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The best time to travel in Chile

The climatic variations found in Chile are so extreme that you can basically visit at any time of year: summer's best for the iconic Easter Island, whereas mid-season is a great time to visit cities in the centre of the country. So it's wise to adapt your holiday dates according to the region you plan to explore.

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There's no particular time of year when you should go to Chile: the country is spread across a large part of Central America, so benefits from a varied climate. Opt for spring or autumn if you're heading to Santiago or the central parts of the country and travel during summer if you want to tour the lake region. Bear in mind that Easter Island and Patagonia can get chilly, so summer's the best time to go. What's more Chile's in the Southern Hemisphere so the seasons are opposite. In other words summertime in Chile is between December and February.

The north and its desert

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The north of Chile has a dry, temperate climate. The weather's fine all year round, apart from during the 'Bolivian Winter', a climatic phenomenon that occurs during the summer months of January to March. Rainfall can be very heavy during this period and it's been known to have snowfall and hail storms! Best avoid this time of year. As for the rest of the year, the choice is yours! You'll be able to explore the legendary Atacama Desert and plunge yourself into the region's mystical ambiance.

The urban central region

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Head to Chile's capital to enjoy its nightlife, cuisine, hiking trails and cultural events. Stroll around town, hit the shops, tour the local region and explore its numerous natural sites. This is also Chile's major wine-producing region. Best times are between September to November and February to April. You'll avoid the rainy season (May to August) and benefit from pleasant temperatures.

The Mapuches region in the south

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December to March is the best time to visit Chile's southern region. The area's famous for its numerous national parks, volcanoes and lakes. You can also visit its well-known Mapuches villages. Plus you'll have plenty of opportunities to go hiking, skiing, kayaking and rafting. There's also Chiloé, an archipelago that's home to fishing communities where daily life seems disconnected from the rest of the country.

Chilean Patagonia

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Chilean Patagonia is cold, so summer's the best time to visit. Be warned that even during summer, the mercury rarely rises above 11°C! This is a natural paradise; take the time to explore its waterfalls, lakes and endless forests. The north of Patagonia is isolated, with most visitors preferring to head to its south. Here you'll find Chile's legendary Torres del Paine National Park.

Easter Island

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Easter Island is a dream, thanks to its riveting history and stunning landscapes. Marvel at the gigantic Maoi statues, go for a climb or dive into its marine depths. As yet untouched by mass tourism, this magical island can be easily toured on horseback or by bike. Easter Island is very chilly, so summer's the best time of year for a visit.

Wine tours

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Chile is becoming increasingly well-known for its wine. Head along the Wine Route, with guided tours around its various vineyards. Spend some time in Casa Lapastolle, an environmentally rich and fertile area. Go for hikes across the Casablanca Valley, which boasts a pleasant climate and is easily accessed from Santiago. September to November and February to April are the best times to tour the Chilean vineyards.

Explore Chile's towns

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You'll be blown away by the buzz and colourful flair of Chile's towns. Santiango's huge Vega Central market is a must, alongside the city's fascinating museums. And be prepared for the incredible sight of Valparaiso's graffiti-lined streets. Cycling around these towns at sunset is a perfect way to enjoy a bit of city life. Best times to visit are between September and November or February to April.
Tiphaine Leblanc
77 contributions
Updated 26 October 2018