Travel tips

Published on April 14th, 2014 | by Tayla Gentle


Latin America’s best party cities

Read time: a bit over 3 minutes

Even the undead know how to party | Photo courtesy of Phrawr, Flickr

From beachside reggaeton to back alley salsa, tango in hidden nightclubs and backyard samba competitions, Central and South America sure knows how to turn up the heat when it comes to partying. If you’re out to party till the break of dawn, lose yourself in the moment and jump around, then we’ve got five of the best cities to help you on your slightly inebriated way.

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Everybody is talking about Rio, Rio, Rio – it’s almost a Brazilian Brady Bunch situation. While Rio de Janeiro and its pristine beaches has long been a global favourite, if you’re after some proper hedonism look no further than Brazil’s younger sister city, Sao Paulo – this babe has got you covered. Sure, the city may be a touch condensed, the traffic immoveable and the concrete décor a little worse for wear, but what Sao Paulo lacks in aesthetics she makes up for in energy – crazy, exhilarating, unadulterated energy. As the citizens of the 4th largest city in the world and one of South America’s greatest cultural hubs, the Paulistano’s are a lively bunch, with a penchant for all things party. Whether you hit up downtown Centro for a street-side cocktail, get your sake on in Japantown or attempt to samba in Vila Madelena, fiesta-ing in Sao Paulo is a 24-hour affair.

Punta del Este, Uruguay

‘Punta’, as the exorbitantly rich locals like to call it, is the Monaco of South America. If you imagine luxury casinos, bikini-clad beaches and a harbour horizon dotted with yachts, then you’re pretty much spot on. This tiny recluse is a peninsula playground for the rich, famous and beautiful. Without a doubt the most expensive area in all of Uruguay, Punta is a holiday favourite among the wealthy neighbouring Argentine’s and Brazilians, who are quick to snap up a seaside resort. If you’ve got the cash to splash and the appropriate nightlife attire, then we highly recommend getting your celebrity mingle on and heading to La Barra. Roam the strip like you own it, if only for a night.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

No party compendium could possibly be complete without honoring Buenos Aires, the original city of the night. Renowned for 2am starts and the sexy, sexy tango, when you party in BA you go hard and never go home….well, not till at least 8am. From the bars of Recoleta to the boliches of Palermo Hollywood, this city gets under the skin of every traveller with its intoxicating beats and thriving culture. Begin your evening with a film, proceed to a late dinner (a steak and red wine perhaps?), then hit the clubs. And hit them hard.

Cali, Colombia

Colombia’s little hot box, Cali stays sultry 12 months of the year. Often finding themselves unwinding and undressing in a reckless pursuit of celebration, partygoers in this city take ‘nights out’ very seriously. It’s not relaxed like Catagena, or as cultural as Bogota, but Cali has claimed the most beautiful women and the best salsa dancing across the continent. Back alleys play host to impromptu dance competitions, with old locals acting as judge. It’s fast and fiery, passionate and exhilarating, you’ll hardly need any extra booze to get you pumped in this city.

Antigua, Guatemala

If you were to Google ‘off the beaten track in Guatemala’, Antigua is not likely to be a search result. However, if you were to Google ‘best hangover breakfast Guatemala’, the restaurant will undoubtedly be in Antigua. A supremely beautiful colonial mountain town, this city is postcard perfect. It’s also full of travellers determined to ge loose  prior to the 1am shutdown, meaning everyone is either starting really early or drinking a bit faster than is recommended.  Either way, if you’re after an intense party scene, then Antigua is going to tickle your fancy. Also a hotspot for travellers volunteering on the outskirts of town, we recommend shacking up with one of these folk if you want the insider knowledge. Take your pick of club, pub, and bar – Antigua is heavy on the liquor and light on the mixer.

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About the Author

A sucker for air fare sales to Asia and a good story, I've eaten my body weight in Philippine chicken, trekked the highlands of Myanmar and practiced with a very legit yogi in India. He could stand on his head for three hours. I once got lost in a rainforest in El Salvador and found myself eating burritos with a corn farmer. To me, travel means bantering with tuk tuk/moto/jeepeney drivers, mosquito bites and coconuts. But never socks and sandals, not when travelling, not ever.

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