South America

South America and Antarctica Travel in July

Laura Pattara

Laura Pattara  |  26 June 2019

Despite the extensive geographical differences that create a year-long wave of idyllic conditions in various parts of South America, July is still considered the absolute height of tourist season, overall. The reasons are many: the entire central section of the Andes is at its climatic prime in this driest month of the year, favouring visits to the most popular highlights in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and northern Chile.

Where it does get cold and snowy, namely south in Patagonia, you’ve got a frenzy of snow-sport action instead. Even in winter, the southern wilds of the continent can still attract plenty of attention – not as much as in summer, of course, but discerning adventurers looking for an unusual skiing or snowboarding vacation, well off the trodden trail, still rank this an insanely rewarding place to be. Then there’s the fact that the northern hemisphere is enjoying its summer vacation, the largest holiday time of the year for so many Europeans and North Americans, so crowds will always be extensive, No matter what the weather was doing.

Click the links below to skip through the article

  1. July Snapshot
  2. Rio de Janeiro
  3. Santiago
  4. Skying in Patagonia
  5. La Paz
  6. Lake Titicaca
  7. The Bolivian Altiplano
  8. Atacama Desert
  9. Machu Picchu
  10. Galapagos Islands
  11. Northwest Salta & Jujuy

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Here’s a quick snapshot of South America and Antarctica travel in July:

  • Crystal clear skies and unencumbered travel throughout Bolivia makes July the ideal month to visit. Yes, the nights will be rather cold but when the rain clouds stay away and you’re rewarded with spectacular landscape viewing across the entire country, it’s well worth piling on an extra poncho

  • The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu gets booked out in July months in advance: that’s how marvellous it is to hike across the Andes at this time of year. There are many other hiking options in Peru – a few which also lead to Machu Picchu, in case you’re planning a last-minute trip. Every single hiking trail here is spectacular, so don’t fear you’ll be missing out if you choose a different option

  • Stargazing in Chile’s Atacama Desert reaches its peak in July with cloudless skies allowing for extensive viewing. Observatories and luxury lodges, set deep within this incredibly dramatic desert, offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences. And if you’re a little worried about the cold night-time temps, let us assure they really won’t be all that bad. You’ll be particularly thankful if you have visited the desert in Summer before, you’ll certainly know how excruciatingly hot the days can get here then

  • A wonderful month to visit Ecuador, the lesser hub of the central Andes yet one that offers all the trimmings: fab beaches, those magnificent islands full of wildlife, hiking galore and plenty of cultural and historical gems to boot. All of this, with far fewer fellow tourists in tow

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Best Cities Escapes in July

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

With daytime temps hovering in the low-20s, July is quite an ideal month to soak up the wonders of Rio. The Brazilian hub is a wonderful sprawling city, home to more highlights then you could ever visit in a single trip. There is SO much more to Rio de Janeiro than its startling beaches which is why visiting in Winter is actually advisable. Perfect temps for extensive sightseeing days and still warm enough to lay about Copacabana beach for a few hours in the middle of the day. It’s really the best of it all.

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Santiago, Chile

Santiago is one of South America’s most surprising capitals – it has a modern and trendy vibe with loads to see and do (from museums to opera shows, wine tours, thermal spas and fantastic culinary delights) and is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most scenic cities in the entire continent. Yet because it’s set in a valley surrounded by snow-capped peaks (yes, jaw-dropping) it also suffers from intense summer smog, making Summer visits less than ideal. In July, you can expect daytime temps of 16 C and about the lowest levels of smog you could ever get, making for Simply. Perfect. sojourns. What’s more, you can do all of the best activities (skiing, vineyard visits and hot thermal spa days) within merely an hour out of the city centre. Plus, about the only tourists you’ll encounter in July are Europeans and North Americans who prefer to escape their summer sizzle, so you’ll surely be in good company.

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Pucon and Bariloche, Patagonia

The winter season really does bring Patagonia to life and if you’re a snow-lover who lives in the northern hemisphere, you’ll no-doubt love the chance of a ski vacation in the middle of your Summer. Pucon (in Chile) and Bariloche (in Argentina) are the best Patagonian destinations for this kind of freezing shenanigans, both hosting world-class runs, sky resorts and fantastic towns in which to spend a few days.

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La Paz, Bolivia

Often considered a mere ‘hub’ for overland trips through Bolivia, La Paz is a bona fide destination of its own accord. Unique and quirky, with bucket-loads of historical and cultural attractions, the Bolivian de-facto-capital deserves a few of your days at the very least. From the Witches Market to the Coca Museum, the amazing plazas, eclectic architecture and fantastic souvenir shopping will keep you busy awhile. In July, you can expect daytime averages of 15C and, most importantly, very little rain. The latter is the most pivotal factor that makes Winter visits in Bolivia so ideal: rain can cause havoc in under-developed areas of South America, where not every road is tarmacked. Visiting during the driest month will allow for the most extensive tours of all.

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Best Wilderness & Wildlife Experiences in July

Lake Titicaca, Peru & Bolivia

Well, you’re not going to visit La Paz and miss out on this incredible lake, are you? Lake Titicaca, famously the highest navigable lake in the world (and the fabled birthplace of the ancient Inca culture) is shared by Peru and Bolivia, both sides offering rather distinct experiences. Take a boat trip to the islands that dot this resplendent lake and enjoy the cloudless skies that are part of the postcard-perfect picture, at this time of year. Make your itinerary all-encompassing by adding Sucre and Potosi to your list.

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The Bolivian Altiplano, Bolivia

Salar Uyuni has all but dried up this month, the crackled surface revealed once more, allowing for extensive driving across the salty horizons. You can cross the entire southern half of Bolivia in July, starting from the high-altitude multi-coloured Altiplano, home to ethereal rocky landscapes that have inspired artists for centuries, right through the heart of the Uyuni Salt Flats, emerging just over the border in Chile, on the other side.

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The Atacama Desert, Chile

San Pedro de Atacama is one of the quirkiest cities in all of South America – a wild west sandy hub brimming with horses and adventurous souls planning adrenalin-pumping hikes across the Atacama. So come visit in July, when those cloudless skies offer the most breath-taking stargazing of all. The Atacama is considered one of the best places on earth for astronomy and that’s why it’s home to several world-class observatories. Whether you’re into astronomical tourism or just want to come to see what the fuss is all about (trust us, it’ll leave you flabbergasted) include a traverse of the Atacama and an observatory visit in July and you won’t be left disappointed.

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Machu Picchu and the Andes, Peru

July is a very popular month to visit Machu Picchu and Peru, in general, and given this is the most visited country in the continent, it can make for quite busy points of attractions. If it’s the only time you can visit, then trust that you’ll find the climate ideal – so you don’t need to worry about that – although you will have to pre-book just about everything way ahead of time. We wouldn’t necessarily call this the best month of the year to visit this astonishing ancient Inca site (May, June and September are probably better) but that’s simply due to the crowds. The treasured site will impress, no matter what time of year you visit.

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The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Temps in the wildlife-brimming Galapagos are starting to cool down in July, which is perfect if you’re not a fan of very hot days. Daytime averages in the mid-20s make on-land hikes very enjoyable, although occasional drizzles and cloud cover can make for slightly rougher seas. It’s worth keeping in mind, however, that even though cruising is the best way to see the Galapagos Islands, you actually won’t be spending that much time on board. Mostly, you’ll either be anchored in calm coves or on actual on-land excursions, so don’t let a few waves detract you from visiting in July.

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Northwest Salta & Jujuy Region, Argentina

The northwest region of Argentina is like something out of a movie set: a maze of astounding rock formations, ancient Quechuan villages and dramatic mountain gorges framed by magnificent valleys. This is one of the most remote and spellbinding corners of the country, one that is heavily affected by floods during rain season. July is at the height of dry season, however, and if you’ve ever been interested in exploring this region further, this is a perfect month to visit. Salta is one of the country’s best-preserved colonial cities and one of the continent’s most sparkling of jewels. From here, you can visit the lesser-known Great Salt Flats and the Quebrada del Toro mountains, picking up your jaw off the ground at every viewpoint. This really is an amazing side of South America, one not many people even know to visit. Want an off-the-beaten-path destination in July? This is it!

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If you're planning to travel in July contact our destination specialists HERE!

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