Chile just had its best Winter days in years.
The country has been experiencing a severe drought for quite some time. According to recent estimations, the country's water availability has dropped 10% to 37% over the last 30 years. But in 2022, Winter seemed like a blessing. Hundreds of millimeters fell around Santiago de Chile, and places in Chile’s Coquimbo region have seen the heaviest rainfall in July 2022 in more than 15 years.
Winter is usually a good time to travel to Chile. Ski resorts are open for some epic adventures on the beautiful slopes of the Andes mountains. Wildlife lovers can escape the crowds and look for beautiful animals in Patagonia. And in Chile’s Atacama desert, travelers can experience the world’s driest desert in complete quietness. While it is true Winter may be cold and some places may be closed - such as EcoCamp Patagonia in Torres del Paine National Park - there are always some fantastic alternatives to experience the wildest time of the year, like the Winter W Trek.
Check out these epic pictures of Winter in Chile. Most of them were shot in 2022.
1. Winter in the Araucaria forests
The araucaria forests of Chile’s Araucanía region are sacred places for the Mapuche indigenous people, and also for travelers that come from around the world to see these threatened trees. Araucaria pine trees are usually located in mountain slopes, along the Andes mountains and in other specific locations. Conguillío national park is a great place to see them, and this shot by Carmen Gloria Mariqueo is a beautiful example.
2. Atacama under the Snow
The world’s driest desert is rarely seen with so much snow. But in July 2022, some areas of the Andes mountains near Copiapó were covered with more than a meter of thick snow. The giant dunes of the Atacama desert were painted in white, an event that hadn’t been seen in years. Shot by Alvaro Rojas Rivera.
3. Winter is here for the pumas too
Winter is here in the wilds of Torres del Paine National Park. As always, pumas are around but now it's a different story. The youngster is not old enough to follow mum on the hunt. For now he must follow mum’s orders and stay wherever she wants him to. For now mummy must keep hunting in the difficult days of Winter. Shot by Felipe Román.
4. Snowy EcoCamp
EcoCamp was officially closed in July 2022 (the hotel reopens in September). However, a heavy snowfall turned this (already) beautiful landscape into a glorious white scenery.
5. The Towers’ Base painted in White
The iconic towers’ base viewpoint attracts thousands of travelers every year. It is a highlight of the W Trek and a must-see for most visitors. Walking to that spot in Winter requires a certified guide, crampons and good waterproof clothes. But if you’re lucky with the weather, you might spot the towers in all their glory. Shot by Victor Auvelez.
6. A Winter in Los Ríos region
A beautiful postcard of Puerto Fuy near Panguipulli in the Los Ríos region. Puerto Fuy is a small village (less than 400 inhabitants) at the shore of a beautiful lake named Perihueico. Shot by Nelson Parra.
7. Villarrica National Park in White
Villarica national park is a beautiful spot near Pucón, a famous town for adventure lovers. The centerpiece of the park is a line of three volcanoes stretching transversely to the Andean range: Villarrica, Quetrupillán, and Lanín. It also includes some beautiful araucaria forests, a spectacular mix during Winter. Shot by Fernando Gudenschwager Martini.
8. The frozen road to Cerro Castillo national park
Temperatures in Patagonia can be as low as -20°C (-4°F). When this happens, waterfalls can freeze and roads eventually become slippery. These conditions usually happen between June and August and give birth to some otherworldly white landscapes, like here at Cerro Castillo, one of the most beautiful national parks in Chile’s Aysén region.
9. (Just a bit of) snow
This wasn’t shot in the antarctic circle but at the Las Campanas observatory, in Chile’s Atacama desert. This famous observatory is located at an altitude of 2,380 m.a.s.l. (7,810ft), about 100 kilometers north of La Serena in Chile. In July 2022, an historic snow storm completely transformed this desert landscape. Shot by Roger Leiton.
10.Chile, a skiers’ paradise
Chile may just be the best destination in Latin America for skiing, with some spectacular slopes nestled in the Andes. This picture shot at the Valle Nevado ski resort located only a couple of hours away from Santiago de Chile showcases the beauty of Winter in Chile’s Andes mountains.
11. Puerto Varas in Winter
This is what Puerto Varas looks like during the sunny Winter days. This peaceful town located in Chile’s lake district is a romantic getaway and great starting point for exploring the nearby Vicente Perez Rosales national park. In this picture, you can see the Llanquihue lake and snow capped Osorno volcano as a backdrop. Shot by Francisco Perez.
12. The Maule Waterfall by night
The Maule waterfall is a hidden gem near Talca, in Chile’s Maule region. In Mapudungun (Mapuche language), Maule means “river of rain”. Chilean photographer Gaston Avendaño shot this waterfall after a snowfall, with the milky way to garnish the landscape.
13. Winter is Calling
Another Winter shot of Torres del Paine National Park, with the last colors of Autumn still visible on the forests of Cerro Paine near EcoCamp Patagonia. Shot by Timothy Dhalleine.
14. Winter in the Maipo valley
Winter might be dry in central Chile. But in the Maipo Valley near Santiago de Chile, it can also surprise everyone with some epic snowy landscapes. This happened in July 2022, when it snowed for a couple of days, which completely transformed this beautiful valley. Shot by Ilania Astorga.
15. On the Osorno volcano
At 2652 m.a.s.l, the Osorno volcano is often seen with a snow capped summit. However, the entire volcano may be painted in white in July, which makes it a fantastic (and photogenic) destination in Winter. The Osorno volcano is a highlight of Chile’s Lake District and is surrounded by other stunning volcanoes, such as the Calbuco and the Puntiagudo. Shot by Nicole Gallardo.