Here is a Month by Month description with highlights and season conditions regarding weather, terrain, what to do and expect in Patagonia all year round!
After many years living, working and travelling around Patagonia we decided to write this entry since we read a lot of opinions regarding our region and would like to help tourists with local knowledge and objective data.
We will start by Spring in Patagonia:
September is still great for skiing and snow activities. The ski resorts are usually open till the end of the month. Backcountry skiing conditions are great and the snowpack more stable. High winter season for tourist has ended already so it feels very relaxed.
October in Northern Patagonia is quite slow, a short low-season when locals try to go for some fun snow Peak climbs if weather allows. Conditions can be rough and mountain huts are still closed except Frey Hut which never closes! Skiing is still ok in the Backcountry and some day hikes on lower terrain can be done with no snowshoes. Days are a bit longer but still feels like Spring hasn´t arrived.
November! Yes, now we can call this Spring! Tulips are blooming, some daffodils a bit latter, also native wild ground orchids will start popping up. The mountains slowly loose some snow and become friendlier for adventures. Rivers flow bigger and soon trout fishing season starts. It is a great time to explore and visit mountain huts that will be busy in January. Some snow peak climbs are at their prime conditions during this month. Down at the lakes, kayak touring is a must to enjoy the quietness and solitude. The cold mornings keep all mosquitos and flies asleep waiting for the summer.
December in Patagonia is our favorite! The forest is in full bloom, orchids, lupines, scot’s broom decorate the roads and trails everywhere. It is so beautiful and warm, days get looonnngggeerrr! It is a great time for all adventures and tours. It is still slow in number of tourists so you can visit almost every place and feel the Patagonian solitude. The last week, during Christmas time is when Summer High Season starts and some hotels and restaurants get crowded mainly with foreigners. If you come during the last 10 days of the year, book ahead of time!
January, chaos is here! This is when most Argentineans go on holidays so except people everywhere, where it is somewhat easy to get too. It is not a problem to avoid the crowds though, you just need to know where to go and at what time. Same as in any country, crowds stay close to cars or busses, so get out and walk, paddle or ride longer! Guides will help you find that amazing quiet place you saw in the pictures. Since there is a lot more people, also be more careful for your belongings, sometimes burglars come from cities to “work the season” from careless tourists. Weather now is super nice, hot days, stable conditions and beautiful mountains with some snow left in the summits. Perfect time for hiking traverses and climbs. Rafting, paddling and water sports help cool the body from the strong summer sun. Ok, let’s talk about horse-flies, black-flies and mosquitos since the season started! Patagonia is not as bad as Alaska but it can be annoying.
February brings new blooming of native flowers such as the colorful Amancay, a type of lily which covers the forest above 1200 meters of elevation. This time of the year is also perfect for all activities and you will find much less people around, even though it is still high season. The lakes are warmer so water sports and swimming in the shallow bays is the thing to do! This month visitors will meet a “new” host in Patagonia called Chaqueta Amarilla (Yellow Jacket) this carnivorous bee begun its reign in Patagonia in 1980 and since then it has been spreading South with a fast pace. It is believed as a result of the higher temperatures during the summer and early autumn. Just make sure you don’t grab or bite one while having a picnic outside. They do not sting unless you really disturbed them.
March finds the mountains with no snow at all, by this time it all melted off. Also the horse flies left because some mornings get colder which is mostly appreciated. Certainly the high season for tourism is ending and traffic is back to reasonable. Rivers and lakes have lost a good amount of volume. Days are still hot and nice, some rain may come and locals will be thankful!
April fall… not really! Since it still feels like summer especially with all this Global Warming or Climate Change. Lately we have been having amazing Aprils with good weather and conditions to be outside adventuring. Now for sure you are Off-Season, little crowds are found and travelers can enjoy some autumn colors up in the mountains where the colder mornings star shedding the leaves of the Lenga trees.
May comes with rain! Oh yes, after an amazing summer it is time to hunker down! Usually May is the month when locals go on holidays (if possible) to a nice warmer place. Rainy season begins and weather in general is very unstable. The autumn colors are at its best so on nice weather, it is the most beautiful scenery. Great time to get up at higher ground to enjoy these. You will find discounts and promotions on many services and hotels who try to attract visitors. Mountain huts usually close by the end of May.
June… a month for movies & chocolate! Rain keeps falling, hopefully mixed with some snow fall up in the mountains. Summits begin to get covered with snow and people ready for the Winter season! A great activity to do during this time is to hike up to Frey Hut valley and ice skate on the alpine lagoon which is usually frozen by now. If the snow starts early and strong, some of the tours and activities for the winter will open early.
July is snowballs time!!! Yes, the “tirabolas” arrived to town and we welcome them! People from all South America come to enjoy the snow and the amazing scenery we have to offer. Also to eat a lot of hot chocolate, drink beer and have smoked game meat. There is a great offering of snow related activities such as snowmobile, snowshoeing, backcountry-skiing and hiking, mixed with big lunches for a fun winter family day. Also this is the time when schools and universities have their winter break so it does get crowded!
August time to ski! The snow pack is for sure looking good with enough snow. Snow quality also is at its best for Patagonia. The larger crowds have returned home and the mountains are all yours to enjoy! This is the best month for alpine skiing and backcountry. All snow related tours are fully operational too. Snow does sometimes get to the city but it does not stay long. The temperatures in Winter are not too low so it melts quickly. If you rent a car, avoid downtown driving after a snow storm or big frost, people have amnesia and forget how to drive in those conditions!
And September comes again and the loop repeats itself…
We hope this was useful for planning your next adventure, feel free to contact us for any info or questions. Cheers!
Jofama Sko Dame March 16, 2019
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