The cities of Latin America have always had a mysterious attraction for those people from other parts of the world. Hollywood has portrayed South American cities as hot, exciting, dangerous, manic, romantic, full of color and with magical people.

But the true picture is that these exotic cities are as diverse as Beijing is to London. South America stretches from the Caribbean to the icy glaciers of Chile. Some of the cities represent Hollywood’s description, being cosmopolitan melting pots of humanity. Other are demurer and date back to colonial times. To celebrate these great cities of the Western Hemisphere we look at some of the top cities to visit in this exciting part of the world.  

Rio de Jameiro – Brazil

The locals of this wonderful city in Brazil have a saying, On the Eighth day God created Rio. And looking at this breathtakingly beautiful city by the sea it is easy to see why. Everywhere you look, Rio is a place of conflicting contrasts.

From the beautiful beach people to the poor workers in the Favelas, everything is one extreme to another. Rio is surrounded by golden beaches, forest peaks, tropical rainforests and probably the most famous statue in the world. Rio is also home to the biggest street party in the world, Carnival. Where party-time stops normal life and samba takes over. Rio is glamorous, tropical, creative, but also friendly and definitely a bucket-list experience.

Buenos Aires – Argentina

The home of tango, Buenos Aires is famous for its football, steak, and sophistication. It was once dubbed the Paris of South America because the beautiful squares and parks are elegant and refined. Buenos Aires oozes culture, it has many galleries, museums, theaters and fine-dining restaurants.

The architecture is also reminiscent of Europe with many Italian and French designs incorporated in the buildings. Places you must go are Palermo where you can sit outside a street cafe and watch the world go by. Or San Telmo which is a bohemian district full of eclectic markets. Buenos Aires does not spring into life till 10pm, when the restaurants first open for service and people start to hit the streets for a night of entertainment. Don’t expect to be home till the sun rises in the morning.

Cartagena – Colombia

There was a time if you suggested to somebody to take a holiday in Cartagena they would have probably looked at you thinking that you had lost your mind. However, today Cartagena has cleaned up its act and is once again very much open to tourism.

Firstly, the location is stunning, with the city facing the Caribbean, and secondly it is a historical masterpiece. The 16th Century port has a more than colorful past, but the beautiful old colonial buildings also tell of a rich and opulent history.

The city is just enchanting, surrounded by fortified walls to keep invaders at bay. And in the old streets you can find many bars and restaurants where the locals are busy talking about the important issues of the day. Just tie up your favorite walking shoes and take to the streets, that is the best way to explore this compact city.