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Certain places around the world are best to visit during distinct seasons because of the weather, scheduled events, and crowd levels. Spring in the northern hemisphere is fall in South America and vice versa, which means the months of September, October, and November are great for planning a trip to many top South American destinations. To help you get inspired and plan your next big trip, here are some seasonal recommendations for South America.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
The city of Buenos Aires is a favorite destination with foodies and music lovers. It has a bit of a European vibe and lots of cultural attractions to keep you entertained from day to day. The fall months are excellent times to visit Buenos Aires because this is a shoulder season with mild temperatures and fewer crowds. This is compared to the hot and crowded summer days and rainy days of winter. Fun events to check out in the fall in Buenos Aires include the World Tango Festival, the National Gay Pride Parade and Argentine Open Polo Championships.
The Chilean city of Santiago is a top spot for outdoor adventurers who are looking for a fall escape. Many people start their journeys here before traveling south to Patagonia. But in the city itself, you can enjoy amazing cuisine and art. The fall shoulder season is an ideal time to be in Santiago because of its plentiful sunshine and affordable flight prices. Seasonal festivals and events that take place here include Fiestas Patrias that celebrates Chilean independence in September, Oktoberfest in September, and the Feria Internacional de Artesania crafts fair in November.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
It’s also fun to visit Rio de Janeiro at this time of the year to enjoy the nightlife scene, cultural hot spots, and significant religious sites. For moderate weather conditions that aren’t too hot, plan your trip for October or November. During these months, you can often expect pleasant temperatures in the 70s and 80s during the day and in the 60s at night. September in Rio brings the Rock in Rio concert, Dia de Independência do Brasil, and a food and beer-tasting event called Mondial de la Biere. Gay Pride Rio takes place in October or November, while Rio’s international film festival occurs around this time too.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Outdoor adventure lovers enjoy traveling to the Galapagos Islands in this season to view wildlife and go snorkeling with local guide companies. This unique destination is off the coast of Ecuador and one of the most memorable places you’ll ever visit. October is a great time to be in the Galapagos because the temperatures are cooler, usually between 66 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, and rainfall and mist levels are low to give you excellent visibility. September and October are also considered to be low season, which means that prices are often more affordable at this time of the year too. You may be able to enjoy fewer crowds, see whales and dolphins, see penguins when they’re active, and start to see new sea lion pups being born.
La Paz, Bolivia
Travelers often stay in La Paz as a launch point before exploring the Amazon basin and the Andes mountains. But in the town itself, you can check out the local markets, museums, and affordable and delicious street food. It’s a great place to plan a September trip. Top attractions for your trip here include the Witches Market, Coca Museum, and taking a ride on the cable car. Traditional foods to try here are the meat-heavy dishes of silpancho and pique macho, as well as tasty empanadas. You can attend the Virgen de Guadalupe Festival in Sucre and the Fiesta de San Roquein Tarija in September when you visit.
Amazon Rainforest, Brazil
As you might expect, the Amazon Rainforest is humid and rainy for much of the year, but some seasons are still better to visit than others. For example, September is a great month to plan your Amazon adventure because it is drier and also a great time for birdwatching. Manaus is the gateway city in Brazil to the rainforest and a popular tourist hub. From here, you can get into the rainforest by plane or riverboat. Most first-time travelers to this region of South America choose to hire a local guide to accompany them into the wilderness.
Montevideo has emerged as a top fall getaway destination in South America because this is when restaurants and bars start opening their outside seating and sightseeing excursions are pleasant. This is an affordable destination with budget-friendly prices during this season. Plan your trip for October for low rainfall and comfortable temperatures. Then, you can check out the outdoor markets, live music performances at Teatro Solis, and Metropolitan Cathedral in the Old City area.
Cartagena is a charming and romantic city with its horse-drawn carriages and colorful buildings. Here you can explore historic forts, walk along pretty beaches, and buy designer goods in the Bocagrande shopping area. When you’re here, it’s also fun to do a street food tour and take a day trip to the Islas del Rosario.
Patagonia is a top fall destination in South America, especially Torres del Paine National Park in the southernmost region of the country. Here you’ll find lots of wildlife, unforgettable landscapes, and endless hiking opportunities. If you plan your trip for September or October, you’ll likely see colorful blooms. If you visit in November, you’ll likely face more crowds because this is getting into the local summer season, but you’ll also have great weather for exploring the national park. Keep in mind though that the winds tend to be chilly in Patagonia year-round.
One of the best destinations in Colombia, Bogota is an energetic city filled with incredible food and regional wines. October is a nice time to visit Colombia because the biggest summer crowds are gone and it’s not too rainy then. You may also be able to get cheaper airfare because it’s the shoulder season. However, keep in mind that there aren’t as many festivals and holidays at this time of year, so if you’re looking to join local events, you may want to visit in the local summer season instead.
Seven Lakes, Argentina
The Seven Lakes is a scenic road trip route that’s great to do during the fall. The route passes through Lanín and Nahuel Huapi National Parks and around the lakes of Correntoso, Espejo, Escondido, Viallarino, Falkner, Machónico and Lácar Lakes. All of these lakes are also around beautiful natural forests. Between September and November, you may see beautiful blossoming flowers. The drive gives you a taste of this wild landscape from the comfort of your vehicle.
To get a little more off-the-grid with your South American fall adventure, consider planning a trip to Asunción, Paraguay. This is a budget-friendly destination that you can largely explore on foot. There’s fun nightlife here, market stalls to browse, and a riverfront walkway. A fun event to join in September is Oktoberfest if you choose to visit Paraguay then. Paraguay has been shaped by its immigrant communities, and it’s fun to join in the fun at this local festival in early September.
Lima is famous for its ancient archaeological sites and palaces, but it’s also an ideal place to visit in the fall. In addition to learning about history, Lima is a top spot for foodie travelers guided by their taste buds. Visit Peru in October to check out the Día de la Marinera, Piura Jubilee Week, or the Fiesta Patronal de Santa Úrsula, among many other local festivals and holidays.
When you visit Cuenca, Ecuador in the fall, you can check out the Cathedral de la Immaculada, buy local products at an outdoor market, and bike along the Rio Tomebamba Riverfront. There are fewer tourists and generally more affordable prices if you visit in October rather than September. Locals celebrate their Independence Day on October 9th.
The less popular South American destination of Suriname is also a place to consider visiting in the fall. This small country has a unique culture, and Paramaribo is a cosmopolitan city that has lots of delicious food to try and history to learn about. At the end of October, Suriname has a national art exhibition in Paramaribo that you can check out at the local galleries and showrooms.
Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil
Iguazu Falls is a natural wonder of the world and truly a site to see in South America. The region extends in both Argentina and Brazil, and you can experience it by taking a boat ride to get you as close as possible for these epic views. For accommodations, you can stay on the Argentinian side in Puerto Iguazu or on the Brazil side at Foz do Iguacu.