These Latin American Cities Should Be On Everyone’s List Of Vacation Destinations
Over the years, tourism in Latin America has boomed exponentially as more and more global visitors start to discover the amazing scope of culture, nature, and history sewn into the fabric of these lands.
If you are looking for a few inspirations for your next adventure, here are 20 of the coolest cities in Latin America that is worth your visit.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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The second largest city in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is well-known for its spectacular landscape and laid back beach culture. If you’re a first-timer in Rio, you can’t pass up people-watching and relaxing along the shoreline of Ipanema or Copacabana. Rio is also home to one of the world’s Seven Wonders, the statue of Christ the Redeemer.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Dubbed as the “Paris of South America,” Buenos Aires is regarded as the second most sought-after city to visit after Florence, Italy. You can find elegant architecture, fashionable shopping, and delectable cuisine, and legendary nightlife. You can also find the world’s biggest Japanese garden outside of Japan, the Buenos Aires Japanese Gardens.
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In 1533, the Old Town of Cartegena de Indias was founded as a Spanish port. This UNESCO world heritage site still remains intact up to these days, with beautiful high stone walls peering out over the breathtaking Caribbean. Apart from the beaches, the city is also known for its rich culture and history, and fabulous theaters and arts.
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Cusco was once a capital of an empire across half of South America. This prancing-Jaguar-shaped city which was once called Inca, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. Cusco is home to Peru’s most popular Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu. With more than two million tourists a year, the number alone tells you that the city indeed is one place you should visit.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
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This capital and largest city in Puerto Rico is home to the Isla Verde resort strip, popular for its nightclubs, bars, and casinos. In Old San Juan, you can find cobblestoned architectures that feature 16th century landmarks like the La Fortaleza and El Morro, and colorful Spanish colonial buildings.
Mexico City, Mexico
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The densely populated capital of Mexico is popular for its 13th century Aztec Temple, the Templo Mayor, as well as the Palacio Nacional where historic murals of Diego Rivera are found. The Mexican neighborhood is flooded with art deco, and its historic center in Zocalo is a UNESCO-declared World Heritage site.
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Apart from its colonial architecture, Antigua is the birthplace of chocolate. While you can find a lot of coffee plantations in the city, thanks to its volcanic landscape that makes coffee growing ideal, there’s nowhere in the country that you can get your sugar fix than in Antigua.
La Paz, Bolivia
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Bolivia is increasingly attracting tourists during the past years. Its administrative capital, La Paz, is a major tourism center and in 2014 was declared as one of the Seven Urban Wonder cities of the world. From there, its popularity has rocketed. From its stunning natural sceneries to indigenous culture, coupled with different outdoor attractions, La Paz is one South American city worth visiting indeed.
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Bogota is Colombia’s capital city and is rich in colonial-era landmarks like Teatro Colon, a neoclassical performance hall. This city is also home to well-known museums like Museo Botero that showcases Fernando Botero’s art. The city also has a lot to offer in terms of history, cuisine, sports, and culture.
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You can enjoy Mendoza all year round: from its vastness of mountains to its natural beauties, as well as its fine wineries, this city really has a lot to offer. If you are into wines, their Grape Harvest Festival every March is a must. Here, wineries open their doors to tourists and visitors and offer interesting wine tours.
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This versatile city is home to numerous events that showcase only the best of Chilean culture. International festivals of flavor, sound, and color also make the city more captivating to their tourists. It also prides itself of their design shops, art galleries, bars, and cafes. To get the best panoramic city views, the San Cristobal Hill is a must-see.
Panama City, Panama
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This city is framed by the man-made Panama Canal and the Pacific Ocean. Its cobblestoned historic area, the Casco Viejo, is known for its colonial-era landmarks such as the Palacio Presidencial. To get the best views of ships traversing the Panama Canal, visit the Miraflores Locks.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
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This interesting capital of the Dominican Republic is a collage of neighborhoods and cultures. At the city’s main district, you can find Zona Colonial where the oldest churches can be found. From living museums to seaside resorts, one can truly enjoy a laid-back atmosphere at this capital city.
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Quito is the world’s second tallest capital and is home to the biggest and best preserved historic center in Latin America. Also known as Carita de Dios, this 1978 UNESCO-declared site as the first Cultural Heritage of Humanity has countless places to discover. The city is surrounded by amazing volcanoes and mountains and prides itself of its bohemian air, its internal treasures, and its spectacular views.
San Jose, Costa Rica
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San Jose is the capital city of Costa Rica. To its south is the Talamanca Mountains, and volcanoes are found to its north. The city is known for its Spanish colonial buildings like the National Theatre of Costa Rica that overlooks the popular Plaza de la Cultura. Gleaming artifacts can also be seen on their Pre-Columbian Gold museum displays.
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Montevideo is Uruguay’s capital city and stretches along Montevideo Bay. The city revolves around what was once the home of the Spanish citadel, the Plaza de la Independencia. As you walk through the plaza, you will be lead to Ciudad Vieja (the old town) where you can find colonial homes, art deco buildings, the popular Palacio Salve. You can also indulge your taste palettes in Mercado del Puerto where you can find a lot of steakhouses.
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Recife is the capital of Pernambuco, Brazil’s northeastern state, and is notable by its many peninsulas, bridges, islets, and rivers; thus, it’s dubbed as the Venice of Brazil. The city is popular for its crazy carnival parades, thumping nightlife, and pristine beaches.
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This Mexican city located on the Yucatan Peninsula that borders the Caribbean Sea is known for its nightlife, numerous resorts, and beaches. It is divided into two areas: El Centro, the downtown area, the Zona Hotelera, a long strip of beachfront with nightclubs, restaurants, shops, and high-rise hotels. This is the city famed for its being the top destination of college students during spring break.
Porto Alegre, Brazil
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This multicultural city is the capital of Rio Grande do Sul and was colonized by a number of European nations. This colonization is the reason behind its rich culture and history with secular traditions and unique foods. Visiting the city is worth the time because it has more than 50 museums, 13 cultural centers, and more than thirty theatrical spaces.
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This city is situated along the south coast of the Pacific and is known to host a lot of attractions. It is dubbed as the gateway to the Galapagos Island and the Pacific beaches. One popular attraction is the Las Penas neighborhood where you can see colorful houses. Cafes and art galleries line the stairs leading up the Santa Ana Hill, the place where you can have the perfect view of the city.