It’s the question that all travelers to Torres del Paine want to know: when is the best time of year to visit?
To make it simple, there is no single best time. Each season has its advantages and drawbacks, and deciding when to go is entirely up to you, based on your expectations and preferences. For example, photographers may love the color contrasts between the blue lakes and the autumn foliage, or the brilliant green of spring, while sociable types bond with other hikers during the peak season. Lower prices in the shoulder seasons draw in more budget-conscious travelers, while some wildlife lovers may try to visit during birthing season to watch new life entering the park.
There is no wrong choice: Torres del Paine is beautiful and wonderful to explore year-round. But, unless you plan on moving to Patagonia for a year to experience them all, for now, you have to choose a time to visit (don’t worry, you can come back and explore other seasons as well!)
To help you make a decision that’s right for you and those traveling with you, here’s a breakdown of each season in Torres del Paine, discussing variables such as temperatures, crowds, hours of daylight, what the landscape will look like, and more, so that you can make an informed decision and choose the best time of year for you to plan your dream trip to the eighth wonder of the world.
If you don’t mind a slight nip to the air and some chilly nights, spring is a wonderful time to explore Torres del Paine. Watch as plants come back to life and wildlife once again proliferates around the park, where you can see the sights ahead of the high season crowds, surrounded by peace and quiet.
Months: mid-late September, October, November
Avg. Weather: Warm during the day but can still be chilly, strong winds, cold nights, strong possibility of rain (especially in March and April)
Avg. Temperature (Fahrenheit): Lows in the 30s (3-7 degrees Celsius), highs in the 60s (14-18 degrees Celsius)
Landscape/Flora and Fauna: Blooming and blossoming plants, snow and ice still present in some areas of the park/on high peaks.
Crowds: Low. Spring is low/shoulder season in Torres del Paine, so it’s a great time to visit if you don’t enjoy crowded outdoor places.
Hours of Daylight: 12 in September, 14 in October, 16 in November, 17 in December
Advantages: Fewer crowds, lower prices, great time to examine plants and wildlife, lower rates
Disadvantages: can be cold at night, snow and ice still a possibility, unpredictable weather, strong winds
Accessibility: Limited to good. In early spring, some hotels/campsites/stores/roads/areas of the park/etc may not yet be open or available. Please research beforehand to ensure that the things you want to do or the places you want to stay will be open and operational. EcoCamp is one of the first hotels opening in the park in spring, generally opening in early/mid September.
Summer is Torres del Paine’s busiest time of the year, especially for people hoping to take on the popular W Trek. If you’re a sociable person who enjoys meeting and getting to know people while out exploring, or you like being outside during good, warm summer weather, this is the time for you.
Months: December, January, February, early March
Weather: Warm days, cool but not cold nights, strong winds, possibility of rain
Avg. Temperature (Fahrenheit): Low in the 30s (6-8 degrees Celsius), highs in the 60s (17-20 degrees Celsius)
Landscape/Flora and fauna: Height of growth season, landscape in full green. High likelihood of seeing wildlife, but the large crowds may drive some species (such as pumas) away into more secluded areas of the park. Mostly clear skies and good visibility during the day and night.
Rain: Summer is the best time to avoid the rain, but it’s still a strong possibility (average rainfall in the summer is 2.36-2.95 inches).
Crowds: High. Summer is high season, so it will likely be very crowded, especially on the W Trek. Please make reservations and book campsites, hotels, etc, well in advance in preparation.
Hours of daylight: 17 in December, 16 in January, 14 in February, 13 in March
Advantages: Warm weather, not too cold at night, longest hours, best access to amenities, most popular time to visit due to weather and beautiful views
Disadvantages: Most crowded and busy, harsh winds, unpredictable weather/rain
Accessibility: As summer is Patagonian high season, this is when all hotels/campsites/trails/roads/paths/stores/ranger stations/etc will be open, offering the greatest ease of access to explore the park.
Lovers of fall foliage, rejoice! The memorable and captivating landscapes of Torres del Paine are covered in autumnal splendor, full of young wildlife exploring and good, clear weather with that crisp, autumn feel to the air. Best of all, the crowds of high season are gone and the park is peaceful and quiet.
Months: late March, April, May, early June
Weather: cool days, night starting to get cold, possibility of rain, possibility of snow later in season
Avg. Temperature (Fahrenheit): Lows in the 20s (-3 - 3 degrees Celsius), highs in the 40s/low 50s (5-13 degrees Celsius)
Landscape/Flora and fauna: Fall foliage, plants and trees changing colors, great chance to see young animals
Rain: Strong possibility, especially later in season
Crowds: Still pretty crowded in early March, fewer crowds and people in April/May
Hours of daylight: 11 hours in April, 9 in May, 8 in June
Advantages: Beautiful foliage, fewer crowds and less people, lower rates, good accessibility to areas of the park and amenities, great opportunities to see wildlife, great time for photographers
Disadvantages: Colder nights, can be cool during the day, possibility of rain and cold weather, possibility of snow and ice later in season, some areas of park may be closed near end of season
Accessibility: Good to limited. As the season gets closer to winter, more hotels/roads/areas of the park/etc can start shutting down for the season. Please do research beforehand to ensure the areas you want to visit and the places you want to stay will be open.
Winter in Torres del Paine is perfect for people who enjoy exploring the great outdoors during cold weather, seeing dynamic landscapes covered in snow and ice, and having a space almost entirely to themselves.
For the first time, Cascada is offering the classic W trek during the winter, a great chance to be amongst the few to see the iconic sights of the W trek, like Grey Glacier, the base of the Towers, and French Valley, in all its wintery majesty.
Months: June, July, August, early September
Weather: Cold, low temperatures, milder winds, possibility of snowstorms and low visibility, unpredictable weather at times
Avg. Temperature (Fahrenheit): Lows in the 20s (-3 - 0 degrees Celsius), highs in the low 40s (5-8 degrees Celsius)
Landscape/Flora and Fauna: Although arguably the most challenging time of year to visit, winter in Patagonia produces captivating landscapes, showcasing the classic sights of Torres del Paine (Los Cuernos, Los Torres, Grey Glacier, etc) covered in glistening snow and ice. Very little plant life. Still able to see wildlife such as guanacos, pumas, etc.
Rain: Likely; snow, ice, and precipitation, very likely.
Crowds: None/extremely low
Hours of daylight: 8 in June/July, 10 in August, 12 in September
Advantages: Isolated, lack of people, beautiful winter weather and landscapes, ideal for people who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking in the winter
Disadvantages: Cold, possibility of snow and ice, lack of access to amenities
Accessibility: Low. Winter is Patagonian off-season, so very few places (hotels, campsites, stores, etc) will be open. Please research in advance to ensure availability.
FOR MORE EXACT INFORMATION REGARDING TEMPERATURES, WIND SPEEDS, ETC, PLEASE CONSULT THIS TIMETABLE
THAT SAID, YOU MAY STILL ASK: BUT WHEN’S THE WEATHER BEST?
Again, it’s hard to say. The weather in Torres del Paine is unpredictable. It may be sunny one moment but raining the next, in any season of the year. However, there are some general trends that can serve as rules-of-thumb:
1) Summer is warmest, less rainy but has the strongest winds.
2) Winter sees more rain and snow, but with milder winds, you have a better chance of seeing clear skies.
Finally we have to say, the best time to visit Torres del Paine is whenever you choose to visit! If you’ve taken the decision to take time off your daily routine and spend time with your loved ones in one of the most stunning natural areas on Earth, not even the rain can stop you from having an unforgettable experience!