Classic Chile Tour
Roam the Atacama Desert, hike Chilean Patagonia, taste world-class wines in Casablanca and explore Santiago on this luxury two-week tour.
From the scorching, arid desert of the north to the frozen glaciers of the south, Chile is a colossal country with at least seven different climates throughout the year. Choosing when to visit Chile will depend on what you want to see and do.
The Chilean summer is filled with long, sunny days, and as the temperatures peak, so do the crowds and prices. It’s the high season for a reason, with the best trekking conditions in Patagonia and southern Chile, including Puerto Natales, Torres del Paine and the Aysén Region.
The central and northern regions are blazing hot, but you can always escape to the sandy coastline for a dip in the ocean, or venture to Easter Island (Rapa Nui) for tropical weather and the famous Tapati Rapa Nui festival in February.
With landscapes lit up in golden foliage, Autumn is a stunning time to visit Chile. Temperatures begin to cool, crowds are waning, and the wine harvests take centre stage. Visit Casablanca Valley to see lively celebrations, complete with traditional music, grape-stomping and wine tasting.
It’s a great time to trek the extraordinary landscapes of Patagonia without the summer crowds, although temperatures are dropping and rains are increasing.
As the temperatures plummet, the ski season arrives, and you can carve up the slopes around the Lake District and Portillo. Winter is a fantastic season to explore central Chile, including Santiago, Valparaiso and Casablanca, while the Atacama Desert stays warm throughout winter.
Although Torres del Paine National Park stays open all year round, it is not recommended to visit Patagonia during winter, due to freezing conditions, heavy rains and shorter daylight hours. Instead, head to Easter Island (Rapa Nui) for balmy tropical weather and superb diving conditions.
As spring rolls out across the country, you’ll find a parade of gorgeous wildflowers, including a brilliant display of desert blooms in the Atacama Desert.
Temperatures heat up and rains ease throughout central and southern Chile, and Patagonia returns to its summer glory around November. Take advantage of the wonderful weather, before the summer crowds arrive.
January is the height of the Chilean summer, with long summer days and the warmest temperatures of the year. As the weather peaks, so do the crowds and prices, so it’s best to book early during this busy season.
Summer is the best time to visit Patagonia, with clear skies and pleasant temperatures across Punta Arenas, Balmaceda, the Lake District, Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine National Park. Note that Patagonia’s infamous winds become more fierce in summer, so remember to pack some warm layers.
Santiago, Valparaiso, Casablanca and the Atacama region are blazing hot, however the Atacama Desert sometimes experiences the Altiplanic Winter in January. This can bring on freak bouts of rain, thunderstorms and even snow from late January to early February.
There are plenty of events and festivals happening across Chile in January including Muestra Cultural Mapuche, a six-day festival in the Lake District featuring indigenous artisans, music and dance, the Love Parade in Santiago, drawing thousands to the city for colourful parades, live music and delicious food, and Santiago a Mil, where local and international acts descend on Santiago for Latin America’s biggest theatre festival.
The warm summer continues into February, with peaking holiday crowds travelling around the country. Conditions are excellent for Patagonia and southern Chile, including Puerto Varas, Chiloe Island and the Lake District.
Central Chile and the northern Atacama Region are hot, although early February may still bring occasional thunderstorms or snow in the Atacama Desert.
Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is a year-round destination, however it’s particularly fantastic in February, as you can witness the Tapati Rapa Nui festival, held in the first two weeks of February. You’ll be immersed in Polynesian culture, with dancing and singing competitions and sporting events such as horse racing, canoeing and swimming.
For more fascinating culture, head to Festival Costumbrista Chilote, a week-long festival held in mid-February on Chiloe Island, featuring the island’s unique folk music and dance, traditional food and drink, and even hot potato juggling.
Those visiting the wine region should check out the Viña del Mar International Song Festival. It’s Latin America’s oldest and largest music festival and is held annually in the third week of February in Viña del Mar.
As Chile transitions from summer to autumn, the crowds begin to thin, and the changing autumn leaves light up the country. If you prefer to see Chile’s top destinations without the crowds, this is the best time to go.
Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is quieter in March after the excitement of their February festival, while Patagonia still offers clear, pleasant weather with fewer tourists. Southern Chile transforms during autumn, showing another shade of beauty as the golden foliage erupts around the turquoise lakes and lush forests.
Atacama is also an ideal destination, as the temperatures begin to cool off, making day trips more pleasant without the blazing heat. Stargazing is best in summer, and you’ll still see plenty of brilliant starry skies.
Visitors to the wine regions will get to see the wine harvest festivals, known as Fiesta de la Vendimia. Most towns will have a wine harvest celebration, usually featuring parades, grape stomping, wine tasting and traditional music. Casablanca holds a festival in their Plaza de Armas in late March, celebrating local vineyards from across the valley.
Autumn is in full bloom in April, with bright foliage illuminated in red and orange hues across the country. Temperatures are beginning to cool, although the northern region is still quite warm and Santiago experiences pleasant weather with little rain.
The Atacama Desert is wonderful to visit in April, along with the wine regions where you’ll find sunny days and vendimias (wine harvest festivals). April is also one of the last ideal months for Patagonia, with smaller crowds and lighter winds, although the weather is unpredictable and you may experience the onset of rains.
Although April is a shoulder season in Chile, the Easter holiday sees another boom in tourist crowds. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, it may be best to plan your holiday around the Easter rush, however if you are travelling in Chile during Semana Santa (Easter), you’ll enjoy the festive celebrations, with streets filled with parades, food and music.
If you prefer to avoid the crowds of peak season and you don’t mind cooler weather, May can be one of the best months to visit Chile. The weather is warm and dry in the north, with stunning starry night skies in the Atacama Desert. You’ll also enjoy pleasant weather across central Chile, including Santiago, the wine region of Casablanca, and Valparaiso, where a cool sea breeze rolls in every evening.
You’ll enjoy spectacular Autumn landscapes throughout Patagonia and it’s the last month where you can enjoy trekking through the stunning Andean landscapes, from the beautiful Aysén Region to Torres del Paine National Park. You’ll also have the best chance of spotting the elusive puma in Torres del Paine National Park during April and May.
It’s a quiet month for events and festivals in Chile, although you may catch the last of the vendimias (wine harvest festivals) in the wine valleys, where town squares celebrate the grape harvest with parades, markets, grape-stomping, artisanal foods and delicious local wines.
June heralds the arrival of Chile’s winter, with cooler temperatures, increasing rains, and the start of the ski season. The slopes are best in the southern Lake District and in Portillo, just two hours out of Santiago, famous for its powdery mountains which are even visited by international teams like Italy and the US for training during their summer season.
Central Chile starts to see colder weather and more rain, however it’s a great time to visit Santiago, Valparaiso and Casablanca, and you’ll still get warmer weather in the northern Atacama Desert region.
Although Torres del Paine National Park is open all year round, many attractions and hotels across Patagonia close for the winter season due to frosty temperatures, shorter daylight hours and heavy rains. If you don’t mind the colder weather, you’ll enjoy having the park all to yourself, as the crowds disappear over winter.
A number of festivals take place around Chile in June, including the Festival de la Lluvia (Festival of Rain), where each year in early June, Puerto Varas in the Lake District holds a week of free events including live music and a parade of colourful umbrellas.
Winter is in full swing in July and is usually the wettest month of the year in Chile. This is a great time to visit central Chile, with mild days of around 15°C. Stroll the lively neighbourhoods of Santiago, see the colourful houses of Valparaiso on the coastline, or drive to the lush wine valleys like Casablanca, where you’ll find superb wines and gorgeous countryside.
Patagonia and southern Chile is not a recommended destination during July, due to harsh conditions and only seven hours of daylight each day.
Although Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is a year round destination, winter is a particularly fantastic season. You’ll escape the rain of mainland Chile and discover a tropical island paradise with excellent scuba diving in some of the clearest seas in the world, brimming with thriving marine life.
Snowbunnies will adore Chile in July, and there are plenty of frosty festivals including Fiesta de la Nieve (Snow Festival) held in Puerto Williams and Carnaval de Invierno (Winter Carnival), held in Punta Arenas, complete with snowy activities and fireworks.
