Clara Barciela here, co-founder of Across South America. I live in Buenos Aires but one of my favourite places to visit on holiday has always been Patagonia – the epic landscapes and rustic feel makes me feel more alive. For many nature lovers (myself included!), autumn is the most incredible season to visit this part of the continent. The spectacular array of colours, in every shade of red imaginable, is seriously spellbinding. Visitor numbers are fewer and, as winter approaches, the winds in the region begin to calm down.
Autumn is a fantastic time to travel to Patagonia. Here are five reasons why.
1. Goodbye crowds
If you want to take the photo of a stunning glacier without 15 strangers making their appearance in the frame, travel in autumn.
Patagonia’s Torres Del Paine National Park is breathtaking – and the world does know it. It can get crowded, especially in the summer months (December – March). Sometime towards the end of May and early April, when autumn has well and truly set in, the visitor numbers drop considerably and you have the trails, campsites, transport and stunning vistas all to yourself. Plus, the local business owners, a friendly bunch to start a conversation with, have all the time in the world to tell you their stories.
2. Stunning colours
By and of April, the Patagonian forest is bursting in autumn colours, as lengas, ñires and other Nothofagus trees are turning into yellow, orange and fire-red on the mountain slopes. As you’d imagine, the sight, especially against the backdrop of Patagonia’s famous peaks is brilliant.
3. Cooler, but calmer weather
Carved by strong Antarctic winds and volcanic activity, Patagonia is characterised by breathtaking landscapes, extreme weather and totally unpredictable conditions. Spellbinding as it is, this southernmost region in South America – referred to as the end of the world – can have totally crazy weather. But, autumn is generally characterised by calmer weather – the winds die down a little and the days are not as hot as summer, yet not freezing. Perfect weather for hiking if you ask us!
4. Meet the locals – Patagonia’s rare wildlife
If you’re visiting Patagonia towards the end of April, include a day at the Valdes Peninsula, where you could be lucky enough to see the first migrating Southern wright whales escaping north for the winter. There’s also a strong chance of seeing penguins during the autumn months. In the later part of May – if you’re particularly lucky! – you might even see a puma.
5. Amazing photo opportunities
This is true for any season but autumn photo opportunities in Patagonia can be out of this world. Late sunrises mean you don’t have to wake up at unearthly hours to catch the first rays touching the high peaks. Sun rise is typically at more reasonable hours (like 7am) in April and May. The sun also stays a little lower around this time of the year, giving you more dramatic lighting angles on the peaks, glaciers, valleys and vistas of Patagonia.
Autumnal colours make a stunning photograph any day with the light dusting of snow on the top reaches of the mountains adding more drama to your images. Most importantly, with no crowds, you can capture the landscapes without people in the frame!
Get in touch for a chat with our friendly team on the best time to visit to suit for the type of experience you’re after, or take a look at our popular South American itineraries. We’re the local experts and will help to craft a Patagonian – or South American – vacation you’ll never forget.