February is a month of fun and madness in Chile’s most popular tourist destinations, as city slickers set their jobs aside and flock en masse to beaches, mountains and national parks across the country. It’s great for the tourism industry, but not so much for travelers looking for a bit of peace and quiet… or a cheap hotel room.
So the privilege of buying a bus ticket without standing in line for hours, pitching a tent in an empty campsite, or snagging a bargain price on rentals, combined with the fact that summer’s good weather is still hanging around and tourist operators and restaurateurs haven’t yet closed their doors for winter, makes March the best month of year to explore Chile’s spectacular Patagonia.
This is certainly the case for those interested in pursuing the area’s world class kayaking and white-water rafting opportunities. Check out places like the the Baker River, the biggest in the region or international kayak hot spot, the Futaleufú River in northern Patagonia.
And nobody benefits from the absence of crowds more than back-country hikers, who get to tackle some of the world’s most famous trails, like the “W” trail in Torres del Paine National Park, and a chance for more experienced hikers to try out some of the area’s equally impressive, but less developed trails, like central Patagonia’s highest peak, Cerro Castillo, or the spectacular granite peaks of the Cochamó Valley.
Also water levels on the second-largest freshwater lake on the continent – the glacial General Carrera Lake – make this the best time of year to visit the Marble Caverns, considered some of the world’s most beautiful caves and one of the best place for nature photographers in the country.