The best places to spend Christmas in Latin America could be included in an endless list of urban, beach or mountain landscapes. The proximity of the Christmas holidays increases the number of trips and tourist offers throughout the region. It is an excellent time to travel through Latin America.
There are many places where you spend Christmas in Latin America but on this list we have concentrated on those that have a special relationship with the year-end celebrations, those that decorate and light up streets or celebrate traditions with that unmistakable Christmas flavor.
The Christmas holidays in Latin America mix their Spanish heritage, and therefore their Catholic roots, with other more recent customs that are the reflection of open, diverse and modern societies.
The best places to spend Christmas in Latin America cover the continent from north to south: most are popular places, but many will still surprise readers.
Cuzco is one of the most photographed and iconic cities in Peru. Located southwest of the country, on the eastern flank of the Andes Mountain Range, the historic city of Cuzco is a great location to receive the New Year. Its culture, treasured heritage and quaint little streets make it an ideal place to experience Christmas away from snowy settings. People gather in the squares and streets for the countdown. Knowing the festive spirit of Peruvians, once midnight arrives, the party spirit is unleashed in every corner.
Planet magazine recently recommended Iguazu as one of those ideal destinations to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. “With the most impressive waterfalls in South America, a rich regional history and exceptional conditions for wildlife observation, Northeast Argentina should be on all travel lists”, states the guide. Needless to remember then that Iguazu is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world. But once there, the environment deserves the same attention: this rugged region with a gentle climate invites you to get off the beaten path.
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Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Playa del Carmen, on the Riviera Maya, is one of the most important and well-known tourist areas in Mexico. At Christmas, the place is decked out with decorations, without losing its warmth and relaxed atmosphere. The contrast between beaches and Christmas lights can only be found in places like these, especially when it comes to what is known as the Fifth Avenue, which boasts the best restaurants and shops in the area. In Playa del Carmen there are many options for tourists who choose Caribbean beaches to welcome the new year, such as luxury hotel dinners.
Viña del Mar, Chile
Viña del Mar is synonymous with music and party. Although the country is experiencing turbulent times, the city remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Americas’ southern hemisphere. The “Nuevo año en el Mar” (New Year by the Sea) party is attended by thousands of young people from all countries in search of fun. This fabled spectacle at Viña del Mar is known the world over with more than 25,000 fireworks visible from Valparaíso to Concón. The party is epic.
Bocas del Toro, Panama
Few countries in the world offer 2,490 kilometers of coastline with urban experiences matching those offered at the best capitals of the world, in addition to leisure, adventure and nature, just a few hours away. And in contrast, you find a paradisiacal place like Bocas del Toro, an archipelago of fabulous beaches with a mosaic of cultures (Spanish, Indigenous, English, French, German and North American) that blend a unique environmental and historical legacy in the region.
Punta del Este, Uruguay
Punta del Este is one of the great jewels of Latin American tourism; a favorite destination of the rich and famous. The city is known for its beautiful coastline and elegant buildings and many consider it the Cannes of Uruguay. It boasts first-class nightclubs, exotic drinks and exquisite seafood. And the local parties and fireworks on the last night of the year give the place an even more magical radiance.
Medellín spares no expense come Christmas. In fact, many consider this Colombian city as one of the most Christmassy in the world because its streets are lit up with more than 30 million lights, which represent about 800 kilometers; a brilliant folly! Its traditional light up is a festival of color that makes the city shine more than ever. Medellin’s Christmas lights are considered one of the ten most beautiful in the world, proudly competing with other European cities having greater tradition and fame.
Whoever is looking for a traditional Christmas, with the entire family around the fireplace while listening to stories and eating season treats, Chihuahua is your perfect destination. There are areas of this state, especially in the Sierra Tarahumara, where lodgings in the middle of the snowy forests offer awesome packages for the holidays. Chihuahua the capital is also a very good option for historical or cultural tourism, and to take advantage of the Christmas cuisine.