Have you been contemplating a vacation somewhere down in South America? It’s understandable if you are doing in-depth research ahead of your trip.
After all, weather patterns, culture, entertainment and more can differ greatly from country to country.
You might be wondering, does it ever snow in South America, and if it does, is it on the same cycle as North America?
This is important since you don’t want to pack the wrong type of clothing and accessories.
You will encounter snow in the highlands of Ecuador and Colombia, as well as Chile, Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia, which are famed for their winter snowfall.
It’s common knowledge that the more south you go in South America, the more snow you’ll encounter there.
Continue reading about snow tines and activities in South America to help you plan your next adventure.
Table of Contents
- Snow in South America
- Where Does It Snow in South America?
- Where Is There Snowfall in the Southern Hemisphere?
- South America’s Coldest Spot
- When is Winter in South America?
- Argentina and Snowfall During Winter
- The Possibility of Snow in Brazil
- South American Winter Sports and Recreation
Snow in South America
Beaches and historical landmarks are often the first things that come to mind when thinking of South America.
The continent, on the other hand, is a perfect place to visit for some fantastic winter sports. Why?
Well, in some regions, the mountains are covered in snow throughout the year.
Where Does It Snow in South America?
The Andes Mountains! For most of South America, this means the Andes. Winters are long and cold in the Andes, and some peaks are covered with snow all year round.
Snow can be found in the highlands of Colombia and Ecuador, as well as Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and Chile, which are famed for their winter snowfall.
Snowfall tends to increase as you move further south in South America, on average. The southern sections of Patagonia in Chile and Argentina are highly prone to snowfall, but it’s also common at lower elevations.
Where Is There Snowfall in the Southern Hemisphere?
Lack of landmasses below 40 degrees and a surplus of water in the Southern Hemisphere keep extreme coldness and snowfall in Antarctica as well as its greater mountain peaks.
These include Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia, the Alps on New Zealand’s South Island (including Fox glaciers and Franz Josef), and the Andes in Argentina near Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego.
Snow does occur at times in South America, and even in the mountains of Australia.
In 2013, for the first time in nearly four decades, snow fell in parts of southern Brazil – an incredibly rare occurrence.
South America’s Coldest Spot
Sarmiento, Argentina, is South America’s coldest city. The intriguing immigrant hamlet of Sarmiento in Argentina’s Chubut Province reported a frosty -27°F on June 17, 1907, even though South America can’t compete globally in this category.
There has almost likely been colder weather throughout the High Andes at a certain time since that’s the lowest low elevation cooling documented in South America.
When is Winter in South America?
Between June and August, Argentina experiences its winter. Snowfall and sleet cover much of the southern areas of South America throughout this period.
Argentina’s climate varies by location and is influenced by factors such as elevation and relief.
Temperate weather is prevalent throughout the country’s mainland. There are two distinct climates in the country: a subtropical one in the north and a polar one in the south.
Argentina and Snowfall During Winter
Snowfall in June
The winters in Argentina can be bitterly cold. -2.3 degrees Celsius is the average low temperature in Ushuaia, while 30.9 ° F is the low temp in Bariloche.
Throughout the month of June, Argentina’s southern areas are pummeled by a foot or more of snow.
There are 12.8 days of snow in Bariloche compared to 16.1 days of snowfall in Ushuaia, where 9.06 inches of snow builds up.
Snowfall in July
The average low temperature for July in Ushuaia, Argentina, is 27.1°F.
Ushuaia receives 14 days of snowfall, accumulating up to 6.5 inches of snow. With 16.4 inches of snowfall, Bariloche has the most snowfall of any city in Argentina.
Snowfall in August
In Argentina, August marks the last phase of winter. Temperatures remain frigid in Ushuaia, so it’s not unusual to see individuals swathed in thick clothing.
27.5°F is the average low temp, while Bariloche has a typical low of 30°F.
The Possibility of Snow in Brazil
Throughout Brazil’s Southern Region (Paraná states, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul), snow is an annual occurrence.
It’s a rare occurrence in other places in the country, but it has been documented a few times.
Summer months (but winter in the south) are the most common time for snowfall to occur. Every year, approximately 13,000 tourists from outside of So Joaquim travel at this time to the city that has the most days of snow.
On August 7, 1879, more than two meters of snow fell in Vacaria (RS), making it the country’s largest-ever snowstorm.
It is highly rare for snowfalls of this magnitude to occur in Brazil.
South American Winter Sports and Recreation
Skiing and snowboarding are popular winter sports in South America. There are a wide variety of resorts, from those that cater to families to those that cater to thrill-seekers.
