South America Weather Guide

The climatic conditions in South America are difficult to wrap up in one sentence. Within the continent are several different types of climate from alpine to desert, Mediterranean and Oceanic. To make the most of the weather when travelling around Latin America, check out our seasonal guide below, which spans the 4 seasons plus wet and dry seasons too.

Season and Clothing

Summer: December to February

Summer is a great time to visit South America, particularly on the beaches where scorching heat is tempered by coastal breezes. One such coastal city that sizzles in summer is Rio de Janeiro in Brazil where travellers flock to celebrate Christmas, New Year's Eve and the famous pre-Lenten Carnival. However, the humidity and heat of the wet season makes it a steamy time to visit the Amazon Rainforest. Santiago in Chile is another hotspot to visit for the summer with temperatures averaging around 19 degrees Celsius. The Chilean capital city also hosts a number of parades and events during the long summer season including the Annual Love Parade. It is also wet season in Peru from November to April when it can get wet and muddy in the highland while still dry and hot on the coast.

Autumn: March to May

Autumn in South America presents a great opportunity to experience Buenos Aires. The Argentinean capital's average autumn temperature is around 17 degrees Celsius; perfect weather for alfresco dining, rooftop partying and tango dancing - best seen at the city's Dance World Cup. Away from the city, it's prime conditions for sightseeing in Bolivia's section of the Amazon Rainforest when the dry season commences in May, however the Pantanal Wetlands in central Brazil are flooded during these months and best avoided. With less crowds but still pleasant weather, now is a good time to vist Easter Island too. The vineyard regions of Chile and Argentina are particularly beautiful during the autumn months.

Winter: June to August

South America's winters are known to be quite mild, apart from in the Andes mountains where skiing is a favourite pastime. Some of South America's best ski fields can be found in Chile at Portillo and Valle Nevado or at the ski resorts of Argentina.  The cooler temps of winter also make this a great time to visit the desert areas like the Atacama Desert in Chile. In Brazil, the Amazon Rainforest, Pantanal Wetlands and Iguazu Falls are best seen in winter with drier and cooler conditions allowing for better sightseeing. If you are sighteseeing at Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and Cusco in Peru, be aware that the nights can get down to freezing temps. It's also very windy and cold in Patagonia and the Pampas.

Spring: September to November

Spring is a fantastic time to visit South America with warm but bearable weather and smaller crowds. One region worthy of exploring in spring is the Galapagos Islands when temperatures are warm and the tourist season is low. Machu Picchu is another attraction that looks its best in spring, particularly in September and October, which falls during the dry season. Temperatures around this time average around 12 to 22 degrees Celsius, which are ideal conditions for hiking. It's the rainy season in Brazil but still dry in the Pantanal Wetlands making it a good time to see the wildlife. The Patagonia region of Chile is also showcased to its best in springtime too.