The Best Time To Visit South America – Climate Planner

Vicuña at Salinas Salt Lagoon

With the climate varying so widely in this continent, trying to plan your South America trip can be an absolute nightmare. Now with that seed of despair planted in your mind, let me give you some good news: there is no bad time to visit South America!

Regardless of the time of year that you plan to travel, there will always be a country in full bloom and ready to showcase its assets to visitors. In order to help you plan your journey, let’s start with a very basic breakdown of some of the suggested months to visit each country.

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Your South America Climate Planner!

These months have been selected based on a number of factors including, weather, temperatures, transport accessibility, prices and overall attraction/activity availability. However, with countries so vast in size, all of these things vary hugely from one end to another.

For example, June may be a great time to visit the North of Chile but the South is a no-go because of transport disruption. With this in mind, check out the individual country overviews below which contain more specific guidance on particular regions. Before you start looking through the country breakdowns, make some quick notes about the type of activities you would like to do in each country. This will help you to decide where to start your research and what kind of climate is ideal. As always, don’t forget to make sure your travel insurance covers you for any activities you have planned!

The Best Time To Visit Argentina

March – May: These are great months to visit Argentina’s cities as temperatures are pleasant and the weather is good. If you’re a wine lover, be sure to visit Mendoza in March as this is when the grapes are harvested.

June – August: If you are hoping to get your skis on, this is the best time to visit. The winter months are great for snow sports but it gets super cold during this time. Expect reduced bus services and flight cancellations due to bad weather and make sure you pack for the cold and the wet.

September – November: Temperatures are warm in both North and Central Argentina whilst still being mild in the South. You can visit practically anywhere in the country and enjoy fair weather over this period. This is a great time to road trip the 7 Lakes route!

December – February: These are the best months to visit Patagonia (although prices are high) and enjoy some of Argentina’s best hikes. It is also a good time to visit the country’s beaches. Temperatures in the South are at their warmest which makes it the perfect time to get involved in some outdoor adventures. Read more about backpacking Argentina!

Ushuaia Argentina With Dark Clouds

It can get pretty chilly in Patagonia!

The Best Time to Visit Bolivia

May – October: This is the high season and the best time to visit the country. Dry weather brings clear skies and decent conditions for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and climbing. Be aware that this is the Bolivian winter season, so temperatures will vary all over and be fairly cool outside of the Amazon. La Paz tends to fluctuate between highs of seventeen and lows of zero from May to October!

November – April: It is probably easier for travellers to avoid the country during the rainy season. If you do visit, be prepared for transport disruption from flooding, landslides and severe fog. This also means that outdoor sports are a no-go at this time. The cities are still good places to check out though, especially when the festival season begins in February. If you want to see the famous Salt Flats in all their reflective glory, April is actually the best time of year to visit! Find out more about backpacking Bolivia!

La Iglesia de San Francisco, La Paz, Bolivia

Skies may be blue, but so are your fingers in La Paz!

The Best Time to Visit Brazil

March – June: Temperatures are warm which means prices are lower to tempt in visitors bef ore winter hits. Only consider visiting the Amazon from the end of May onwards if you don’t want to go everywhere via canoe, flooding is common from January up until this point.

June – September: These are the winter months in Brazil although temperatures tend to stay warm near the equator. Generally speaking, the higher the altitude or the further south in the country, the milder the temperatures (marginally).

October – November: Prices tend to be cheaper as these months are not the most popular with tourists. Temperatures are mostly comfortable and visiting out of peak season means you will avoid most of the holidays that draw in the crowds.

December – February: The summer season hits and brings hoards of tourists with it. As the temperatures peak, travellers flock to the country’s beaches. Prices will be hiked up around the time of the Carnival which takes place in either February or early March. Learn more about backpacking Brazil!

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A Quiet Beach in Rio de Janeiro

A Quiet Beach in Rio!

The Best Time to Visit Chile

March – May: The autumn season is a good time to visit Chilean Patagonia as it is cheaper, although you will have to make compromises. Throughout autumn many places shut up for the low season because of the cold temperatures. Don’t expect highs to regularly exceed ten degrees and prepare yourself for even colder nights. As a result of the plummeting temperatures, your accommodation options will be limited.

June – August: The weather in the North is good but avoid Chilean Patagonia because of freezing rainfall. Winter season sees the worst of the weather which leaves many roads blocked and forces attractions in the South to close.

