The 7 Best Cities To Spend New Year’s Eve In South America

Find yourself travelling through South America on New Year’s Eve? You can count on passionate locals, lively festivities and more than a few crazy beach bashes. Just head to any one of the best cities to spend New Year’s Eve in South America.

And, while pretty much every city celebrates New Years in some way or another, there are a few places that are especially magical to visit if you’re ringing in the New Year. Forget about Christmas and Carnaval, New Year’s Eve in South America is a true sight to see. And, the best part is that each city infuses its own traditions into the festivities.

Get ready to ring in the New Year in style and surrounded by thousands of happy locals eager to welcome you to the party. Here are the seven best cities to spend New Year’s Eve in South America.

Best Cities To Spend New Year’s Eve In South AmericaHow do these rankings work?

1. Valparaíso, Chile

When it comes to the best New Year’s Eve fireworks in South America, it’s hard to beat the show that Valparaíso puts on. An incredible display of lights, passion, and power lights up the entire shore of this coastal Chilean city. And, festivities start on the 28th of December, which means you’ll be able to enjoy the fun for more than just one evening.

On New Year’s Eve, however, the streets are filled with confetti and happy locals and travellers alike wander around as they enjoy live music and strong drinks. Sip a pisco sour and put on your yellow underwear just for good luck and good measure.

Best Cities to Spend New Year's Eve in South America
Image: Eat Work Travel

2. Cartagena, Colombia

Friendly locals, crazy parties, stunning seaside views, and outstanding fireworks? It’s easy to see why even locals think Cartagena is one of the best cities to spend New Year’s Eve in South America. Colombians flock to the cobblestone streets of this historic city to ring in the New Year.

And, you’ve got your fair share of activities to choose from. Sit along the shore and watch the fireworks or try to wiggle your way into one of the city’s hottest nightclubs to salsa your way into 2020. Either way, you’re bound to have fun, as locals are super warm and inviting; you’ll honestly probably end up back at someone’s house partying with their family.

South America New Year's Eve
Image: This is Cartagena

3. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Even though the entire city is gearing up to celebrate Carnaval in just under two months, Rio de Janeiro goes all out for New Year’s Eve, too. The city’s home to one of the largest New Year’s Eve parties in the entire world, but would you really expect anything less? Samba beats fill the streets as locals head out dressed in white, which is supposedly good luck.

You don’t really have to plan to go anywhere specific, as Rio de Janeiro is one of the best cities to spend New Year’s Eve in South America if you’re looking for raging street parties. If you’re after something more low-key, simply watch the fireworks at the beach and throw flowers into the sea as an offering to the goddess of the seas.


4. Punta del Este, Uruguay

Punta del Este is quickly gaining popularity as one of South America’s sexiest seaside cities, and that title holds true most during New Year’s Eve festivities. You’ll likely do nothing but party, sleep, and repeat if you visit Punta del Este for New Year’s Eve. But, it’s all worth it when you find yourself ringing in the New Year at one of the city’s hottest, most luxurious hotels. 

If you’re not into the parties, then simply head to the shore to enjoy a truly marvellous fireworks show. It’ll be memorable either way. If you do plan on partying, however, definitely try to book in advance as things fill up pretty fast here and parties are exclusive.

best cities to spend new years eve in south america

5. Cusco, Peru

Cusco and the entire Sacred Valley is a pretty magical place to visit any time of the year. However, when there’s a holiday buzz in the air, the city turns into an enchanting hub of hope, mysticism, and tradition. Spend New Year’s Even in Cusco and you’ll find yourself bombarded with yellow-coloured hats, necklaces, confetti, and more, which are thought to bring good luck.

Expect to follow enjoy lots of superstition-backed traditions and loud fireworks. If you’re looking for the perfect mix of tradition and fun, Cusco is one of the best cities to spend New Year’s Eve in South America.

Where to Spend New Year's Eve in South America
Image: Designer Traveler

6. Montevideo, Uruguay

Montevideo isn’t home to as many full-on street parties as cities like Rio or Cartagena. But, you’ll find that Uruguyians know how to celebrate in style. It’s their unique traditions that make New Year’s Eve in Montevideo so exciting and intriguing. 

On New Year’s Eve, the city’s workers throw their agendas out of their office windows. Then, you can participate in a cider fight in the famous Mercado del Puerto. Just be sure to save enough energy for the tango party that takes place on New Year’s Day.

best cities to spend new years eve in south america

7. Ushuaia, Argentina

What’s cooler than ringing in the New Year in the world’s southernmost city? Spend New Year’s Eve at the edge of the world in Ushuaia, Argentina. While there aren’t many raging parties, you’ll find that it’s an evening you’ll never forget. 

The mystical nature of this city makes it the perfect place to stop and reflect on what you’ve accomplished this year. Then, you can set intentions and new goals for the coming one. And, you’ll always be able to tell the story of the time you spent New Years at the literal edge of civilisation.

where to spend new years eve in south america

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Elizabeth Thorn
Elizabeth Thorn

Elizabeth has lived and worked in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia, all of which have contributed to her passion for travel writing. When she's not writing, you can find her exploring little hideouts in Colombia or watching photography tutorials on YouTube.

Contact: [email protected]

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