April is considered a good time to take advantage of still-pleasant temperatures throughout Patagonia. Fall foliage brings out bright hues in the forests, as well as better chances to experience wildlife with dissipating crowds. The further south you go, the more likely you are to experience the onset of rains so it's best to come prepared with warm layers and outdoor gear. Those who do, though, may find that they luck out with excellent hiking weather.
If you don't mind cooler temperatures (daily highs in the 40s or 50s; lows in the 30s) this can be a great time to visit, and winds are not as strong as they are in the summer. Keep in mind that daylight hours begin to shorten, though you'll still have about 11 hours of daylight in April for those who want to fit in their trekking before the winter arrives.
Crowds & Costs
This is Patagonia's shoulder season—an ideal time to take advantage of lower prices for accommodations and flights following the continent's busy summer season (December through March). In Northern Patagonia, you can rely on pretty foliage and nice weather for full days of walking and sightseeing, but crowds clear out, especially in Southern Patagonia, due to chilly temperates and more rain.
Keep in mind though that Easter typically falls in April, and there may be an uptick in prices during this week as locals and international tourists take advantage of the holiday. In general, though, traveling to Patagonia during autumn translates to better prices and fewer tourists.
Where to Go
You're still safe to travel everywhere in Patagonia this month before winter closures in the mountains, though you might want to steer north if you prefer warmer, drier conditions. For instance, Northern Patagonia on the Argentine side offers scenic road trip options through the Lakes District where you can absorb the brightly colored forests while staying near Bariloche. You can choose from a range of activities, or relax at a chalet-style hotel that serves afternoon tea with panoramic views of Lago Nahuel Huapi and the surrounding snow-covered mountains.
Northern Patagonia on the Chilean side offers its own Lake District, as well as islands off the Pacific coast, and beautiful scenery along the Carretera Austral in the unspoiled Aysén region. You can visit these geological formations, along with massive glaciers and marine life in Laguna San Rafael National Park.
You'll also want to get to Chile's Torres del Paine now before some of the park's accommodations close for the season in May. Again, just be prepared for unpredictable, varied weather with the possibility of experiencing all four seasons in one day. In other words, you might find great hiking weather in April and you might not (hint: bring a good book).
What to Do
Most outdoor activities in Patagonia are still available this time of year before thoughts turn to snow skiing in the coming months. In fact, nature enthusiasts will find plenty of autumn landscapes to keep them occupied during the day if prepared for the elements. It doesn't get simpler or more peaceful than exploring a range of hiking trails during the day while stargazing at night.
For other ideas, you can check out sites along either coastline, as well. On Argentina's Atlantic side, consider driving to Peninsula Valdés to enjoy whale-watching and other types of marine life. This area even has off-the-beaten-path historic Welsh settlements like Gaiman and Trelew, where old-fashioned teahouses still serve afternoon tea and traditional Welsh delicacies every afternoon.
On Chile's Pacific side, you can spend a few days exploring architecture on the Chiloé archipelago—a UNESCO World Heritage Site with dozens of wooden churches dating back to the 16th century.
If traveling here during Easter week (the biggest religious holiday in both Chile and Argentina), make sure the try the local seasonal treats.
Events in April
Festival Nacional del Chocolate. Happening during Holy Week (dates vary annually), Argentina's town of Bariloche holds a chocolate festival often highlights a massive chocolate egg, which is cracked and consumed on Easter Sunday. If that's not enough, there's the world's longest chocolate bar on display as well.
Rosehip Festival. During the first fortnight of April, the popular Rosehip Festival is celebrated in Argentina's district of Huinganco to honor the production of this fruit and its byproducts. The festival consists of singing and dancing with local artists, and a traditional mule race on the closing day.
Semana Santa (Easter). Since Chile and Argentina is mostly Catholic, Holy Week is an important holiday week all over Patagonia. Keep an eye out for local festivities and food gatherings.
National Trout Festival. During the first half of the month, Argentina's Lake District attracts lovers of fly-fishing who take part in fishing outings, and lectures from specialists, to name a few activities.
Traveling to Patagonia in April? Check out these great itineraries.
Torres del Paine & El Calafate. Deep south of Chile and Argentina, this 8-day itinerary explores some of the most magnificent scenery in the world. First, head to Chilean Patagonia's Torres del Paine for snow-capped peaks and thundering waterfalls. Next, bus to Argentine Patagonia for a glacier hike and other activities while based in El Calafate—a traveler hub with a range of services.
Patagonia's Navarinos Teeth Trek. This weeklong adventure highlights an important trail on the very tip of South America. Part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve called Cabo de Hornos, Chile’s Navarino Island is the home to human settlements of Yagan people—one of the last native groups on the continent.