September – October: This is a good time to visit the Atacama Desert, as well as the city of Santiago because the climate is pleasant. You will still want to pack something warm for the evenings though as it can get chilly.

November – February: This is the best time to visit Chilean Patagonia as temperatures are at their highest. However, this will mean time spent there will be expensive. More sun means that it is the best time to visit the beach but unfortunately everyone has the same idea. Read more about backpacking Chile!

The View Across Valparaiso, Chile


The Best Time to Visit Colombia

April – July: The Highlands should be avoided as this is when the country says hello to the rainy season. Transport disruption as a result of flooding is likely.

August – September: The rain begins to ease off around the start of this period so the country is more suited for outdoor adventures. To see Medellin in bloom, check out Feria de las Flores (The Flower Festival) which takes place in August.

October – November: The rain returns which scares off the majority of tourists. As a result, prices drop and the crowds ease off. This is a great opportunity to visit the Amazon for trekking as the rainforest is surprisingly dry this time of year.

December – March: These are the driest months across the country which makes them well-suited for a whole variety of outdoor activities including trekking in the Andes. Find out more about backpacking Colombia!

Cartagena Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia

The Best Time to Visit Ecuador

June – September: This is the peak season for visitors to the country. The temperatures are warm year-round in Ecuador, with the exception of in the Highlands which benefit from warmer temperatures and drier days. This is a particularly expensive time to do a Galapagos cruise.

October – November: These months see prices drop as there is less interest from tourists. This results in lower prices and also means that advance booking isn’t usually necessary. Both October and November are a good time to visit the Amazon as rivers are generally passable.

December – May: Whilst this is the rainy season, it is an ideal time to visit Ecuador’s beaches as you can enjoy warm, sunny mornings with short bursts of tropical rain in the afternoons and evenings. These are the warmest months for the Galapagos and the wind drops which is great if you are looking for an island cruise. Read up on Ecuador backpacking!

A Deserted Beach in Montañita, Ecuador

A Deserted Beach in Montañita, Ecuador

The Best Time to Visit French Guiana

January – June: This is the rainy season which puts many travellers off exploring the country. The temperatures are still warm but the rain makes for humid days. From March onwards, prices begin to drop to entice visitors.

July – September: Temperatures begin to rise and August sees the peak month of travel which bumps up prices. Rain eases off but the climate remains humid.

October – December: This is still a busy period for the industry so expect to see continued high prices. Rainfall begins to increase so expect a wetter experience, especially if interacting with the wildlife.

French Guiana Cacao street towards church

French Guiana

The Best Time to Visit Guyana

Late January – April: This marks the wind down of the rainy season, leaving the country more passable for rainforest exploration. Waterfalls are at their fullest and the foliage is lush and green. Whilst there is not yet a defined traveller trail, Guyana is popular with tourists during these months and prices will be higher.

May – Mid July: During this time, road travel can become troublesome owing to flooding from the rainy season. However, these months are a great time to spot Jaguar as they come out of the rainforest and onto the roads to dry off.

Late July – Mid November: These months see temperatures begin to increase (although they stay between mid-twenties and low thirties year-round owing to the proximity to the equator) and boggy parts of the jungle become easier to access.

Late November – Mid January: This is the second of Guyana’s rainy seasons and probably not the most advisable time to travel to the country. Learn more about backpacking Guyana!

Kaieteur Falls Guyana

Kaieteur Falls Guyana

The Best Time to Visit Paraguay

April – September: These are the peak months of tourism in Paraguay. The weather is less humid although still hot. Many travellers use this to their advantage to visit the Chaco, a vast plain which encompasses the entire western half of the country. Many important cultural festivals also take place within this time frame.

October – March: This is the summer season and a popular time for travellers to visit the country. As you would expect, temperatures are high and the humidity is extreme which can mean that outdoor activities are not the most comfortable!

Click for more on backpacking Paraguay!

A Sand-filled View, Encarnación Paraguay

Encarnación, Paraguay

The Best Time to Visit Peru

June – August: These months welcome the dry season which makes it a great time to embark on some of Peru’s best hikes, particularly in the Andes. Both July and August are the peak times to visit Machu Picchu, so make sure you book your trip at least six months in advance in order to obtain a permit.

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September – November: Except for the Highlands, the weather is hot, with temperatures tending to hover around thirty degrees. As many tourists leave after August, it is a good time to do the busiest attractions.

