Sometimes all the planning, cooking and attempting to organise getting the entire family into one room can end up being more of a headache than an enjoyment. It tends to consist of extended families bickering about god-knows-what as well as family feuds over who’s eaten too much pumpkin pie. So, occasionally skipping town to bypass the stress of the season and escape the bitter cold for a more memorable (and warm!) Thanksgiving is needed. Here’s our list of alternative places to go for a well-deserved Thanksgiving holiday. Trash the turkey and make some real-special memories that will never be forgotten!
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Swap the traditional Thanksgiving dinner for sunsets and samba in Rio de Janeiro. Laze about on one of the world’s most famous beaches, the Copacabana, and wile away the days soaking up the rays. Taking in the iconic coastlines with a backdrop of mountains cascading down to the coast is sure to make you think twice about staying at home this year. And at night, the city will sing to your soul as you cannot help but to immerse yourself in the hype of Samba.
Try a Thanksgiving holiday the Mexican way! This city goes all out on the food this time of year, with many restaurants creating unique fusions of Northern and Southern traditional dishes. We’re talking delicious filled dough steamed in corn husks and spicy chilli roasted turkey. And you know you are having an authentic Mexican meal when you receive a champurrado – a rich chocolate stew drink made from dough and sprinkled with cinnamon and lots of sugar. Mmm mmm!
Take advantage of the low prices and small crowds that happen at the end of November, don’t let it put you off! November is a transition-between-seasons month, where the forests and plants are a lush green and the temperatures a lot more bearable. Costa Rica is a notoriously diverse region to explore. With misty cloud forests, vibrant rainforests, stunning beaches and lots of chances to search for wildlife like sloths and jaguars! There’s something for everyone.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
This year, swap the traditional roasted turkey for what Argentina does best – a juicy sirloin steak grilled to perfection! Steakhouses can pretty much be found on every street corner in Buenos Aires, so you will definitely have your pick of places depending on your budget and style. Aside from food, this vibrant city is an eclectic fusion of european style and latin passion with explosions of colour in every direction. Of course, any trip to Buenos Aires would not be complete without a first-hand experience of tango dancing. Don’t worry, milongas (traditional social gatherings for tango dancing) are everywhere!
The Bay Islands, Honduras
Honduras in November is the perfect place to escape the bitter cold and brisk winds at Thanksgiving. Falling between the dry and high season, the flights are cheap and the weather is good. A great way to escape the bustle of the Thanksgiving holiday is by island hopping around The Bay Islands. There are eight in total and are the very definition of tropical paradise. Spend the extra few days submersed in the clear blue ocean, snorkelling and diving your weekend away.
The Maya Region, Belize
Thanksgiving holidays can get a little repetitive year after year. Same place, same food, same people, same same. Sometimes what we need is to break the pattern and have a real adventure! The Maya Region in Belize is one of Central America’s best kept secrets and a mecca for travellers seeking adventure. Picture tubing down the Macal River drifting through a series of caves. Plunge into the depths of darkness to view ancient Mayan remains and search for the skeleton that sparkles eerily in the dimmed lighting. Now that makes for an interesting Thanksgiving activity!
Machu Picchu, Peru
I’m sure we can all agree that one of the main highlights of Christmas is feasting on the abundance of homemade comfort food, which does deem a little preparation. Put the Thanksgiving holiday to good use and conquer the great trek to Machu Picchu. With a range of tours available at varying levels of fitness, there is no excuse! And, it’s a great way to cram in some serious exercise before the inevitable over-feasting at Christmas.
Santiago De Cuba, Cuba
Santiago De Cuba is one place that is sure to give you a truly unique Thanksgiving holiday that will forever remain as a treasured memory. Passionate, fun, beautiful and intense, this city is definitely one for the people that love to party. You will never be far from the colourful sounds of Caribbean music pouring out into the streets. The smell of fragrant cigars drifting through the crowds and locals and tourists knocking back rum cocktails until the early hours of the morning. Have a Thanksgiving party like no other!
Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands
Santa Cruz Island was once a favourite spot for pirates to steal tortoises away for meat! 97% of the archipelago is now a national park with 20 islands that still remain uninhabited. For a Thanksgiving holiday with a difference, hop on a Galapagos Islands cruise. Find yourself immersed in the wonders of wildlife that can only be found in this part of the world. And in the evenings, the islands actually have a surprisingly interesting nightlife. Chill outside one of the many relaxed beach bars and marvel at the dramatic landscapes surrounding you.
Why not turn the Thanksgiving holiday into a romantic weekend break? Arguably the most loved South American destination among couples. Cartagena’s vibe is best experienced by not making too much of an itinerary for your trip. It’s one of those places better experienced by wandering around getting lost in the maze of colourful cobbled streets. Pause in the odd bar (or two!) for a break from the heat.
Tucan Travel offer some amazing tours in these countries – and lots of other places if you have your eye on somewhere specific. They have a variety of locations, so have a look if you would rather take the hassle out of the organising part! Then you can sit back, relax and enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday – for once!
Roxy is part of the marketing team for Tucan Travel. She has been travelling solo for years, predominantly around Asia, Indonesia and Europe. You can find her on LinkedIn here.