This is the last full month of winter season in the southern hemisphere but weather depends on where you decide to travel. Highs typically fall in the 40s and drop to the 30s at night with several variations due to microclimates.
In Patagonia, it can still get quite cold and very wet in August, so this may not be the best time to visit the highlights unless, of course, you are taking part in snow sports available in higher altitudes. In fact, snow blankets Chile and Argentina's southern Andes from June to August, so there's still time to hit the slopes.
At sea level, rain starts to lessen ever so slightly this month but you'll still want to pack lots of warm layers for cooler temperatures in the evening, and outdoor gear in the likely event of rain.
Crowds & Costs
Still considered the low season, August is a great option for those who like to skip the crowds and avoid paying top dollar. As for the ski resorts, prices lessen in August now that kids and parents are back in their normal routines after taking a winter break (July).
In general, this is your chance to travel in Patagonia with few other travelers, so you could find flexibility with last-minute accommodations and travel arrangements. Keep in mind, though, that transport services are at a minimum in popular year-round areas of Patagonia this time of year, but with spring on the horizon, things begin to pick up again.
Where to Go
If you want to take advantage of the last month of the snow season, Patagonia offers fantastic ski resorts dotted along the Andes in both countries. Argentina's La Hoya is an excellent choice for families with a range of easy and moderate runs. There's also Chapelco Ski Resort, which hosts an annual competition this month (more below). Another option near Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, is the world-class ski area around Cerro Castor.
In Chile's Northern Patagonia, there's a beautiful ski area just over an hour from the town of Chillán with excellent snow quality along with upscale mountain-style hotels, spa services, and several choices for restaurants and bars. It is also blessed with natural hot springs from nearby volcanic waters—a spectacular way to end a day on the slopes.
For something completely different, you can head to Peninsula Valdes along Argentina's Atlantic coast is in the midst of its annual whale-watching season.
What to Do
August is the last month to experience prime conditions for a wide range of snow sports in Patagonia including downhill skiing, snowboarding, Nordic skiing, and dog sledding. A great way to check out the resort scene to go on a multi-resort tour or camp. You don't need to be an expert or advanced rider as there are many intermediate trips available, and some tours incorporate snowcat skiing, heli-skiing, as well as one-on-one instruction and coaching.
Of course, the UNESCO-listed national parks in Patagonia remain open during winter months, though unsavory weather may get in the way of your favorite hiking trails and activities. Still, this is a good opportunity to base yourself in Puerto Natales or Punta Arenas for day-trips to Torres del Paine (Chile) or El Chaltén and El Calafate for access to Mt. Fitz Roy and the massive glaciers in Los Glaciares (Argentina). Given the light crowds this time of year, you may have the spectacular scenery all to yourself.
Events in August
Provincial Snow Festival. Held early in the month in Argentina's Rio Turbio (Santa Cruz), this provincial festival hosts ski tournaments and a downhill torch parade. In the evening, folkloric gatherings, theatre performances, handicraft fairs, dinner parties, dancing and presentation of awards to the participants close the festival.
Memorial Federico Graeff. Each August, skiers from various parts of the world reach Argentina's Chapelco Ski Resort to take part in the Memorial Federico Graeff Continental Cup. This race provides important scoring for the International Ski Federation Championship and is an interesting worth watching white sport trials.
The Music Festival. During this month in Chile's Puerto Varas, you can attend a range of events including regional and national orchestras and the municipal music academy, who get together in the civic center to celebrate the end of winter.
Traveling to Patagonia in August? Check out these great itineraries.
Santiago & the Lake District. Kick off this 5-day Chilean sojourn in Santiago for a day of cultural and culinary delights. You'll then fly south for activities surrounding native forests, hot springs, glaciers, and waterfalls. Base yourself in the traveler hub of Pucón for lakeside strolls with views of one of Chile's most active volcanoes—not to mention international eats ranging from Middle Eastern to French to Peruvian.
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.