When to Travel

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January

In January, Latin America welcomes the New Year with large parties and celebrations across all of the major cities.

  • Rio de Janeiro hosts one of the most spectacular fireworks displays in the world over the bay and the beaches are alive with spectators. Once the festivities have finished, there are plenty of other exciting places to explore in this spectacular continent during the month of January.
  • Patagonia season is in full swing, and although it is also at its most crowded at this time of year, the lack of rain and long sunlit hours of the day make it a great time to visit this remarkable region.
  • Similarly, the long days make Antarctica a good choice at this time of year.
  • It is during January that the Galapagos also begins to see an influx in numbers – but of the bird kind. Species all over the island are beginning to nest and marine iguanas are also entering their breeding cycle.
  • For an exotic adventure, Costa Rica is dry and warm during January, perfect for exploring the jungles and beaches of this idyllic country.

February

February is carnival time in many countries in Latin America.

  • Rio de Janiero is in the spotlight again as it hosts the world’s biggest party, Rio Carnival and the city is filled with fabulous costumes and the sound of samba.
  • Salvador in the north of Brazil offers a slightly different experience as the city becomes one big street party with thousands of people following floats through the streets.
  • Other smaller and more traditional festivals include the Barranquilla Carnival which showcases internationally influenced dances and music.
  • Tapata Rapa Nui is a large festival that takes place on Easter Island celebrating the islands unique culture and traditions.
  • Across on the Pacific coast, Chiloe Island offers nesting penguins and good weather to take boat trips to the remote corners of this enigmatic island.
  • Further south, Patagonia is still warm and dry and in Antarctica although penguins are beginning to leave, this is the best time of year to spot whales.

March

For a more adventurous holiday, March is a fantastic month to visit the Lake District, which spans Argentina and Chile.

  • Active volcanoes dominate the skyline and trails through the emerald forests lead to hot springs.
  • At this time of year (Autumn) the colours of the leaves are stunning.
  • There are numerous activities on offer including white water rafting, horseback riding, fishing, trekking and birdwatching. 
  • Located many miles offshore and also part of Chile, the fascinating Easter Island is less crowded and still warm enough for visitors to enjoy the remote landscape.
  • The northern areas of Peru, including Lima, are warm and dry during the first few months of the year. March is an excellent time to visit as many of the crowds have dispersed after the holidays and peak season, and the weather continues to be warm and dry.

April

April sees the Peruvian city of Cusco beginning to get busier as the Inca Trek is at its best during the next 4 months.

  • This is a good time of year to go in order to avoid the crowds. Drier conditions and more days of sunshine make the Andean landscapes wonderfully photogenic. This dry spell is reflected in the conditions of the Amazon.
  • Although there are frequent showers in the rainforest, April brings a slight decrease in rainfall and therefore less humidity making the conditions prime for a trip into the jungle.
  • It is during this time of year also, that the tiny Valdes Peninsula hosts a unique wildlife spectacle. Orcas here have developed a particular hunting skill whereby they beach themselves in an attempt to capture the young sea lion in the surf. This remarkable behaviour is only displayed for a few short weeks in early April.
  • Alternatively, witness the wonder of the skies above with a trip to the Atacama Desert. Widely regarded as one of the best places in the world to go star gazing, the clear air and bizarre moon-like landscapes will truly make you feel that you’ve escaped to another world.

May

May is beginning of the peak season for the Inca Trek as the weather is dryer and visibility in the mountains is at its best.

  • This attracts large numbers of hikers wanting to walk the classic trail, so taking an alternative route such as Salkantay or Lares could be a good option.
  • Over in the Galapagos Islands, the bizarre looking blue-footed booby begin their mating displays and the water is warm with good visibility for snorkelling and diving.
  • The huge diversity of Brazil allows good opportunities to visit most areas of the country, and Salvador is a great place to start. Quaint colonial architecture, vibrant Africa-influenced culture and beautiful beaches make it one of our favourite cities in South America.
  • The state of Bahia where Salvador is situated offers some of the best beaches in Brazil which are perfect for relaxing on pristine sands or taking part in activities such as snorkelling or surfing.
  • Sao Paulo Gay Pride parade, the biggest of its kind in the world and a real spectacle takes place in late May and early June each year.

June

Maximise your chances of viewing Latin America’s most spectacular big cat, the jaguar, by visiting the Pantanal from June to October.

  • The dry season at this time of year makes this huge wetland more accessible and therefore offers unrivalled opportunities to spot the powerful predator stalking prey around the smaller bodies of water.
  • The same rules apply for viewing other large mammals including tapir, ocelot and giant anteater.
  • Peru is still in its cold but dry season, making hiking conditions excellent, and the Inca Trail is a popular destination during June.
  • Mainland Ecuador is entering peak season and the central valleys and volcano corridor are perfect for hiking and birdwatching trips through this stunning landscape.
  • Paratinis Folklore festival, otherwise known as ‘Boi Bumba’ is a colourful and raucous party in the heart of the Amazon which celebrates the wildlife and people living in this remote region.
  • In Peru, Cusco also holds a spectacular annual festival on 24th June known as Inti Raymi (The Festival of the Sun).
  • In mid-June, the colonial city of Cuenca in Ecuador hosts a raucous weeklong religious festival known as ‘Septenario’.

