With the days drawing in and temperatures 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 relaxing beach holidays, vibrant city trips and cultural getaways. We’ve compiled our favourite winter sun destinations in Latin America in a handy overview:
1. Ambergris Caye, Belize
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 Bue Hole,snorkel in shark ray alleyor simply relax on one of the sugar-white Caribbean beaches.
Visit Ambergris Caye on ourValue Belize: Mayan mountains and Caribbean Cayeholiday or on ourLuxury Belize: Nature, wildlife and Caribbean Cayesholiday.
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 beach break, the white-sands of theRosario Islandsare only a boat ride away.
Visit Cartagena on ourSignature Colombia: Culture and coffeeholiday or on ourWeaverbird: Spirit of Colombiaescorted 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.
Visit north-eastern Brazil on ourValue Brazil: Salvador and Bahiaholiday or on ourFamily Brazil: Waterfalls, rivers and rainforestsholiday.
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 theLake 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 ourValue Patagonia: Journey to the Glaciersholiday orSelf-drive Patagonia: the open road to Torres del Paineholiday.
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. The area is probably best known for itsMayan templeoverlooking the ocean, but features excellent opportunities forsnorkelling, 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 superbscuba divingandsnorkelling. With a laid back Afro-Caribbean culture alongside friendly indigenous villages, it’s a lovely place to relax.
Visit Bocas del Toro on ourSignature Panama: Canal, wildlife and beachholiday or on ourAlcion: Central America discoveryescorted 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 theRio carnivaltakes place every year.
Visit Rio de Janeiro on ourSignature Brazil:Brazil at a glanceholiday or ourLuxury Brazil: Rio, Iguazu Falls and Buziosholiday.
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 most 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.
Visit the Uyuni salt flats on ourSignature Bolivia: The final frontierholiday or on ourZampullin: Vistas of Boliviaescorted 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 ourExplore and relax Costa Rica and Panama Coast: Pacific routeholiday or on ourCosta Rica wildlife discoveryholiday.
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 ourSignature Antarctica: Highlights of the Antarctic Peninsulaholiday or ourAntarctica wildlife: Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsulaholiday.