Top Events

New Year's Eve in Valparaíso, December

Fiestas Patrias, September

Carnaval Ginga, February

Campeonato Nacional de Rodeo, April

Tapati Rapa Nui, February

January

It's summer peak season and Chileans start flocking to beaches. Annual celebrations break out in every Chilean town and city with live music, special feasts and fireworks. It's also high season in Patagonia.

Santiago a Mil

Latin America's biggest theater festival (www.stgoamil.cl) brings acts to the streets of Santiago, as well as international works, emerging theater and acrobats.

Semanas Musicales

All month, prestigious international acts ranging from classical to hip-hop come south to perform in Frutillar's stunning Teatro de Frutillar (www.semanasmusicales.cl), with sublime lake and volcano views.

Brotes de Chile

One of Chile's biggest folk festivals takes place in the second week of January and includes traditional dances, food and crafts in Angol.

Muestra Cultural Mapuche

Six days of all things Mapuche in Villarrica, including artisans, indigenous music, foods and ritual dance.

Ruta del Huemul

Held the last week in January, this two-day, hundred-person community hike traverses Reserva Nacional Tamango near Cochrane. Reserve ahead to participate.

February

February is Chileans' favorite month to vacation. With unrelenting heat from the north to Santiago, people flock south, particularly to Pucón and the Lakes District. Beaches fill and Santiago nightlife transplants to Viña del Mar and Valparaíso.

Fiesta de la Candelaria

A religious festival in early February, most fervently celebrated in Copiapó, where thousands of pilgrims and dancers converge.

Festival Internacional de la Canción

This fancy star-studded concert series held in Viña del Mar showcases top names in Latin American pop.

Carnaval

Putre puts out highland merriment and flour bombs, ending with the burning of the momo – a figure symbolizing the frivolity of Carnaval.

Tapati Rapa Nui

The premier festival on Easter Island is an incredibly colorful event that keeps the party going for two weeks, with a series of dance, music and cultural contests.

Festival Costumbrista

Castro struts Chiloé's distinctive folk music and dance, plying revelers with heaps of traditional foods in mid-February.

Carnaval Ginga

Held in Arica in mid-February, this festival features the musical skills of regional comparsas (traditional dancing groups).

March

A great month to travel in Chile. As fall moves in, summer crowds disperse. Though all of Chile cools a bit, usually Southern Patagonia is still dry and less windy, with great hiking weather. The Central Valley's grape harvest begins.

Lollapalooza Chile

Chile rocks this international edition (www.lollapaloozacl.com) midmonth, with 60 bands playing Santiago's Parque O'Higgins; kids get their hair punked at the adjoining Kidsapalooza.

Fiesta de la Vendimia

Santa Cruz celebrates the grape harvest with stands from local wineries in the plaza, a crowned harvest queen, songs and folk dancing.

April

Bright reds and yellows highlight the forests of Northern Patagonia, though rain will come any day now. The south is clearing out, but you might get lucky with decent hiking weather. Santiago and the central valley enjoy still-pleasant temperatures.

Campeonato Nacional de Rodeo

In Rancagua in April, the National Rodeo Championship features feasting, cueca (a playful, handkerchief-waving dance that imitates the courtship of a rooster and hen) and, most importantly, Chilean cowboys showing off their fancy horse skills.

June

Winter begins. With days at their shortest, nightlife and cultural events pick up. The world-class ski resorts around Santiago start gearing up and it's a good time to visit the desert.

Fiesta de San Pedro y San Pablo

In San Pedro de Atacama, folk-dancing groups, a rodeo and solemn processions mark this animated religious festival held on June 29.

Festival de la Lluvia

Why not celebrate what's most plentiful in a Lakes District winter – rain? In early June, this cheeky week of free events in Puerto Varas includes a parade of decorated umbrellas and live music.

July

Chilean winter vacation means family travel is in full swing. Ski resorts are up and running and those who brave Patagonia will find lovely winter landscapes without the infamous wind of summer.

Festival de la Virgen del Carmen

Some 40,000 pilgrims pay homage to Chile's virgin with lots of street dancing, curly-horned devil masks with flashing eyes and spangly cloaks. Held in La Tirana in mid-July.

Carnaval de Invierno

Punta Arenas gets through the longest nights with fireworks, music and parades in late July.

August

A fine time to visit, August represents the tail end of the ski season and cheaper lodgings in holiday destinations, now that school vacation is over. In the south, winter rains begin to taper off.

Fiesta de Santa Rosa de Lima

A huge Catholic celebration of the criollo saint with a colorful street procession, held August 30.

Festival de Jazz de Ñuñoa

Held in late August, this free winter jazz fest brings together Chile's best jazz acts for a weekend of music.

September

Spring comes to Santiago, with mild, sunny days. Though low season throughout Chile, it's not a bad time to travel. Everything closes and people get boisterous the week of the national holiday.

Fiestas Patrias

Chilean Independence is feted during Fiestas Patrias (week of September 18), with a week of big barbecues, terremotos (potent wine punch) and merrymaking all over Chile.

October

October is a fine time to travel, with spring flowers blossoming in both northern and central Chile.

Oktoberfest

Join the swillers and oompah bands in Puerto Varas and Valdivia for live music in lederhosen and beer festivals.

November

Chile's south is in full bloom though the weather is still crisp. It's a good time to visit the beach resorts and Patagonia; the crowds and high prices are still a month or so away.

Puerto de Ideas

In Valparaíso, this ‘conference on everything’ attracts intellectuals and big thinkers from across Latin America to share in an open formula akin to the TED conferences.

Feria Internacional de Artesania

Weavers, potters and artisans show off Chile's best traditional crafts at a huge fair in Providencia's Parque Bustamante.

December

Summer begins and services return to the Carretera Austral. It's still quiet but ideal for outdoor activities in the Lakes District and Patagonia.

New Year's Eve

December 31 means the year's biggest bash in Valparaíso, where revelers fill open balconies and streets to dance, drink and watch fireworks on the bay.