Chile is in full spring mode by October and a gorgeous time to visit the central and northern areas. Santiago, the starting point for most international visitors, sees highs in the upper 60s with only a few days of rain in September. You can catch stunning wildflowers across the central and northern parts of the country, and some travelers even plan their trips to the north around these spectacular desert blooms.
As for Southern Patagonia, spring doesn’t really arrive until November, since daily highs remain the low 50s, though you'll start to see less rain and longer daylight hours for more outdoor adventures. No matter where you travel, still bring plenty of warm clothing with you for chilly evening temperatures (after the sun goes down) and those prevailing Chilean winds.
Crowds & Costs
October falls within the pre-summer shoulder season, which means you'll find lower prices and not-overwhelming crowds in most popular areas. If you can handle the cool weather in certain areas (i.e. Patagonia), you'll beat the flood of international tourists (and pricey accommodation costs) of coming peak summer months. Wherever you travel, it's still a good idea to make your reservations at least three months in advance.
Where to Go
When planning your Chilean spring-time trip, you'll want to consider such infamous areas as the Atacama Desert to the north, Easter Island in the South Pacific, as well as the Lake District for Oktoberbest. If you're brave enough, the most well-known symbol of Patagonia are the granite peaks in Torres del Paine National Park, which jut out from the surrounding plains to the north of the main town, Punta Arenas. This national park is a must if you are an avid hiker who loves rare wildlife and stunning views.
Don't miss Santiago's perfect weather in October where you can experience the city's buzzing neighborhoods and sites before the summer crowds. Even better, pair Santiago with a side trip to explore the wine-growing valleys of Chile. These are excellent places to spend a few nights to enjoy the scenery and taste varietals including Carmenere, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and outstanding Sauvignon Blanc, amongst others.
What to Do
Chile's extensive length offers a wealth of outdoor activities. Mid-spring means you can go surfing in the north or day hiking in the south. Though it's not quite spring in southern Patagonia, it may be best to wait another month before attempting the multi-day treks in Torres del Paine. That being said, those who come to Southern Patagonia prepared with proper gear will find few crowds to see the glaciers and famous peaks, as well as guanacos and penguins up close.
Without a doubt, Chile has some of the best walking available in South America, mainly due to the fact that the Andes mountain range runs right along its eastern border for all levels and abilities. If you don't make it to Torres del Paine, you'll find plenty of other day-hikes in the northern regions.
Despite being one of the driest places on earth, the Atacama Desert is home to a wide range of otherworldly sites as well as species of birds, making it one of the key places to go for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts.
If heading to the Lake District this time of year, you can enjoy a range of adventure sports while learning about Chile’s largest group of indigenous peoples, the Mapuche. This area of Chile with its peaceful lakes, rivers, and forests, is even more rewarding after learning about their traditions and attempts at protecting the environment.
Events in October
Oktoberfest. Join the beer drinkers in Puerto Varas and Valdivia for live music in lederhosen with these annual German-themed festivals. There's also a celebration held in Malloco, just outside of Santiago.
Columbus Day. This colorful public holiday celebrates the arrival of the renowned explorer to Chile and is also known as El Dia de la Raza. Christopher Columbus voyaged to the Americas in 1492 and it was on the 12th of October that he landed on the continent and it is this date that is widely celebrated.
Traveling to Chile in October? Check out these great itineraries.
Patagonia & Atacama Desert. Explore regions on both ends of Chile's latitudinal spectrum with this 10-day itinerary. After getting a taste of Santiago, fly north to the Atacama desert—an oasis in the driest part in the world known for geysers, moonscapes, and starry skies. Then fly all the way south to Patagonia's Punta Arenas where you'll meet a penguin colony before finishing in Torres del Paine National Park for a range of activities and wildlife viewing.
Chile's Grand Tour. Outdoor adventurers rejoice because we've curated a 15-day itinerary that covers the unparalleled natural beauty of Chile. First, you'll head to the far north of the country and tour the otherworldly landscapes of the Atacama Desert. Then it's off to Patagonia and Torres del Paine National Park, home to the most awe-inspiring mountains and unspoiled nature in Chile. You'll then finish the journey far west in the Pacific, amid the mysterious stone idols of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island.