With the onset of winter, Chile's famous Andes become snow-capped and ready for visitors in June. This is a great month to experience the ski resorts, cities, and desert, especially while parts of Southern Chilean Patagonia empty out for the season. Let this monthly guide show you the best sightseeing, nightlife, and culture during the shortest days of the year.

Weather

This is the beginning of Chile's winter season with frostier temperatures all over the country. Santiago will see highs in the low 60s along with a slight increase in rain, though it will get drier and warmer the further you head north. Things are slightly wetter in central Chile, which has more of a Mediterranean-like climate (mild, rainy winters) than in the rain-free north. 

If you're visiting Chilean Patagonia to experience Torres del Paine and Isla Magdalena, this is perhaps not the best time. Many top attractions and lodgings close for the season as days shorten and temperatures drop to the 30s and 40s with an increased chance of rain. 

Crowds & Costs

Chile's autumn to winter transition begins to draw local skiers eager to hit the slopes near east of Santiago, and south in the Lake District. Along with that, Santiago, the wine valleys, and the Atacama Desert tend to receive the most international visitors this time of year, so you'll want to book those destinations at least three months in advance. In general, though, Chile's cooler temperatures help keep the international crowds and costs down compared to summer.

Where to Go

June is popular for skiers in the mountains around Santiago. Most local skiers head to Portillo, one of Chile’s most famous ski resorts known for powder, steep slopes, and also close proximity to the capital (about two hours by car). Portillo offers 23 ski runs, 12 lifts, and a history that holds an important place in the legend of skiing—international teams like Italy, Austria, and the U.S. come here for training during their summer months. More resorts can be found in the Lake District.

Atacama Desert will provide lots of sun along with varied landscapes including cone-shaped volcanoes dotting the horizon, rugged valleys eroded into the sandstone and captivating salt lakes scattered like jewels in the rough. Another unique idea from San Padro is to combine the desert with a trip to the Salir de Uyuni (salt flats) across the border in Bolivia.

Those keen on heading to Patagonia's Torres del Paine will find very few tourists and shorter daylight hours. Though not many choose to come this time of year, the actual park stays open all year round, so it is accessible for those who wouldn't mind feeling like they have the park to themselves.

What to Do

This is a good time of year to base yourself in Santiago for city culture and some great day-trips including trips to nearby ski resorts, coastal towns, and vineyards in Casablanca Valley for wine tasting.

You can also have health and wellness style trip in Elqui Valley. This peaceful, mystical place—a five-hour drive north of Santiago—is the heart of pisco production in Chile. Low-key activities include hiking, biking, and horseback riding. At night, the area offers one the purest skies for stargazing, with about a half-dozen observatories in the area. 

Though many tourists steer clear of Southern Patagonia this time of year, places like Ushuaia on the Argentine side of Patagonia offer skiing, snowboarding, and dogsledding during winter months, not to mention a festival for the Winter Solstice to celebrate the longest day of the year (more below).  

Events in June

Fiesta Nacional de la Noche mas Larga del Ano. The longest night of the year, the winter solstice, can be celebrated in Chile. Though most celebrations take place in Ushuaia (the southernmost city in the world), you can look for smaller celebrations in Chile.

Fiesta de San Pedro. Taking place in San Pedro de Atacama in late June, this festival consists of a midnight processional and dancing until the morning hours to honor the patron saint, Saint Peter.

Saint Peter and Paul's Feast Day. This is the annual celebration of the patron saints of fishermen, which takes place in Valparaíso and other coastal regions of the country.

Festival de la Lluvia. This is a festival of rain in the Lakes District. Each year in early June, this week of free events in Puerto Varas includes a parade of decorated umbrellas and live music.

Traveling to Chile in June? Check out these great itineraries.

Central Chile, Lake District & Atacama Desert. Experience three distinct regions in Chile with this 12-day itinerary that combines culture and outdoor adventure. After a taste of Santiago and its nearby wine region, fly north to the Atacama desert known for geysers, moonscapes, and starry skies. You'll then fly south to the Chilean Lake District for volcanoes, waterfalls, and a road trip to Chiloé Island—a burgeoning foodie destination with coastal hiking trails.

Natural Wonders of Chile & Bolivia. Check off two South American countries while experiencing some of the planet's most awe-inspiring and extreme natural wonders. Over 11 days, you'll discover a range of topographies including lush vineyards and high-altitude desert plateaus in Chile. Then, head across the border for otherworldly salt flats left behind by prehistoric lakes in Bolivia. Start and end the trip in Santiago and La Paz, respectively—two exciting capitals known for outstanding food and culture.

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