August is the last month of Chile’s winter and a great month to hit the slopes before the snow melts in spring. The ski resorts often experience a boom in tourists during the school holidays of July, so August is a quiet month for those looking to avoid the crowds.
Head to Portillo, the Lake District or further south to Termas de Chillán, where you’ll find luxurious resorts, spa treatments and restaurants, along with natural hot springs bubbling from underground volcanic waters.
Patagonia and southern Chile are still very cold and wet, however the rains start to ease towards the end of the month. The further north you go the warmer it gets, and Atacama Desert is a beautiful destination in July, with striking landscapes of red canyons, towering volcanoes and dazzling thermal lakes.
There are few events held in August, however you can attend the Festival de Jazz de Ñuñoa in late August, with Chile’s best jazz acts arriving in Santiago for a fantastic weekend of music.
September heralds the beginning of spring, with warmer temperatures and clear, sunny days. Wildflowers start to bloom across central and northern Chile, and the Atacama region is particularly beautiful, with a blanket of desert flowers.
Central Chile is wonderful in September, with smaller crowds, pleasant temperatures and spring blooms lighting up Santiago, Valparaiso and Casablanca.
The ski season is over, but the surf season arrives in full force, with world-class waves found across Chile’s northern coast. Drive the Pan American Highway along the edge of the Atacama Desert, to find the perfect surf break.
Patagonia is still frosty (spring doesn’t arrive here until November), although the rains are easing and the days are getting longer. If you don’t mind the cold, you’ll enjoy Torres del Paine without the flood of tourists, however you’ll find that many locals travel around Chile’s Independence Day. During Fiesta Patrias (held over the week of 18 September), you’ll find joyous celebrations all over Chile, honouring the historical events surrounding Chile’s independence.
Spring is in full force in October, with gorgeous wildflowers blanketing the central and northern regions, with a particularly stunning display of desert blooms found in the Atacama Desert. It’s also a great time for birdwatching in this arid corner of the world.
Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is beautiful in the spring and you’ll also experience superb weather in central Chile, including Santiago, Valparaiso and Casablanca.
If you’d like to experience Patagonia without the peak summer crowds, you can brave the cold and experience the famous wonders of Torres del Paine National Park. Note that the daylight hours are still short and weather conditions can be harsh, so it may be worth waiting another month.
Lake District is another beautiful destination in October, with plenty of spring blooms and adventure sports, however you may encounter some rain. Join the Oktoberfest celebrations in Puerto Varas and Valdivia, with live music, lederhosen and plenty of beer.
November is one of the best months to visit Chile. The country is illuminated in spring blooms, the days are long and sunny, and the peak summer crowds are yet to arrive.
It’s a fantastic time to travel to southern Chile and Patagonia, including Torres del Paine, Tierra del Fuego and the Aysén Region. You’ll find a carpet of blooming wildflowers and longer days with around 15 hours of sunshine, perfect for trekking, sailing and spotting wildlife.
The Lake District is also fantastic for adventure, with white water rafting, ziplining, horseback riding and skydiving adventures on offer. The central wine regions are gorgeous at this time of year, and the Atacama Desert is getting hotter.
There’s also plenty of festivals and events, including Feria Internacional de Artesania, a huge fair held in Providencia’s Parque Bustamante, showcasing Chile’s best traditional artisans. You can also visit Puerto Montt for their International Jazz Festival, where you’ll find concerts and workshops for budding jazz musicians. In Valparaiso, you can attend Puerto de Ideas, where intellectuals from across Latin America come together for a ‘conference on everything’.
December brings the arrival of summer, with spectacular weather found from north to south. As the temperatures soar, so do the crowds, and December is a popular travel month for both locals and international tourists.
The northern region around the Atacama Desert becomes blazing hot, and while central Chile also heats up, you can find a milder climate on the coastline with cool sea breezes.
It’s a great month to visit southern Chile and Patagonia, from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine, with warmer temperatures and clear skies. Patagonia’s infamous winds make a return in December, so you’ll need to bring warm layers for outdoor adventures.
The second half of December is marked with plenty of events and festivals, including New Year’s festivals, found throughout the country. Valparaiso boasts the biggest fireworks display in Latin America, and the town won the Guinness World Record in 2007 for setting off a staggering 16,000 fireworks.