Best Cities to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in South America
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Argentina Tours

Best Cities to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in South America

7 min read

Nov 1, 2018


By Margo Lynott

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Celebrate New Year’s in South America

If you are looking for an exciting and adventurous way to ring in the New Year, travel to one of our recommended destinations in South America. From Brazil to Argentina to Uruguay and Colombia, each country has their own New Year’s Eve traditions and festivities, perfect for all types of travelers. One thing’s for sure, a New Year’s Eve in South America will be a celebration you’ll never forget.

1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 

Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro Brazil at susnetNo list of Best Cities to Celebrate New Year’s would be complete without including Rio de Janeiro, this is a city known for having the best parties in South America. From annual Carnival to hosting the World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics – Rio de Janeiro knows how to celebrate and can handle large masses of people. During New Year’s, Rio is dotted with locals and tourists as they take to the waterfront and the streets to celebrate. Along the waterfront, enjoy live music and concerts featuring traditional Brazilian music. Along Avenida Atlântica, dance and sip on sweet caipirinhas or champagne while ringing in the New Year. When the clock strikes midnight, the firework show illuminates the sky and lights up the harbor. We recommend staying in a hotel near Copacabana beach. Sit and relax on the balcony at your hotel and enjoy unobstructed views of the firework show.

New Year’s Eve Traditions in Brazil

Brazilians are big on tradition. You’ll need to follow the proper dress code and wear white on New Year’s Eve. Wearing white will bring you luck and peace in the upcoming year. Other party-goers will add some accent colors to their outfit to bring different kinds of luck, red is for romance,  yellow is for money, green is for good health, and purple is for inspiration. Throw in a few other colors with your outfit, but stay away from wearing black. Black means you will be doomed throughout the upcoming year. Locals also bring flowers to the sea and toss them into the ocean paying tribute to Lemanja, the goddess of the seas. Read more about our Brazil Vacation Packages which can be combined with other sample itineraries, for one memorable Rio New Year’s Eve in South America.

2. Punta del Este, Uruguay

The famous La Mano sculpture in Punta del EstePunta del Este is among one of the best places to spend New Year’s for people from Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil. If you’re looking for fewer crowds than Rio, but still want a fabulous party, this is the place for you. Punta del Este sits on a peninsula and is surrounded by beach and the Atlantic Ocean. This is a glamorous and glitzy destination, perfect for tourists that enjoy traveling in luxury and style. The parties in Punta are exclusive; you’ll want to plan and book in advance. If you want a more relaxing New Year’s celebration, sit at the beach, watch the sunset and at midnight, enjoy a fabulous firework display.

New Year’s Eve Traditions in Uruguay

Uruguayan’s ring in the New Year by exchanging gifts and having a feast with their family and loved ones. Enjoy delicious lamb, pork, beef, and chicken along with cakes, pastries, puddings and a variety of salads. We recommend partaking in a little bit of everything while in Uruguay – sit back and relax at your luxurious hotel, enjoy an excellent meal and head out for a night of dancing at one of the nightclubs in town and celebrate the New Year in style. Read more about our Punta del Este tours.

3. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires at nightIf you’re looking for something a bit more relaxed, Buenos Aires is the place to be. This city takes on New Years in a chic sort of way. We recommend heading towards the water in Puerto Madero to view the firework show at midnight. Or spend the evening in Recoleta and join in the authentic Porteño festivities at some excellent eateries near the Recoleta Cemetary. For nightlife, head to Palermo, a Buenos Aires neighborhood full of nightclubs, dancing, and incredible drinks. Pace yourself though; the official party doesn’t start until midnight.

New Year’s Eve Traditions in Argentina

If you’re celebrating the New Year in Buenos Aires, I hope you received a pair of pink underwear for Christmas. Tradition has it; you must wear a pair of gifted pink underwear to bring you good luck in the upcoming year. Also, pick up a traditional Pan Dulce from one of the many bakeries (PanaderíA) in the city, this is a typical sweet bread with different dry fruits. Read more about our Argentina Tours and plan your New Year’s celebration in Buenos Aires.

4. Cartagena, Colombia

A warm sunset over Cartagena city in ColombiaNew Year’s is a time where Colombians and international travelers flock to the cobble stoned-picturesque streets of Cartagena. Enjoy the Caribbean breeze, visit with friendly Colombians, relax at the beach, eat delicious food and take in the classic Colombian salsa tunes – this makes for an unforgettable New Year’s celebration. The weather is perfect for celebrating outside, people set up tables and chairs and occupy the streets with their loved ones. At night, you’ll enjoy a firework show over the water. Hotels throw fantastic parties for their guests and offer optimal viewing for the firework show. For dancing, visit one of the nightclubs in town where you can break a move until dawn. Cartagena is said to be one of the Happiest Cities in South America, perfect for starting the New Year.

New Year’s Eve Traditions in Colombia

On New Year’s day, be sure to grab your suitcase and run around the block as fast as you can. This may be a silly tradition but it ensures you will travel in the upcoming year.  So pack your bags and head to Cartagena for an unforgettable New Year’s celebration. Read more about our Cartagena Tours.

5. Valparaíso, Chile

Colorful houses perched on the hills of Valparaiso ChileJust two hours from Santiago, you will find yourself sitting on the beach in the picturesque city of Valparaíso, a beautiful UNESCO site in Chile. Valparaíso is said to have the biggest New Year’s Eve firework show in Latin America.  This is a 20-minute show along the harbor with fireworks launching up the coast from Valparaíso to Vina del Mar (another famous beach town).  If you are looking for parties and large celebrations, this is the place to be in South America. The festivities start on the 28th of December, about 1 million tourists and Chileans flock to the beach to ring in the New Year. Enjoy live music, wander through the streets filled with confetti, sip on a pisco sour, and admire the dedication they have for New Year’s Eve. Reserve a room at Hotel Fauna, a 4* modern hotel with an outdoor bar and patio with panoramic views of the harbor, perfect for watching the firework show.

New Year’s Eve Traditions in Chile

If you find yourself in Valparaíso for New Year’s be sure to wear yellow underwear and put a 1,000 peso bill in your shoe to bring good luck in the upcoming year. Read more about our Valparaíso Tours. 

It’s never too early to start planning your perfect New Year’s Eve in South America!

The sooner you contact us, the better. Spending New Year’s Eve in South America is extremely popular, and hotels tend to fill up fast. Be sure to get in touch with one of our Expert Travel Consultants as soon as possible to secure your hotels at the price you want!

new year's eve in south america

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