Latin America is the place to travel for warm weather, delicious food, pristine beaches, and rich culture. Named for its romance language, it is no surprise that Latin America is home to some of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Although you can easily find beauty wherever you go, keep scrolling for a list of 8 of the most beautiful cities you don’t want to miss!
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1. San Juan, Puerto Rico
The capital city may not have beaches like many other places in Puerto Rico, but its extensive history definitely makes up for it.
Check out the architecture of Fort San Cristobal, dating back to the 17th century, and take a tour of the three-story building to learn about the area’s military past. Walk through rooms filled with cannons, old dungeons, and the secret tunnels hidden below the grounds.
Puerto Rico is known for its delicious coffee, so make sure to try some out for yourself at one of the many cafes, like the Cafe Don Ruiz. The coffee is roasted right on the spot, and there’s a courtyard to sit while you sip on the freshest brew.
Head over to the Old Town for a history lesson as you walk the cobblestone streets and admire the European-influenced buildings, churches, and town square. Once you enter the gates of this walled district, a short walk will take you to the Plaza de Armas town square where you can see its stunning fountain, centered by many surrounding historic buildings.
Some sights you don’t want to miss include The Capitol Building, The Cuartel de Ballaja, and The Old San Juan Cemetery.
The city is overflowing with culinary options whether it be traditional dishes, quick bites, or elegant dining. Food vendors line the streets selling favorites like empanadas, tostones, and mofongo. For the best traditional dish in town, make your way over to The Parrot Club where you can dine in a historic building and enjoy authentic Puerto Rican food.
If outdoor adventure is more your style, head over to El Yunque National Rainforest to spot rare bird species along one of the many trails.
2. Rurrenabaque, Bolivia
Perfectly located in the Amazon Rainforest, Rurrenabaque is a hidden gem of a city that offers plenty of jungle adventures, campsites, hostels, and resorts for every kind of traveler.
If you’re looking to stay in a luxury hotel, you’ll want to book your accommodations at the Hotel Maya de la Amazonia. The food with the best prices and flavor can be found at The French Bakery, and Juliano’s Restaurant has a diverse menu for those traveling in a party with different tastes.
Take the three-day Pampas Tour for as little as $120.00, which includes food, accommodations, and transport. Spot wildlife like capybaras, fish for your own dinner, and venture through grasslands. You’ll even have the chance to swim with pink dolphins in the rivers along the way! A few of the different communities in the area offer a more personalized tour, for a higher rate.
The Madidi National Park is just a stone’s throw away, and it takes you into the depths of the jungle where you can find rare species of birds and insects. For a more exciting experience, opt for the jungle survival tour and explore the untouched part of the park with a guide and his machete. While you’re in the jungle, consider partaking in an Ayahuasca ceremony with a local shaman – but beware of the effects of the substance.
3. Suchitoto, El Salvador
The colonial city of Suchitoto is hidden away from the normal hustle and bustle of El Salvador, thanks to the thick jungle that surrounds it.
Visit the Strange and Curious Plate Museum for a rare (and weird!) experience where you’ll admire over a thousand plates, containing artwork, cartoons, and everything in between.
Take a guided tour of Basalt Waterfall and check out the cool rock formations that have been created by past volcanic activity. Visit the falls in the wet season to see them at their fullest, but always visit with a guide as this area is prone to robberies.
Lake Suchitlán may be artificially made, but that doesn’t take away from its stunning view – especially when lilies take over the surface. Just a short ferry ride away is the small village of San Francisco Lempa, with its lush greenery and delicious authentic cuisine.
Hop from shop to shop and buy yourself something nice (and indigo!). The city was once the leading producer of natural indigo materials before synthetic coloring was found, but that hasn’t stopped locals from keeping up the tradition. The indigo sold here is authentic and of the highest possible quality, so you know you’re spending your money on something that holds its value.
For those who enjoy a themed bar look no further than El Nicio, a popular dive bar with revolution relics and flags displayed across its walls. Order a few drinks, grab a bite to eat, and stay for a while as you enjoy the laid-back vibes and relaxing music.
4. Leon, Nicaragua
Located in northern Nicaragua, the temperature here is hot in every season – making all of the exciting activities here accessible year-round. The city may be small, but it draws visitors in from near and far.
Leon is famous for one activity in particular: volcano boarding. With its growing popularity, there are many companies offering a chance to board down a volcano, but for the most memorable experience go with Bigfoot, the company that started it all.
Take the one hour hike up the volcano, and make the trip a little easier by having a local carry your gear for as little as five dollars. Once you arrive at the top of this active volcano, plop down on your board and prepare to take off on a ride that is sure to get your heart pumping. Just make sure to wear a facial shield – or even a pair of sunglasses that you don’t mind ruining – to keep gravel out of your eyes.
