When to Go
In the height of the Chilean summer, January and February, droves of Chileans and Argentines mob El Norte Grande's beaches. Although this is a fun time to visit, prices go up and finding a hotel can be difficult. Book your room a month or more in advance. The high season tapers off in March, an excellent time to visit if you're looking for a bit more tranquillity. If you plan to visit the altiplano, bring the right clothing. Winter can be very cold, and summer sees a fair amount of rain. San Pedro is sunny year-round and pleasant to visit, but the best seasons are spring and fall when the crowds are gone and the days are not too hot, nor the nights too cold.
Every town in the region celebrates the day honoring its patron saint. Most are small gatherings attended largely by locals. One fiesta not to be missed takes place in La Tirana from July 12 to 18. During this time some 80,000 pilgrims converge on the town to honor the Virgen del Carmen with dancing in the streets.