Updated: Sep 7
Travelers usually start here, asking us: “when is the best time to visit South America?”
Although this seems to be an easy question, it is not relatively easy to answer.
First of all, when thinking about the best time to visit South America, you need to believe that the seasons correspond to the southern hemisphere, which means that:
👉Summer runs from December to March;
👉Autumn from April to June;
👉Winter from July to September;
👉and then Spring from September until November;
Some destinations are closer to the equator, so they become all-year-round destinations, like Peru or Ecuador.
But besides the seasons, you should also consider the wet and dry seasons, which are essential facts to understand which places are better to visit, such as the Amazonas or the Deserts in Chile and Bolivia.
It is good to mention that there is no “bad moment to explore South America” since there are always places to enjoy for the whole year. There are no extreme winters or unbearable summers.
I want this post to be helpful and give you a general idea of each season in South America. Nevertheless, I will post some new articles for each country separately since it will be beneficial if you want to spend more time in one country at a time.
Navigate to where you want to go
Best Time to Visit South America: Summer – warm from December until March.
It’s high season in many places like Brazil, Patagonia, and the Atlantic coast; beaches, festivals, and new year's eve celebrations are busy, although worth the try. At the same time, it’s the best time to visit Patagonia.
The Austral summer months are ideal for visiting the southern tip of South America since winters make it a bit unkind for travel here.
What is it perfect for, and what to expect?
✨The beaches in Uruguay – José Ignacio and La Pedrera, are my favorites. ✨Hike in Patagonia – Fitz Roy in Chalten or the classic W of Torres del Paine and trek the Perito Moreno glacier spectacle. ✨Wildlife in Patagonia and Antarctica – penguins in Peninsula Valdes and Ushuaia, all the diversity of the marine fauna in Antarctica at its glory. ✨Carnival festival and New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro – are both massive colorful celebrations.
✨ Galapagos – Although any month is excellent for this destination, Summer is fantastic because it offers nice temperatures and a lot of wildlife.
✨ Dry Season for the deserts – Atacama and Uyuni Desserts are unique places to explore. March, for example, offers a shoulder-season period that provides an enjoyable time to travel to South America.
🌟 My itinerary recommendation for the summertime in South America: Antarctica Expedition & wild Patagonia Trip
Want to Visit South America for New Year's Eve? Read here our suggested 5 places to visit in South America for New years eve
Best Time to Visit South America: Autumn is vibrant from April to June.
Autumn is the best time to visit South America if you want to explore the cities; temperatures ease slightly from hot summers, and fewer tourists are around. When it comes to Patagonia, this is the best time to go as well; after the summer and high season but not as cold yet as the winter to come, it makes perfect for exploring as it is a shoulder season and hotels are less expensive.
What is it Perfect for, and what to expect?
✨Iguazu Falls – an ideal time to explore this jungle experience; the weather is delightful so it’s a lot better to enjoy the fantastic falls. ✨City escape in Buenos Aires – With more pleasant weather, it’s the perfect time to explore the city and walk its streets in San Telmo, Recoleta, and Palermo. ✨City escapes Rio de Janeiro – the temperature eases from the hot summer, and although you have to expect the rain to continue (10 days per month approximately), it’s a lovely time to see Rio and its natural side with a lot fewer tourists
✨Mendoza and wine route – If you want to avoid the crowds, March and April are charming months to visit Mendoza. In fall, many vineyards are finishing the harvest and starting the winemaking process, making it an enjoyable time to taste grapes and get involved in winemaking. ✨Trekking Patagonia – stunning photos while saying goodbye to crowds are the main reasons to choose this time of the year to trek in Patagonia.
🌟I suggest this “perfect itinerary” for autumn in South America: South America: The Luxurious Lifetime Exploration
Learn more about When to see turtles in Galapagos Islands on this blog post from our Instagram
Best Time to Visit South America: Winter – stunning from the end of June until mid-September.
Winters are generally pleasant and warm in the north and cold in the southern parts, especially in Patagonia in Chile and Argentina, experiencing frequent frost and snow.
However, winter weather is not as severe as in the northern hemisphere. In the southern part of South, America, temperatures could go a bit below 0 °C (32 °F). On the other hand, the Andes Mountains in Peru and Ecuador offer dry winters so it's ideal, for example to visit Machu Picchu. If you want to visit Galapagos you can enjoy cooler weather and see more dolphins and whales.
👉Learn more about the best time to visit South America, season by season with our South America Travel Guide. Sign up here and GET your FREE travel Guide 🙌🏼❤
What is it Perfect for, and what to expect?
✨ The Pantanal in Brazil – it’s the best time to see animals since it's the dry season, running from April/ May to October. ✨Winter sports in Argentina and Chile – from Las Lenas in Mendoza to Bariloche and Ushuaia in Argentina, you can either enjoy skiing at the end of the world or head to Chile's Valle Nevado ski resort. ✨ Machu Picchu & Inca Trail – Warm days, cool nights, and lowest rainfall of the whole year: the winter months are known as the ‘dry season,’ and you’ve got a very high chance of encountering a sunny day.
➢ Read more in our blog: When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?
✨Tango world festival in Buenos Aires – Tango can be enjoyed all over the year in Buenos Aires. However, August is predominantly important since the Tango’s International Festival and Dance World Cup take place this time of the year. ✨ Pachamama Festival in San Antonio de Los Cobres, Salta, this incredible and local tradition celebrating the “Mother Earth” happens every August at the Quebrada de Humahuaca, a magical place located in the northwest of Argentina.
I love this Itinerary for winter in South America: Charming South America in 14 days
Best Time to Visit South America: Springtime – lovely from September until the end of November.
It’s the dry season in the Amazon, making for OK wildlife watching. Fewer crowds and lower prices make visiting Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro a good time. Patagonia is less expensive than summer and also a great time to visit the region since trekking and hiking are now possible thanks to the end of the winter.
What is it Perfect for, and what to expect?
✨ Wildlife in Peninsula Valdes – Sea lions, seals, killer whales, and the Southern Right Whale are the other main characters during this time of the year. ✨Wildlife in Amazon – low water season is from June to November, so the jungle trails are not flooded during winter or spring, which allows the naturalist guides to get deeper into the jungle by foot and also escorted by fewer mosquitoes than during the high water season. ✨ Polo Open Buenos Aires takes place from November until December each year, and Argentina has the greatest players in the world. ✨Copacabana time! Yet not so warm as in the summer months, so it allows enjoying the beach of Rio de Janeiro like a local in Copacabana – gives beach volley a try!
🌟Here is an ideal itinerary for springtime in South America: Cruising the Amazon.
Where should you go in South America and when?
As you can see, not only you can call South America any time of the year, you can visit South America more than once a year (!) since there is no such thing as the best time to visit South America.
Ultimately it depends on what you want to experience; still, don’t let the “seasons” stop you from visiting this great and exceptional part of the world.
Download our FREE South America Travel guide and Learn more about the best time to visit South America depending on where you want to go, or the experiences you want to have. 👉DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE HERE👈
Let us help you plan your unforgettable holiday. We’ll help you craft a lifetime journey any time of the year.
Maria Barciela Co-founder Across south America
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