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The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Cuenca

When is the best time to visit South America?

An enormous continent that ranges from the world’s driest desert to towering Andean peaks and the lush forests of the Amazon, there is no single best time to visit South America.

Variations in weather are often regional rather than seasonal, and though some places can be visited year-round, others have defined wet and dry seasons, though these are generally not severe enough to deter travel. Whether you want to track wildlife, see glaciers, visit ancient ruins or party all night long, there will ideal conditions somewhere on the continent whenever you want to go.

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Our recommendations for when to visit South America

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Peru climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Argentina climate guide

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The Galapagos Islands climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Chile climate guide

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

Ecuador climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

Brazil climate guide

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

Bolivia climate guide

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Paraguay climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

Uruguay climate guide

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

Colombia climate guide

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

Best time to visit

Best time to visit

Good time to visit

Good time to visit

Travel possible

Travel possible

Not recommended

Not recommended

Month-by-month guide to traveling in South America

Vicuna - Torres del Paine

Visiting South America in January

It’s high summer in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Columbia and Uruguay and many city residents travel elsewhere so it’s a good time to visit urban hubs as hotel prices are lower. Conditions are ideal for visiting Columbia’s coffee districts, Uruguay’s wine district, relaxing on the coast or hiking in Patagonia but book well in advance for visits to Torres del Paine National Park.

Events & Festivals

  • The feast of the Three Kings (6th January): Celebrated across Latin America, but Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley in Peru is a wonderful place to be with jubilant processions, music and dance.
  • Feria de Alasitas (last week of January): A fascinating festival held in La Paz, where countless stalls sell all manner of miniature items which Bolivians purchase to appease Ekeko, the household god of abundance.
Land Iguanas, Galapagos

Visiting South America in February

Fine, summer weather continues across much of the continent. It’s a good time to visit The Falklands with long days and wildlife rearing young, or to take a trip to the Galapagos where land and sea temperatures are warming, land birds begin unusual courtship rituals, sea turtles are nesting and marine iguanas’ vivid hues indicate its mating season.

Events & Festivals

  • Carnival (week before Lent): Carnival is celebrated across Latin America with the most renowned celebrations in Rio where visitors crowd to see samba parades and attend lively street parties.
Osorno Volcano, Puerto Varas

Visiting South America in March

As the crowds begin to ease off and hotel prices drop a little, March is a great time to travel across much of South America. Chile, particularly the Lake District and winelands, is very pretty at this time of year, or possibly take a trip to Uruguay’s beaches, Colombia’s coffee district or go hiking in Patagonia where the trails will now be quieter.

Events & Festivals

  • Wine Harvest (late February to early May): Many areas host wine festivals during harvest time with grape stomping, local music and wine tasting.
  • Fiesta de la Patria Gaucha (early March): Taking place in Tacuarembó, this festival celebrates all things guacho, featuring parades, rodeos and traditional music.
  • Holy Week (March or April): Sombre but elaborate religious processions occur across many towns and cities in the continent.
Views of the vineyards at Andeluna Winery, Mendoza

Visiting South America in April

The summer heat eases and visitor numbers tail off in April making it a great time to hike in Patagonia or visit Mendoza's winelands. Sea turtles and land iguanas are hatching in the Galapagos, it’s hot and dry in Paraguay, and the sea around Uruguay is at its warmest making it a good time to go snorkeling here.

Giant Anteater in the Brazilian Pantanal

Visiting South America in May

The rains ease off in the Andes, and both Bolivia and the Pantanal in Brazil enter their dry seasons. While it’s not quite high season, it’s a great time to visit with lower prices and fewer visitors at attractions such as Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu. It’s also a good time to visit Argentina's wetlands, Esteros de Ibera, with good wildlife spotting opportunities.

Events & Festivals

  • El Señor del Gran Poder (May or June): The feast of El Señor del Gran Poder brings over 20,000 dancers in vivid costumes to the streets of La Paz in Bolivia.
Southern right whale, off Peninsula Valdes, Argentina

Visiting South America in June

June marks the start of the peak season for visitors in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador where the weather is warm and dry. By mid-month Argentina’s ski season begins and southern right whales arrive at the Peninsula Valdes. Whales can also be seen off Uruguay’s coast, and it’s a great time to visit the Green Coast between Rio and Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Events & Festivals

  • El Señor del Gran Poder (May or June): The feast of El Señor del Gran Poder brings over 20,000 dancers in vivid costumes to the streets of La Paz in Bolivia.
  • Inti Raymi (24th June): The Inca Festival of the Sun is celebrated on the winter solstice with a theatrical representation of the traditional Inca religious rite in Saksaywaman.
Blue-footed Boobies, Galapagos

Visiting South America in July

July is a great month to visit the Galapagos where you can see the mating ritual of blue-footed boobies and flightless cormorants and the bright red pouches of frigatebird. Cooler evenings make it a good month to visit Buenos Aires, ski season is in full swing in the Argentinian mountains, and Colombia experiences a short dry season ideal for touring.

Machu Picchu

Visiting South America in August

August is one of the best times of the year to visit the tropical wetlands of the Pantanal and is a great time to visit Rio with spring weather, largely blue skies and rising temperatures. Meanwhile, it’s peak season in Peru and Bolivia, so plan well in advance, up to a year ahead if you wish to hike the Inca Trail.

Events & Festivals

  • Medellin Flower Festival (early August): Medellin’s annual flower festival sees the streets filled with monumental flower displays as well as live music and other festivities.
  • Buenos Aires Tango Festival (mid-August): This annual festival sees two weeks of free events, featuring performances by the world's best tango dancers, art exhibitions and opportunities for visitors to get involved.
Atacama Desert, Chile

Visiting South America in September

September is a great month to visit the Peninsula Valdes in Argentina where you can expect sightings of whales, seals, penguins and lots of sea birds. In Chile, the weather is beginning to warm up but visitor numbers are still low making it a good time to visit Santiago, the Atacama Desert and the central valleys of the north.

Events & Festivals

  • Chilean Independence Day (18th September): Nationwide festivities take place to mark the anniversary of Chile's independence from Spain, including parties, dances and traditional meals.
Bariloche, Argentina

Visiting South America in October

The weather is warming up and wildflowers are blooming across Argentina’s Lake District making it a wonderful time for walking here, or a good time to visit Patagonia before the peak summer crowds arrive. The winds are dropping in the Galapagos, the seas are calmer, blue-footed boobies are raising their chicks on Española and Isabela, and sea lion pups play in the water.

The view from Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro

Visiting South America in November

Warmer weather, longer days and wildlife rearing their young make this a good time to visit the Falkland Islands. Brazil, Chile and Uruguay are ramping up for the summer crowds, though the beaches are quieter than in December. Patagonia is becoming increasingly busy and it’s advisable to book well in advance.

Iguazu Falls, Brazil

Visiting South America in December

Although a busy time, December offers the best chance of warm, clear weather in Patagonia with dramatic views and scenic hiking opportunities. Good travel conditions in Colombia bring increased visitor numbers but ideal weather for visiting colonial cities and the beaches, while the season’s rains have filled the rivers and Iguazu Falls is thundering dramatically over the cliff edge.

Events & Festivals

  • Santurantikuy Market (24th December): Vendors from the High Andes arrive in Cusco to sell grasses and plants for the nativity manger.
  • New Year's Eve (31st December): New Year's Eve is a sight to be seen in Rio, where much of the city dresses in white and gathers on Copacabana Beach to watch a huge fireworks show over the sea.

South America trip ideas and travel guides