Chile basks in an embarrassment of natural riches, from golden beaches to massive glaciers. So whether you’re here to visit volcanoes, to wander through ancient forests or simply to take in the country’s magical vineyards or fjords, it pays to get your timings right.
Here’s our guide for when to go to Chile for your perfect vacation.
High season: November to February
Best time for visiting Chile
Patagonia is at its best from December to February and the beaches throng with crowds from late December through January. As such, this is the most expensive time to travel, but the rewards are worth it.
Shoulder season: September to November & March to May
Best time for budget travelers
Temperature-wise, these are the best times to visit Santiago. The Lakes District is pleasant from September to November and April brings the blazing colours of fall foliage in the south. Wine country has grape harvests and wine festivals in March.
Low Season: June to August
Best time for skiing
The best time for hitting the ski resorts is June to August when the snow is abundant. This is also a good time to visit the north when the tourists slim out a little. There are, however, few services on the Carretera Austral, particularly as mountain passes can be blocked by snow.
Note that transportation and accommodations are busy in July.
Here’s a monthly guide to what you can expect throughout the year in Chile. All events are subject to change.
It’s summer peak season and Chileans start flocking to beaches. Annual celebrations break out in every Chilean town and city with live music, special feasts and fireworks. It’s also high season in Patagonia.
Key events: Santiago a Mil; Semanas Musicales; Brotes de Chile; Muestra Cultural Mapuche; Ruta del Huemul
February is Chileans’ favorite month to vacation. With unrelenting heat from the north to Santiago, people flock south, particularly to Pucón and the Lakes District. Beaches fill and Santiago nightlife transplants to Viña del Mar and Valparaíso.
Key events: Fiesta de la Candelaria; Festival Internacional de la Canción; Carnaval; Tapati Rapa Nui; Festival Costumbrista; Carnaval Ginga
A great month to travel in Chile. As fall moves in, summer crowds disperse. Though all of Chile cools a bit, usually Southern Patagonia is still dry and less windy, with great hiking weather. The Central Valley’s grape harvest begins.
Key events: Lollapalooza Chile; Fiesta de la Vendimia
Bright reds and yellows highlight the forests of Northern Patagonia, though rain will come any day now. The south is clearing out, but you might get lucky with decent hiking weather. Santiago and the central valley enjoy still-pleasant temperatures.
Key events: Campeonato Nacional de Rodeo
It’s the cusp of winter, so expect some rain across the north and temperatures to lower slightly.
Winter begins. With days at their shortest, nightlife and cultural events pick up. The world-class ski resorts around Santiago start gearing up and it’s a good time to visit the desert.
Key events: Fiesta de San Pedro y San Pablo; Festival de la Lluvia
Chilean winter vacation means family travel is in full swing. Ski resorts are up and running and those who brave Patagonia will find lovely winter landscapes without the infamous wind of summer.
Key events: Festival de la Virgen del Carmen; Carnaval de Invierno
A fine time to visit, August represents the tail end of the ski season and cheaper lodgings in holiday destinations, now that school vacation is over. In the south, winter rains begin to taper off.
Key events: Fiesta de Santa Rosa de Lima; Festival de Jazz de Ñuñoa
Spring comes to Santiago, with mild, sunny days. Though low season throughout Chile, it’s not a bad time to travel. Everything closes and people get boisterous the week of the national holiday.
Key events: Fiestas Patrias
October is a fine time to travel, with spring flowers blossoming in both northern and central Chile.
Key events: Oktoberfest
Chile’s south is in full bloom though the weather is still crisp. It’s a good time to visit the beach resorts and Patagonia; the crowds and high prices are still a month or so away.
Key events: Puerto de Ideas; Feria Internacional de Artesania
Summer begins and services return to the Carretera Austral. It’s still quiet but ideal for outdoor activities in the Lakes District and Patagonia.
Key events: New Year’s Eve