Updated: Sep 2, 2022
Before telling you about our suggested best places to visit in South America in December, let me ask one question: Why do you love to travel?
We believe traveling is more than just visiting new places. One of the reasons why we love traveling is that getting away from home allows you to unplug from the demands of today’s life and connect with the natural world and with each other.
When we travel, we disconnect from technology, the news, from work, and connect with nature, with ourselves and our travel partners…
Exploring an unknown country, tasting new flavors, and learning about a new culture, are just some of the experiences you’ll share and remember for a lifetime…
So if you want to escape the winter months in your northern hemisphere country, and you’re looking for the best places to visit in South America in December, avoid the crowds, connect with your travel partner and reconnect with the natural world you’ve come to the right place!
In this post, we’ve compiled our local expert’s list of the ten must-see places in South America in December and how to avoid the crowds to help you with your dream trip to South America. Be ready to feed your soul with new Amazing experiences. South America has a lot to offer.
✨Navigate to where you want to go
- Best time to visit South America – The Seasons
- 10 Best places to visit in South America in December and avoid the Crowds
2.9 The Amazon, Peru
Best time to Visit South America – The Seasons
First of all, when thinking about the best places to visit in South America in December, you need to know that the seasons in South America correspond to the southern hemisphere, which means that:
👉Summer runs from December to March;
👉Autumn from April to June;
👉Winter from July to September;
👉and then Spring from September until November;
So, visiting South America in December means that you will be visiting South America in Summer. It’s high season in many places like Brazil, Patagonia, and the Atlantic coast; beaches, festivals, and new year’s eve celebrations are busy.
But besides the seasons, you should also consider the wet and dry seasons, which are essential facts to understand which places are better to visit, such as the Amazonas or the Deserts in Chile and Bolivia.
So, which places are perfect to visit in December, how to avoid the crowds, and what to expect?
1- The Atacama Desert in Chile
👉 The Experience: Have an otherworldly experience by heading to Chile’s mystifying moon-like desert region. Among the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Nature is wise and splendid. It has a highly varied geography: The Salares, the volcanoes, the lakes, and the wild animals; everything takes you to another dimension….
Atacama Desert – Tierra Atacama Resort – Spa with a majestic surrounding in a peaceful place
👉Why go in December: December is the dry Season for the Atacama desert. Expect pleasant day temperatures and warmer nights, making December an excellent time to explore the desert. It is the perfect time to visit the majority of tourist sites. Also, The night sky is most transparent in December, offering spectacular stargazing opportunities.
👉Where to stay and how to avoid the crowds: Traveling during December is a great time due to weather conditions. The High season in the Atacama Desert means perfect temperatures but lots of visitors…
Of course, traveling during off-peak seasons helps to avoid the crowds…but when traveling in December, If you want the certainty of avoiding crowds, the best way to visit the Atacama is to select smaller, boutique properties that will provide privately-guided small group activities that are led by expert local guides. They have an in-depth understanding of the landscape, its less-frequented areas, and the best ways to enjoy its natural beauty in a non-impactful way…
By staying in this kind of property you will avoid the crowds and also lower the travel footprint.
December is a great time for stargazing in the Atacama Desert
2- Eastern Island, Or Rapa Nui in Chile
👉 The Experience: This remote island is in the Pacific Ocean in the middle of nowhere. It is part of the Polynesian Triangle and belongs to Chile, being at a distance of 3,500 kilometers from its coasts. It only has an area of 163 kilometers.
Rapa Nui has myths and legends that have not been completely unraveled
Rapa Nui was once the cradle of a unique and enigmatic culture that still endures today. The language, music, and countless traditions of the island are kept alive by its proud inhabitants, while the enormous moais, carved from stone, are tangible testimonies to its mysterious past.
About 900 stone statues with human figures, known as “moais”, make up the main attraction of the Chilean island of Rapa Nui. Its history dates back to ancient times and The great mystery about the island is how were the heavy moais that look towards the interior of the island to ‘protect’ it formed and moved?
👉 Why go in December: December is part of the Shoulder season.
