A green sea turtle underwater in the Galápagos Islands.

Best Places to Visit in December

Whether you choose to chase the sun or embrace the cold, we’ve got an adventure for you. Round out the year of adventure in some of these epic destinations including exploring Antarctica’s surreal landscapes on a luxury expedition cruise, snorkeling with whale sharks in Baja’s Sea of Cortez, or festive Christmas market-hopping along the Rhine and Danube rivers.

Check out our full list of favorite places to visit this month.

A woman walking on a footbridge in tropical rain forest in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica

From ethereal cloud forests to stunning beaches sequestered in pristine national parks, Costa Rica is a paradise for nature lovers and a perfect winter getaway. December welcomes the dry season with cooler days, making it an ideal time to explore its world-famous parks and reserves including Monteverde Cloud Forest, Arenal Volcano National Park, and Tortuguero National Park.

Travelers on an expedition in Antarctica.


Long days (up to 20 hours of sunlight per day!) and relatively warmer temperatures in Antarctica beckon the southern right and Antarctic minke whales back to their waters as austral birds court, nest, and tend to their eggs on the Peninsula. The soft light is perfect for photography, whether it’s catching the mesmerizing colors of icebergs or the dramatic rifts between elephant seals as they establish their territories on the beach and fights for harems.

A whale shark underwater.


The nutrient-rich waters of Baja’s Sea of Cortez attract migrating grey whales in the winter months, and December is also a great time to swim with whale sharks. Winter tends to be cooler, but with fewer rain showers, still pleasant and perfect for photographers who want to capture the blooming flora and migratory birds who have arrived to feast.

A group of tourists observing a giant tortoise in the Galápagos Islands.


As the waters warm up in the Galápagos, green sea turtles begin their mating rituals and the eggs of the giant land tortoises start to hatch. On Española, the juvenile waved albatrosses begin to leave their nests. Migratory birds and some whales will be passing through on their way south for the winter.

A woman resting at Las Torres.


For ideal hiking and camping weather, December can’t be beaten. With long, mild days and cool, clear nights (perfect for stargazing!), this month is prime for exploring Chile’s volcano-dotted Lake District and Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park, central stops on WT’s Small Group Adventures and Private Journeys.

A group of travelers on a safari observing lions and wildlife.


Tanzania is a strikingly beautiful country that offers some of Africa’s greatest bucket-list experiences, and December marks the beginning of the lush green season, where we enjoy far fewer crowds, balmy days with some chance of rain, and incredible birdwatching, as thousands of migratory birds descend upon Tarangire National Park, a hidden-gem highlight of WT’s exclusive safaris.

The Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest.

Danube River Christmas Markets

If you are planning to experience the wonders of the Danube, the holiday season is one of the best times to visit. Charming historic towns are awash in twinkling lights, jubilant festivities, and wondrous markets gleaming with handcrafted treasures. Experience Nuremberg’s magical Christkindlesmarkt, the largest and oldest Christmas Market in Germany.