There's no getting around it, July is Patagonia's coldest and wettest month. Temperatures in southern towns typically stick in the 30s, while northern towns will see daily highs in the upper 40s, with a whole slew of microclimates depending on where you travel and the altitude.
With the exception of skiing and snow sports, Patagonia is not really a draw for tourists this time of year due to the weather conditions. Plus there are fewer hours of daylight, which means outdoor activities are rather limited.
Crowds & Costs
Winter months experience the lowest number of foreign visitors compared to other seasons, but mountain ski resorts tend to bustle with skiers and snowboarders, especially with Chilean and Argentinian families taking winter breaks. Schools also schedule week-long, half-term breaks during terms, though the exact dates for these are decided by the school itself. Thus, this is a more expensive month to hit the slopes.
Southern Patagonia is devoid of tourists, though temperatures, rain, and shorter days deter people for a reason (plus many lodgings close for the season so there are fewer options). Still, those who brave Patagonia can luck out with gorgeous winter landscapes without the infamous wind of summer—just prepare for limited transportation and tour services.
Where to Go
For travelers interested in snow sports, Patagonia has several great ski resorts sprinkled around Chile's Lake and Volcano District and Argentina's southern Andes with powdery conditions. In fact, Argentina's ski scene has been gaining press in recent years and might be less crowded since Chile typically draws the foreigners interested in hitting the slopes.
While there are many options to choose from, you can start by looking at Argentine resorts like Chapelco (near San Martín de Los Andes) as well as La Hoya (an excellent choice for families). Another option near Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, is the world-class ski area around Cerro Castor.
What to Do
This is the time of year to partake in downhill and backcountry skiing in both Chile and Argentina followed by a number of relaxing spas, geothermal hot springs, and accommodations in luxury resorts.
Active skiers who want to experience climbing and skiing in Chile's backcountry will find plentiful powder and varied on- and off-piste opportunities that attract professional and amateur skiers from all over the world. Some itineraries even include hiking to the rim of volcanic craters with specialized guides. This type of trip is strictly reserved for people in strong physical condition with an advanced level of skiing.
More family-friendly resorts for snow sports can be found in other parts of Patagonia. Ushuaia, for instance, is a great hub for moderate downhill slopes, Nordic skiing, and dog sledding.
Events in July
Snow Festival in Bariloche. This event has become a classic in Argentina's Bariloche for two reasons: it is suitable for the entire family and it generates optimism and good vibes when the winter comes.
National Nordic Ski and Biathlon Festival. Every July, this national festival is carried out in Argentina's Ushuaia and is ideal for the entire family. Events are held on flat lands with low physical risk.
Fiesta de la Nieve (Snow Festival). During the third or fourth week of July, the Snow Festival is held at Puerto Williams. It is the most important festival in the year and the one summoning the largest audiences in town. This event includes various art and recreation activities related to the winter season.
Carnaval de Invierno (Winter Carnival). During two days, the Winter Carnival is celebrated in the city of Punta Arenas at the beginning of the winter season. The event ends on the banks of the Strait of Magellan with a show of fireworks that will delight both grown-ups and children.
Día de la Independencia. Argentina's Independence Day is July 9, and celebrations take place all over Argentina to honor the date when the country was granted independence in 1861.
Traveling to Patagonia in July? Check out this great itinerary.
Skiing in Chile's Lake and Volcano District. This is a terrific trip for active skiers who want to experience climbing and skiing in Chile's backcountry. The ski season typically runs from mid-June and can go until last September or even October, but for optimal conditions, you should consider July and August.