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The Best South America Christmas & New Year’s Eve Destinations

We know it’s only the end of August and that it’s 17 weeks until Christmas but that’s just another 120 sleeps! As you bask in the closing days of summer, thoughts of the approaching Polar Vortex ridden winter will begin to have you shivering in your seat.

Although the thoughts of Christmas & New Year’s bring up warm connotations of cozying up on the sofa in your thick knitted sweatshirts or wrapping up warm to watch the city fireworks, you may start to wonder if there’s something more to do…something special!

After all wouldn’t you prefer to be lightly dusting the golden sands of Copacabana Beach off your feet or feeling the heat of summer instead of scraping the snow and ice from the grooves of your thick winter boots finding every imaginable way to keep your hands warm  inside your gloves? Enjoy the warmth of both summer and the Holiday season with a festive sprinkling of travel inspiration in our list of the best South America Christmas & New Year’s Eve destinations in 2014.

South America Christmas & New Year's Eve Destinations

The best Christmas & New Year’s Eve celebrations in South America

♦ Your Summertime Christmas in Buenos Aires

With average temperatures reaching 80.6°F you’ll be doing a double take as you see Santa Claus walking around in cooler attire such as red sandals, shorts and t-shirt. Spending Christmas with the warm sun beating down on you while having a refreshing ice-cream at the many ice-cream parlors will soon seem like second-nature. As a result of the amazing weather during December, Christmas in Buenos Aires has a summertime and joyous atmosphere. On Christmas Eve, while it is mainly celebrated within families, many go to the restaurants throughout the city.

Buenos Aires has mastered the art of ambiance when it comes to restaurants and their fixed Christmas menus often accompanied by live music and excellent wine pairings never fail to impress.

At the stroke of midnight, the skies come alight with fireworks giving Christmas Eve a resemblance to the New Year’s Eve celebrations you would see around the world. Make sure to have a secure and strategic place to watch them in order to admire the city’s landscape at night with the different colors of the fireworks exploding overhead.

Buenos Aires - Christmas & New Year’s Eve destinations

The Buenos Aires night sky alight with fireworks / Source

♦ Revel in the Reveillon in Rio de Janeiro

Having the largest celebrations in the world, New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro is quite rightly regarded as one of the best places to bring in the New Year. The ‘Reveillon’ (New Year’s Eve) scene is certainly astounding with fireworks lighting up the sky over Copacabana Beach while famous Brazilian musicians and Carnival samba schools add further Brazilian flavor to the proceedings. More than 2 million ‘cariocas’ (Rio locals) line the 2.5mile stretch of Copacabana Beach making for an infectious atmosphere.

In spite of this glorious display and celebration, perhaps one of the most beautiful displays on New Year’s Eve in Rio comes as a result of the blend of African rituals and local Brazilian culture.

Dressed from head to toe in white for peace, Brazilians pay their respects and thanks to the goddess of the sea, Iemanjá, by casting flowers into the warm water of Copacabana. You will also see splashes of red for romance, green signifying good health and yellow and gold for prosperity; adding to the ever-colorful Rio experience. Make sure to leave your black attire in your hotel as Brazilians consider the color to be an evil omen on New Year’s Eve. Reveillon in Rio de Janeiro is by without a doubt one of the most spectacular ways to spend New Year’s Eve and one that will stay with you for years to come.

Rio de Janeiro - Christmas & New Year’s Eve destinations

Rio’s famous & impressive New Year’s Eve celebration / Source

♦ A Gourmet Christmas in Lima

Christmas celebrations in Lima reach their peak on Christmas Eve which is probably why December 25 is has a more relaxed and sleepy feel to it. With families coming together during the day of December 24 in the Plaza Mayor (the main square of Lima), you’ll come across the usual scene of choirs singing and the pre-Christmas hustle and bustle.

At about 10PM on Christmas Eve, the churches around Lima hold a mass called ‘Misa de Gallo’ which comes before a shower of fireworks in the night sky over Lima.

Most families from Lima sit down to eat their Christmas Dinner at midnight, meaning that many of the restaurants will be open late on Christmas Eve. With Lima being the center of the Latin American culinary world there’s nowhere better to explore the finger-licking delicacies of the Peruvian cuisine than on Christmas Eve in Lima. While there are the more traditional Christmas dinners, you may be tempted to try the mouth-watering flavors of ceviche and fish food to add a Limeño twist to your Christmas.

Lima - Christmas & New Year’s Eve destinations

Beautiful Christmas decorations in Lima’s Plaza Mayor / Source

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