When the days draw in and temperatures in the UK start to drop, our thoughts start to turn to grabbing some winter sun. The Latin American summer runs, roughly, from December to March and provides some excellent opportunities for winter sun holidays, including relaxing beach holidays, vibrant city trips and cultural getaways.

To help you plan your next trip we’ve compiled our Top 10 places for winter sun holidays in Central and South America:

1. Ambergris Caye, Belize
When it comes to the best holiday destinations in winter, English-speaking Belize is a stand out option.The best time to visit Belize is from late November to mid-April: the country’s dry season. Swaying palm trees, the second-largest coral reef system in the world and a wealth of wildlife can be found here. Experience the Blue Hole, snorkel in shark ray alley or simply relax on one of the sugar-white Caribbean beaches.

Visit Ambergris Caye on our Value Belize: Mayan mountains and Caribbean Caye holiday or on our Luxury Belize: Nature, wildlife and Caribbean Cayes holiday.

2. Cartagena, Colombia
Romantic and evocative Cartagena de Indias is without doubt one of the most captivating cities on the continent. With warm weather all-year-round, the colourful town is excellent for a city trip. Picturesque streets lined with colonial buildings, interesting museums, galleries and music venues make it a destination that has a lot to offer. And for a sun-drenched beach break, the white-sands of the Rosario Islands are only a boat ride away.

Visit Cartagena on our Signature Colombia: Culture and coffee holiday or on our Weaverbird: Spirit of Colombia escorted group tour.


3. Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Fernando de Noronha in north-eastern Brazil is a real marine wonderland. With 21 islands and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, only one of it is inhabited with a population of 5,000 people. The others are home to birds, reptiles and a wealth of marine life, including sharks, dolphins and turtles. Boat trips, diving and snorkelling are highly popular activities in this UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site.

Take a look at some options for winter holidays in north-eastern Brazil on our Value Brazil: Salvador and Bahia holiday or on our Family Brazil: Waterfalls, rivers and rainforests holiday.

4. Patagonia, Chile and Argentina
December to February attract the most visitors to Patagonia thanks to longer days, open accessibility to remote regions and the best chance of good weather, especially the Lake District: the north of the region offers a good chance of catching some winter sunshine around this time. The snow-topped volcanoes, dark sapphire lakes and Alpine-style towns are real highlights of this area.

Visit Patagonia on our Value Patagonia: Journey to the Glaciers holiday or Self-drive Patagonia: the open road to Torres del Paine holiday.


5. Tulum, Mexico
Tulum is situated along the Riviera Maya on the Yucatán Peninsula and boasts comfortable temperatures of around 28 degrees Celsius and a light sea breeze between December and February, making it a great winter holiday destination in Latin America. The area is probably best known for its Mayan temple overlooking the ocean, but features excellent opportunities for snorkelling, scuba diving and exploring Mayan history as well.

6. Bocas del Toro, Panama
The archipelago of Bocas del Torro is a true surfer’s paradise and offers a wide variety of flora and fauna. Much of the province is protected and the Bastimentos Marine Park is an important conservation area offering superb scuba diving and snorkelling. With a laid back Afro-Caribbean culture alongside friendly indigenous villages, it’s a lovely place to relax.

Visit Bocas del Toro on our Signature Panama: Canal, wildlife and beach holiday or on our Alcion: Central America discovery escorted group tour.


7. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
With an attractive colonial centre, long stretches of beach and highlights including Sugarloaf Mountain and the statue of Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro is the perfect place for a winter city break. Events are taking place everywhere you go: samba shows, spontaneous music events or beach football competitions. And of course the Rio carnival takes place every year in February.

Visit Rio de Janeiro on our Signature Brazil: Brazil at a glance holiday or our Luxury Brazil: Rio, Iguazu Falls and Buzios holiday.

8. Uyuni salt flats, Bolivia
The visually stunning Salar de Uyuni salt lakes are situated on the southern plains of the altiplano, at 3,656m. The area is embossed with hexagonal patterns which look to be carved by man. While December to February are some of the rainiest months in this region, it does give you the opportunity to see the surfaces reflecting the ice blue sky and clouds, dissolving the horizon – an incredible sight. Plus, with an average temperature of 18-21 degrees, the Uyuni Salt Flats are a wonderful place to be during the UK's winter season.

Visit the Uyuni salt flats on our Signature Bolivia: The final frontier holiday or on our Zampullin: Vistas of Bolivia escorted group tour.


9. Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
In the remote region of the Osa Peninsula there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure and the chance to be immersed in nature. Wildlife reserves have been established throughout this lush region, notably Corcovada National Park, with magnificent biodiversity, sheltering rare species of mammals including the Central American squirrel monkey, white-faced capuchins, ocelots and tapirs.

Visit Osa Peninsula on our Explore and relax Costa Rica and Panama Coast: Pacific route holiday or on our Costa Rica wildlife discovery holiday.

10. Antarctica
While it isn’t the first place that comes to mind when we think of ‘winter sun’, it is actually the northern hemisphere’s winter period that is the only time you can travel to Antarctica. Expedition cruises to this remote part of the world run from late October until the end of March only. The region presents itself with a dazzling display of larger-than-life landscapes, a kaleidoscope of colours and a symphony of sounds. Antarctica is one for wildlife lovers and outdoor adventurers, with a growing range of activities such as camping, hiking and kayaking giving visitors a thrilling and intimate experience in snow and ice.

Visit Antarctica on our Signature Antarctica: Highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula holiday or our Antarctica wildlife: Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula holiday.


So if you're looking to escape the winter for a bit of sunshine, contact one of our Travel Experts who can help you plan your next trip.

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  • Carrie
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

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    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

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    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

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    A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.

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    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

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    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

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