Nightlife in Latin America | Top 10 Party Cities

Nightlife in Latin America.

Mi amor. Mi corazon. 

For years, I was an addict. A junkie to your electric rhythms, laidback vibes, and the wide hips of your women.

The smooth rum didn’t hurt, either.

Just one abject degenerate of a gringo traveling around down south – while living like a functional alcoholic.

There’s no doubt I enjoyed a little of…

La rumba. 

Un poco perrreando. Algo duro.

Las mujeres. Ya tu sabes. 

I’ll never forget my first night partying in Latin America.

A Tuesday in the highly developed city of Panama City, Panama.

There was only one decent spot open and luckily, my buddy and I found it off a recommendation from the owner of his hostel.

Why he stayed in a hostel I’ll never know, but it worked well for us that night – as we’d have never found this club without the recommendation.

So we strolled in wide-eyed and curious. The music blaring in a language we couldn’t understand.

The club was small, but the crowd was energized and it was sure as hell better than I expected for a Tuesday.

Using our Spanish vocabulary that consisted of roughly 10-12 words each, we ordered cervezas and started mingling.

The joys of being in a new club halfway around the world with your best friend while exotic women prance around are more than enough to keep a man in good spirits.

The booze didn’t hurt, either.

The reggaeton flowed from the speakers and we soon made our way to the dancefloor after a few more rounds of brewskis.

Bumping and grinding ensured.

As the only gringos in the club, we were a hot commodity on this Tuesday night.

And I was taking advantage. Hell, I was in heaven.

Dancing with women whose hip-to-ass ratio continually made me question the laws of physics.

It was magical, but I’ll spare you all the gory details from the rest of the night.

Let’s just say the girls from Pereira, Colombia more than lived up to their reputations.

And may have led to this gringo spending more than a year in Colombia.

But…

Un caballero siempre es discreto.



Top 10 Party Cities in Latin America

But enough about me and my wild nights from the past.

Let’s talk about you. Just a gringo looking for a city in Latin America where the nightlife is up to snuff.

If that’s you, I’ve got some damned good news for you…

You won’t have to look too far. The region is packed full of fantastic places to party your arse off each and every night.

Latinos are good people and they love to party. The region is filled with passion and emotion – meaning wild nights out are par for the course down south.

But which party cities in Latin America giving the average gringo the best bang for his buck, errr hangover? Well, in the humble opinion of your most handsome author, these are the best party cities in Latin America:

– Bogota, Colombia –

Nightlife in Bogota, Colombia is truly world-class in every which way.

I’ve spent countless nights out in Zona T, often until the sun came up.

And I don’t even like staying out all night. I’m a “hit it hard until 3:30 am and then call it a night” kind of guy.

But Bogota got the best of me…

From pregaming at La Villa to bottle service at Hotel V to late night at Club Mint.

Partying in Bogota never, ever disappointed. Oh, and the Colombianas dressed to the nines didn’t hurt, either.

Oh, and for a cheaper place to party in Bogota, make sure to check out the Galerias district just outside Chapinero.

Bogota nightlife offers:

  • High-end scene
  • Late night offerings
  • Abject degeneracy
  • Reasonable prices
  • Hot women
  • Too many places to go

The only downside? Nightlife in Bogota can be sketchy.

Meaning many of my friends have been drugged and robbed while partying in the capital of Colombia.

You’ve been warned.


– Lima, Peru –

If Bogota is my favorite place to party in all of Latin America – then Lima, Peru is number two.

This massive city on the Pacific ocean is home to bumping nightlife damn near every night of the week.

In the world-class neighborhood of Miraflores, you’ll find decent spots to go out whenever you please.

The nightlife is more foreigners mixed with locals here, but it’s still a damn good time. Plus, there are scenes for every taste.

You have rock bars, electronic clubs, reggaeton, hip-hop, and more.

Plus, the best spot to party in all of Lima, Peru is located right on the Malecon – Lima Bar.

This high-end spot is massive, plays great music, and is filled with some of Lima’s best-looking people.

Just know that the drinks and bottles in this club won’t be cheap.

