Looking for a spontaneous holiday trip? Thinking of winter break plans? If you’re unsure of where to set your next getaway, we have a few suggestions for must-visit December holiday destinations in Latin America.
The Sacred Valley, Peru
The Sacred Valley is a region in Peru’s Andean highlands. Along with the nearby town of Cusco and the ancient city of Machu Picchu, it formed the heart of the Inca Empire. Today, it’s a breathtaking destination for couples and families who love culture, history, and gorgeous views.
From hiking tours, visiting ancient ruins and archaeological sites, water-rafting along the Urubamba River, llama treks, and more, this destination is perfect for the adventure-lovers looking to immerse themselves in the culture of the area.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands is one of the top must-visit December holiday destinations in Latin America for nature-lovers out there. As most will know, the islands are where Charles Darwin did much of his research and observation while developing his theories on natural selection. The islands are famous for their unique indigenous wildlife and stunning views.
Book a boat tour, snorkel and scuba dive with the island’s marine life, and enjoy the scenery and beaches. With more than 120 isolated islands, islets and rocks there is so much to explore! From the Galápagos’ famous dome-shaped tortoises to the Charles Darwin Research Station, San Cristóbal Island’s sea lions, and hiking Isabela Island’s active and imposing Sierra Negra Volcano, nature-lovers will surely fall in love with this destination.
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Brazil’s most famous city is a must-visit for those who love vibrant culture looking for a fun, bustling destination. Whether you’re looking to relax or go on an adventure, Rio De Janeiro has it all from beautiful beaches and legendary landmarks to art and culture and incredible cuisine.
For a perfect day, start with a visit to the iconic Christ the Redeemer landmark—one of the Seven Wonders of the World—located in Tijuca National Park for stunning picture-perfect views. Then, take a stroll through the Jardim Botânico, a botanical paradise with more than 6,000 indigenous and exotic species of flora. Dating back to the 1800s, the garden hosts everything from orchids to jasmine-mango heliconias. Finally, end the night with an evening in the Lapa neighborhood, soaking up the vibrant nightlife, restaurants, and bars and dance the night away.
Another must-visit holiday destination in Latin America is the quiet town of Tulum, Mexico. Tulum is a town on the Caribbean coastline of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. It’s known for its beaches and well-preserved ruins of an ancient Mayan port city that tower over the town.
A historical site mixed with stunning beaches, this is the perfect spot for history-buffs to unwind and relax while learning and experiencing the local history and culture. Visit the Tulum Mayan Ruins, then take a dive in a cenote native to the area, and discover the local culture and food by exploring the town center, Tulum Pueblo.
The Lake District, Argentina
Next on our list is Argentina’s Lake District. The area of San Carlos de Bariloche (commonly called Bariloche) is a town in Argentina’s Patagonia region known for its Swiss alpine-style architecture and its chocolate. It’s also a popular area for hiking and skiing the nearby mountains.
Those looking for a mix of cultures will be delighted by the infusion of European and South American traditions in this region. Surrounded by glacial lakes and lush forests, travelers can enjoy hikes, winter sports, serene lakeside views, and exquisite cuisine.
Cartagena is a gorgeous port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, perfect for your next holiday getaway. The city offers charming colonial architecture, exciting nightlife, cultural festivals, beaches and more.
Walk the cobbled streets and explore the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a castle dating back to the 17th century. Lovers of architecture will also enjoy many of the ancient churches throughout the city. The art-filled city also boasts vibrant local music, handcrafted artisan goods, and even a popular graffiti tour in the Getsemaní neighborhood. Music-and-film-loving tourists will also be pleased to know the city also hosts international music and film festivals throughout the year, so don’t miss out!
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Guanacaste is a province in northwestern Costa Rica bordering the Pacific, is known for its beaches and biodiverse parkland. Popular beaches include Playa Blanca, known for its calm waters, and Playa Hermosa, a popular sport for diving and water sports. Additionally, Santa Rosa National Park is a must-see destination home to rare dry tropical forest, surfing sites and over 250 bird species.
Beach-lovers will enjoy the area’s many sandy spots, with unique beaches such as Flamingo Beach where its shores are covered in gorgeous pinkish white sand. Another must-visit location is Rincon de la Vieja, a famous volcano and national park and UNESCO World Heritage site. Hike or ride horseback through the national park to experience breathtaking views.
Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
Lake Atitlán is a body of water formed many thousands of years ago in a massive volcanic crater in Guatemala’s southwestern highlands. It is also the deepest lake in Central America. Surrounded by steep, verdant hills, the area surrounding Lake Atitlán is known for its Mayan villages and volcanoes.
Those who visit Lake Atitlán can enjoy tranquil lake views, stunning volcanic landscape, farmlands and more. Towns such as Panajachel offer authentic Mayan food, jewelry, art, and textiles. Adventurers and outdoor lovers will enjoy activities such a hiking, cycling, and kayaking. For those looking to relax and enjoy the scenery, try a sunset cruise over the lake. The best sunsets in this region can be found during the winter months, so this is the perfect spot of a December holiday vacation.
Punta del Este, Uruguay
Punta del Este is a seaside city and peninsula on the Atlantic Coast in the Maldonado Department of southeastern Uruguay. Known as “the Miami of South America” this destination offers an array of culture and luxury, from designer boutiques, restaurants, night-life, gorgeous beaches and more it’s the perfect destination for those looking to have fun, relax, and indulge this December holiday season.
Visitors will enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife offering great music, cocktails, and food. Nature-lovers will enjoy the beaches and wildlife, where many may spot whales and other sea life. Boat tours will bring you up close to these beauties. Finally, enjoy food, fashion, and culture with the city’s many gourmet restaurants and luxury shops. Those who visit during the winter months will also enjoy witnessing firework displays throughout the city.
Torres del Paine, Chile
Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most popular destinations in Chile’s Patagonia region. It is known for its soaring mountains, bright blue icebergs that cleave from glaciers and golden grasslands that shelter rare wildlife such as llama-like guanacos. Some of its most iconic sites are the 3 granite towers from which the park takes its name and the horn-shaped peaks called Cuernos del Paine.
This destination is perfect for the adventurer! Visitors can enjoy challenging hikes, horseback riding, ice hiking on glaciers, kayaking among icebergs and more.
We hope this list of December holiday destinations in Latin America sparks some inspiration for your next trip. Wherever you go in Latin America is sure to be breathtaking, relaxing, and full of adventure!
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