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The best time to visit Patagonia, Argentina

04 May 2015

The vast stretch of wilderness called Patagonia covers three quarters of the Argentinian landscape and parts of Chile, and spans a vast diversity when it comes to both temperature and weather conditions.

The Nahuel Huapi Lake in Patagonia, Argentina
The Nahuel Huapi Lake in Patagonia, Argentina

So, if you’re planning a holiday to South America, and Argentina in particular, when is the best time to travel to the national parks of Patagonia?

Well, the first thing to decide is where in Patagonia you want to go – the topography of Argentina in general is extremely varied, but this is displayed most prominently in the many different faces of Patagonia. Home to the seventh largest desert in the world, the Andes mountain range, mighty glaciers, lakes as blue as the sky and lush, green rainforests, the Patagonia region of Argentina is one of the most beautiful natural areas in the world.

However, throughout the year Patagonia generally experiences every extreme when it comes to both cold and hot temperatures, and rain and sunshine. The hard and fast rule here is to bring all your basics, and pack with layers in mind for the weather (you can always leave items in your hotel room when you are on tours and day trips). To help out, we’ve listed a few of the most popular regions in Patagonia that people travel to, and their average weather conditions at the different times of day and different seasons of the year.

Tierra del Fuego

The southernmost point of Argentina, the region of Tierra del Fuego is often used as a jumping off point to the Antarctic. The landscape in this part of the world is sweeping, and many different species of wildlife thrive here; we recommend that the best time to travel to stay in hotels here is between mid-October and mid-April.

Tierra del Fuego’s location in the extreme south of Patagonia means that the weather is always on the colder side, but in the summer/spring months you will benefit from sunny, dry weather. Pack t-shirts, jumpers, fleeces and specialised waterproofs so that you can add layers to your outfit if you’re travelling to this part of Argentina, especially if you’re keen on sitting in the cold weather to keep a look out for the penguins and whales that come through Patagonia.

El Calafate and the glaciers

Southern Patagonia is the place you’ll want to travel to if you are hankering to see the awe-inspiring glaciers that Argentina is famous for. You can go to the Los Glaciares National Park, which is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the largest tourist draws in Argentina.

The glaciers of Patagonia are set at a high altitude, and the weather can therefore be severe, remaining pretty chilly most of the year, though the mountains restrict the strength of the winds that you will experience. There is snow in winter and temperatures hover around -2°C, though even in the height of summer, average temperatures only reach around 20°C. Important items to pack include a breathable waterproof mountain jacket, practical clothing and a sturdy pair of boots to withstand any conditions.

Bariloche and the Lake District

The time of year you visit Bariloche and the Lake District in Patagonia will depend upon which activities you are planning on doing. The climate in winter has cold days, and enough snow to make it ideal weather for skiing. In spring, the temperature in Patagonia rises, making conditions easier for touring, but there is an increase in the rainfall within this region of Argentina.

You will find that summers are warm and sunny in the beautiful Lake District of Patagonia, but the weather forecast every year for this season is generally windy. However, don’t let that put you off, as summer is beautiful making it the best time of year to visit the great lakes of Patagonia. If you are travelling here with Saga you can add a few summery items to your packing list, just make sure you bring plenty of warmer clothes for the cooler night time temperatures.

It’s never a bad time to travel to Patagonia in Argentina, but if you really dislike the cold, then the weather conditions are most favourable in the spring and summer seasons of the southern hemisphere (November to March).

If you want guidance on where and when to visit Patagonia in South America, why not get in contact with Saga and we can walk you through the current weather, varied temperatures, and the landscapes you can expect on the trips we offer to Argentina?


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.