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Climate & Weather
Climate & Weather
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Chile Climate & Weather

 

General

Apart from the climatic zones that the country passes through (sub tropical, temperate, cold temperate and Antarctic), which invariably dictate the climate in those areas, two other factors have an influence on the weather in Chile. One is the cold, Humboldt current that runs up the length of the country from the icy-cold waters of the Antarctic thus keeping the sea temperature cold which, in the summer months reacts with the hot air currents coming off the land which in turn affects rainfall in the mountains and sometimes creates costal fog in the mornings. The second factor is the mountainous terrain of the Andes, covered in snow for most of the year, which then influences the upper air currents and ultimately the weather. And the Coastal Mountain range for example, will often block clouds coming inland from the coast during the summer months.

 

Clothing to take

It is all about common sense. Think about the clothes you would wear in the summer and in the winter and allow for cool nights. Take into consideration that if you are going to the hot dessert that you will need a hat, long-sleeved shirts, trousers and general protection from the sun, but that you will also need something warm when you go up any mountain. The further south you go from Santiago the cooler and colder it will become, so take appropriate clothing.

 

Northern Chile

The northern sector of the country begins north of a Serena (474 km north of Santiago) and runs right up to Arica (2,062 km north of Santiago). From the border with Peru (Arica) running southwards to La Serena at is one of the driest regions in the world. There is a small difference of temperature between summer to winter but the weather is remarkably constant from one day to another. The zone is a typical cold-water-coast and hot dry desert combination where, in spite of being virtually rainless, the weather at the coast is often cloudy and relatively cool for the latitude. The coastal strip weather typically has much fog and frequent light drizzle with rather low amounts of sunshine, however in the summer the costal cloud is usually burnt off by midday to offer sunny, clear skies and inland the temperatures are higher and there is plenty of sun. However, one phenomenon is the “Bolivian Winter”. This is the formation of summer storms on the Bolivian side of the Andes Mountains that will then float over the Andes towards Chile dropping copious amounts of rain that will fall as snow on the higher elevations to leave a winter snow scene. Often these storms will be full of electricity too, which presents a serious danger to anyone exposed in open terrain.

 

Clothing to take

 

Summer:
Typical light summer clothes, some outdoor gear for excursions, hat, long sleeved shirts as well as a warm top and long trousers for cool nights and excursions to the much colder altitudes in the mountains. Sturdy outdoor boots. Sun protection cream.

 

Winter:
As above, but extra set of warmer clothes.

 

Central Chile (including Santiago)

The central zone of Chile is an area that runs roughly 500 km north and 300km south of Santiago. In this zone the climate is Mediterranean offering long (5 months), hot and dry summers with little rain; short, cool and changeable winter weather with snow on the mountains. Santiago climate enjoys spectacularly good summers due to its altitude (543 m - 800 m) as the costal-range mountains prevent the costal clouds from coming up and spoiling the clear sun-lit days.

 

Clothing to take

 

Summer:
Typical light summer clothes, hat, long sleeved shirts as well as a warm top and long trousers for cool nights. Sun protection cream.

 

Winter:
Warmer clothes. Ski gear if going skiing. Sun protection cream.

 

Lake Region

The northern part of the lake district begins at Temuco (677 km south of Santiago) and tails off at Puerto Montt (1,016 km south of Santiago). In this zone, the weather patterns are warm- temperate with "normal" length (3 months) summers, which can be warm and hot, and often with rain showers. However the temperature does cool off the further south you travel i.e. towards Puerto Montt and the further away you travel from the equator. Winter weather is usually wet, cold and changeable with snow on the mountains.

 

Clothing to take

 

Summer:
rousers (blue jeans), summer shirts, sturdy outdoor boots, outdoor gear for hiking, rafting, warm top for nights. Waterproof parka jacket.

 

Winter:
Warmer clothes.

 

Patagonian Region

Chilean Patagonia begins at Chaiten (approximately 1,300 km south of Santiago) and runs south to Punta Arenas (3,090 km south of Santiago), beyond which is Tierra del Fuego - the southern tip of the continent containing the famous Torres del Paine National Park. The weather in this area is cold-temperate with long, cold and wet winters and short, cool, often rainy summers, always unpredictable and often windy. The climate of Punta Arenas is exceptional in having a very low annual rainfall because it is sheltered from the wet, westerly winds by the southern Andes.

 

Clothing to take

 

Summer:
Sturdy outdoor boots, outdoor gear, waterproof gear, warm tops and trousers.

 

Winter:
Good set of sturdy outdoor gear and warm clothes. Waterproof parka jacket.