December – March: Expect rain on the Highlands and around Cusco but make the most of the hot weather which comes with it. This is a good time to enjoy the coast of Peru because the rainfall is less in these areas and the days are sunny.

April – May: Visiting the country after the rainy season means that the landscape is at its greenest. You will also get to avoid the big crowds of tourists who are attracted by the peak season which means permits for hikes can be organised closer to the time. Read more about backpacking Peru!

A Very Snowy Path in Peru

A Very Snowy Path in Peru.

The Best Time to Visit Suriname

February – April: This is the first of the dry seasons in the country and the cooler of the two. Visit during late February to May to get the most out of turtle watching in the country.

May – July: These are generally months to avoid travelling through Suriname because of the volume of rainfall. The road network is fairly limited in certain areas and it can struggle to withstand the flooding that comes with the wet season.

August – November: This is the second of the dry seasons and is hotter than the first. Prices for accommodation and flights will be higher in these months but it is still possible to get some decent deals if you book in advance.

December – January: Temperatures are at their coolest, although it is still pretty hot during these months. There is also an increase in rainfall which means much fewer tourists and lower prices.

Mosque in Suriname

A mosque in Suriname.

The Best Time to Visit Uruguay

January – March: Both Carnival and Easter mean that these are expensive months to visit the country but temperatures are high and rainfall isn’t too bad.

April – May: This may be the autumn season but despite this, the sea is at it’s warmest. During this time, the beaches really come into their own. It is arguably the best time to go snorkelling off the coast.

June – October: Temperatures drop during the winter months which means cheaper accommodation and fewer crowds. If you’re interested in wildlife and would like to do some whale watching, head to the coast where they come to breed for the winter season.

November – December: Tourists from neighbouring countries tend to travel to Uruguay around the end of the year to spend the holiday season. Prices go up massively during the Christmas and New Year period and the temperatures begin to climb to just over twenty degrees. Click for more on Uruguay backpacking!

Skyscrapers seen across the water, Punta Del Este, Uruguay

Punta Del Este

The Best Time to Visit Venezuela

February – March: It is slightly cooler this time of year which means visitors are able to enjoy the Easter Carnival celebrations which take place.

April – September: Temperatures start to warm up but it also gets wetter. Visiting Gran Sabana and the Angel Falls is the perfect activity as the rainy season makes them more accessible and offers better photos opportunities.

October – November: This is the low season so visitors to the country can enjoy lower prices. November signifies the beginning of the driest months of the year which offers the perfect excuse for hiking or getting involved in other outdoor pursuits.

December – January: These tend to be the months where most of the locals travel because of the Christmas and New Year holidays. Prices will go up rapidly and accommodation will fill up way in advance. Find out more about backpacking Venezuela!

A countryside shot in Venezuela

Venezuelan countryside

Where are you going next?!

Sheree Hooker Bio Pic

Sheree Hooker | Editor @ South America Backpacker + Winging The World

Sheree is the awkward British wanderluster behind, a travel blog designed to show that even the most useless of us can travel. Follow Sheree’s adventures as she blunders around the globe, falling into squat toilets, getting into cars with machete men and running away from angry peacocks.

The seasons in South America. When to travel?

estaciones del año en latinoamerica

Immense mountain ranges, Caribbean beach, salt desert, vast jungles, and much more. Only one continent offers so much diversity in landscapes and climate. Welcome to South America. Due to its diversity and very significant size, it can be quite tricky to know when is the best time to travel but also to define the climate and seasons of south America.

Seasons in South America

If you are wondering when is summer in South America or when to avoid winter in South America, know that defining a single season to visit South America is in fact totally impossible. The continent is so vast that there are so many different climates. There is almost 7000km between the northernmost point and the southernmost point, so basically it’s a bit like trying to sum up the climate between northern Finland and southern Ethiopia.

The further north you are on the continent, the closer you are to the Equator (the country, of course, but also the Equator line). The temperature variations between the different months of the year are therefore smaller and smaller as you go up.

In other words, each seasons of South America depends on its country. Each country has different climates (even within a country sometimes). Let’s see what’s the best time of the year to travel in countries of South America.

