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UCityGuides.com Home > TOP 10 > BEST CITIES TO VISIT IN LATIN AMERICA
Top 10
BEST CITIES TO VISIT IN
LATIN AMERICA
1 | RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

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It's one of the most naturally beautiful cities in the world, even if it's overlooked by some of
the world's worst shantytowns. By the beaches, Rio is a sultry city with a gorgeous
backdrop of wooded mountains, and a playground for the girls and guys of Ipanema and
Copacabana. Climbing to the top of the Sugar Loaf mountain or to the statue of Christ on
Corcovado, you'll be convinced that you truly are looking at a "marvelous city," as locals
describe it.
-SEE THE RIO DE JANEIRO GUIDE
2 | BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA

The most European of all Latin American capitals is a city of elegant architecture and broad
avenues, but also of one of the world's sexiest dances, the tango. It's a condent,
seductive place, o!ering great food and cultural attractions, together with a multitude of
shops and cafs that make you want to stay just a little longer. It's a city that never
disappoints.
-SEE THE BUENOS AIRES GUIDE
3 | MEXICO CITY, MEXICO

This sprawling city may not be a pretty place, but it o!ers a wealth of cultural attractions.
Start at the gigantic Zocalo Square, home to majestic architecture, and continue down the
historic center to nd faded old mansions and a number of museums, including Frida
Kahlo's. But the star attraction these days is much more contemporary, the Soumaya Art
Museum, housing the collection of billionaire Carlos Slim. Another world-class museum not
to miss is the National Anthropology Museum, dedicated to pre-Hispanic Mexico, which for
that alone is worth the trip.
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4 | SALVADOR, BRAZIL

This is where you can best experience the mix of European, African and indigenous
cultures in Latin America. It's Brazil's third largest city, home to some of the nest
examples of colonial architecture in the Americas. There are some wonderful beaches
nearby, while in the older central districts you'll nd a World Heritage collection of pastel-
colored buildings dating from the time when the Portuguese fortied the city. Be prepared
to drop your jaw as you enter the gold-lled So Francisco Church and Convent.
5 | LIMA, PERU

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Peru's capital has cleaned up its colonial architecture and that has earned it a spot on the
World Heritage Sites list. It was once Latin America's richest city, reected today on the
grand Plaza Mayor. The treasures of ancient pre-Columbian civilizations on display in the
National Museum and Larco Museum are often the reasons many visit the city, but the
local gastronomy and celebrity chefs (like Gastn Acurio and Pedro Miguel Schia"no) have
now also placed it on the map.
6 | CUSCO, PERU

Whether you spell it Cusco, Cuzco, or Q'osco, you're talking about the gateway to one of
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the world's most breathtaking sites, Machu Picchu, the Incan city on what was considered
a sacred valley, and the most impressive pre-Columbian ruins in the world. Before heading
there, plan your sightseeing in the city's Plaza de Armas, and make a list of the Incan ruins
and colonial architecture you want to see (fortresses, temples, baroque and Renaissance
churches and mansions). Although increasingly touristy, it's managed to preserve its
character and remains one of the highlights of a trip to South America.
7 | CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA

There's a reason why Colombia's Cartagena (it's named after Spain's Cartagena) gets
more visitors than the country's capital. It's a beautiful waterfront city protected by
fortresses, with photogenic cobbled alleys and colorful squares that make it one of Latin
America's most romantic destinations. The impressive old town is lled with colonial
charm, and the beach is nearby.
8 | QUITO, ECUADOR
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This World Heritage City is often overlooked but should rank high on your Latin American
travel list. Surrounded by the Andes Mountains, it's the world's highest capital city, and
located right at the center of the planet, by the equator. It's considered the best-preserved
historic city in Latin America, with a maze of narrow streets made up of ornate churches
and monasteries. In addition to the colonial riches, Quito is now o!ering new attractions
such as contemporary art museums and the TelefriQo, one of the highest aerial lifts in the
world for a breathtaking perspective of the city.
9 | SO PAULO

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Latin America's ugly duckling reveals itself to be a cosmopolitan megalopolis, o!ering the
best restaurants and shopping in the Latin world. It's a city of unattractive concrete
skyscrapers and a vibrant melting pot of cultures, but in addition to the world-class dining,
there's a variety of cultural attractions such Latin America's best museum, the So Paulo
Museum of Art.
-SEE THE SO PAULO GUIDE
10 | SANTIAGO, CHILE

Chile's capital is more modern than historic, a prosperous city with a beautiful natural
backdrop of snow-covered mountain peaks. Although pollution often hides that landscape,
it's a city worth visiting for the world-class cuisine and ourishing arts scene between
colonial mansions and soaring skyscrapers.
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