Chile in December: Chasing Stars and Penguins


Chile experiences some of its warmest temperatures in December as its weather transitions to summer from spring. However, given the country’s shape, which is narrow and elongated, the effects of summer differ from region to region. The northern parts of the country are comparatively warmer than the south. Having said that, you need not pack many warm clothes for your Chile trip unless you are looking to base yourself in the country’s south. Enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking in the popular national parks and spotting local wildlife along the coasts.

Chile weather in December

Epic beauty of the landscape of Torres del Paine in southern Chile
Chile sees nice and warm temperatures in July, making it a summer destination

Given that Chile is in the Southern Hemisphere, its seasons can feel topsy-turvy for many so you may need to keep that in mind when you plan your trip to Chile in December. Chile’s weather in December is warm and sunny, with temperatures between 12 to 25 °C in the hotter regions of the north, and between 8 and 21 °C in the south. Thanks to the country’s topography, it has everything from Mediterranean and desert climates to tundra and oceanic climates.

For a seasonal overview of the country, check out our guide on the best time to visit Chile.

Weather in Chile in December - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)302927231815151618222528
Avg Nightly (°C)111197533457911
Avg Daily (°F)8684.280.673.464.4595960.864.471.67782.4
Avg Nightly (°F)51.851.848.244.64137.437.439.24144.648.251.8
Avg Rainfall (mm)101010105040804020101010

Why visit Chile in December

Magellanic penguins in natural environment Magdalena island, Chile
Explore the Island of Magdalena and witness the beauty of Magellanic penguins
Star-studded night sky against the arid hills of Atacama
The hauntingly beautiful landscape of Atacama Desert is often compared to the moon

There is a vast range of destinations and activities in Chile that can be explored throughout the year. Nonetheless, if you choose to travel to Chile in December, you will still be able to enjoy plenty of outdoor activities. Plus, this is an excellent time of year for discovering the country’s nature reserves and taking in its incredible scenery.

  • Festivals: New Year celebrations in Chile are a highlight on the festival calendar, and it can be fun to spend Christmas in a foreign country, too. Try the traditional pan de Pascua as part of your Christmas feast. Valparaiso’s New Year by the Sea celebrations last for three days and have the biggest New Year fireworks display in Latin America.
  • National Parks: National parks in Chile are at their best in December, with native flora more beautiful at this time of year than any other. There is a possibility that they can get a little crowded during this time of year. However, you might be able to beat the crowd if you go early in the month.
  • Stargazing: If you want to try something a bit more special on your trip, go stargazing in the Atacama Desert. You will definitely remember the experience throughout your life.
  • Chasing penguins: December is one of the only times of the year when you can visit Isla Magdalena to see the largest penguin colony in southern Chile.

Where to go and what to do

Hiking adventure inside Torres del Paine national park
Go on hiking adventures inside Torres del Paine National Park

Relaxing on sandy stretches is a top thing to do in Chile in December, and the white sand beach of Bahía Inglesa is one of the best in the country. As well as kicking back and swimming, you can also take part in activities such as sailing, windsurfing, surfing, or kayaking during your beach stay. A Torres del Paine tour is a perennial favourite among travelers. This nature reserve, which is also a Unesco world heritage site, has some stunning sights to enjoy, from turquoise lakes to craggy peaks and icy glaciers, and is popular with hikers. You cannot go to Chile in December and not do the W trek! If you like partying, check out New Year’s Eve celebrations during a trip to Valparaiso. This town always puts on brilliant fireworks to get you in the party mood, with the display being viewed by around a million tourists. There are also lots of traditional activities to take part in, such as drinking champagne from a glass with a gold ring in it.

A Patagonia tour is another highlight that needs to be part of every Chile itinerary in December. Discover its ancient forests and glacial fjords and enjoy a variety of activities like water cruises and wildlife spotting (you can see sea lions and elephant seals relaxing in the sun along the coast). Also, in case you have enough time, add a trip to Easter Island to your itinerary.

If you are not sure how many days to spend in Chile, make sure to go through our travel guide on how many days you should spend in the country.

What to bring

Your packing for a trip to Chile in December depends entirely on which region of the country you are visiting. For the warmer north, full-sleeved t-shirts, jumpers, and cotton trousers along with comfortable walking shoes will do the job. However, you will require some extra layers if your itinerary includes southern areas. Remember to factor in any equipment you will need for outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and swimming.

If you travel to Chile in December, you will not be at a loss for things to do! The weather in Chile in December is generally warm and sunny, making it a perfect time for relaxing on the beach or exploring the natural beauty of this amazing country. It is a great time for festivals and parties, too, with New Year’s Eve celebrations being particularly memorable. Make sure to reach out to our travel experts to design your next custom tour to Chile.

You can also browse through our trips to Chile in December and book a holiday right now!

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  • Maria Barciela
    Maria Barciela
    Travel Expert in Argentina & Chile
  • Maria Szlafsztein
    Maria Szlafsztein
    Travel Expert in Argentina & Chile
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