February is a super-hot month for South America and Antarctica travel as the southern half of the continent continues to bask in the height of summer. What’s more, Carnaval season hits its crescendo with the spectacular event being celebrated in flamboyant fashion in just about every country. The most famous and coveted party is in Rio de Janeiro, where the sweltering temps beckon you to explore the coastal treasures south of the city and include a few days of blissful R&R on a tropical beach.
Aside from the Carnaval madness, February offers dwindling tourist crowds as the end-of-year vacation time comes to an end and marks the dry season in the tropical north, so Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and its neighbours are at their best. Not to be outdone, February is also the best month to cast off for Antarctica for a wildlife-watching spectacle that doesn’t happen at any other time of year.
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- February Snapshot
- Sao Paulo, Salvador de Bahia & Rio de Janeiro
- Buenos Aires
- Mexico City
- Amazon River Cruising
- Galapagos Islands
- Costa Rica
Here’s a quick snapshot of South America and Antarctica travel in February:
- Carnaval is here – need we say more?
- It’s the season in Central America! Perfect for jungle and beach escapes in the north and fabulous sightseeing in cities
- It’s the late-summer season in Patagonia, which means still-great temperatures for hiking and outdoor pursuits but with smaller crowds and lower prices
- Wildlife-watching in Antarctica hits its peak, you’ll see more whales now that at any other time of year
- The central Andes are cloudy and rainy so it’s not a good month for hiking trips in Peru and Bolivia
- Whilst there are some rains expected around the Galapagos Islands, the water is warm and wildlife (as always) aplenty. A great month to score some awesome deals on cruising here
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Best City Escapes in February
Sao Paulo, Salvador de Bahia & Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
The hot tickets in town for Carnaval, whether you want to experience the biggest celebrations of all in Rio or slightly smaller but equally thrilling parties in Sao Paulo and Salvador de Bahia, are an unmissable thrill. A great time of year to explore the cities in all their glory and – given the summer temps – include a few days to soak the rays on a stretch of impossibly turquoise beach.
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Buenos Aires, Argentina
With average daytime temps in the mid-20s and copious daylight hours, Buenos Aires is an absolute dream to visit in February. It’s still high-tourist season in the Argentinian capital so you’ll want to book your accommodation in advance but, on the flip-side, you’ll find the city thriving with life and in full bloom. With an endless array of sightseeing, shopping and dining options – not to mention a multitude of museums and theatres to visit – a week in BA in February makes a fab add-on to a visit to Rio.
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The tropical climate of the north can make people hesitant to visit yet February falls in the heart of the season, which means fewer deluges and less chance of travel disruption. The Colombian architectural treasure of Cartagena is perfect to visit this month, as are the dreamy islands just off its coast. If you want to combine a city escape and tropical beach vacation in fewer days, this is where you’ll want to head.
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Mexico City, Mexico
The super cosmopolitan city of Mexico City sees virtually no rain at all in February, making it a great month for extensive sightseeing. And by extensive, we mean, HUGE! History, architecture, culture, cuisine and shopping, this bustling city has it all and is, without a doubt, one of the most surprising city-gems in the entire continent.
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Best Wilderness & Wildlife Experiences in February
Patagonia, Chile and Argentina
Patagonia is in its prime in February, with the summer season still keeping freezing temps and crazy winds at bay. Trekking in Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares National Park is absolutely great this month, with average temps in the late teens being ideal for outdoor pursuits. Every lodge and refugio is open and, given the dwindling tourist numbers, it makes for greater availability and flexibility. Wildlife sightings are huge this month (especially in the Peninsula Valdes ) and, finally, it’s warm enough to swim in the region’s spectacular lakes. For hiking trips in Patagonia, as well as luxury cruising of the Chilean Fjords, this is really the best month of the year.
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Amazon River Cruising
The Amazon receives a lot of rain this month which makes it ideal if you dream of luxury cruising along the Amazon River. Cruising offers a very distinct experience to lodge-based jungle visits in the Amazon but to get the most of it (and travel further) you’ll want to do it when river levels are high. February’s the jackpot!
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The Galapagos Islands
February isn’t a super popular month to visit the Galapagos because daily showers – albeit short – are the norm. This means that it’s a fantastic month to go if diving is not a priority (visibility isn’t all that great), you want to save some serious funds (or upgrade your luxury comforts) and want to have a greater choice of Galapagos yachts from which to choose. The waters around the Galapagos (notoriously chilly) are at their warmest this month which actually makes for much more enjoyable and longer snorkelling excursions. In all honesty, February is excellent for wildlife trips in the Galapagos, warm enough to sunbake and beach-bum and given the rains are so short-lived, it barely makes a dent on your itinerary.
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As Central America enjoys its driest month, now’s the time to hit Costa Rica and all her exceptional tropical reserves. Whether you want to hit the remote gems of Corcovado and the Osa Peninsula, explore the cloud forests of Monteverde or climb all those crazy volcanoes, you’ll experience long dry days and perfectly clear skies, every day. In a country whose infrastructure often suffers during the season, the dry conditions are simply ideal for extended travels.
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Antarctica Expedition Cruises
It may be late summer in Antarctica and temps are beginning to drop…but so are expedition cruise prices. Given the fact that February is the best month for wildlife encounters – especially whale spotting – it makes February arguably the best month to cast off for the far south, especially if wildlife watching is high on your agenda. This month, you’ll see penguin chicks at their most active, more humpback whales and will have the chance to explore further south into the Antarctic Circle than ever before as February sees the highest ice melt of the year. Add to that magical sunsets to boot and you’ve just found your February travel dream.
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Contact Viva Expeditions if you want to know more about our tailor-made tours to South America or Antarctica.