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As the streets beginning to light up, decorations find their way into shop windows and radio stations are overtaken by Michael Buble crooning Christmas Carols, the festive season is undeniably underway: A minefield of inappropriate behaviour at office parties, frantic present buying and first-time turkey basting, mixed in with the million and one things you have forgotten to do… As “festive and wonderful” as this season is, we have to admit it can sometimes be a little stressful. So why not throw in the mistletoe patterned tea towel and make a break for it next year to sunny, stress-free South America? Bursting with Christmas spirit and cheer (and without having to trudge, last minute, down to the shops in your wellies and coat to buy more gravy), this is the ideal place to come, sit back and relax in the sun, while the staff at a Dehouche will even make sure that Santa is on top of your change of postcode. From family festivities to breaks with friends, we pick our top 5 escapes.

Couples Retreat – If the thought of another year shivering over the Queen’s speech at the in-laws leaves you hyperventilating, then the picturesque fishing village of Buzios, favourite haunt of Brigette Bardot, is the chicest way to spend a romantic Christmas a Deux. (If you are going to incur the respective families’ wrath, then you may as well do it for a very good reason). Stay in a suite at Mediterranean style boutique hotel, Casas Brancas, with a private terrace overlooking the curved bay and the cobbled streets that run along the water and lead to some fantastic boutique shops (for impromptu present shopping) and romantic little restaurants. The real appeal is the 26 beaches set around the archipelago to be explored by beach buggy before long lazy lunches of the freshest seafood at our all time favourite beach lounge, Rocka, which has to be one of the world’s top 5 places for an alternative Christmas lunch.

Family Festivities – For those of you who are worried that spending Christmas away from home may lose that ‘family feeling’ then fear not, for Estancia Los Potreros could not be a better place to spend the holidays with your brood. This working cattle ranch is tucked away in the Sierras Chicas of Cordoba and it is home to the Begg family who have run the Estancia for generations. The days are spent cowboy style astride their wonderful horses, trekking through the Argentine wilderness to swim in natural waterfalls and rock-pools, learning to play polo and traditional gaucho games, lassoing cattle and all manner of outdoor activities to keep even the most energetic entertained. For the more laid back members of the family, long lunches, leisurely walks and some serious pool time: a sure fire way to ensure family squabbles are a thing of the past.

Be Merry with Mates – When Diesel’s Creative Director Wilbert Das created Casa Uxua, he knew what he was doing.  Set right on the quadrado, the sloping square that is the heart of jet set destination Trancoso, Casa Uxua looks right out into the heart of the action. The group of restored fisherman’s houses with rustic chic interiors are an excellent choice for a group of friends looking for an outstandingly good escape from the depths of winter. Spend the days lounging by the hotel’s emerald green pool before heading down to Uxua’s hip beach lounge for afternoon caipirinhas while watching impromptu capoeria sessions and planning the evening’s entertainment. Once a sleepy hippy village much loved for its vibrant energy and long stretches of golden sand, during the festive period it becomes a hot spot for the Brazilian glitterati who hop between the various beach lounges and outdoor parties put on by the country’s nightlife gurus, who descend for high season from Rio and Sao Paulo.   Despite the jetset tag, this is laid-back, bare-foot beach fun, driven by the infectious Brazilian energy and a lot of dancing under the stars.

Relaxed Revelries – If the year has left you craving seclusion, stunning scenery and some peace and quiet, then head down to the south of Argentina, home to the Perito Moreno glacier. The wonderful Alta Vista, a former working estancia, has only 7 private rooms to ensure you feel instantly at home, but but with staff to do all the hard work…Here you will experience raw, natural beauty in its purest form with boat trips through the glacial lakes, treks across the glacier, horseback rides and 4×4 drives through this breathtaking landscape. Spend Christmas day riding out across the rolling hills on the estancia’s horses, before joining in a traditional game of beginner’s polo which will leave you feeling like you have really earned the evening’s Gin and Tonic. Remote and cut off from the stresses of the outside world, yet combined with the highest level of personalized service in a unique and charming estancia, Alta Vista is the ideal place to recharge your batteries for the year ahead.

Seasonal Singletons – Finally, for all of you young singletons out there looking for a fun filled Christmas, we can suggest nowhere better than Rio de Janerio. The city is always a buzzing hub of activity and excitement and this is only amplified around the holidays. We would send you to the luxury, stylish Hotel Fasano on the Ipanema Beach. This hotel, favoured hang out spot of Giselle and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers when in town, has one of the best views along the beach from the roof top infinity pool and bar and a vibrant social scene that always leaves you feeling as if you were in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.

Contact Dehouche for further details on booking the perfect, stress free Christmas in South America…

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