Have you ever found yourself planning a trip to South America only to give up after being completely overwhelmed with its sheer size? Do you find yourself confused as to when the best time to visit South America is? It is no surprise that people usually have a hard time figuring out exactly when to go to South America, it is a vast continent with 12 very different countries.
In fact, even though it sounds like a simple question, “What is the best time to visit South America” is all dependent on your preferences and wants. The correct answer? You can travel to South America at any time. There will always be the perfect activity that coincides with the time you’re visiting. The even more correct answer though? It depends on what you want to do. Do you want festivals, wildlife and nature, sunny weather and beaches, massive terrains, waterfalls, or a cultural experience? The answer to that question will help you decide when the best time to visit South America is.
In this article we’ve helped break down the most important activities in South America’s most visited countries, to help give you an idea of the best time to visit.
Argentina is one of the most appealing destinations in South America, with its warm and sunny weather and array of attractions. The peak tourist season is from December to February, when the weather is sunny and the beach resorts are open, however, you’ll have to keep in mind that this is also when Argentina becomes extremely crowded and the prices of everything double up.
January and February are the most popular months to visit Patagonia, the biggest tourist attraction in Argentina– including El Calafte, Tierra du Fuego and Los Glaciers and the only months when you’ll get a chance to climb the Andean peaks.
If you’re more interested in visiting the Mendoza wine lands and attending the Mendoza Wine Festival, then fly to Argentina in March where the festival celebrates the wine harvests with dances and parades.
You can also go to the Patagonia in March where the Patagonia forest bursts in spring colors and multiple shades of yellow, orange and red.
If you’re looking for a more adrenaline-inducing activity, then head up to the Andean ski resorts in June, July or August.
More of a wildlife and nature lover? No problem! Head to Bariloche from September to November and watch whales, penguins, eagles, condors and much more.
Brazil is an all year round destination with mild temperature and a number of unique activities.
Without any competition, the most fun time to visit Brazil is from December to Late February when the Carnival takes place and the streets are filled with samba parades, music, parties and the streets are filled to the brim. You also get to celebrate the Reveillon (the Brazillian New Year’s) at the Copacabana Beach with fireworks and a crazy nationwide party. This also coincides with the fact that these months experience the warmest, nicest weather.
To see the wildlife at the Pantanal, it is advisable to go there between July and October for the ultimate experience of watching birds, reptiles, mammals and tracking jaguars on safaris.
The Amazon can be visited all year long but the best time to go there is in July and August.
As for the Iguaza Falls, the falls are at their most majestic from December to March when the rain is heavy – thus creating breathtaking views. If you want aesthetically pleasing views without the grandeur of the falls’ flow, then March, April and September are the perfect months for that.
Thanks to Colombia’s equatorial climate, the country enjoys warm, dry weather almost all year long and has no dramatic seasonal changes making it the perfect gateway.
If you’re thinking pristine blue waters and palm trees, then head straight to San Andres island, an island that enjoys warm weather all year long due to its proximity to the equator.
If you’re more interested in going hiking in the Andes, going from June to August would be the best choice since these are the driest months there. For whale watching, head to the Pacific Coast in July.
Colombia has a large variety of festivals going on every month, so if you’re in a party mood, make sure to know the festivals schedule before traveling – from Barranquilla Carnival, and the Festival of Lights to the Blacks and Whites Carnival – Colombia offers awe-inspiring carnivals and celebrations.
Even though Paraguay can technically be visited all year round, the intense humidity in the months of October to March can become very uncomfortable for you if you’re not used to that type of heat. The best time to visit Paraguay is from April to September due to the mild weather and the amount of festivals going on.
At any time of the year, however, you are likely to have a good time, since most of the main attractions in the country do not depend on good weather.
Venezuela has a tropical climate with only two seasons – dry and wet, and you get to decide when to go based on the activities you choose.
To visit Angel Falls, the world’s largest waterfall, go in July and August where there is heavy rainfall making the higher water levels more accessible, and the waterfalls will end up looking a lot more impressive.
For wildlife viewing, you can visit Los Llanos in the dry season – specifically March, which offers incredible wildlife spotting opportunities for you.
Chile is known for the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world, and you can explore the desert all year round – but be cautious of the scorching heat in the summer months. Santiago and the Central Valleys are also year-round destinations.
There are a couple of Vendimias (wine harvesting festivals) that take place from Late February to Early May and feature wine tasting and great local music.
The months of January and February are the most festive, with a large number of events and festivals happening throughout the country.
Even though Ecuador is considered smaller than its neighboring countries, the country has a very diverse terrain, with different landscapes, dozens of attractions and fun activities.
If you want to visit Galapagos Islands, Ecuador’s most famous attractions, it is advisable to go there between January and May since the water is at its warmest. For whale watching, however, it is best to go there in July, August or September.
If you plan on hiking in the rainforests of Napo Wildfire Center then make sure to visit from June to November as that is the dry season.
Peru is known mainly for Machu Picchu, its most important attraction. To enjoy visiting Machu Picchu, it is advisable to visit it from May to September as this is the time the skies are the clearest and you can enjoy vivid panoramic views and take incredible pictures.
Note that Machu Picchu is completely closed in February and from December to March it is extremely rainy and may ruin your trekking experience.
From May to September you can also visit Lake Titicaca, go to Cusco, the Sacred Valley and the Inca Trail as well.
Due to Mexico’s size and diversity, the best time to visit varies from region to region and depends on what you want to end up doing.
For wildlife lovers, January to March is the best time to visit since this is when you can watch whales as they migrate and witness the annual Monarch butterfly migration.
If you’re feeling festive, Mexico has many fiestas that take place and you can plan your trip accordingly:
Cinco de Mayo takes place in May, and the country explodes into a myriad of parades, mariachi bands, dancers, food stalls, sombreros and tequila!
In September, everyone in Mexico gathers around for Independence day to eat, drink, and dance with military parades and fireworks.
Day of the Dead, the most famous Mexican festival takes place in November. A colorful, mystical celebration that originated thousands of years ago that treats death in the most upbeat way – watch the doorway to the underworld, the toy altars, and the offerings for the dead and the cemetery.
The high season usually begins around December and continues until Semana Santa. Between December and April is when it’s perfect since there is no rain.
Hurricane season affects the Caribbean from June to November.
The rainy season is from May to mid-Oct, and the dry season is fro mid-Oct to April.
Best Time to Visit South America? Your Choice
So now that you’ve seen the different variations in the different countries in South America, it’s easier to grasp the idea that there is technically not one perfect time to visit the continent – to have the best possible trip, you need to figure out the purpose of your trip, your goals, and wants and then have an unforgettable trip!
Please comment if you have any questions and we’d be more than happy to help you figure out the best time to visit South America!