Written by
Jennifer Richt

Published on: October 3rd, 2017

Last modified: November 16th, 2023

December, January and February promise clear skies, sun-soaked beaches and spectacular nature across Latin America. The Mayan Riviera boasts an inviting average daytime temperature of 28°C during this period. In Rio de Janeiro, the streets come alive with the rhythms of the annual Carnival. Meanwhile, the Galápagos Islands teem with abundant wildlife.

1. Lake District – Argentina

Among all of Argentina’s varied landscapes, the Lake District may be the most idyllic. Peppered with forests, snowy peaks and rushing rivers, it’s an ideal place to travel during the country’s spring and summer (October to February). Enjoy the great outdoors by hiking, biking, horse riding, kayaking or boating across stunning glacial lakes.

Stay at the family-run Estancia Peuma Hue to be fully immersed in the surroundings, or the elegant Las Balsas beside Lake Huapi. You can even head further south to Patagonia, which is also best enjoyed during the warmer months; when temperatures peak at around 15ºC (59ºF) in Ushuaia and 22ºC (72ºF) in Bariloche.

2. Ambergris Caye – Belize

The best time to visit Belize is during the dry season (late December–May), but to avoid the hottest temperatures, visit between January and March. This is an especially good time to go to Ambergris Caye, with favourable conditions for snorkelling, diving and helicopter rides above the Great Blue Hole.

great-blue-hole-belize

Ambergris Caye is where you’ll find Matachica, one of our favourite hotels in Belize, offering private bungalows and direct access to a white sand beach. Belize’s dry season is also fantastic for birdwatching, and in December you can experience the country’s holiday festivities as well.

3. Osa Peninsula & Corcovado – Costa Rica

The months of December, January, February and March all fall within Costa Rica’s dry season. This is when the country sees minimal rainfall and comfortably warm temperatures. With less dense foliage and water sources being more concentrated, spotting animals becomes easier. Visit the Osa Peninsula, where you’ll find Corcovado National Park and its abundance of rare wildlife species including colourful birds, monkeys and elusive big cats.

You can stay right in the middle of the national park at Lapa Rios, a rainforest lodge that’s particularly great for families. The Pacific Ocean is just a short walk away – and this time of year is ideal for spotting dolphins and whales.

4. Mayan Riviera – Mexico

Mexico is in the Northern Hemisphere, so December to February is winter here – but its southern regions are close enough to the equator to ensure warm temperatures year round. This period is the best time to visit the Mayan Riviera, which encompasses the Caribbean coastline of the Yucatán Peninsula from Cancún to Tulum.

In this part of Latin America, the winters are mild and less humid, creating ideal conditions for outdoor activities. Our travel designers particularly recommend you stay at the exquisite Belmond Maroma, a place that celebrates every nuance of Mexican culture.

5. Galápagos Islands – Ecuador

The Galápagos Islands are a destination unlike any other, boasting exceptional wildlife and scenery. January to March are the warmest months here, which makes them great for snorkelling, diving and cruising. You’ll have a good chance of spotting sea turtles in January, iguanas in February and penguins in March (along with countless other animals).

There are a couple of different ways to enjoy the Galápagos. You can stay on land at Galápagos Safari Camp and opt for hiking, biking, boating and snorkelling excursions. Or you can book a suite on a luxury vessel like Aqua Mare to discover the archipelago by sea.

6. Atacama Desert – Chile

Located at the northern end of Chile, the Atacama Desert is a dramatic expanse of arid plains, dunes and volcanoes. Visit in December or January to avoid the frigid nighttime temperatures of winter (June to September), but keep in mind that February sometimes brings heavy rain.This period not only offers milder temperatures but also presents an excellent opportunity for stargazing in Chile and on the nearby Easter Island.

tongariki-easter-island-chile

For an immersive experience in the desert’s otherworldly landscape, consider spending a few nights at Tierra Atacama. With views of volcanoes and the Andes mountains, it’s a truly incredible place to wake up.

7. Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

There are plenty of irresistible reasons to visit Brazil in any month, but February has a special appeal. Rio de Janeiro’s annual Carnival celebration is the largest on earth, and experiencing it firsthand is something you’ll never forget. Beyond Carnival, the city is also bursting with fascinating culture, excellent cuisine and sensational beaches.

In fact, December to March is the best time to visit Brazil’s coastline. You can explore Paraty, a quiet colonial town on the Costa Verde. From here you can explore the seemingly infinite islands scattered across the bay, each with its own unbelievable beaches.

8. Coffee Triangle – Colombia

Like many South American destinations, Colombia is driest from December to March. It’s a wonderful time to visit the country’s Coffee Triangle, wedged in between the cities of Bogotá, Medellín and Cali. This perpetually warm region boasts lush green hills and volcanic soil, and is dotted with local villages and coffee plantations.

The climate is also good for growing cacao, ginger and plantains – and you’ll find all of these at Hacienda Bambusa. This traditional farm has just eight cosy guest rooms in its main house, giving you an intimate and authentic glimpse into Colombian culture.  

9. Lake Atitlan – Guatemala

Guatemala is an incredibly scenic country, offering everything from jungles and volcanoes to colonial cities and indigenous heritage. The winter months here are drier and slightly cooler, although it’s pleasantly warm all year round. This is a great time to visit Lake Atitlan, which is surrounded by volcanic slopes, Mayan villages and coffee plantations.

Base yourself at Casa Palopo – with just 15 rooms and some unbeatable views. Take advantage of the mild weather to go hiking, kayaking, horse riding or zip lining through the breathtaking nature that surrounds it.

Where to Stay in Latin America

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Whatever you're looking for from your adventure in Latin America, our travel designers are ready to help.