The advantages of going somewhere during the off-season are simple—better deals, smaller crowds —and they derive from the premise that off-peak travel must involve lowered expectations and certain compromises. A few rare places, however, hold hidden allure in the quiet months: castles on a rainy day, fishing-boat fairy lights, the braying of amorous penguins. As local experts make clear in the following year-round selection, you don't need to go peak to hit the heights.
Travelers tend to head to Patagonia during the Southern Hemisphere’s spring and summer, overlooking fall. Yet that’s precisely when Claudio Vidal, nature photographer and co-founder of Far South Expeditions, takes his best pictures.
“The glacier ice is spectacular year-round, but in April the deciduous forests surrounding the Perito Moreno glacier turn red and yellow in beautiful succession. The color contrasts and the patterns of the foliage against the magnificent blue ice backdrop make it a paradise for photographers.
“The experience of walking on glacier ice is simply stunning. The glacier is actually moving; it’s a dynamic thing. You realize how powerful it is in modeling the topography, and how when areas are free of ice, they become suitable habitats for plants and animals.
“The birds and mammals down here in Patagonia are quite unique. Many are endemic, and the majority are residents, remaining in the area all year long. They’re the tough guys that can endure the cold.”