Chile's landscapes range from the vast Atacama Desert in the north to vineyards at the foot of the snowcapped Andes mountains and southern glaciers surrounded by temperate rainforests. These sights make Chile a top South American destination for adventurers and photographers. Of course, visitors arriving at the wrong time of year may feel too cold to enjoy their trip. Worse, they could find roads blocked by ice and snow. On the other hand, at peak tourist season in summer, travelers will have trouble reserving hotel rooms or finding seats on planes and busses. Here's what anyone planning a trip to Chile should keep in mind as they plan the date.


Winter (June 21st through September 20th)

There is nothing quite like seeing the imposing Andes covered with snow. Chile's capital city, Santiago, is surrounded by these peaks and is fun to visit at any time of the year. Of course, travelers will probably need to leave the city limits to get a clear view of the towering mountains since the metropolis's air is often smoggy.

Winter is the perfect time for skiing and snowboarding on the slopes near Santiago according to Powder Quest. La Parva, Valle Nevado, and El Colorado are ski resorts located just an hour and a half from the city. Far to the south, winter sports enthusiasts will love getting to know the tracks on the Lonquimay volcano. They'll love the view of seven nearby volcanoes. The best part: after spending the day on the slopes, they can relax in nearby thermal waters.

related: For An Affordable Yet Scenic Skiing, These Are The Cheapest Slopes In Europe

While the Andes Mountains may look beautiful under winter snow, the weather can make it difficult to get to certain destinations. In the south, away from ski slopes, many restaurants and hotels close for the off-season. Additionally, some of Chile's gravel highways become blocked by ice or worse, mud making travel impossible.

Spring (September 21st through December 20th)

November and early December are fantastic times to visit Chile. School is still in session, so tourists won't have to worry about battling crowds and popular destinations. Spring means that flowers are blossoming throughout the country and the weather is getting pleasantly warm, even in the far south.

In the north of the country, the Atacama Desert has average daytime temperatures in the 70s year-round. This means it's pleasant to visit in any month. Spring is one of the best times, though. Summer is the peak tourist season and hotels and tours can be packed. Rain and fog are more common in the winter and can obstruct the spectacular views. In spring, visitors can take in the stark landscape and immense sky in peace.

related: Here's Where To Catch The Most Stunning Mountain Sunsets

Summer (December 21st through March 20th)

Late December and January is the busiest time of year for local tourism in Chile. Kids are out of school and many people travel for Christmas and New Year's. January is when Chilean families take summer vacations. Anyone planning to travel at this time needs to reserve transportation and lodging ahead of time.

Summer is when Chilean Patagonia is most accessible and comfortable. Natural gas is expensive here, so many people still choose to heat their homes with wood-burning stoves. This means that southern towns and cities get smokey when the weather gets chilly. The WHO rated Coyhaique, the capital of the Aysen province, as the city with the worst air quality of 4,357 locations. In summer, Coyhaique is gorgeous, with waterfalls, rivers, and lush green forests, but in winter the air is unbreathable.

Coyhaique is also the gateway to some of the south's most remote places like the Marble Chaples and Caleta Tortel. The Marble Chaples are located on the coast of South America's second-largest lake, General Carrera. They're only accessible by dirt road and boat tour, so it's important to visit them on a warm, dry day. Caleta Tortel can only be reached by driving on a gravel highway as well which means dry, summer weather is best. Colorful houses on stilts and wooden walkways characterize this distinctive village on the pacific coast.

Fall (March 21st through June 20th)

Fall is harvest time and Chilean farms produce immense amounts of fruit and vegetables. One of their most important crops is wine grapes. The country produces top-notch wines and Fall is the right time to visit Chilean wine country for tastings.

At the end of March and through April, Chile's wine-producing valleys celebrate Vendimia or the grape harvest. Upscape describes how each town puts together unique festivals with traditional music, dancing, food, and, of course, wines for tasting. Casablanca is one of the largest Vendimias since it's near Santiago. Here, the festival is in early April. In early March, visitors can see the famous Vendimia in Colchagua Valley and Santa Cruz. This celebration has cueca dance competitions, bands, and guided tastings. Smaller towns have less touristy, more unique Vendimias.

Seeing the vineyards in autumn is an unbeatable experience. With the cool weather, grape leaves turn fire-orange, contrasting with the vast bright blue sky, and sharp mountains in the background. It's breathtaking.

next: This Is The Best Month To Visit Belize, And It's The Perfect Time To Plan A Vacation