With the onset of winter, snowcapped Patagonia practically empties out in terms of tourism for the season (except for ski resorts). Let this monthly guide show you the best sights and culture during the shortest days of the year.

Weather

This is the official beginning of Patagonia's winter season with frostier temperatures and more moisture. Ushuaia, for instance, located at the very southern tip of the continent, will see highs in the upper 30s along with a slight increase in rain, though it will get slightly warmer the further you head north in Patagonia. Case in point: Chile's Puerto Montt and Argentina's Puerto Madryn both experience average highs in the low 50s. 

If you're keen to visit Patagonia's major draws like Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares, this is perhaps not the best time in terms of weather. Many tour companies and lodgings close for the season as days shorten and temperatures drop, with an increased chance of rain or snow depending on your altitude. In fact, Patagonian destinations are said to experience all four seasons in the course of a single day, so no matter where you travel this time of year, be prepared to dress in multiple layers and outdoor gear. 

Crowds & Costs

Patagonia's transition from autumn to winter tends to see few international travelers with one important exception: skiers who are eager to hit the southern slopes. For everyone else, Patagonia's cold, wet weather, and short daylight hours, keeps the crowds and costs at bay compared to summer months, so you should expect low prices and/or availability due to low crowds and seasonal closures. Given that, you'll want to book destinations at least three months in advance to get the best deals and ensure availability. 

Where to Go

If snow sports are on your list, Patagonia's ski resorts in Argentina have been gaining more attention in recent years, though neighboring Chile, on the whole, lures more international skiers and snowboarders. Still, resorts like Chapelco (near San Martín de Los Andes) as well as La Hoya (an excellent choice for families), are worth considering.

Another option near Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, is the world-class ski area around Cerro Castor. This is the best option in terms of experiencing additional activities and culture (more below).

Other mountainous areas of Patagonia either empty out and/or close for the season but you'll always be able to take a number of day-trips to the national parks, which stay open all year round. For instance, Torres del Paine is accessible for day-trips during winter months for those who wouldn't mind feeling like they have the iconic landscapes to themselves despite the iffy weather and trail closures.

The same goes for Los Glaciares National Park: stay in El Calafate and day-trip to Perito Moreno glacier to experience this massive body of ice up close.

What to Do

Skiing tends to be the activity of choice this time of year in Chile's Lake District and Argentina's southern mountain range. Ushuaia takes the cake for being the ultimate winter destination since it offers downhill skiing, snowboarding, Nordic skiing, dog sledding, and a festival for the Winter Solstice to celebrate the shortest day of the year (more below). You could also take a day cruise through the Beagle Channel where Darwin once sailed. 

Another option is Puerto Madryn for whale watching season, which extends from May to December, where you can jump on a cruise and share the deep blue sea with these giants. The 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.

Events in June

Fiesta de la Noche Más Larga. Argentina's Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, celebrates the longest night of the year with about 10 days worth of music and shows. This is when the city gets decked out and sleeping is forbidden.

Patagonian New Year. On June 24, the native peoples both from Chile and Argentina celebrate the beginning of the new year. An ancient tradition which attracts new visitors every year.

Festival de la Lluvia. This is a festival of rain in Chile's 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 Patagonia in June? Check out these great itineraries. 

Patagonia's Best Day Hikes. If you love hiking, this active 14-day trip highlights Patagonia's best trails with some of the most spectacular scenery in the world (thanks to two UNESCO-listed parks). Start off in Argentine Patagonia for Los Glaciares National Park—home to 13 glaciers and the iconic Mt. Fitz Roy. 

Patagonia Adventure for Couples. This two-week itinerary explores Patagonia's most breathtaking sites at a relaxed pace while staying in comfortable accommodations. Kick off in Chile's capital before continuing south to Torres del Paine National Park for glaciers, turquoise lakes, and thrilling day hikes. Finish across the border in Argentine Patagonia for more glaciers and a secluded mountain lodge.

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