My Latin Life's Best Cities In Latin America


I've compiled a list of what I believe to be the best cities for a tourist to visit in Latin America. The list is based on the criteria outlined on my cities guides, so you'll want to click on the link to the city to get a thoroughgoing breakdown on the destination to find out why it ranked the way it did.


I rank each city based on the following:



OVERVIEW: A short, Wikipedia-style introduction to the city. Includes things like location, history and interesting facts.


POPULATION: How many people live in the city proper. Allow for a slight margin of error.


WEATHER: Includes the climate classification and a temperature range.


SAFETY: Explains whether or not the city is safe for tourists.


MUST DO: Names one thing that every tourist should see or do in the city.


RENT/MONTH (1BR IN CITY CENTRE): Gives the price of a month's rent in the city. All prices listed here represent good value and are cheaper than what will be listed on sites like Airbnb. It is always possible to pay more. The point here is to show you a price closer to what the locals pay, and what you are able to get if you take the time to look.


HOSTEL DORM BED/NIGHT: The typical price for a dorm bed in the city.


NIGHTLIFE RATING: A rating of the city's bar and club scene. Takes into consideration things like logistics, music, prices, girls, crowds and libations.


BOTTLE OF BEER: Price of a bottle of beer in a bar or restaurant. Obviously will vary depending on the quality of the establishment you are going to, but the prices in the city should, for the most part, always be within a dollar or two of this listed price.


CHANCE OF HOOKING-UP: To put it simply, refers to the chance you have of taking a girl home. This will always depend on a variety of factors, so take the rating with a grain of sand. Assume the rating here is based off of an average-looking white male with basic Spanish skills who is spending one week or more in the city.


ATTRACTIVENESS OF WOMEN: How pretty the girls are. It's a rating out of ten...I know, how cliche. Again, this will vary depending on your taste, but the rating here is based off fairly universal standards of beauty.


GROCERIES: The cost of common groceries in the city, like milk, eggs, bread, water and cigarettes.


JOB OPPORTUNITIES: Whether or not there are opportunities to work in the city. If there are, the guide will say what they are.


TAXI: The cost of taking a cab a short distance in the city.


NOTES: Final comments about the city. Whether it is better for a short stay or longer stay, and more information on why it is good or not etc.


OVERALL RATING: A rating out of 10 for the city. Takes into consideration everything listed above, as well as any other factors that make a city enjoyable or unenjoyable for a tourist or expat.


Here's the list, ranked 1-67, of the best cities to visit in Latin America.


*Click on the link to each city for a full description.

(N.B. Not very mobile-friendly...Sorry, I'm working on this.)


Best Cities in Latin America

  1. Rio De Janeiro                              
  2. Buenos Aires                                                 
  3. Mexico City                                                   
  4. Havana                                                         
  5. Sao Paulo                                                
  6. Cordoba                                                      
  7. Bogota                                                        
  8. Medellin                                                  
  9. Cali                                        
  10. Guadalajara                                               
  11. Florianopolis                                    
  12. Mendoza                                        
  13. Belo Horizonte                             
  14. Monterrey                                    
  15. Salvador                                        
  16. Manizales                                                       
  17. Salta                                                                 
  18. Pereira                                                                 
  19. Panama City                                                      
  20. Bucaramanga                                                 
  21. Natal                                                                 
  22. Montevideo                                               
  23. Merida                                                       
  24. Aguascalientes                               
  25. Santo Domingo                             
  26. Cartagena                                        
  27. Barranquilla                                    
  28. Fortaleza                                         
  29. Guanajuato                                      
  30. Cuernavaca                                      
  31. Santa Clara                                     
  32. Morelia                                            
  33. Lima                                                
  34. Santiago                                            
  35. Recife                                                 
  36. Valparaiso                                        
  37. Culiacan                                           
  38. Cusco                                                 
  39. Heredia                                             
  40. Santiago De Cuba                             
  41. Queretaro                                          
  42. Santiago                                             
  43. San Francisco                                
  44. Puerto Plata                                     
  45. Antigua                                              
  46. Ensenada                                            
  47. Isla Margarita                                                  
  48. San Jose                                                            
  49. Leon                                                     
  50. Puebla                                                 
  51. Boquete                                               
  52. Merida                                                
  53. San Juan Del Sur                              
  54. Roatan                                                
  55. Managua                                           
  56. Cuenca                                                
  57. Granada                                              
  58. David                                                    
  59. La Ceiba                                               
  60. San Pedro Sula                              
  61. Bocas Del Toro                                 
  62. Quito                                               
  63. Mancora                                               
  64. Guayaquil                                            
  65. Maracaibo                                          
  66. Guatemala City                                 
  67. Caracas                                                


2018 UPDATE: I'd move all Brazilian cities lower due to the rising crime rates. After going back to Lima, I'd definitely bump it up as well. Not sure why I ranked Havana so high...tough place to live. The rest is more or less OK.


The nature of these lists is always contentious - I expect to be challenged (Why did Havana rank so high? Why did Lima rank so low? etc.). All I can say is that travelling is highly personal. Although, I have heard really positive things about Lima, Peru in the past year, so I admit I may have given it an unfair shake.



Until next time,



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