Although the city attracts many tourists, it’s not very modernized with its small local market and focus on historic buildings. You can see how the city got its name from the many lion statues throughout the city (Leon is the Spanish word for lion).
While you’re in town, you should definitely pay a visit to the largest cathedral in Central America, Leon Cathedral, to better understand the culture of Nicaragua. Guests can climb to the top of the cathedral for breathtaking views of the city and the nearby volcanoes.
5. Santo Domingo, Dominic Republic
One of the oldest cities in the Caribbean, it is no surprise that the capital city of Santo Domingo is jam packed with history. You can easily take the city on by foot, but you may want to plan a few days to tackle all the city has to offer.
Popular amongst locals and tourists is Columbus Park. With frequent musicians, street performers, and shoe shiners, it is considered Santo Domingo’s town square. On the southern edge of the park, you’ll find the Catedral Primada de América, which was built in the early 1500s and is an active place of worship to this day.
Visit the Museum of the Royal Houses to learn more about the region’s history. Although the exhibits are in Spanish, headsets are available for English translation. The National Pantheon of the Dominican Republic is a stunning mausoleum where the tombs of many historic figures can be found.
Walk amongst the ruins of the Monasterio de San Francisco, known for being one of the earliest monasteries ever built in the Americas. Although it’s seen its fair share of natural disasters, the ruins still hold significant value to the city and are even used to host events. Give your feet a rest by taking a tour of the area on the Chu Chu Colonial Sightseeing Trolley.
Choose from a variety of authentic restaurants that line the Plaza España, and enjoy views of the river with dinner.
6. Flores, Guatemala
Located on an island off of Lake Peten Itza, the city of Flores is home to delicious food, ancient ruins, and Tikal National Park.
Although native to El Salvador, the city is known for its mouth-watering pupusas. These fried tortillas stuffed with meats, cheese, and beans can be found all over, but many guests are drawn to the Pupuseria Excelente Café.
Walk amongst ceremonial grounds that were once used by the Mayans at Uaxactún. Here you’ll find pyramids and temples that have been untouched for centuries, with thick greenery growing in every direction.
Take a boat or a kayak out on the lake and over to Jorge’s Rope Swing for a day of rope swinging into the water with the locals. You can also rent a boat, kayak, or canoe for as little as two dollars an hour.
The Petencito Zoo takes in animals that are injured or unable to live on their own to help with conservation. You can support the cause by stopping in for a visit to observe the wildlife.
If you’re feeling adventurous, take a zip line tour through the dense jungle of Ixpanpajul Natural Park, or take the journey on horseback. Visit the ruins that remain of the Mayan city of Yaxhá, which was once home to over 20,000 people in its 400 buildings.
Before you leave, visit the largest discovered Mayan site in the world, Tikal, which dates back to the 1st century. The massive pyramid is located within the jungle, adding to the kingdom’s raw beauty.
7. Puebla, Mexico
The city of Puebla is the birth place of the holiday Cinco de Mayo. Back in 1862, the holiday was established when the Mexican people were able to overpower the French and gain their freedom in the Battle of Puebla. Learn about the city’s history at Amparo Museum, but keep in mind that many of the displays do not have English translation.
The city is also known for its mole, a chocolate based sauce that is perfectly blended with garlic, nuts, and spices and drizzled over classic Mexican dishes like enchiladas. Have lunch at Augurio to try traditional mole, or opt for Meson Sacristia de la Campanio where you can try mole in a few different flavors. The Artist’s Quarter is the perfect place to walk off your meal as you admire local artists’ displayed pieces.
No trip to Puebla would be complete without taking a shot with the locals at La Pasita. Their signature shot includes a raisin and a piece of cheese.
Give in to your sweet tooth on Calle del Dulce, a street lined entirely with candy shops.
Take in the breathtaking architecture on every street with its bright colors and exquisite tile designs. After you’ve explored the city on foot, hop on the Teleférico gondola for panoramic views overlooking Puebla, and ride to Parque del Paseo del Teleférico where you can enjoy a walk through the park and access the three museums on site.
8. Roatán, Honduras
If a beach paradise is what you’re after, look no further than the city of Roatán. Located within the Caribbean, every beach here has soft, white sand and clear, bright blue waters.
The clear waters, coral reefs, shipwrecks, and vibrant fish makes this the perfect place for scuba diving. Tours are available for all experience levels, but just be sure to book your session in advance as it’s one of the most popular activities in the area.
If scuba diving is not your thing, snorkeling is a great option to still see the beauties of underwater life without the anxiety of going deep underwater. You can also take a glass-bottom boat tour (aka submarine) where you’ll sit just five feet below the surface and enjoy clear views through the large windows.
Relax on one of the many beaches with a cocktail in hand and not a worry in the world. If you’re looking for a less crowded beach to lay out your towel, consider French Harbor and Mahogany Beach.
Make your way inland for a zip-lining tour through the tropical forest, and even hang out with the monkeys.