Argentina is a diverse country, especially climatically. Spanning a giant chunk of South America, it is generally classified as having four types of climates (warm, moderate, arid, and cold) and many micro-climates within those. Travel to the more mountainous regions in the summer or winter when the weather is bright and clear and allows for outdoor activities. The rest of the country is great to visit in the fall or spring, when temperatures and humidity are more moderate and rains are not as frequent as in the summer months.
Storms and Tornadoes in the Andean Foothills
Some of the most intense storms in the world occur in central Argentina at the base of the Andes. Here in the Pampas, intense lightning, hail, and flash floods occur in summer. Vineyards in particular get damaged by grapefruit-sized hail. Cold winds call “pamperos” blow from the south, mix with tropical winds from the north, and produce torrential rain. These conditions also make the the region the most tornado-prone part of the country, though generally the tornadoes are fairly weak.
Find out the differing weather and climate patterns throughout the country's many regions.
The northwest portion of the country encompasses the provinces of Jujuy and Salta. Salta has an enjoyable climate year-round, making any season great for visiting. Fall brings hot days, cool nights, and colorful fields of sun-drying, recently harvested corn and chiles. Hotels keep their fireplaces burning for cozy nights during frost-filled winters. Spring, the start of the rainy season, is humid and warm with oodles of flowers blooming. Summer has lots of sunshine, flash thunderstorms, and clean, clear air as a result.
The Gran Chaco includes the provinces of Chaco and Formosa, as well as parts of six other provinces. The region has a subtropical climate and the hottest temperatures in Argentina, averaging 73 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius) in summer. Highs here can reach 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius), and the heat is accompanied by a deluge of rain and subsequent flooding. Winter is the best time to visit, from June to August, as it is mild and humidity begins to rapidly decrease throughout the season.
The Cuyo contains the provinces of Mendoza, San Juan, San Luis, and La Rioja. Known for extremes, the Cuyo’s temperate, dry climate varies greatly due to its diverse landscape of orchards, mountains, dry plains, and sandstone depressions. The average yearly temperature here hovers between the mid and high 50s Fahrenheit. Summers are super sunny and hot, while winters are dry and cold. Be mindful that the area can experience earthquakes, thunderstorms, and wildfires. Midsummer to mid-fall (mid-February to April) is the winemaking season and an excellent time to visit.
The Pampas is divided into the humid eastern pampas and the dry western pampas. Spanning the province of Buenos Aires, as well as parts of Cordoba, La Pampa, and Santa Fe, the region possesses a temperate climate. Cool "pompero" winds blow through the mostly flat region, as well as warm winds called “nortes.” It rains throughout the year in the east, while the western part usually only has a wet season in the summer months. The area is prone to tornadoes and intense summer thunderstorms. This is where the country’s gauchos reside in "estancias" (ranches), and the fertile, flat grassland holds fields of cattle for Argentina’s beef industry.
Tourists brave the high temps and abundant rainfall of the wettest region in Argentina to see Iguazu Falls and go to Carnival in Gualeguaychú. Mesopotamia has a humid subtropical climate and encompasses the provinces of Misiones, Entre Ríos, and Corrientes. Summers are the most humid season, but fall is the rainiest. Expect mild winters with short cold fronts, and though wet, much drier than the other seasons. The annual temperature ranges from 63 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (17 to 21 degrees Celsius).
Land of glaciers, snowboarding, hiking, and chocolate, this region includes the provinces of Chubut, Neuquén, Río Negro, Santa Cruz, and Tierra del Fuego. Patagonia boasts a temperate, arid, and cool climate. Western gales blow year-round, especially in the summer. Unlike other parts of the country, Patagonia gets most of its rain in the winter. Strong winds and high summer temps make the climate arid. Snow falls in the winter, and the region has a high cloud cover, especially in the mountains and along the coast. Summer to the beginning of fall (December to March) is the prime time to visit.
Use the following information to plan your trip at any time of year—learn what to expect from the weather as well as what to pack.
Spring in Argentina
Spring is the most agreeable season in Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Rosario, and much of the Pampas region. In Buenos Aires, temperatures begin to rise, ranging from 50 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 25 degrees Celsius), making days warm and nights cool. Flowers begin to bloom, and Argentines spend their days outdoors drinking mate (pronounced "mah-tay"), a highly caffeinated tea. This is also an ideal time to visit Iguazu Falls in the northern part of the country. Although the region experiences a rainy spring, temperatures are warm and pleasant during the day and cold at night, ranging from 88 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit (31 to 12 degrees Celsius). Plus, fewer people are usually in the park than in other seasons.
What to pack: Pack a light jacket for the night, shorts and t-shirts for the day. Take raincoat if you’re going up north.
Summer in Argentina
Summers in Argentina are best experienced in the southern regions of Patagonia or the wine country of Mendoza. Whereas much of the country is hot, humid, and rainy during the summer, Patagonia has a regional average temperature of 41 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (5 to 22 degrees Celsius) and remains fairly dry. The days are extra long in El Calafate and Ushuaia. Las Grutas, the warmest beach in the country, is perfect for swimming, and those heading to Puerto Madryn can see wildlife like sea lions and penguins.
What to pack: Bring a lightweight raincoat, hiking boots, clothing you can layer, sunblock, and your swimsuit.
Fall in Argentina
Throughout the country, temps begin to fall from summer highs. The northwest regions have a lot of rain at the beginning of fall, then transition to a dry season. Meanwhile, Patagonia starts seeing more rain as the season progresses. The south of the country begins to get considerably colder than the north early in the season, and by late fall, frosts begin.
What to pack: Take a raincoat and a warm coat if you are going to the north. Jeans and shorts will suffice for early fall, but warm clothes and shoes will be needed for late fall.
Winter in Argentina
Much of the country experiences a dry winter, but snow and frost blanket Patagonia, making it a winter sports paradise. Winters are also the best time of the year to see regions of the country which are usually incredibly hot, like the Chaco and Mesopotamia. The average temperature for Mesopotamia during winter is 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius), but it can experience occasional winter frosts, too. The Chaco has short cold fronts, and only about one to two days of rain per month in winter. Sunlight decreases quite a bit though, with the sun shining only four to seven hours per day.
What to pack: If going to the north, take light coat and jeans and some shorts. For the central to southern parts of the country, take a warm hat, coat, gloves, scarf, and boots.