There’s a good time to travel to South America, and then there’s the best time to make the trip. Think about it for a second – clear skies, mild temperatures, few crowds, good hotel selections, and empty beaches just waiting for you to sink your toes in the sand. We’re here to help you sort out the good times fro3m the best times to travel to South America.
First of all, as a general rule, South America’s seasons are the opposite of North America’s seasons. So, when it’s summer in North America, Europe and Asia, it’s wintertime in South America.
But in the Peruvian cloud forest, where Machu Picchu is located, and high in the Andes Mountains, there are distinct wet and dry seasons. The rainy season is generally November-February, so if you are planning on visiting Machu Picchu during that time, or hiking the Inca Trail, plan to get wet. Bring a poncho or rain jacket and expect it to rain for part of the day, every day. (Also note, the Inca Trail is closed every February for trail maintenance).
June-August is the high season for travelers to Peru, so hotels and tourist attractions are at their busiest.
Best time to go: April and May, when everything is green, there are no clouds and few crowds, only deep blue skies.View Peru Tours >>
Unless you are an avid skier and want to hit the slopes of Bariloche, avoid the June-August peak season in Argentina, when hotels and tourist attractions are at their busiest and most expensive. Choose a shoulder season instead, such as during April and May, when crystal clear air starts to blow up from the Arctic, pushing off the tropical haze from the north. The Argentine summer is from December-March, and during this time, days are sunny and warm. This is the best time to visit Patagonia.View Argentina Tours >>
During the Brazilian summer, from December-February, hotels, beaches, and tourist attractions are packed. During Carnival, Easter, Christmas, and New Year’s holidays, it’s also hard to find a room on the fly. Make sure to book your Brazil vacation well in advance if you are planning on traveling to Brazil during those times.
During the Brazilian winter, from June-August, Rio de Janeiro and other coastal towns still enjoy warm temperatures, with an occasional day of rain.
If you are traveling to the Amazon Rainforest or the Pantanal wetlands, choose a time during the dry season, between June and December, when is less rain and fewer bugs. However, the rainy season, between January and May, is the best time for seeing wildlife. Read more about the Best Times to Visit Brazil.View Brazil Tours >>
Chile straddles a wide range of latitudes, so there’s a region of Chile that’s perfect for each season. The northern region is mostly desert, while the middle region is mild and Mediterranean, and the southern region is glacier-filled Patagonia.
The busiest time of year is the Chilean summer, from December-March. During this time, weather permits travelers to visit nearly every inch of Chile, including Patagonia and the Andes.
The Atacama Desert in northern Peru is high altitude, gets little rain throughout the year, but only gets into the 80s Fahrenheit at the most. If you prefer skiing and snowboarding, the Chilean winter is July-September. During the wintertime, from May-September, its not recommended to visit southern Patagonia.View Chile Tours >>
Ecuador straddles the equator (hence the clever name), so it enjoys beautiful sunny weather year-round. The Galapagos Islands have a more distinct climate with a summer season from December to May, and a winter season from June to November. During the “summer” season, there’s often heavy showers that break the humidity, while during the “winter” season, you can expect some clouds and light rain. Don’t worry too much about the rain; choose your travel times around the busy tourist season instead. From June to August, cruise and hotel availability is scarce, so prices soar. Go during the shoulder seasons, perhaps between September and November.View Ecuador Tours >>
Travel to Colombia during December to March, when there are plenty of festivals to partake in, or during July and August, when you can hit the beach. April and May is the rainy season in Colombia, so avoid those months, and if you want to avoid the crowds, avoid the holiday season in December and June-July.View Colombia Tours >>
Travel to Antarctica during the Antarctic summer, from November to March, when temperatures hover between 20-50°F. This is when the southernmost seas receive nearly around the clock sunlight, during the month of February. This is also the best time to view wildlife such as whales, penguins, and seals. At any other time of the year, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a cruise ship to take you into the stormy, stone-cold seas, and even if you do travel during the shoulder season months, October or late March, your itinerary will be subject to sudden weather changes. Remember, trips to Antarctica aren’t merely tours, they’re true ‘expeditions’ in the sense that anything can happen! Read More: 5 Great Antarctica and Patagonia Cruises
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