Chile’s Norte Grande (Large North) is dry and desert-like, with scarce precipitation. Some places have not seen rain for centuries. Temperatures average around 20º C all year round. Temperatures drop sharply in the altiplano, due to altitude which produces a cold steppe-like climate featuring summer precipitation, a phenomenon known as the Bolivian winter.
Temperatures in the altiplano can range from below zero to over 20º C in the same day. This also happens in some areas of the Atacama Desert, with even higher temperatures by day.
Chile’s Atacama and Elqui features a semi-arid climate and irregular precipitation generally concentrated during the winter season.
Chile’s central and southern zones have a Mediterranean climate, with the exception of colder weather as you get closer to the mountains. The four seasons are well-defined, with hot and dry summers followed by cold and wet winters. There is also a big difference between temperatures at the coast and in the valley.
The coastal zone has lower temperatures due to the effects of the sea, while Chile’s inland zones feature higher temperatures because of the Coastal Mountains that act as a natural barrier.
Average summer temperatures come to 20º C in Santiago, with highs of up to 36º C. January and February are the hottest months. Winter temperatures can drop as low as -2ºC, although average day temperatures come to 10º C. Remember that the difference between day and night temperatures can be as much as 20º C when planning any trip.
It gets rainier as you travel farther south, with rainy maritime weather. It rains a lot both in the summer and in the winter.
Patagonia has cold steppe-like weather with a wide range of temperatures, strong wind, low temperatures and a lot of snow in the winter.
Chile’s Antarctic territory features a polar climate, with temperatures always below zero and scarce precipitation. One point to remember: it is even colder in Antarctica than at the North Pole.
Easter Island has a rainy subtropical climate and is strongly influenced by ocean currents. Average summer temperatures come to 20º C.
The Juan Fernandez archipelago features a warm and temperate climate with a four- to five-month dry season. Most precipitation falls in the winter. Average annual temperatures come to 15º C.