Christmas tree in Lima, Peru
Escape The Cold At These Magical South American Destinations
Visit Medellín, Colombia, in December, and you'll find lots of celebrations, including El Alumbrado, a huge Christmas lights festival with hundreds of glowing characters.
Another big celebration is El Noche Las Velitas on December 7, when people light candles in homes, businesses, and streets to honor the Virgin Mary.
This oceanfront city in Uruguay is one of the most beautiful South American destinations for a beach holiday, featuring sleek hotels, white sand, and luxury yachts.
Punta del Este
People from all over flock to Punta del Este for the holidays. In December, five-star restaurants offer feasts, hotels host galas, and bars and nightclubs are filled with revelers.
If partying isn't your style, you can shop for handicrafts at Plaza Artigas, spot sea lions on Lobos Island, or peruse one of the many art galleries around town.
During Santiago's warm December, the city has a festive mood. Christmas decorations, including nativity scenes and a giant tree in the Plaza de Arma, are put up.
Foodies will love pan de pascua (fruit cake) and cola de mono (a boozy milk coffee drink). There are also several arts and crafts markets where you can find unique gifts.
The Chilean city also has upscale shopping malls like the Costanera Center, which has been known to put on fantastic light shows during the holiday season.
During the holidays in Rio, you can shop at the street market in Lapa, see the floating tree in Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, and attend mass at Metropolitan Cathedral.
Rio de Janeiro
During New Year's Eve, Réveillon takes place on Copacabana Beach. Live concerts take place on the sand, and a massive fireworks display goes off at midnight.
This Chilean town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its brilliantly hued buildings that cloak the hills and its vibrant street art.
The El Peral funicular will take you to Paseo Yugoslavo, where you can take in the city from above. There, you'll find plenty of cafes and restaurants serving local specialties.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day can be quiet in Valparaíso, but the city is famous for its annual three-day New Year's party that culminates with an epic fireworks show in the bay.