But because of the fickle – and localised – nature of the climate here, take nothing for granted. In a single day, all four seasons might be experienced, including a biting, wind-induced cold snap.

At their coldest, pre-dawn summer temperatures at camp in, say, Torres del Paine may drop to a few degrees above zero (colder still when camping near the John Gardiner pass in Paine).

 

View point Glacier Grey Torres del Paine Patagonia Chile

View point Glacier Grey, Torres del Pain,e Patagonia, Chile

 

Note: In the summer and at these latitudes, permanent snow typically is not found lying below 800 metres.

On the South Patagonian Ice Field (average height, 1,500 metres), the appearance of lenticular clouds – signifying changing conditions – can translate into extreme winds (up to 150 kmh) and heavy snowfall. Here, summer pre-dawn temperatures commonly reach -20°C, with wind chill lowering temperatures even more. However, on sunny, windless summer days, you might get away with wearing just a couple of thin layers.

 

Lake district of Patagonia (Chile and Argentina)

In the Chilean Lakes District, summer weather is usually mild, but changeable and localized. Inland, conditions are relatively sunny, while on the coast and in the west-facing national parks (temperate rainforest), rain is not unusual.

Over in Argentina, the rain-shadow effect means weather conditions are relatively dry and stable. Summer rainfall in the town of Bariloche is low (average 5 days precipitation a month) with average summer highs in the low/mid-20s, while average summer highs in Puerto Montt are in the low/mid-20s, with precipitation on average every other day.

 

Lake Grey boat Paine Patagonia Chile

Lake Grey boat, Paine, Patagonia, Chile

 

Buenos Aires and Santiago

The chances are that you will be travelling to Patagonia via either Buenos Aires or Santiago de Chile.

Summer conditions in both these cities – in stark contrast to Patagonia – tend to be oppressively hot.

Between mid Dec and late Feb, temperatures typically range from 27°C to 35°C

Contact us for more.

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