Lima nightlife offers:

  • Scenes for every taste
  • A unique mix of locals and foreigners
  • Lots of opportunities to mingle
  • Safety
  • Friendly locals
  • Reasonable prices

The issue with Lima, Peru nightlife?

There’s no real Peruvian nightlife culture like in other places. For example, in Colombia, people dress well, dance salsa, and go out in big groups.

It’s a unique setup. In Lima, the clubs play a lot of Spanish music, but the culture isn’t far off from a bar back home.


– Mexico City, Mexico –

I only went out a couple times during my two trips in Mexico City. So I’m not the foremost expert here.

But I will say one thing…

CDMX knows how to party.

And as one of the biggest cities in the whole damn world, you’ll literally never run out of places to party in this mega city.

You can go out every single night of the week while living in Mexico City.

The neighborhoods of Condesa, Roma Norte, and Polanco will keep you busy for months on end.

The sheer number of different bars and clubs is truly astonishing.

Plus, Mexico City is quite an artsy city. There are dozens of different nightlife scenes to check out. You’ll find your niche here for sure.

Mexico City nightlife offers:

  • Too many places to check out
  • A scene for every individual
  • Unique culture
  • Safety
  • Late night offerings
  • Best late night street food

The only issue with CDMX at night?

Well, I’ve got two…

The hot spots switch up too quickly. I was talking with a few buddies who live in the city and they said everything is hit or miss.

No one club is great every single weekend night.

Oh, and the clubs are too damn small.

If I haven’t to shoulder check a dozen people to get to the bar, that’s not a place I’m too excited to go back to.


– Rio de Janeiro, Brazil –

The hype is justified.

Believe it when they say the nightlife in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is world-class. Nightlife lovers won’t be bored in this city by the sea.

And while I didn’t even have a proper night out with the broskis in Rio, I did dip my toes in a few spots and test the waters. Waters that were more than fertile.

The thing about Rio de Janeiro nightlife is there’s a little bit of everything. No matter what scene you like, you can find it in the Cidade maravilhosa — from dive bars to high-end clubs to favela funk parties.

Personally, I was a bit enchanted by the favelas and fell in love with funky music. Some type of Brazilian hip-hop / twerk music that’s commonly played at all parties in the favelas, or ghettos. Hell, the stuff is even mainstream too.

You can find these types of parties in every favela in Rio, but be careful. You need to know someone to go to these parties usually, as favelas can be beyond dangerous.

You’ll also find a great bar scene in the Zona Sul neighborhood of Botafogo. If you live dive bars, rock or indie music, and those type scenes — this is the spot for you.

For big, high-end clubs, some of the most popular ones can be found in Barra de Tijuca. This is one of the nicest areas of the city, about 15 minutes from Copacabana at night, and where you’ll find the most popular clubs in the city.

Rio de Janeiro nightlife offers:

  • A scene for everyone
  • Unique party styles, like favelas and funky
  • Fun, open-minded culture
  • Mix of locals and tourists
  • Attractive girls

But Rio de Janeiro nightlife isn’t perfect, either…

It’s not cheap to go out in Rio. Clubs here can be pricey and even drinking at a bar can add up quickly. But, you’re enjoying one of the best cities on earth — you gotta pay up.

Also, Rio nightlife doesn’t go that late. Don’t expect 7 am nights out when partying in Rio. Sure, you can find it — but you gotta remember that Rio is a beach city and people don’t like missing the sunshine. So they leave the clubs and go to sleep earlier than in other places.


– Havana, Cuba –

I only went out a few nights in Havana, Cuba.

While the city is stunning, the crumbling buildings and depression caused by communism definitely was a downer on my time there.

That being said…

The nightlife in Havana is nothing short of magical.

Drinking Cuban rum. Downing world-class mojitos. Smoking fine Cuban cigars. Chatting with fine Cuban women.

Maybe even butchering a little salsa dancing.

What more could a man want?!

Here’s why I love the nightlife in Havana…

One of the nights I went out, I stumbled upon the coolest club I’ve ever stepped foot in. Seriously.

Fabrica de Arte is part nightclub, part art gallery.