July

In July the Andes are coming to the end of their dry season and along with the Inca Trek, mainland Ecuador is at its best for visitors to the region.

  • The Pantanal in Brazil continues to allow visitors the best chance to see jaguar and other large mammals as its dry season continues.
  • Further south, the ski season in Chile and Argentina is just beginning. The main resorts for a snow based holiday are around Bariloche, Santiago and Pucon.
  • The Humboldt Current turns cold as it sweeps past the Galapagos Islands in June, and the nutrient rich waters bring plankton and fish to the islands, which are followed by hundreds of birds, turtles and other marine life.
  • This is an excellent time of year, despite the cooler water, for maximising your chances to see the widest variety of wildlife.

 

August

The first 10 days of August are an explosion of colour and vibrant street parties in Medellin, Colombia as the city celebrates its annual flower festival.

  • In excess of half a million flowers are used to decorate the streets, buildings and costumes making this an unforgettable experience.
  • In Costa Rica, despite it being the rainy season, turtles are coming ashore in Tortuguero National Park to lay their eggs which makes this an excellent time to visit if you enjoy wildlife encounters.
  • Visitors should not be put off as the tropical wet season generally includes dry sunny mornings followed by afternoon showers before returning to sunshine, plus it is less crowded at this time of the year.
  • Buenos Aires is cool but dry at this time of year, perfect conditions for the annual tango festival that takes place in August. This cooler weather comes as a relief for big cities, and sightseeing is much more pleasurable.
  • The Pantanal continues to offer unrivalled opportunities to spot the elusive jaguar alongside a variety of other fascinating birds and wildlife.

September

Along the Pacific coast, humpback whales are migrating and it is possible to view these gentle giants from a base along the relatively unexplored coast of Colombia.

  • The Brazilian Amazon, although still wet, is slightly drier than in the first half of the year making September a good time to visit this fascinating habitat.
  • It is still the dry season in the Brazilian Pantanal, making it a great time of year to spot hundreds of species of birds and mammals such as jaguars, tapirs and ant eaters.
  • If you are looking for rustic experience, September brings warmer weather to Argentina, and a stay on an estancia would allow guests to fully immerse themselves in this unique experience.
  • Chile, Brazil and Costa Rica all celebrate independence on their own versions of Independence Day in this month and a celebration in South America is always a fun and vibrant experience.

October

A trip to the Valdes Peninsula in Argentina during October will delight visitors with supreme opportunities to see wild southern right whales at close quarters, along with a variety of other marine and land mammals and hundreds of species of birds.

  • Alternatively, take to the skies on the northern coastline of Brazil where kite surfing season is at its peak.
  • The little bohemian town of Jericoacoara is a water sports heaven and boasts some super beaches and hotels.
  • Brazil also hosts the world’s second largest Oktoberfest in Blumenau. This festival is due to the historic roots of the town which was founded in 1850 by a German immigrant.
  • Other festivals include El Señor de los Milagros (Lord of the Miracles) in Lima, Peru. Lasting nearly 24 hours and involving tens of thousands of participants, many of whom are dressed in purple, this procession celebrates an image of Christ painted by an Angolan slave that survived the 1746 earthquake and has since become the most revered image in the capital.

November

In the far south, Antarctica is accessible again after a long cold winter, and early visitors will enjoy sightings of large icebergs and sea ice floes.

  • This is an exciting time for the white continent as the wildlife begins to return to its shores in preparation for the breeding season.
  • Not far from Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia are also beginning to come to life with the arrival of feisty elephant seals, clumsy king penguins and fields of wild flowers beginning to bloom.
  • Back on the mainland, northern Argentina is warm and dry, which makes this an excellent time to explore vineyards by bike, take in the scenery by horse back or stay on a rustic estancia.
  • Brazil is also hot in November, which is perfect for a beach holiday, and what better place to visit then Fernando de Noronha? An archipelago of 21 islands which boast white sands with a backdrop of dense tropical jungle surrounded by turquoise waters; in other words, paradise.

December

If you are looking for a beach holiday with hidden colonial charm and laid back luxury, Uruguay is simply stunning during December.

  • The sandy beaches and sophisticated bars of Punta del Este are popular with celebrities, and the long sunny days hit average temperatures in the mid to high twenties.
  • Costa Rica enters its dry season now, and for the next 3 months the warm temperatures and light breezes make the beautiful beaches idyllic.
  • In contrast, Patagonia is now out of its cold winter months and although still cool, the region is filled with springtime wild flowers and an abundance of birds. Visitors to this scenic region during early December will appreciate smaller crowds than the peak months of January and February.
  • Colombia is beautifully warm during December, making this time of year perfect for soaking up the sun on the many tropical beaches and exploring the quaint colonial lanes of cities such as Cartagena.