( April and June and October and December ) and is one of the best times to visit Easter Island. The warm climate combined with the light crowds makes Eastern Island an ideal place in South America to visit in December.
👉 Entry Restrictions: From August 1st, 2022 Easter Island will receive tourists again after more than two years of being closed. The reopening process will be gradual, so there will be two weekly flights at first, and a third in October…So visiting this December is a great opportunity to visit the Island with fewer people than usual.
More Experiences in South America? 👉 Get our free travel guide. Find all you need to know about your next trip to South America. The Guide includes some of our suggested itineraries to visit the best of South America with must see destinations and experiences and first class lodging in cool, one of a kind locations.
3- Ibera Wetlands, Argentina
👉 The Experience: Are you passionate about nature and wildlife? Ibera is a unique natural paradise in Argentina that is still undiscovered…The Iberá estuaries are the second-largest freshwater wetlands in the world after the Pantanal in Brazil.
The most impressive about Ibera National Park is that seeing the fauna in its natural habitat is ensured! Expect to see exotic species such as ostriches, foxes, capybaras(carpinchos), caimans (yacare) brocket deer, marsh deer, and viscachas, among others.
Boat rides, horseback riding, kayaking, birdwatching, day and night safaris, bike rides, or even enjoy a fantastic flight over the wetlands!
READ All you need to Know about traveling to Ibera Wetlands: Travel to Stunning Ibera Wetlands in Argentina: Your Practical Guide
👉Why go in December: The Ibera Wetlands can be visited all year round. December can be hot as summer is arriving but expect less rain and the wetlands are at their most colorful at this time of year. The bird migration happens between September and April which is a great time to go for bird watching.
👉Where to stay and how to avoid the crowds: Our suggests staying at one of the small, charming ranches. Rincon del Socorro and Puerto Valle are among our favorites.
Check out our blog post about accommodation in the Wetlands: Stay at the Best Ranches in Ibera Wetlands, Argentina
Ibera Wetlands – Rincon del Socorro Lodge
4- Torres del Paine National Park
👉 The Experience: Located in Chile’s Patagonia region and known for the breathtaking granite pillars of Torres del Paine that dominate its landscape. Prepare yourself for a memorable escape filled with diverse landscapes, rich forests, rivers, a stunning blue glacier, and many other surprises that promise to amaze your eyes.
👉Why go in December: During December the weather is warm, nights are not so cold, and the you will have longest daylight. Landscape in full green. and there is a high likelihood of seeing wildlife. You will find Mostly clear skies and good visibility during the day and night.
👉Where to stay and how to avoid the crowds: Summer is high season so it will likely be very crowded. You can still enjoy Torres del Paine and avoid the crowds, by staying at one of its lodges inside the National Park.
Staying in one of those lodges that offer their own explorations to less popular places within the Park and with guides that have extensive knowledge of the places they explore allows you to go beyond the surface and deeper into untouched nature avoiding the crowds.
Torres del Paine National Park – Patagonia Camp Luxury glamping experience – Perfect for visiting the Park and avoiding the summer crowds
5- Peninsula Valdes Patagonia Argentina
👉 The Experience: There is no better whale watching the show than the one offered by this lovely place. Which whale species will you see? The Southern Right Whale that measures 20 meters in length and can weigh up to 50 tonnes in weight.
This is also a privileged area to enjoy bird watching. The islands and islets of the region are noted for their diversity of flora and substratum, and the richness of the marine wildlife
👉Why go in December: You can combine whale watching ( until mid-december) with a genuine wildlife approach in Bahía Bustamante Lodge.
👉Where to stay: If you are a wildlife lover, Staying at Bahia Bustramante Lodge is the perfect place for you. A remote lodge by the sea surrounded by 360° of pure nature, located in Patagonia. Visiting the lodge is a perfect match with Peninsula Valdes, where you can do whale watching and combine it with a genuine wildlife approach.
