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Best Thanksgiving Destinations for 2015

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and as the masses fly across the country to the homes of relatives and friends, why not leave the status quo behind and discover new worlds and experiences? From idyllic Caribbean beaches and wildlife adventures to exploring ancient civilizations; it’s time to head somewhere new and exciting this year. Although you might not find a turkey, just like Mom makes you will be able to satisfy your wanderlust appetite at our favorite Thanksgiving destinations in Latin America.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Awe-inspiring destinations like Machu Picchu await your arrival this Thanksgiving

♦ Seeing the magnificence of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is perhaps one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world! Sitting atop a 7,972ft. mountain, the spectacular Inca citadel offers unrivalled views of the surrounding Sacred Valley as well as a unique opportunity to travel back in time to the Inca civilization.

Thanksgiving is one of the shoulder months either side of the driest months in Peru and although there is a higher probability of some rainfall, the climate is generally warmer with fewer crowds at Machu Picchu allowing you to really enjoy the site’s majesty.

As Machu Picchu’s popularity continues to soar, the traditional Inca Trail usually gets booked up at least 6 months beforehand. But, don’t worry as there are plenty of alternative hiking routes to Machu Picchu which are equally as interesting and spectacular as the so-called ‘original one’.

Flights to Lima: 1+ flight per day from New York JFK & Newark (7hrs 50mins) / 1+ flight per day from Los Angeles (8hrs 30mins) 

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Hike through the spectacular Sacred Valley of the Inca to Machu Picchu

♦ Paradise in the Cayes of Belize

The Cayes of Belize have all the paradisaical Caribbean characteristics you could possibly dream of.

Sun-drenched days, refreshing cocktails in coconuts, crystal clear azure waters and secluded palm-lined white sandy beaches are the perfect recipe for a relaxing and sunny Thanksgiving break.

Our favorite of Belize’s Cayes is Ambergris Caye which has the second largest reef in the world just half a mile from its coast making it a heaven for scuba divers and snorkelers alike. Located 35 miles from Belize City, there are dozens of flights to Ambergris Caye that will add just an extra 30mins to your journey so you can be relaxing with your feet up in the warmth of a Caribbean Thanksgiving.

Flights to Belize City: New York via Atlanta or Houston (6hrs 5mins) / Los Angeles via Houston or Dallas (6hrs 50mins)

Ambergris Caye, Mata Chica

Relax in Belize’s paradise of Ambergris Caye

♦ Getting wild in the Brazilian Amazon

Don’t be put off thinking about traveling to the Brazilian Amazon during the rainy season as it is actually one of the best times to explore this glorious ecosystem. As impressive downpours over the jungle canopy flood the ground below, the Amazon’s waterways extend deeper into otherwise unreachable parts of the rainforest.

Navigating your way through the flooded tributaries and forests is one of the highlights of exploring the Amazon during the rainy season with the most colorful plants and flowers also in full bloom adding to the spectacle.

Staying in a luxury eco-lodge in the middle of the Brazilian Amazon, as you fall asleep and wake up to the sounds of the surrounding jungle is an experience like no other and one fit for an unforgettable Thanksgiving vacation.

Flights to Manaus: New York via Miami (9hrs 35mins+) / Los Angeles via Miami (11hrs 45mins+) 

Anavilhanas Lodge, Brazilian Amazon

This Thanksgiving escape to the deepest reaches of the Brazilian Amazon / Photo by Marcelo Isola

♦ Family Adventures on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast

Stretching from the north of Costa Rica, on the border with Panama down to the most southerly frontier with Nicaragua, Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline is vibrant, verdant, awe-inspiring and full of adventures.

Known as the Gold Coast thanks to its warm, dry climate and golden beaches, the Pacific coastline is the perfect escape this Thanks giving.

With November being at the end of the rainy season you’ll be able to venture into Costa Rica’s tropical wilderness of Guanacaste, Nicoya Peninsula, Manuel Antonio and the Osa Peninsula. From the north to the south of Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline you’ll find stunning deserted beaches, remote luxury eco-lodges, a plethora of exotic wildlife and of course the easy-going , Pura Vida atmosphere.

Flights to San Jose: 1+ flight per day from New York Newark (5hrs 20mins) / 1 flights per day from Los Angeles (5hrs 45mins) 

Waterfall-Rappelling El Remanso, Osa Peninsula

Have a thrilling adventure on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast

♦ Soaking up the colonial beauty of Cartagena, Colombia

As one of the top places to travel to this year, the fairytale city of Cartagena, located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast is sure to capture the hearts of all those who visit.

This is the perfect destination for couples, families and friends to enjoy from walking along its charming cobblestone streets in the historic center to visiting the Rosario Islands just off Cartagena’s Caribbean coast.

Known for its quaint and perfectly preserved colonial architecture with flower-covered balconies, Cartagena will be sure to sweep you off your feet this Thanksgiving.

Flights to Cartagena: 6 flights per day from New York JFK (5hrs) / Los Angeles via Bogota or New York (8hrs 30mins+) 

Cartagena, Colombia

Soak up the romance of Cartagena – Colombia’s Caribbean and colonial jewel

♦ Traveling to where it all begins in the Galapagos

With November marking the best time to enjoy playing with sea lion pups while snorkeling, the Galapagos Islands are one of the most exciting and vibrant locations in the world.  As the site of Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, travel to the Galapagos Islands to discover where it all began.

Wildlife on the collection of islands that make up the Galapagos is simply spell-binding and as the various birds, iguanas, penguins and sea lions nonchalantly go about their daily business you will also have an up-close wildlife experience like no other.

Traveling to the Galapagos Islands on board a luxurious boat is an adventure not to be missed and it is only once you have been there, that you will realize just why it is such a regular feature on bucket lists and ‘places to visit before you die’.

Flights to Quito: 1 flights per day from New York JFK (6hrs 5mins) / Los Angeles via Houston or Atlanta (8hrs 50mins) 

Galapagos Islands

Get up-close to wildlife in the Galapagos Islands

♦ Exploring the Mayan world in Guatemala

Spend Thanksgiving the way Indian Jones would have done, exploring the ancient Maya temples of Guatemala.

With the majority of Mayan legends being born in Guatemala’s region of Peten, you and your family and friends will be able to experience the Mayan world and culture like nowhere else in the world.

From the magnificent temples of the Mayan cities of Tikal and Yaxha enveloped by lush green jungles to the mind-blowing beauty of Lake Atitlan and its surrounding Mayan villages; traveling to Guatemala this Thanksgiving is an explorer’s dream.

Flights to Guatemala City: 1 flight per week from New York Newark (5hrs 10mins) / 2 flights per day from Los Angeles (4hrs 40mins) 

Yaxhá, Guatemala

Explore the breath-taking Maya cities and temples of Guatemala / Photo by Diego Lezama

Thanks for visiting our Central & South America Travel Blog! Feel free to contact one of our Travel Specialists via emailphone or chat to plan your perfect Thanksgiving itinerary.