The remote region of Patagonia, which spans Chile and Argentina in the southern part of the South American continent, is a spectacular location in all seasons. We should know — after all, Aurora Expeditions has been offering adventures to this trekkers' paradise for all ages and fitness levels for many years. However, the region isn't suitable for trekking all year round, so when is the best time to go? In this article, we look at the best time of year to enjoy all the striking scenery that Patagonia offers.
Summer (December-February) is the best time to be outside in Patagonia, and we only offer our Patagonia treks during these months. Our Argentina to Chile trek departs from late December until late February, while our Chile to Argentina trek (which visits the same destinations, only in reverse) runs from early February to early March.
We organise our expeditions at this time because the longer days of sunshine are more favourable to outdoor pursuits.
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Four seasons in one day
Patagonia contains a variety of different environments, which means that the weather fluctuates significantly. It's a much milder climate than Australia's and is also generally cooler than other places on the South American continent, so you'll need to be prepared for some chill. The region's rather exposed position on the southern tip of South America means it's regularly buffeted by strong winds from the South Pacific and Southern oceans. Additionally, even when temperatures are pleasant during the day, they will drop considerably at night time.
The locations that Aurora Expeditions pass through will vary significantly in terms of temperature, humidity, rainfall and wind. Punta Arenas is likely to be the coldest region that you'll pass through — you may not encounter temperatures above six degrees Celsius — and the area also receives its fair share of rainfall.
In Torres Del Paine National Park, maximum summer temperatures reach around 20 degrees Celsius and can drop six to seven degrees when the wind picks up. Puerto Natales, Los Glaciares National Park and the base camps of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre that our treks pass through also receive plenty of wind, rain and chilly weather.
Read more: 3 of Patagonia's top peaks
The main thing to remember is that the climate is highly variable and subject to rapid changes, particularly as you ascend in altitude. This applies just as much to the summer months as it does to other times of year. You really can get four seasons in one day and the weather forecast will not always be accurate (read: don't rely on it!).
With that in mind...
Prepare for rain, hail and shine
Even though it'll be summer when you join one of our treks, you shouldn't get complacent. Patagonia's climate may not be as extreme as Antarctica's; nevertheless, we strongly recommend that you prepare for varying and severe weather. Pack high-quality waterproof and windproof gear and plenty of warm layers. It's easy to discard clothing if you get too hot, but much harder to warm up when you haven't packed adequately for the conditions.
The weather in Patagonia might be highly unpredictable but it won't be a cause for discomfort if you're well prepared for all circumstances. If you ask us, there's no such thing as bad weather — only poor clothing choices! Get in touch with us to learn more about trekking in Patagonia.