Best time to visit
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The seasons are reversed from the Northern Hemisphere, so when you are freezing up during the winter, in Chile it is their summer. And when it's hot up, you can ski in Chile! The weather also varies from the north to the south, with severe winters in the far south.
Santiago's summer (December - March) can be hot and somewhat humid but worse, it can be smoggy. Its winter (June-August) can be cold, but not intolerable; the skies can be eternally overcast however.
The North rarely sees rain - the Atacama Desert (reached from Calama) has been called the driest desert on earth. Depending on the season, days can be pleasant to cool and evenings cool to cold.
The south has to be broken into two areas: the Lake District) Puerto Montt is the gateway) and the far south (Punta Arenas is the gateway).
You can visit the Lake District all year, though in winter it can be cold and overcast, but the mountains are brilliantly white with snow.
Cruises from Puerto Montt into the inland fjords do not operate April - August.
The far south is best visited September through April and many places, such as Payne Towers National Park, have limited access during their winter.