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When is the best time to travel to South America?

Top times to visit South America based on weather, price and crowds.

We’ve taken into consideration all the important factors when travelling abroad and put together this guide on the best times to visit South America.

Best time to travel to South America

As South America is such a vast continent, we’ve broken it down into the best times to visit some of its most popular destinations.

  • Brazil: April to June and August to October. These are just outside of the major school holiday peak periods (July to August and December to January) as well as the hugely popular Rio Carnival (late February). These months also offer cooler weather as it is autumn and spring, respectively, during these times.
  • Peru: May to September. This is Peru’s dry season and will afford you the most comfortable weather for outdoor pursuits such as the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. Avoid December to March (summer) as these months are met with frequent showers.
  • Argentina: Argentina is good to visit all year round. Winter (July and August) offers the coolest weather, however bear in mind that this is a peak tourist period as it coincides with the Northern Hemisphere’s school holidays. If you’re travelling south to Patagonia, the summer months of December to March are best as the weather is mild and pleasant at this time.
  • Chile: Similar to Argentina, Chile is good to visit all year round. To avoid the crowds, travel during spring (September to November) and autumn (March to June).
  • Galapagos Islands: Despite featuring wet and dry seasons, the Galapagos Islands are good to visit all year round as there’s always activity on the island whether it be penguins migrating, tortoises hatching, iguanas nesting or sea lions mating. For the best weather, travel between May and June and October and December.

Overview

South America is a vast continent comprised of about a dozen different countries. Due the variation in altitude and latitude across the continent, the weather can differ greatly from place to place. For this reason, it’s best to determine which country or countries you’d like to visit before deciding which months are best to visit them in.

South America is a popular destination for travellers from other South American countries as well as from North America. Prices tend to spike during the school holiday periods in July, August and late-December to meet this demand, so it’s best not to travel during these months if you wish to avoid inflated prices and crowded tourist attractions.


Weather and prices

The best time to visit South America, weatherwise: While the best weather varies from place to place, generally it’s better to visit the northern countries of South America during winter (June to August) when the weather is pleasant and there is less rainfall. As the south features milder summers, it’s good to visit year round, however if you’re planning a trip to the southernmost area of Patagonia, it’s best to visit during the summer as autumn and winter tend to receive the most precipitation of the year.

The cheapest time to visit South America: Search for flight deals during the lower season months of spring and autumn.


The best time to visit South America for…

  • Hiking and outdoor activities: Hiking is best done during the winter months of June, July and August. Winters are generally dry though bear in mind there may be snowfall in high altitudes.
  • City sightseeing: City sightseeing is good all year round though is ideal during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn as the weather is still fine and the holidaymakers are few and far between.
  • Beaches: Summer is the time to hit the beaches. If you wish to avoid the crowds on Copacabana Beach, steer clear of dates around Carnival as this is one of the city's most peak dates.
  • Snow sports: Snowing is possible in Argentina and Chile. The season runs from July to August.

Hot South America travel deals

Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal or cheap flight available, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too.

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