Patagonia in March

Although much of the continent enjoys a tropical climate with mild temperatures all year round, this is not the case in southern Latin America. Below the Santiago line, it is very cold in winter. If you want to visit Patagonia (which is strongly recommended), it is best to do so during the southern hemisphere summer (November to March). And it is even better to do it after the school holidays of the South Americans (January to February), so that makes March the perfect month to start your journey

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As for the famous Patagonian landscapes, don’t miss Ushuaia and Lapataia Park, Torres del Paine, the Perito Moreno, El Chalten etc. Everything is concentrated in a small corner of paradise, you won’t be able to get lost. If you are curious about what activities to do in this region, but also want to see some breathtaking pictures of Patagonia, you can take a look at the best Photos of Patagonia.

patagonia argentina howlanders

Chile in April

It’s the end of March, you’re on your way to El Chalten and you tell yourself that it’s more than 2000km of the road to Santiago. Fortunately for you, one of the most beautiful roads in the world, the Carretera Austral, is here to save you. An isolated road in Chile that goes from Villa O’Higgins to Puerto Montt. The scenery is beautiful and well worth it. You can otherwise always take a plane to Santiago. It’s time to have your passport stamped one last time with the beautiful Chilean flag because where it all happens is in San Pedro de Atacama! A few days are enough to explore the famous Atacama Desert.

From the rainbow mountains of San Pedro to the Chilean Patagonia Torres del Paine. This country is full of treasure. You can take a look at all the tours to do in Chile to have an idea on all the other places you can visit within the country.

atacama desert chile howlanders

Bolivia in May

The first thing to know is that Bolivia is in the southern hemisphere, which means that the seasons are reversed: winter in Europe is summer there and vice versa. So if you follow the timing advice, you will be there at the beginning of May. The weather is good, it’s warm and not overwhelmed with people.

Bolivia is above all, an essential stop on a South American travel itinerary. You will come across the incredible Uyuni Salts Flats, breathtaking lagoons and volcanoes in the Sajama National Park, the beautiful little town of Sucre or the impressive La Paz. A trip to Bolivia is all of this at once, incredible landscapes that you would think you came from another planet and that will probably mark you forever. If you are craving to know more about what to see and visit on your tour through Bolivia, after reading this, you will already have a pretty good knowledge of it.

uyuni salts flats bolivia howlanders

Peru in June

In Peru, the country just south of the equator, there are three types of climates: the desert coastal strip, which has a mild climate and cloudy in winter and pleasantly warm in summer; the Andean zone (the Sierra), more or less cold depending on the altitude; and finally the large eastern zone covered by the Amazonian forest, which has warm and humid weather all year round. Keep in mind that when it’s summer in Europe, it’s “winter” in Peru.

It’s the end of May-early June and you are delighted to be leaving Bolivia to descend in altitude to milder temperatures. But you are also grateful to arrive right before the high season. If you have planned to only visit Peru, then you should consider going during the autumn season as it is the lowest season of the year.

All in all, we can say that the country symbolizes all of South America, from the Inca ruins of the famous, yet unmistakable Machu Picchu, to the llamas and colourful hats, you will be amazed wherever you go. In case you’re interested in seeing all of those wonders, then you should probably take a look at the possible tours to do in Peru.

machu picchu howlanders

Ecuador in July

Although Ecuador has some of the best seasons of South America, the country also has two main climates: a rainy season and a dry season, which vary from region to region. But the most recommendable months would be from June until September.

Did you know that Ecuador has the most volcanoes (active and inactive) in the world in relation to its surface area? Situated in the middle of the convergence zone between the oceanic and continental plates, this very small country has no less than 100 volcanoes, some of which reach an altitude of more than 5000m! And who says volcanoes say hiking, magnificent landscapes, and thermal springs! So don’t miss all the amazing things to do in Ecuador.

ecuador howlanders

Colombia in December

Between Venezuela, Brazil, Panama, Ecuador and Peru, Colombia is a country with a tropical climate due to its proximity to the equator. There are only two seasons: summer, which is also the dry season, in December, January, July and August, and winter, which is also the rainy season, in April, May, October and November. That makes December a perfect month to go visit Colombia.

Make sure to know w hat to see and what to visit in Colombia, before going so you can 100% enjoy the country.

santa marta colombia howlanders

As you might have understood, the seasons in South American countries are very different from other continents. Generally speaking, the seasons are reversed compared to Europe, but again that stays very general. Thankfully, after reading this blog you can avoid rainy, cold and above all touristy seasons. But remember that the most important thing to know is that whether it is during the summer or the winter, you will never regret visiting this incredible continent.

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