Simplicity is the kind of Luxury you find in Bahia Bustamante: breathtaking landscapes, unique wildlife surrounding you, and peace and connection to nature …
Bahia Bustamante is perfect for biking, trekking, horseback riding, archeological exploration, relaxing on its sandy beaches, a petrified forest of 60 million years, learning about the lifestyle of the first pioneers who arrived in the 50s, and learning about the seaweed industry, and participate in farming activities with sheep.
Watch my interview with Rosario Barclay from @bahiabustamante ECO LODGE and learn why it was Described by The New York Times as ´Argentina’s Private (and Secret) answer to The Galapagos
6- Ushuaia, the End of the world
👉The Experience: Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world, located only a few hundred miles from Antarctica, at the crossroads between Argentina and Chile, and the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. Boasting with parks, museums, amazing cuisine, and incredible landscapes this place is a must-see for every type of traveler, especially for the adventurous spirits who can’t wait to explore the natural wonders of South America and also indulge in the delicious Patagonian cuisine.
👉Why go in December: It is summer in Patagonia; temperatures are lovely and can reach 20 degrees Celsius. You can expect up to 17 hours of daylight, Sunrise is very early in the morning and it gets dark after 10 pm. This spells out perfect conditions to indulge in all the activities on offer: from hiking to horse riding, wildlife watching, fly-fishing, and cruising.
👉New Years Eve in Ushuaia: Ringing in the New Year in Ushuaia, is an experience no one will forget. Though you might be used to praising this particular moment in the middle of the crowds, enjoying bustling parties, this region will show a different way to celebrate. Instead of dancing, you will indulge in the beauty of the mountains and the feeling that you are in a place where time stops.
Wherever you choose to stay in Ushuaia, you will wake up every morning, breathing the pure mountain air and admiring the fascinating landscapes of the end of the world.
7- Fjords of Tierra del Fuego
👉 The Experience: The immense wilderness of Patagonia offers the opportunity to be in close contact with nature and walk freely in places that have been kept untouched.
If you are traveling in December, we suggest including on your trip an Australis Expedition cruise to explore the wonders of the Patagonian fjords Visiting the main attractions of Tierra del Fuego, the Strait of Magellan, the Beagle Channel, and Cape Horn. You will Discover impressive geography marked by imposing Glaciers, native forests, and exotic flora and fauna while sailing through canals of incomparable beauty.
The journey sails through one of the few uninhabited areas of the planet, promoting exclusive, non-massive tourism, accompanied by expert guides trained to inform and instruct guests on a scientific basis.
CHECK HERE OUR SUGGESTED TRIP Exclusive Patagonia & Australis Expedition Cruise trip
👉Why go in December: The season at Australis Cruise runs from September to April. December is summer in Patagonia, temperatures are mild and you can expect more daylight hours and mild weather for disembarking in the different highlights of Tierra del Fuego.
8- Galapagos Island, Ecuador
👉 The Experience: One of the most surprising aspects of Galapagos Island, is the abundance of friendly wildlife. Because of the lack of natural predators, the animals fear little and see no threat from humans in modern times and allow us to approach them at close range… in Galapagos you need to watch your step or you may inadvertently tread on native wildlife!
Who wouldn’t fall head over heels in love after watching a guy flash his blue feet?
The blue-footed booby is a seabird named for its very distinctive bright blue feet and is undoubtedly one of the species that attract the most attention in the Galapagos Islands.
They are masters of seduction.
I heard a lot about these Blue-Footed Booby birds and my desire to see them has grown even greater after learning about their unique courting ritual, which includes rocking side-to-side while lifting their eye-catching baby blue feet. A Booby mating dance.
This is real Big Wild Love 💙
👉Why go in December: The Galápagos Islands can be a perfect break from your. cold weather.
The warm and wet season starts starts in December and lasts until June in Galapagos. Temperature varies from 21°C to 27°C (70°F to 80°F) and Water temperature from 18°C to 24°C (65°F to 75°F). Although you can expect sporadic daily rain showers, they won’t detract from your experience at all. The warmer air and water temperatures are attractive to snorkelers and divers, who can also enjoy the year’s greatest underwater visibility.
