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Travel Tales from Argentina and South America
Believe it or not, Patagonia is one of the best places to travel in winter. It is known for its cold climate, glaciers, and close proximity to Antarctica, a common misconception about Patagonia is that it is too cold to visit during the winter. Many people assume that the summer is the only time of year for visiting Patagonia, but in reality, Patagonia is a great place to visit all year round.
Bariloche is one of the best places to travel and enjoy winter in Argentina. Located adjacent to the Andes mountain range that separates Argentina from Chile, Bariloche has many features that make it an ideal destination for a winter vacation.
For these reasons, winter is not an obstacle for Bariloche, but rather an added benefit.
Guests can travel by land to the largest of the glaciers, Perito Moreno, and from there can get on a boat to tour the rest of the area’s glaciers. This experience promises to be unique and unforgettable, regardless of the season.
If you’re in Calafate during the winter, you will have the opportunity to ice skate on a portion of Lake Argentino that freezes over and becomes a natural ice rink.
Puerto Madryn is located on Argentina’s Atlantic coast and because of this offers visitors a chance to see a great selection of arctic wildlife, including whales and penguins. While the other destinations are popular tourist spots all year round, Puerto Madryn is particularly special in the winter.
During the months of June through early December, the native Southern Right Whales pass through Peninsula Valdes off the coast of Puerto Madryn on their annual migration from Antarctica towards warmer waters and potential mates near the equator. Because of the whales’ unique mating patterns, Argentina’s winter season is the only time to see the world’s largest mammal with your own eyes, and gain a whole new respect for the protection of this beautiful endangered species.
Torres del Paine is the top Patagonia destination in Chile. It is very easy to combine with a trip to Patagonia in Argentina. You can travel from El Chaltén or El Calafate to the park. Even if you don’t want to stay in Chile you can go on a day trip to visit the main viewpoints of Torres del Paine.
However, if you want to stay inside the park you can! There is an amazing hotel, and many refuges for camping lovers. The latest trend on Torres del Paine accommodation are the marvelous domes which combine glamor and campsite experiences. That’s why they are called “glampings”.
Winter months of June, July, and August are a great time to travel to Argentina. Argentina in the winter has varying climates, from mild temperatures in the north to frigid lows in the south. You can go skiing and trek mountains, or simply enjoy moderate temperatures during wine tasting tours.
Temperatures in big cities like Buenos Aires can drop up to 0 but this is rare. A normal winter in Buenos Aires features days with 11 or 15 °C (51-59 F), and humidity tends to be high. Of course these temperatures drop going down southern provinces (Patagonia), but also to the north (Salta and Jujuy). For example, cities built high above the sea level, like Salta, tend to be colder at night.
On the other hand, Summer in Argentina -like most of the countries in South America- goes from December to March. During the summer season, many locals travel to the Atlantic Coast (5-hours from Buenos Aires by car), but there is a great affluent to international destinations like Iguazú Falls and Patagonia. Iguazú, like other northern destinations such as Salta, Jujuy and Mendoza, may feature a bit too warm weather that, nevertheless, becomes handy when talking about Southern and snowy destinations like Patagonia, one of the best destinations to visit in winter.
The truth of the matter is, while it is certainly cold in the winter, there are many other popular destinations, particularly places like New York and Chicago, that have similar winter climates. Additionally, Patagonia has many features that make it a very desirable destination to visit in the winter, including arctic wildlife, skiing and ice skating.
If cold winters aren’t exactly your thing, you should definitely head to Northwest Argentina. Its desert climate does cool down significantly in the nighttime, however days are sunny and pleasant with a jacket. Take to nature and explore colorful plateaus, shimmering salt flats, and spectacular views of the open country. You won’t overheat like you would visiting during summer months, so you can make the most of your daylight hours to hike around the rugged terrain.
Similar to Northwest Argentina, Iguazu Falls is located in a part of the country that doesn’t have much of a winter season. In fact, Iguazu Falls has a tropical jungle climate, which means that the winter is simply less hot than the rest of the year. Actually, winter is one of the best times to visit because of the smaller crowds and slightly cooler temperatures (the weather is surprisingly quite perfect, unlike other points of the year when it can get unbearably hot). Take a few days to explore the vast national park and when you’re done check out some of the other top attractions in the area! Want to have all the info? Have a look at our travel guide!
Mendoza reaches moderately chilly temperatures in the winter months because it is located at the base of the Andes. This allows for cozy wine tastings where you can enjoy the best wineries, restaurants and day trips Mendoza has to offer without freezing! Skiing is also popular in the area, so make sure to plan a day to ski in the Andes Mountains, followed by a rich locally-made Malbec after a day of hitting the slopes.
Among the best destinations to travel in winter, El Chaltén and Torres del Paine (in Chilean Patagonia) are top choices between travelers from all over the world, in their 20’s and 60’s. The advantage of these hiking top-notch places is that hiking trails’ difficulty and duration are up to you! El Chaltén is a little village, really easy to get around on foot.
Cascades, viewpoints to Mount Fitz Roy, and hidden lagoons surround the area and feature well-marked easy-access trails. In Torres del Paine you can enjoy both hotel and camping accommodations, and enjoy the same hiking trails. The W Circuit, a 5-day hike to explore different landscapes inside the park, is a tour you may want to consider if you like being in contact with nature.
Where to go in El Chaltén
Where to go in Torres del Paine
Visiting Patagonia can be the perfect family vacation, especially in winter. Some of our favorite destinations in Patagonia for families include outdoor activities and wildlife spotting. We know kids and animals are natural companions! And Ushuaia is the best spot in Patagonia to be in contact with native animals.
Absolute freedom to experience top-world hiking without depending on a group. A versatile destination, for families that need to keep their own rhythm.
Tranquil beaches near to the city, still-water lakes to enjoy a kayak trip, cable cars to reach amazing viewpoints, and a spinning bar on top of the mountain! No member of the family will be left behind with the wide range of activities offered by the capital of the Argentine lake District. Bariloche is an ideal destination to visit in winter and especially with the family.
Talking about the capital of the Lake District, Bariloche is definitely our most romantic destination in Patagonia. This is where Patagonia begins so weather tends to be less extreme than Ushuaia, the last Argentine province before Antarctica.
It is difficult to travel with the whole extended family when the age spectrum is larger than usual. Grandpas love to be with their grandchildren, but they won’t be so glad to follow them into an energy-demanding excursion. The same could happen with young adults who may feel reluctant to enjoy their vacations as planned because the youngest can not follow the walking rhythm on a hike.
It is very important when planning a multigenerational vacation that the chosen destination can be easily enjoyed by all members of the family. In Patagonia during winter (and summer), El Calafate is our top choice for this kind of trip.
Some members of the family may want to stay exploring El Calafate, and there is a lot to do there too.
These are our selection of best places to travel in winter in Argentina. Vacation in winter may transform into your best holidays ever!
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