Dec 31, 6 years ago

The best places to spend New Years Eve in Latin America best places to spend New Years Eve in Latin America

Latinos usually see in the New Year at home, surrounded by friends, family, food, and drink. Big outdoor celebrations aren’t as common as they are in North America and Europe but there are a few. The best places to see in the New Year in Latin America have spectacular panoramas, and are close to the sea with the celebrations involving big bangs.

Valparaiso, Chile

The coastal town of Valparaiso draws travellers at any time of year with its picturesque view of the sea and bohemian vibe. This city of candy-coloured houses – which was once the home of acclaimed Chilean poet Pablo Neruda – puts on an ear-popping, eye-watering pyrotechnical display to celebrate the ending of the old year and the beginning of the new. As there are approximately 42 hills in the city, it is ridiculously easy to get a good view of the display, which is the highlight of three days of festivities. Some travellers won´t even have to leave their hotel to see the beautiful sight of the fuegos artificiales cascading on to the waters of the bay. The city also invites international musicians to perform at concerts in Plaza Sotomayor, who keep the party going until the sun comes up.

Salvador de Bahia or Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Everyone  knows that Brazil is a country that loves to party. But did you know that brasileiros, especially those who live near the sea, are quite keen on their Reveillon (New Years Eve) festivities as well? To the rhythm of the ever-present samba beat, Brazilians and tourists alike head down to the beach, often dressed in white as a tribute to the African goddess of the sea Yemanja. Candles are placed for her on the beach and white flowers, combs, perfume and jewelry are thrown into the water as offerings to her, the mother of all the other gods or orishas, in the hope that she will grant wishes for the coming year. In the beautiful colonial city of Salvador de Bahia, where the influence of Africa is most strongly felt, devotees go even further by wading into the sea, fully dressed, to jump into seven waves as the clock strikes 12. Despite this religious tradition, New Year on the Brazilian coast is still a party so revellers keep their festive spirits up with a plentiful supply of caipirinhas and beer.  Rio de Janeiro also puts on a fantastic fireworks display while Salvador hosts musical concerts so there is plenty to keep the traveller entertained as enters another 365 days of partying.

Lead image: CC image used courtesy of Andres Aguiluz Rios on Flickr


An inquisitive traveller who teaches, writes, and takes photos, based in Colombia.

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