“With Latin America becoming an ever more fashionable destination, I’ve put together my very top tips for where’s hip to travel this year. From old fashioned glamour to table dancing Cartagena-style, I’ll show you Latin America’s most up-and-coming destinations and unmissable party hotspots! Dancing shoes at the ready…”
Megan Parkinson, Former JLA Travel Consultant.
A ‘hip list’ would not be complete without the famous Buenos Aires. Spanish colonialists landed in Buenos Aires back in the 1500s and it has attracted immigrants from France and Italy, giving the city a distinctly European feel. Like Paris, only with a Latin twist! This Euro-Latin fusion means you can enjoy stylish bars and pavement cafes or go to the opera, then dance the tango until the sun comes up.
Cartagena is a stunning colonial city, steeped in history and romance. By day it’s a joy to potter around the walled colonial centre with its narrow winding streets, historic architecture, churches and numerous plazas, but it is when the sun goes down that the party really gets started. Cartagena is heaven for music lovers. Take in the merengue and salsa in the bars or listen to the African-inspired drum beats in the city squares. If you are feeling more energetic you can continue to Boca Grande and party until dawn. The most popular place here is Mr. Babillios, a restaurant and home to table dancing Cartagena style – there is no dance floor here so after dinner patrons climb up onto the large oak tables and dance the night away. Usually they remove the dishes first!
By most measures, Panama City is a modern metropolis of soaring glass and steel skyscrapers. A city with firm roots in international banking and trade, it stands on the threshold of two hemispheres. However, on closer inspection the city offers so much more. Important sights include the famed Panama Canal, an engineering marvel that links the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the colonial part of the city known as the casco antiguo, and Panama Viejo, the old city founded by the Spanish in 1519 which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When it comes to nightlife, there are few nationalities that rival the fun loving nature of Panamanians! Partying is a national pastime and this is reflected in the vast array of bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
Back in the 1950s the southern beaches of Uruguay were considered some of most glamorous destinations in the whole of South America, attracting the likes of Brigitte Bardot, Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. Today Punta del Este’s twenty miles of pristine beaches, luxurious hotels, restaurants and bars continue to draw the rich and famous from around the world and it is fast becoming known as the Saint-Tropez of South America.
5. Trancoso, Brazil
Once a sleepy fishing village situated on the miles of Brazil’s tropical beaches in the state of Bahia, today Trancoso is a very different place! Frequented by celebrities including Naomi Campbell, Gisele Bündchen and Diane von Furstenberg, it is considered to be a seriously glamorous party town where sexy Brazilian beats play out on even the mellowest of beaches.
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Real Latin America Experts
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert
Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.
Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert
After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Ben Line - Travel Expert
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.
Evie Oswald - Travel Expert
It's hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.