When to arrive, stay and explore Argentina
Endowed with breathtaking natural wonders and a sophisticated capital city that has been dubbed the "Paris of South America," Argentina draws outdoorsy types and cultural connoisseurs alike. Choosing when to explore the land of tango and Borges is a matter of taste; each region of this vast country, each with unique offerings, shines brightest during a particular season. Keep in mind that, because of its location in the Southern Hemisphere, Argentina's seasons are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere.
A trip to Argentina's sophisticated capital, Buenos Aires, is best left for the spring and fall, which in the Southern Hemisphere correspond with September through November and March through May, respectively. In the spring, high temperatures are typically in the 60s and 70s, while lows are in the 50s; autumn tends to be a bit warmer. October and November, when the city's jacaranda trees are in full lavender bloom, are particularly lovely months to visit. Avoid Buenos Aires in January and February, when temperatures can exceed 100 degrees F, and many businesses have limited hours. Ironically, this is when most tourists descend upon the city, which can make it tough to find accommodations.
Argentina's Andes Mountains are a skier's delight in the winter, with several resorts to choose from. The winter months – June through August – are also among the best times to visit the majestic Iguazu Falls in the northwest region of the country. The falls are at their most impressive during the summer, but rains and stifling heat can make it difficult to enjoy the experience. Winter is drier but more pleasant. For a compromise, consider visiting in March, when the rains are recent enough that the falls are still robust, but the worst of the summer heat has passed.
Exploring wine country
The province of Mendoza in the central Andes packs a punch year-round as Argentina's wine country. With average temperatures in the 70s, spring and fall offer the most comfortable conditions for wine tasting. They are also the most visually appealing seasons: In the spring, the trees are in bloom, while in the fall, the region is ablaze in shades of yellow, orange and red. Autumn is also harvest season, when the wine-making process gets underway. During the summer, temperatures can exceed 100 degrees F. In the winter, temperatures during the day tend to be in the 50s and drop into the 30s at night. If you want to combine skiing and wine tasting, this is the time to go.
Adventures in Patagonia
The rugged, otherworldly landscapes and ethereal glaciers of Patagonia are best explored during the late spring and summer – from late September through March – when this southernmost region of South America enjoys the most hours of sunlight. However, even in the summer, temperatures in Patagonia rarely exceed 70 degrees F, and winds can be fierce, so pack accordingly. Understandably, summer is the most popular and most expensive time to visit Patagonia, so making reservations far in advance is smart. If you don't mind having to bundle up even more, the fall, with its stunning colors, is less crowded. Moreover, if you are into wildlife watching, note that every year between April and December, southern right whales migrate to the waters around Patagonia's Península Valdés, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to reproduce.