Feeling chilly? Consider a trip to the sunny Southern Hemisphere, where summer in Chile is just about to get started. Chile and the Southern Cone begin warming up around October, and by December temperatures are rising to their summer highs—which vary quite a bit in this long, slender country that runs from the subtropics almost all the way to Antarctica. Come March, temperatures drop, leaves turn and preparations for autumn begin.
Travelers eager to stretch their summer tans naturally can start planning now for a warm Chilean vacation. Keep in mind that the entire region—Chile, Argentina, Brazil and other countries—traditionally goes on vacation from December 15th through mid-February, coinciding with the school holidays. Prices may be a bit higher, and crowds almost certainly larger, during this period. Santiago, however, is rather deserted, making this a fine time to explore the capital.
Also, take into account the enormous differences in temperature in different parts of the country. If you’ve always dreamed of going to the colorful Atacama Desert, spring (October–December) and fall (March–June) would be best, before temperatures climb above over 104°F (40°C) in the arid region.
Should your tastes run more toward the glacier-sculpted fjords of Patagonia, however, the long days of late summer (after the January winds have died down) would be just perfect. The beaches popular with surfers and sunbathers, are also best in high summer, as the very cold Humboldt Current originating in the Antarctic cools off even the hottest summer days.
If you’re here for certain seasonal activities in Chile, you’ll need to take these into account when planning your second summer vacation as well. For example, the penguins of Otway Sound begin nesting in October, with babies hatching by late November. Whales begin arriving in December, with the most sightings between January and April. This is also the best time for scuba diving, and incidentally, coincides with fly-fishing season.
Once rainy season begins in April, with the weather cooling fast and wine harvest rolling in, it’s time for most travelers (save those rare adventurous souls who love the serious off-season) to head back to the northern hemisphere, where fruit trees are bursting into full bloom in anticipation of their own lazy summer days. There are benefits to living on this glorious globe, and an endless summer of travel is just the beginning.