Robert Runyard's details about Patagonia in winter:
Winter in Patagonia depends upon where you are going. The Argentine side, when away from the coasts, tends to be rather cold, but it varies according to where you are. There are many "microclimate" corners which are pleasant and almost warm -- certainly not a "Siberia."
In northern Argentine Patagonia, between Bariloche and Esquel, it is not unlike a winter in much of Colorado: some nice and sunny days, some snow and drizzle. Over on the Chilean side, Puerto Natales, even though it is right on the water (Last Hope Sound) gets snow in the surrounding mountains all year, and in the city itself the winter temperatures can drop to about 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. But one of the advantages of Patagonia in winter is that in many areas the winds have died down, which in the austral summer can be very strong, with gusts that will carry gravel and pit a car's windshield. The winter scenes have their own drama. If you travel the Chilean Carretera Austral in winter, bear in mind that although the road is usually well maintained, that there are passes which can be treacherous, and that chains for even 4WD vehicles are a good idea. Higher elevations of the coastal ranges in the Chilean Aysen region do tend to get heavy snowfall. The northern end of the Carretera Austral at around sea level, and close to the coast, is not often socked in with snow and ice, except for short periods.
Travel on the track south from Coyhaique (which itself rarely gets much lasting snow, even in winter), and particularly south of Lago General Carrera, can be icy and for longer periods. By the way, the two major ferry (transbordador) companies run year-round between Puerto Montt and the Carretera Austral ports of Puerto Chacabuco and ChaitÚn and the gas stations along the road are also supplied year-round.
Back to FAQ