You walk in and there’s a bar. The next room is a massive dance floor blaring reggaeton. Then you go down a hallway and you’re in a world-class art gallery.

It’s fascinating! And one hell of a time.

A true MUST if partying in Latin America is on your mind.

Havana, Cuba nightlife offers:

  • Unique party opportunities
  • Stunning sites
  • Unbelievable Caribbean energy
  • Cheap rum
  • World-class cigars
  • Salsa music galore

The only downsides?

Well, Havana nightlife is solely catered to the tourist because most of the locals cannot afford to go to a nightclub.

Fidel has damn near destroyed his own country. Thus, the nightlife tends to be skewed towards getting tourist dollars.

Oh, and there are far too many hookers for my liking, as well.


– Medellin, Colombia –

Medellin, Colombia nightlife is synonymous with one thing currently…

Reggaeton

The de facto capital of reggaeton music in Latin America, you’ll find “perreando” around every turn when out at night in Medellin.

Something that I absolutely love.

If you enjoy this music style and a little bump and grind on the dance floor, then Medellin nightlife will be a whole lot of fun. If you’re not into reggaeton, you might find other cities in Colombia or Latin America more your style.

You’ll also find some salsa music here if that’s up your alley, but reggaeton reigns supreme as of now.

Plus, the women here are hot and the scene is definitely international. You’ll meet people from all over the world while in Medellin.

Oh, and nightlife in Medellin won’t have to break the bank. You can easily get a bottle and a table at a pretty nice club for under $100-150 bucks a night here.

Medellin, Colombia Nightlife offers:

  • Great music
  • Cheap prices
  • International scene
  • Hot women
  • Lots of options
  • Unique culture

Now, nightlife in Medellin certainly isn’t perfect.

The city isn’t 100% safe, so you shouldn’t be walking around too much at night.

Oh, and there’s a small risk of being drugged and robbed by a girl on a night out in Medellin. You need to keep your wits about you here unless you’re in decent sized group and know the scene well.

People also go out in big groups, which can be annoying.


– Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic –

My love affair with the Dominican Republic isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

The country filled with stunning Caribbean beaches, friendly locals, bachata tunes, and chapiadoras is one of my favorites.

The nightlife in Santo Domingo doesn’t hurt, either.

My favorite part?

The music.

Nightlife in the Dominican Republic is straight Latin trap, reggaeton, and bachata music.

It’s high-energy and made for dancing.

But there’s more to the nightlife scene in Santo Domingo than damn good music. The people are friendly, the city is void of backpackers, and the high-end scene is filled with stunning women.

Santo Domingo nightlife offers:

  • Incredible music
  • Great dancing
  • Good looking girls
  • High-end scene
  • Lots of options
  • Friendly and welcoming people
  • Unique culture

The downsides to Santo Domingo nightlife?

Well, there’s no doubt the city could be safer. Santo Domingo isn’t known for being the safest city in Latin America.

Plus, you’ve gotta be on the lookout for your money here.

Some of the women in Santo Domingo are professionals at extracting your dollars without you even knowing it.


– Santa Cruz de La Sierra, Bolivia –

You’ll probably never go to Santa Cruz de La Sierra, Bolivia.

I wouldn’t blame you for skipping it, either. The city is way off the beaten path and kind of a pain in the a*s to get to.

But for those who venture just a bit off the beaten path…

You’ll find one of the craziest nightlife scenes in Latin America. The vibe is “no rules, anything goes” here and you can legit get away with anything here. I mean ANYTHING.

The clubs here get wild on the weekends and I needed a spa day after each big night out to even come close to recovering.

Expect lots of reggaeton and pop music. I didn’t encounter any salsa or bachata.

Santa Cruz de La Sierra nightlife offers:

  • Craziness
  • Anything goes here
  • Lots of energy
  • Fun local people
  • Not international at all
  • Cheap as hell

There’s certainly some issues with partying in Bolivia.

Mainly, that the free-for-all vibe can get addicting and you’ll end up spending more nights out partying than you had planned to.

The city is also on the smaller end, so don’t expect to have dozens of venues to choose from.

