Latin America is home to some of the world’s most cosmopolitan and exciting cities, where day and night merge into one
The urban scene in Latin America is developing rapidly as the local affluent middle classes demand ever more exciting and varied entertainment. In addition to great architecture, design, fashion, music and nightlife, a gastronomic revolution is sweeping the continent and many new top restaurants are opening up.
The arts scene is also becoming ever more vibrant, with a host of galleries in cities such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Lima and Buenos Aires leading the way. And let us not forget that the region also has some extremely important museums housing priceless treasures.
Not many Latin American cities have the fantastic setting and beautiful beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana that keep Rio de Janeiro at the top of the league as an urban paradise for visitors, but the diversity of experience in cities across the region is tremendous. Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo, is the commercial heart of the country, and while it does not have the aesthetic appeal of Rio, it is a sophisticated and possibly even more thrilling city. With an estimated 15,000 clubs and bars, not to mention 12,000 restaurants featuring more than 40 global cuisines, Sao Paulo is an extremely important gastronomic and nightlife destination.
Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, is possibly the most European of South America’s capital cities. Visitors often relish a little retail therapy in one of the many famous shopping malls, such as Alto Palermo and Galerias Pacifico, or the smaller boutiques in Palermo. While parrillas (barbecues) are very popular, international chefs have descended on the city in recent years with new many new restaurants opening almost daily. Unsurprisingly many of these establishments have given a wine a very special place as well.
Santiago also has plenty to offer our guests who love a bit of urban living. With its heritage architecture, wide selection of international restaurants and arts scene, a short stay here will leave you energised for the more rural delights that make Chile a choice destination.
Latinos love to party, and as dusk falls and the city lights come on, the music starts, bars fill up and the main entertainment areas start to rock – especially at weekends. Students, the affluent middle class and visitors mix together creating a buzzy vibe in areas such as Lapa in Rio, Miraflores in Lima, the Zona Rosa/Parque 93 in Bogota. Buenos Aires also offers an exceptional night out: enjoy an evening at the theatre on Avenida Corrientes, try your hand at the tango, or impress with your funky moves into the early hours at the one of the big techno clubs. Several cities – notably Sao Paulo, Rio, Buenos Aires and Bogota – also now have thriving gay scenes.
Culture vultures will appreciate some of the fine museums in the region. Sao Paulo claims to have more than 70 museums, probably the best of which are the Pinacoteca do Estado and MASP: both house great art collections. Rio is fighting back with its Museum of Modern Art and the newly-opened Rio Art Museum. Buenos Aires boasts the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and the private MALBA-Coleccion Costantini… both are wonderful. In Colombia it would be a crime not to visit the Museo del Oro (Gold Museum), while in Peru, Lima’s private Larco Museum and state-run National Museum both document pre-Inca and Inca civilisations very effectively.
Finally, there are a number of Latin American cities that have reinvented themselves during the past decade or so, and are worthy of note. Top of the class here is Medellin, Colombia’s second city, which has transformed itself from the drugs and murder capital of the world to win the ‘Most Innovative City of the World’ award in 2013. Not far behind is the remarkable urban renewal of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city and main port. Again, it used to be deemed a highly dangerous and ugly city with little of interest to visitors. That has changed with substantial investment by the civic authorities. Other cities that are also hauling up their image and emerging as exciting urban centres include Bogota, Lima, Manaus and Salvador.
City living in Latin America is just one of many reasons why a visit to this continent is so satisfying.
To help you make the most of your stay in a Latin American city, give us a call or send us a message.
Places to stay
A grand town house now home to a boutique hotel with a critically acclaimed restaurant and flower-filled roof terrace.View details about Hub Porteño
Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt
The luxurious Park Hyatt is another firm Miraviva favourite and is well located in the Recoleta district of Buenos Aires.View details about Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt
This chic and stylish boutique hotel in the artistic Barranco district of Lima is a home-away-from-home.View details about Hotel B
Belmond Hotel Monasterio
Hotel Monasterio has a great sense of history and is a great all-round option for a stay in CuscoView details about Belmond Hotel Monasterio
The Singular Santiago
The Singular Santiago is one of our favourite bases from which to explore the city of Santiago.View details about The Singular Santiago
A comfortable boutique hotel perfectly located to explore Valparaiso’s historic quarter on foot.View details about Casa Higueras
This substantial classic art-deco hotel deserves its well earned iconoclastic reputation for excellent service.View details about Copacabana Palace
A new five-star hotel located on the beach in Barra District, to the north of Ipanema.View details about Grand Hyatt
Vila Santa Teresa
One of the best appointed and most exclusive boutique hotels we have seen in South America.View details about Vila Santa Teresa
Designer hotel fronting Rio’s famous Ipanema Beach where urban chic, sun and sea blend together in perfect harmony.View details about Fasano, Rio
A sleek and modern hotel in the most exclusive part of the city is an A-listers favourite and merits the attention it receives for its excellent position and service.View details about Emiliano
Five star luxury hotel with excellent views of the city and all the creature comforts for a special Sao Paulo weekend.View details about Tivoli Mofarrej
An outstanding example of contemporary architecture located in a private elevated position above the fashionable resort of Buzios.View details about Private Villa
Casa San Agustin
Located in the heart of the old city of Cartagena three historic houses have been redesigned to create a charming contemporary hotel.View details about Casa San Agustin
Bastion Luxury Hotel
Built on the site of a 16th century colonial house in the heart of Cartagena’s old town this hotel merges original features with a panache for designView details about Bastion Luxury Hotel
Trump Ocean Club
Big, brash and bold, but with high standards, the Trump will appeal to those that like the larger American style full-service hotel.View details about Trump Ocean Club
Belmond Miraflores Park
Following a major recent refurbishment, this hotel is now back in its rightful position as one of the best large hotels in Lima.View details about Belmond Miraflores Park
This place oozes Miami style, and it’s location means it’s the place to go if modern, exclusive luxury is your thing.View details about Four Seasons
Four Seasons Hotel, Casa Medina
Staying at the Casa Medina gives you the feel of staying in a private mansion, but with the comfort of the Four Seasons brand and services.View details about Four Seasons Hotel, Casa Medina
Stylish hotel in the north of Bogota with impressive city views.View details about W Hotel
Movich Casa del Alférez
Boutique hotel that is well located in one of Cali’s best residential districts.View details about Movich Casa del Alférez
Hotel del Parque
An impressive boutique hotel with a timeless colonial-era feel, located in the Parque Histórico near the city centre.View details about Hotel del Parque