The onset of autumn in Patagonia—both Chile and Argentina—introduces slightly cooler temperatures and the start of fall foliage, though this varies according to the geographic location. The further south you travel, the more extreme the weather conditions become.
Some areas of Patagonia become totally inaccessible in winter months, so going now—during the beginning of shoulder season—is a smart move, especially after the summer winds die down. Ushuaia, Patagonia's southernmost city, sees highs in the mid-50s during March while towns further north see highs in the mid-60s. Wherever you go, it's best to pack plenty of layers and outdoor weather for evenings and inclement weather.
Crowds & Costs
March is a bit of a transitional month in Patagonia, with summertime tourists thinning out by mid-month. Traveling during the beginning of this autumn shoulder season means better prices and fewer international tourists. Locals also get back into their routines after taking vacations in February making the two Lake Districts (Argentina and Chile) less saturated, as well. You'll still want to book your trip at least three months in advance to get the best rates and availability.
Where to Go
You can't go wrong this time of year when picking destinations in Patagonia. This is still a great weather month for outdoor adventures with mostly dry skies and pleasant temperatures. For instance, you can conquer the "W" trek in Torres del Paine National Park where you'll hike past turquoise lakes, emerald forests, roaring rivers, and a massive glacier while camping along the way.
For a more luxury experience, you can take a tour of the park's highlights with an experienced guide while staying in the cozy domes of EcoCamp Patagonia with some of the best views in Patagonia, not to mention excellent food and wine. An alternative idea is Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park—home of 13 glaciers, including the Perito Moreno, one of the most important tourist attractions in the region (great for ice trekking).
You can also head to Península Valdés along Argentina's Atlantic coast in Northern Patagonia. Nearly 100,000 visitors make their way here each year to experience the continent's most varied marine life including the southern right whales, Magellanic penguins, sea lions, and elephant seals.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
There's plenty of activities, both relaxing and active, to consider in Patagonia during March. This is the time of year to take day-hikes and multi-day treks in the region's famous national parks while the summer crowds start to dissipate. Thrill seekers who seek activities such as white-water rafting, zip-lining, skydiving, and horseback riding will want to head for Chile's Lake District, especially near Pucon.
Argentine Patagonia also offers plenty of hiking, cycling, kayaking, in its Lake District, as well as through waterways and fjords near Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Get here before the snow and ice arrives. For those interested in culture, check out the Welsh settlement in the Chubut province dating back to the 19th century—an unexpected place for a traditional spot of tea.
Events in March
Fiesta Nacional de Trekking. This multiple-location festival in Argentina's El Chalten attracts outdoor adventurists from around the world for rock-climbing, bouldering and woodcutting competitions, as well as running and mountain-bike races.
Fiesta Nacional del Asado. Along with fútbol and protest, asado is a national pastime. This Patagonian event in March draws huge crowds in Cholila, Argentina to grill meat and share it, with a festival of music and craft sales.
Traveling to Patagonia in March? Check out these great itineraries.
Hiking in Patagonia. This self-guided and incredibly scenic trip highlights Patagonia's best trails on both sides of the border. Kick off in Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park, home of 13 glaciers and the iconic Mt. Fitz Roy. Next is Chile's Torres del Paine National Park for more jaw-dropping peaks, turquoise lakes, and rare wildlife. Finish back in Argentina for coastal trails and a taste of the world's 'southernmost city'.
Patagonia Multi-Sport Adventure. This 10-day itinerary combines a slew of outdoor activities in Argentina and Chile's deep south. After a day in Buenos Aires, head to Los Glaciares National Park for some ice trekking on a major glacier. Next is an overnight hiking trip to Chile's Torres del Paine National Park. You'll finish in Argentina's El Chaltén—home of Mt. Fitz Roy and craft-beer bars—and complete a rock climbing course (there's no better place to learn!)