I found 4-5 clubs I really enjoyed and stuck to those spots during my whole time in Santa Cruz.


– San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua –

Let’s kick it backpacker style for a minute.

I’m not a fan of the backpacker hotspots these days, but there’s no denying the party can be absolutely insane from time to time.

And nowhere I’ve been can compete with Sunday Funday in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Not even close!

Sunday Funday in San Juan del Sur is a memory anyone under 25 years old needs to make.

Seriously.

Book a flight.

It’s that amazing.

You basically get wasted from early in the morning until late at night – all the while being bused from around to different pools overlooking the ocean.

The views are stunning, the drinks are strong, and drugs are all around.

Plus, you get to party with hundreds upon hundreds of other young people throughout the day.

One. Of. The. Best. Parties. Of. My Life.

San Juan del Sur nightlife offers:

  • Sunday Funday memories
  • Stunning ocean views
  • Cheap prices
  • International vibes
  • So many people to meet

Overall, it’s one hell of a time and incredibly hedonistic.

That being said…

It’s more of a one-time thing for me. The backpacker scene is fun for a while, but it wears on you after some time.

Do it while you’re young.

Then graduate to better nightclubs in bigger cities. Places where strolling around in flip-flops and board shorts isn’t allowed.


– Playa del Carmen, Mexico –

Admittedly, I haven’t partied here in quite some time.

So I hope this information is still accurate. But I’m pretty sure the nightlife in Playa del Carmen is still damn good.

International vibes mixed with stunning Caribbean waters just a few feet away is more than enough to keep me entertained.

And the clubs here can be damn good. Hell, even world-class in some regards – especially when talking about the parties on the beach.

If you’re looking to meet people from all around the world, go out every single night, and swim away your hangovers…

Well, PDC is tough to top.

Plus, the city is surprisingly cheap for how popular it is on the international scene and just a short flight from the United States.

Playa del Carmen nightlife offers:

  • Massive clubs
  • Too many places to go
  • People from all over the world
  • Beach vibes
  • Daytime parties
  • Reasonable prices

The place might be the best party city on the beach throughout Latin America – njo including Brazil.

But…

Playa del Carmen has a drug problem. And there’s been shootings in the city over the past few years.

Aka it’s not as safe as it once was.

You’ll also have to deal with a few loud, drunken Americans acting like morons on holiday.


Honorable Mentions

You can find a damn good party almost anywhere in Latin America, especially when in the big cities.

Hell, even in small beach towns, you can often find some bumping nightlife every now and then.

With that in mind…

Here are a few other party cities in Latin America that didn’t make the cut but are still one hell of a time:

  • Cusco, Peru
  • Cancun, Mexico
  • Montanita, Ecuador
  • Mancora, Peru
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Other Party Cities in Latin America

Now, I haven’t been to every single city in the region. One guy can only handle so much nightlife in Latin America.

So I can only speculate on how the nightlife is in cities I haven’t had the pleasure of stepping foot in.

But I suspect you can have a damn good time enjoying la rumba in cities like:

  • Florianópolis, Brazil
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Praia da Pipa, Brazil
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Punta del Este, Uruguay
  • Antigua, Guatemala

A Gringo’s Guide to Nightlife in Latin America 

Got damn!

That turned out a little longer than expect.

But for you abject degenerates traveling around and looking for one hell of a party south of the border, look no further.

This list breaks down the best places to party in all of Latin America.

A true guide for any and every gringo looking for information about nightlife in Latin America.

Just note…

I am only one man, and as such, I only have one liver.

Thus, I may have missed a few spots due to hellacious hangovers and limited travel time.

So, what are your favorite party cities in Latin America? Where did I miss?

Sound off in the comments, marika.

P.S: No matter where you want to party in Latin America, learning a little Spanish is sure to help. Click here to get started!

5/5 (1 Review)
Jake D

Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Cory - March 6, 2019

What about Panama City?

Reply
    Jake D - March 7, 2019

    It’s decent.

    Definitely not the best Latin America has to offer.

    Reply
Chris - October 10, 2019

Is Santiago worth doing?

Reply
Leave a Reply: