From the sight of the nearby glaciers you would expect El Calafate to be a snowy wasteland where with cold year around. In fact the region is really quite dry, as these ancient glaciers were brought from expanding ice sheets. While they are melting, albeit quite slowly, there is an increased level of humidity near the actual ice fields, and the temperature also drops noticeably in the higher evaluation as well.

Being in the Southern Hemisphere the seasons are referenced and December 21 is in fact the first day of summer, and the longest day of the year. Like places in the far north the sun does set early in the peak of summer, and this can mean up to 17 hours of intense summer sun.

The weather is dry in the summer and sunny, but even with the seasons reversed visitors from the United States won’t have a hard time knowing it is December. The daytime highs are only in the 60s on average, although at rare times it can climb into the 80s. At night the temperatures are in the high 40s but the elevation, coupled with the mountain breezes can make things seem cooler.

The winters are much cooler as well, but seldom very cold. Those glaciers again are ancient and in fact it seldom reaches freezing in El Calafate, even in June and July. Daytime temperatures only peak in the low 50s and a night it can get into the upper 30s. Snow is a true rarity. Basically those lonely glaciers aren’t getting any fresh snow or ice to keep them company.

 

Hotels and other businesses often close for the winter, opening in mid-September.   Although snow is not frequent, the airport is not prepared to handle even a very small snowfall and trips scheduled for September may be cancelled by a late-season snowfall. Roads into the backcountry are often not be open yet in the early spring, and may close early in the late fall, just as they do in Yellowstone park and the Rockies.