New Year’s Eve in South America
Fireworks exploding above the Sydney Opera House, parties on the streets of Edinburgh and the ball dropping in Time Square; there are many iconic places to see in the new year across the world. If you fancy somewhere a bit different, you won’t be disappointed with a trip to South America. Whether you want to party till dawn or take time for quiet contemplation, there are festivities to suit everyone here. So, grab a glass of bubbly, dig out a party hat, and read on as we get you in the spirit with our guide to the best hotspots to celebrate New Year’s Eve in South America.
New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
No one throws a party like the people of Rio de Janeiro. Famed for their carnivals, if you are looking for a celebration to remember then Rio is the place for you! Along with the general frivolity that is always present at the end of a year, in Brazil, the 31st of December is also steeped in spiritual beliefs. You will notice most people wear white on the day, and this is for a number of reasons, one of which is to encourage prosperity and purity for the coming year. Copacabana Beach attracts over two million revellers, who are treated to music, dancing and, at midnight, a firework display to rival any major city across the world. After the big countdown, head to the seafront and take part in ancient customs, to honour the Goddess of the Seas – Lemanja. From jumping seven waves and making seven wishes, to placing flowers in the water for her, it’s a wonderful thing to be part of. If you are looking for somewhere to stay close to the party, the Hilton Rio de Janeiro Copacabana is just across the road from the beach, and with the five-star accommodation on offer you can really celebrate the new year in style!
New Year’s Eve in Punta del Este, Uruguay
For a sophisticated evening followed by fireworks, head to Punta del Este. Loved by the rich and famous, Punta – often referred to as ‘The Hamptons of Uruguay’ – is known for its exclusive parties and glamorous way of life, boasting luxury at every turn. The population of this small city increases significantly over the summer and especially during the festive period, with people from all over South America flocking to its shores. You will find that most restaurants need to be booked in advance so get organised early to avoid disappointment. After a refined evening of gastronomic delights, head to the seafront and watch the fireworks light up the sky.
New Year’s Eve in Buenos Aires, Argentina
For the residents of Buenos Aires, New Year’s Eve is all about family and loved ones. With this in mind you may find many restaurants are not open, but that being said there is no shortage of things to do. Book yourself in for a tango show, after all, could there be a more quintessentially Argentinian experience to be part of on the last day of the year? Alternatively, if you would prefer to be the one on the dancefloor there are plenty of clubs that will welcome you: the key is to make sure you have planned ahead when it comes to getting home as transport could be a challenge. However, if playing it by ear is more to your liking, take a walk down to the docks in the Puerto Madero district and watch the fireworks at midnight.
New Year’s Eve off the beaten track in South America
Perhaps you are after a quieter way to say hola to the next twelve months. If this is the case, there are places all over South America that will be right up your street. Machu Picchu is incredible year-round, but to see it at the start of a new year is particularly special. The Belmond holds an annual New Year’s Eve bash, a truly magical venue at the gates of Machu Picchu; and what a place to stay after the four-day Inca trail.
If you fancy a bit of sun, sea and sand, how about a trip to the Galapagos Islands? As with the rest of Ecuador, as New Year approaches you will notice scarecrow-like effigies appearing around towns. Known as Años Viejos, they are burnt at midnight to help rid the negativities from the previous year; it is not uncommon for these to resemble politicians, both international and local! Whether you are on a cruise around the islands as the bell tolls or perhaps on a secluded beach with the one you love, waking up on New Year’s Day here is a wonderful way to begin. Finally, perhaps you would prefer a rural retreat? Tucked away in the outskirts of Puerto Natales, Chile, The Singular Patagonia is a converted warehouse that embraces its heritage while also oozing modern design. This is a perfect launchpad for exploring the surrounding wilderness come New Year.
So, there we have it, one year is over and another just beginning. With these suggestions being just the tip of the iceberg, we hope you feel inspired to plan an unforgettable trip for 2019/20 to welcome New Year’s Eve in South America. All that is left for us to say is Feliz Año Nuevo or Feliz Año Novo – depending on where you decide to go!
Check out our South America itineraries to start tailormaking your trip, or keep reading our festive blog articles for more inspiration: such as Christmas Food in South America or Festive Traditions in South America.