Weather in South America

Extending 4,750 miles (7,640 km) from Colombia down to the tip of Chile, the wide range of geographic regions gives the climate of South America quite a bit of variety, ranging from the Antarctic conditions of Patagonia in southern Argentina to the tropical conditions of the Amazon basin.

In general, the weather in South America is hot and humid. Countries in the Amazon baisn like Northern Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela have are dominated by rainforest and have consistent hot and humid weather year-round with high rainfall. In fact, French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname, Columbia and Ecuador are usually the wettest countries in South America. One of the unique features of the climate and weather in South America is El Nino, an unusual weather pattern which occurs every six or seven years. El Nino causes very hot and wet weather along the coasts of northern Peru and Ecuador from April to October.
Along the equator, average temperatures in Brazil and Colombia stay around 77°F (25°C), but can reach as high as 104°F (40°C). There is moderate rainfall throughout the year, but it rains the most in the summer (April to November). Cities along the coast of Brazil enjoy warm, tropical climates that are less humid due to Atlantic ocean winds, though summers in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo (December to February) can be uncomfortable hot. The best time to visit Brazil and other Amazonian countries is during the dry season between January and March, when temperatures are bearable and the water is warm for swimming.
The climate in South America is much more volatile further south. The weather in Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, as well as the northern part of Argentina and southern Brazil tends to be warm and in summer (November to March) with average temperatures of around 80°F (27°C) and slightly cooler in winter (April to October) with an average of 65°F (18°C). Summers in this area of South America are also wetter, with an average rainfall of 5-6 inches (13-15cm) per month.
The climate in Chile and Argentina ranges widely from deserts in the north, along the cool mountains of the Andes to the near-Antarctic conditions at Tierra del Fuego on the tip of the continent. The central region, which includes the popular tourist destinations Santiago and Buenos Aires, has a more Mediterranean climate with temperatures ranging from 46°F (8°C) in the winter to 6°8F (20°C) in summer. The area has four distinct seasons, and the best time to visit Argentina and Chile is in late summer and early autumn (February to March) when the weather is warm, ranging 62-86°F (17-30°C) and there only six or seven wet days per month. The climate in Patagonia, at the southern tip of the continent, is known for bitterly cold and stormy winters with temperatures hovering around freezing, however areas like the Lake District have pleasant summers, with daytime temperatures of 68-75°F (20-24°C), though night time temperatures are still cold: 39-46°F (4-8°C).
Read our comprehensive month-by-month guides to the weather and climate in each country below.