When it's best to go:
· The southern summer. Let's say November through March for optimal temperatures and max sunlight time (some days up to 16 hours!).
· October for baby animals. When we flew into Punta Arenas in mid-October, we encountered light hail, a rainbow, high winds, and even a brief snowstorm all in the first hour after touching down. While the weather was still a little iffy, the newborn animals of spring had just found their footing and baby sheep, guanaco (Patagonian llama), hares, and rhea (Patagonian emu) were abundant and within camera range.
· Do note that while Torres del Paine National Park is open year-round, the entry prices change with the seasons. In spring and summer, the one-time entry fee costs 18,000 Chilean Pesos (USD $38) per foreigner, while low season only charges 5,000 Chilean Pesos (USD $10.50) each.
Spring in the southern hemisphere means lots of baby animal sightings
When it's best to stay away:
· Winter in general. We'd avoid May-September unless you'd fond of adventuring in freezing, unpredictable weather.
· Christmas and New Year. While the weather is at its most temperate, the region is also experiencing its highest influx of tourism. Families are on holiday vacation, hotel rates are peaking, the best placessuch as our favorite, The Singular Patagoniaare completely sold out in advance, and the scenic roads so serene during much of the year are instead dusty and loud with heavy tour bus traffic.
All rooms at The Singular Hotel-Patagonia have this view of Puerto Bories' Last Hope Sound
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]