This is also one of the best times to visit the Galápagos Islands because the Galápagos Giant Tortoise eggs start hatching so You might be able to stumble across this in the wild, or you can get over to the Charles Darwin Research Centre on Santa Cruz Island to guarantee a look at these incredible little guys!
👉Galapagos by Cruise or Land?
The Galapagos archipelago consists of 13 major islands, 5 medium-sized islands, and 215 islets. So, you’ll get to see a lot more of it by cruise. Cruises do most of their travel by night, so you’ll get to reach more remote areas that otherwise cannot be reached by day tour and also get to see more wildlife
CHECK HERE OUR SUGGESTED TRIP Peru & Galapagos: The Luxurious Lifetime Exploration
9- Amazon, Peru
👉 The Experience: The “jewel of the earth”, the “world’s largest pharmacy” and the “lungs of the earth” this is the amazon jungle…. for me one of the most fascinating places on Earth….
There is nothing like the amazon for an adventure: trekking deep into the jungle to discover the flora and fauna, indigenous village visits, canoe rides, night treks through the jungle, piranha fishing, walk over a suspension bridge…Each day is a new adventure that will surprise you.
But it is not only and adventure, it’s learning a new way of seeing life. By visiting its indigenous villages and learning from the culture and customs of its people you will have the incredible opportunity to learn and enrich your own way of life.
The food is also part of the experience. Local vegetables, juices mostly made from fruits that do not grow anywhere else, fresh seafood provided from the Amazon river a and typical Amazonian flavours makes amazonian cuisine an exceptional delight.
👉Why go in December: It is high water season. As the rain comes down, the Amazon basin starts to flood, and boat excursions become a much deeper adventure. With the extra water in the river, travelers are able to see some of the wildlife that may have hidden from the main course of the river.
Did You Know? The Amazon is the largest tropical jungle in the world and is almost twice the size of India. The Amazon rainforest produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen and fresh water
👉Where to stay: Exploring this area in December by cruise is the best option. Our suggested cruise experience includes excursions in the forest with naturalist guides, boat trips into creeks and lagoons and gourmet meals,
Expect early morning and late afternoon excursions in the forests, and chilling in the outdoor jacuzzi or reading in the living room in between. Evenings are lively with the staff playing music and tasting exquisite cuisine made with native ingredients.
👉 The Experience: You may ask yourself Is Antarctica my kind of travel destination? Antarctica is a place in the world that very few have explored, but those that visit Antarctica will be rewarded with unique experiences that will stay with them forever!
The whiteness is really overwhelming…90% of the wold ice is there! A Sense of calm, and peace…just utterly beautiful …the most impressive thing you will ever see in your life!
👉Why go in December: You can only visit the area during the Antarctic summer, from November to March. Prices are cheaper at the beginning and end of the season, but there is less to see in the way of wildlife the days are shorter and the ice thicker, restricting access to some areas.
Visiting in December is a great time, from mid to late December penguin chicks start to hatch on the Antarctic Peninsula,
👉How is the best way to get to Antarctica?
Traveling to Antarctica is an adventure you will remember for a lifetime, but there are different routes, ships, and cruise companies… so it can be tricky to work out which is the right one for you… I would strongly recommend opting for one of the smaller expedition ships carrying between 50 and 200 passengers. There are many options, and we help you choose the correct one for you.
Our suggested trip for visiting Antarctica: Antarctica Expedition & Wild Patagonia
Find YOUR dream trip to South America in December
Since 2007 at Across South America, we have been offering our professional experience and local expertise to plan the best taylor made trips in South America for our travelers.
Take a look at some of the best trips we have designed during the past years.
We create all our trips from scratch, and we tailor them especially for you! If your are planing a trip to South America contact us and we can customize the best trip for your according to your interests and suggesting with our local expertise the best destinations and experiences avoiding the crowds and first class lodging in cool one of a kind locations for you to have a trip of a lifetime.
Book your Trip consultation HERE so we can start designing your perfect South America trip.
Co-founder at Across South America
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