Argentina is a vast, diverse country with a rich cultural heritage and dramatic landscapes, from the rugged Andes to stunning lakes and the Patagonian desert. As the eighth largest country in the world, it’s well over 2,000 miles in length. As such, the differences in terrain and altitude make for a climate that varies greatly, so knowing the best time to visit depends on where you’d like to go.
Summers in Argentina are typically warm and wet with mild winters, except in Patagonia, which experiences dry summers and cold winters. From dancing the Tango in Buenos Aires to drinking wine in Mendoza, let’s run through the best places to visit and when.
The Seasons In Argentina
Since Argentina is in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons operate in the opposite way to how they do in the Northern Hemisphere.
Argentina’s spring and summer months (high season) are the busiest for incoming travelers and run from September to February, which is the best time to visit popular areas for outdoor recreation, including Patagonia and the Lake District.
The spring and summer months are known for their clear blue skies and abundance of sunshine, though it can be hot and humid in northern areas, such as Salta and San Miguel de Tucuman.
The winter (low season) runs from June to August, with July being busy in certain destinations as it’s ski season and winter vacation. It’s typically quieter, and while beach resorts are closed, and mountain passes may be blocked by snow, there’s plenty happening in the cities, and it could be a good time to visit the north and the capital of Buenos Aires without the crowds.
Spring: September To December
Just like in the Northern Hemisphere, things start to warm up in spring. The season doesn’t officially start until 21st September, running through to 21st November. Flowers start to emerge, the trees fill with blossom, and the landscape becomes verdant, especially in the centre of the country, such as in places like the wine-growing region of Mendoza and around the city of Córdoba.
The weather is generally pleasant and warm with a higher likelihood of rain than in the winter. Spring breathes life back into the beaches and coastal areas as many resorts reopen after the winter hibernation. Spring is quieter than summer (high season), so Buenos Aires, the Lake District and Patagonia are going to be less crowded, and not as expensive as in the summer. Spring is an excellent time to visit Buenos Aires, and other large cities, since the cities can get muggy and uncomfortable in the summer.
Summer: January To March
Summer is the busiest month, but also the time when outdoor activities, hiking trails and beach resorts have the most to offer. It can also be more expensive, especially in Patagonia, yet it’ll be easier to reach remote areas, such as Patagonia and Ushuaia. There’s going to be a lot more going on in terms of outdoor activities, hiking trails, and tours in the summer, especially in the southern regions. The summer also makes for the perfect beach weather, especially close to Buenos Aires.
Any of the plethora of outdoor resorts along the Andes, as long as it’s not too far north, are bound to be perfect in the summer months. There’ll be plenty of sunshine, and activities such as white-water rafting and bike touring are incredibly popular. Visiting the north in the summer is not generally recommended as it’s likely to be humid, hot and rainy.
Autumn: April To June
For many, regardless of which country they’re in, autumn is their favourite season, simply because the leaves turn from green to reds, oranges and browns. The arrival of autumn is especially spectacular in the Lake District in Argentina, so be ready with your cameras.
Bariloche is a great option for an autumn trip, since the lakes are surrounded by forests. Bariloche itself is in the foothills of the Andes on the southern shore of Nahuel Huapi Lake, which is inside the Nahuel Huapi National Park. It makes for an excellent location to witness the metamorphosis from summer to autumn thanks to the plenitude of trees.
Autumn is also the best time to visit the north, since the climate will be stable and mild. Cities such as Salta, and smaller towns such as Iruya and Cafayate, make for an excellent starting point for any trip to the north.
Winter: July To September
July is the beginning of the ski season in the three main ski regions in the country, Mendoza, the Lake District, and Patagonia. Many Argentinians start their winter vacations in July, so it can get busy. Ushuaia is also an option for skiing, though it is the furthest south. Bariloche is also a popular winter choice for many travellers, offering horseback riding, sledding and cross-country skiing. The winter months can also be a great time to visit Buenos Aires, especially its many museums and galleries.
When To Visit By Location:
The spectacular Iguazu falls are unique in that they are situated at the borders of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. The Iguazu River actually constitutes some of the borders between Argentina and Brazil. The Falls can be visited any time of year since they are always going to be impressive, however, between December and March, the water levels are higher due to increased rainfall.
The best time to visit Patagonia is during its high season, which runs from November to February. This is also the most expensive period, however. July is also another good option. Between June and August, you can expect fewer activities on offer and some trails may be closed, but that doesn’t change its breathtaking natural scenery.
Buenos Aires, Mendoza & The Lake District
The best time to visit the capital is when the weather is warm and pleasant, typically from September to November, and March to May. These seasons are sometimes called the “shoulder seasons”.
It’s also a good time to visit the grape harvesting and wine producing region around Mendoza, while the Lake District region enjoys excellent weather in the Autumn from March to April.
The Best Time To Visit Argentina Overall:
In summary, the best time to visit Argentina will depend on where you’d like to go and which activities you’re interested in. That being said, spring is an excellent time to visit the country, especially urban areas, and regions like Mendoza and the Lake District, where the landscape will be lush and the climate warm and pleasant. There’ll be lots going on in spring, but it won’t as expensive or as busy as the summer months.