Here are a handful of the top South American snow activities, along with information on where to partake in each of them.
Skiing in South America
There are active skiing resorts in Chile and Argentina; Bolivia has one, but the rise in global temperatures has made it nearly impossible to ski there anymore.
The ski season in Argentina lasts from mid-June to the end of October.
The closer you are to midseason, the better the conditions are likely to be. Mendoza has the most popular ski resorts, including Las Lenas, which has some of the best runs for advanced skiers.
Located near the Chilean border, Los Penitentes is another prominent ski lodge in Argentina’s far west.
Caviahue, in Argentina’s Patagonia region, is a ski resort with a wide range of trails for beginners and intermediates.
The nearest ski resort to Bariloche and one of its most popular is Cerro Catedral. That’s due to the wide number of runs available for intermediate and advanced skiers.
Most Renowned Ski Resorts in South America
A number of the most renowned ski resorts in the world are located in Chile. If you’re pressed for time, there are several resorts within an hour’s ride from Santiago, Chile’s capital and busiest airport.
The Portillo resort in Chile is the best place for skilled skiers to go to warm up after a long day on the slopes, with its iconic yellow hotel situated at the valley’s bottom and some of the globe’s fastest slopes.
The three-valley region, which includes La Parva, El Colorado, and Valle Nevado, boasts some of the best skiing in the region for beginners as well as intermediates.
Ski Pucon in Chile is a volcano-based resort with stunning views of the environs, as well as some excellent intermediate runs.
Snowboarding In South America
Thousands of people relish skiing, but there is a sizable subculture dedicated to whizzing over the snow on a single blade instead of two.
Snowboarders in Iguazu are just as welcome at the South American ski lodges as in other snowboarding destinations.
The big ski resorts are just as popular with snowboarders as with skiers, so there are plenty of wonderful spots to explore.
Popular Snowboard Destinations
Many of the most popular snowboard destinations feature excellent natural landscapes and freestyle parks.
They comprise natural pipes that allow riders to show off their skills.
Las Lenas, with a terrain park and several great free-riding spots, is an excellent illustration of this.
There is a respectable terrain park inside Nevado de Chillan, as well as off-piste trails and a rolling landscape.
The Arpa resort in Chile, on the other hand, is the one that gets the most attention for its snowboarding because of its huge freestyle terrain park, diverse terrain, and unique features like natural pipes and cliff drops.
Hiking in South America
Among the mountains of South America, there are several hiking trails. They give you oneness with the beautiful snow-capped summits without the ice-climbing crampons and ice axes.
A decent balance along with a stick is all you need to walk in the snow on most of these paths; special footwear isn’t required on all of them either.
Places to Hike
If you’re looking for a challenging but manageable trek, Ecuador’s El Altar region offers stunning views of the Andes and has a great three-day route.
In addition to Ecuador, there are several fantastic routes in Bolivia.
The Huayhuash Trek is an alternative to the Inca Trail, which is closed during the winter months, as it traverses seven paths higher than 4,500 meters in elevation and through the high Andes.
You’ll get a taste of a variety of terrain as you make your way around the summit and through several stunning mountain passes along the Cerro Castillo Circuit.
Snowmobiling in South America
Snowmobiling is a terrific option for individuals who don’t want to learn a new activity while enjoying the snow-covered slopes of the Andes.
Snowmobiling is a popular activity on many ski slopes, and Las Lenas is one of the most popular spots to ride a snowmobile.
When traveling with kids, bigger snowmobiles with multiple seats are available, or guides will let them go along with them, making this an excellent family outing.
Ice Climbing in South America
Climbing ice is yet another adventure sport that may bring you up close and personal with South American mountains.
It is not necessary to be a pro to have an enjoyable time here, even though it might be a difficult activity.
There are a wide variety of ice climbing institutes and lessons to choose from. If you’re looking to hone your talents, the Cordillera Real mountain range in Bolivia is an excellent place to start.
In Ecuador, the Cotopaxi volcano is a great spot to train and improve your ice climbing abilities with the help of locals.
Ecuador’s capital city of Quito is just a short drive away, and it’s among the more affordable regions in South America to visit.
Where to Climb
When it comes to climbing in the Andes, you’ll find a wide variety of breathtaking routes for all experience levels
Climbing Alpamayo’s sheer ice walls in Peru is a fun, yet tough experience.
When it comes to ice climbing, the slopes of Chile’s Cajon del Maipo canyon are a terrific alternative, and they offer some excellent Alpine climbing.