Seasons and Weather
There is no such thing as a bad time to visit South America. Given the size of the continent, it should come as little surprise that at any point in the year there are a number of different climates in action. Generally speaking, the closer to the equator a country is (Ecuador and Peru, for example) the more consistently warm it is, and the higher the altitude of a city, the colder it will be. It is also important to remember that the seasons in South America are the reverse of that in the Northern Hemisphere, meaning that summer falls between December and February and winter between June and August.
Spring in South America
The weather during spring (September to November), as with all the seasons, greatly depends on where in South America you are travelling. In the northern part of the continent, the weather will be hot and there will be less rainfall during this period of the year. This is an excellent time to visit the Amazon rainforest as it is off-peak and therefore much less crowded and the lighter rainfall means fewer mosquitoes and more acessible trails. It is also a good time to explore Bolivia and the famous salt flats as they will be dry enough to explore fully but temperatures won’t be too cold. This is also a good time to visit the Galapagos Islands as rainfall is at a minimum, temperatures are reasonable and much of the endemic wildlife is active.
Recommended tours to South America in spring
Highlights of Bolivia
Amazon, Incas & Titicaca
Summer in South America
In South America, the summer months fall between December and February. For the vast majority of the continent, this is the hottest time of the year but also, generally, the wettest. However, the Patagonia region tends to be exempt from the consistent rain of summer which, when combined with the warm temperature, makes it an ideal summer destination. This is also the perfect time to take a trip along the coast of Peru as the misty haze that settles during winter will have lifted and the entire region will be bathed in sunshine. The beaches of Colombia also come to life during the South American summer period. Towards the end of summer is carnival season and the Rio Carnival, one of the best parties in the world, fills the streets of Rio de Janeiro. It's also peak season in Antarctica with expedition cruises operating full schedules in the warmer months.
Recommended tours to South America in summer
Santiago to Patagonia
Autumn in South America
Autumn (March to May) coincides with the warm and wet season in the Galapagos, which means low winds and calmer seas - ideal for snorkelling with plenty of wildlife activity taking places on the islands. In Argentina autumn marks the end of the rainy season so it's an excellent time to explore the country and particularly its wine regions. The landscape will still have its vivid green colour after the hydrating rains of the wet summer but now the weather will be much more pleasant – perfect for sipping a glass of wine in the sunshine. Buenos Aires is also a good destination now as it will be an ideal temperature for sightseeing. In Colombia the peak tourist season is wrapping up but the weather is still pleasant enough for outdoor activity so it's a good time to visit without paying higher prices.
Recommended tours to South America in autumn
Waterfalls Wine & Wilderness
Winter in South America
In the southern part of the continent, winter (June to August) is the coldest part of the year and sees temperatures fall below freezing. It's the best time to visit South America’s number one attraction - Machu Picchu. The wet season will have come to an end, meaning that you will be able to enjoy clear skies and minimal rainfall. Many flock to the Patagonia region in the south of Chile and Argentina to hit the ski slopes during these months as the powder is perfect. Not only do temperatures drop during winter in South America but this season is notably the driest. This makes places like Colombia’s coffee region, the Andes region that stretches through Peru and Ecuador, and the coast of Brazil highly appealing. Take note that these months are generally the most popular times to visit South America as western schools are finished for summer with prices at their highest and top attractions at their busiest.