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Whether it is unraveling the conquistador history of Valparaiso or tracking pumas in Torres del Paine National Park, your trip to Chile in January is sure to be packed with thrills that are unique to this land. January falls in the middle of the high tourist season in Chile, and the weather during this time is a sweet tale of warm temperatures and nearly no rainfall. The cherry on top of this already delicious cake is long summer days promising a tempting series of seemingly unending outdoor adventures. Safe to say, there are plenty of things to do in Chile if you are planning on visiting the country in January.
- Isabella Rodriguez
The weather in the capital city of Santiago sees soaring temperatures in January, ranging from 26°C to 30°C during the daytime. However, this can decrease to 12°C at night. The Chilean coast, on the other hand, is refreshingly cool, with highs of 18°C and lows of 4°C.
While the Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on earth, it can pop a surprise at any time in January. This month brings 'Invierno Altiplánico' (Altiplanic Winter), a sudden influx of moist air in this area that can cause storms, unexpected snowfalls, and even heavy afternoon rains. However, this is quick to clear as well. Daytime temperatures in the desert hover at around 32°C, dipping down to nearly 4°C as the evening sets in.
The Chilean Patagonia, located in the country’s south, however, remains comparatively cool. Its temperature ranges anywhere between 12°C during the day and 5°C at night. But January is also the time when Patagonia’s infamous winds pick up, so layering up is advised.
For a seasonal overview of the country, check out our guide on the best time to visit Chile.
Weather in Chile in January - Rainfall and Temperatures
|Avg Daily (°C)||30||29||27||23||18||15||15||16||18||22||25||28|
|Avg Nightly (°C)||11||11||9||7||5||3||3||4||5||7||9||11|
|Avg Daily (°F)||86||85||81||74||65||59||59||61||65||72||77||83|
|Avg Nightly (°F)||52||52||49||45||41||38||38||40||41||45||49||52|
|Avg Rainfall (mm)||10||10||10||10||50||40||80||40||20||10||10||10|
|Avg Daily (°C)||28||30||29|
|Avg Nightly (°C)||11||11||11|
|Avg Daily (°F)||83||86||85|
|Avg Nightly (°F)||52||52||52|
|Avg Rainfall (mm)||10||10||10|
Summer in Chile puts up its best show. Since most of the country’s tourist attractions are easily accessible, it is the best time to indulge in summer sports like surfing, hiking, rock climbing, and so on. Locals are also in a festive mood, with annual celebrations in full swing. There are plenty of reasons why January is still a special month to visit Chile, some of which are listed below.
- Scenic diversity: From the sparse moonscapes of the Atacama Desert and dense forests of Huerquehue National Park to the massive ice fields of Patagonia and the lush wine valleys of Maipo, Chile offers a magnificent platter of contrasting landscapes. January being pleasantly warm with little to no rainfall, you can expect the perfect weather for any activity they choose.
- Activities: Regardless of your love for adventure or adrenaline, culture or cruises, wildlife or wellbeing, Chile pulls out all the stops when it comes to activities, especially during its peak summer month of January. Indulge in birdwatching at Captrén Lake or ice walk in the white desert of Torres Del Paine. Set sail in the scenic archipelago of San Rafael, or cycle through the pristine landscape of Carretera Austral. Want to take a break and do some shopping? Hit the duty-free shopping district of Iquique or buy a local wool poncho in one of the local markets.
- Festivals: If you are looking to capture the real color of Chilean communities, festivals are a great way. And January is crammed with festivities — old and new, traditional, and contemporary. Usher in a new year with a spectacular traditional firework display at Valparaiso or participate in a colorful Saint Sebastian Feast Day in Yumbel with parades, prayers, and songs. For a taste of indigenous culture, the folklore festival of Brotes de Chile at Angol is highly recommended.
- Maximum daylight: With the sun staying in the sky for nearly 17 out of 24 hours, January days are a bonanza in the Chilean Patagonia for lovers of the great outdoors. Be it horseback riding, hiking, multi-day trekking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting or just gazing at out-of-this-world scenery, the fabled land encompassing Chile’s lower third can be enjoyed in its varied avatars during this time of year.
There is absolutely no dearth of things to do in Chile in January. Those who prefer warm weather can sign up for some sun-soaking on the country's northern coast, while surfers can head for Arica and Iquique with their boards. Landscape lovers can feast their eyes on the extreme terrain while on an Atacama tour or get humbled by the towering peaks of Cordillera Paine. Make a vino trip to Chilean wine valleys and learn more about the ancient art of winemaking. Thrill-seekers can make good use of long daylight hours to pack in some extra punch to their outdoor adventures in Patagonia.
Do some wildlife watching in Parque Nacional Patagonia and hike through Torres Del Paine. Get acquainted with Patagonian history in Parque Del Estrecho de Magallanes or stay at a remote country estate away from the crowd. When other parts of Chile see a swell in tourist numbers, cities heave a sigh of relief with even locals leaving to enjoy the Chilean Lake District. As a result, hotel prices drop and there are less pollution and traffic jams. If you are looking for ideas for your trip, check our travel guide on how many days you should spend in Chile.
Dramatic weather conditions abound in Chile, given its unique shape, size, and location. However, January is when the erratic weather takes a break, egging one to head out and explore the country. That said, you have to be willing to spend more and plan in advance if you are traveling to Chile in January. It is a peak season, and everything from activities to accommodation and domestic flights experience a steep price climb. Also, last-minute bookings are rarely available. Get in touch with our local travel experts and let them help you design a custom trip to Chile.
You can also browse through our trips to Chile in January and book a holiday right now!