Nightlife in Latin America | Top 15 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, living the high life while being a functional alcoholic. There’s no doubt I enjoyed a little of La rumba in South America.
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 Panama City. 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 ten words, 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.
And 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 a Tuesday night. And I was taking advantage. Hell, I was in heaven. I was 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 Panama more than lived up to their reputations.
Un caballero siempre es discreto.
Top 15 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 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:
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. 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.
Where to Stay in Bogota, Colombia?
Located just a few steps from the debaucherous action of Zona T, this comfortable little local hotel provides proximity to the hedonism yet it’s quiet enough to get a good night’s sleep.
The modern, clean, and spacious rooms are vastly superior to a hostel if you want to bring a special someone home — and the reception staff don’t seem to mind at all 😉
The Best Hotel For Nightlife in Zona T is: Hotel Saint Simon
- Read More: Nightlife in Bogota, Colombia
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
- 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.
Where to Stay in Lima, Peru?
It’s more than a little bit pricey, but there’s one hotel that is the BEST in Lima.
Located just steps from Larcomar, the best mall in Miraflores, the spot features an amazing swimming pool with an ocean view, full world-class gym, and so much more.
Yep, this is it…
The best hotel in Lima is the J.W. Marriott Larcomar.
That hotel is insane. Legit one of the nicest hotels in all of South America. However, it is NOT cheap and may be out of your budget. It was out of mine for more than one night.
Luckily, I have another recommendation for anyone visiting Lima with la rumba on their minds.
This spot has a great location too. Couple minutes walking from Parque Kennedy, along with Larcomar. The rooms are pristine, the price is low, and the rooftop terrace ideal.
My favorite budget hotel in Miraflores is by far Suites Larco 656.
- Read More: Nightlife in Lima, Peru
Mexico City, Mexico
I only went out a couple of times during my two trips to 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 megacity.
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. And the sheer number of different bars and clubs is genuinely 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
- 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 don’t have to shoulder check a dozen people to get to the bar, that’s not a place I’m too excited to go back to.
Where to Stay in Mexico City?
Mexico City is just too big to chomp down on in one bite. But I think I’ve found the absolute best hotel for most partiers. Stunningly modern boutique decor, the absolute best location, perfect park views, delicious breakfast, on-site bar, and so much more.
This is truly the place to be in CDMX…
The best hotel I've found in Mexico City is Hotel Parque Mexico Boutique.
- Read More: Mexico City Nightlife
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.
I enchanted by the favelas and fell in love with funky music, the 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 love 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 people
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 so you’ve got to 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’ve got to 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.
Where to Stay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil?
Wedged halfway between the world-famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, this sleek little number affords easy access to both. The interior design is modern and stylish, while a blazing A/C and blackout blinds let you sleep off your hangover all damn day.
Overall, you won’t find anything that offers modern decor and this good of a location…for cheaper!
The ideal hotel for partiers in Rio de Janeiro: Fullano Bed & Breakfast
I only went out a few nights in Havana, Cuba. While the city is stunning, the crumbling buildings and depression caused by communism was a downer on my time there.
That 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 real 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.
Where to Stay in Havana, Cuba?
This charming mid-range joint sits in the heart of Havana Old Town; an easy late-night stumble from the city’s rowdiest bars and clubs. The authentic option gives visitors a taste of Cuba’s past, with a vintage fit-out that takes you back to the roaring 50s.
It’s no-frills but comfortable enough in a pinch.
Looking for the perfect part spot in Havana? This is it: Hotel Caribbean
- Read More: Traveling to Cuba
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 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
- Low 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 a decent-sized group and know the scene well. People also go out in big groups, which can be annoying.
Where to Stay in Medellin, Colombia?
The ‘textbook’ definition of a chic boutique, this funky four-star hotel ticks all the boxes in my books. A convenient location mere minutes from Parque Lineras ensures you’re always near the action, and the ultramodern decor and luxe amenities are on point.
It’s a wee bit pricey but well worth the splurge.
The best hotel for partiers in Medellin is: Click Clack Hotel
- Read more: Medellin, Colombia Nightlife
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
- 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 got to 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.
Where to Stay in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic?
Situated in the heart of Zona Colonial not far from the best bars and clubs, Hodelpa Nicolás de Ovando offers a super comfortable space to rest and relax after a crazy night out on the tiles.
The old Spanish-era edifice is endearing too, with enough charming colonial vibes to enjoy. Oh, and the swimming pool is perfect for hungover days.
The best hotel for party animals in Zona Colonial is Hodelpa Nicolás de Ovando.
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:
- Anything goes here
- Lots of energy
- Fun local people
- Not international at all
- Cheap as hell
There are 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 enjoyed and stuck to those spots during my whole time in Santa Cruz.
Where to Stay in Santa Cruz, Bolivia?
Most Santa Cruz nightlife revolves around the city center within Ring 1, A.K.A Casco Viejo.
And the most relaxed hotel in the region is Cosmopolitano, a funky boutique with chic design and a refreshing plunge pool. In case you need to clock a few hours between benders, you’ll get a fully functional workspace included in the deal.
The best place for partiers in Santa Cruz de la Sierra is: Cosmopolitano Hotel Boutique
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 now. 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
- Low prices
- International vibes
- So many people to meet
Overall, it’s one hell of a time and incredibly hedonistic.
That 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.
Where to Stay in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua?
Located just a hop and skip from the main beach, Nuestra Casa is within easy reach of all the craziest after-dark action.
Best of all, the sophisticated family-run hotel makes for an awesome crashpad to chillax after a big night on the sauce, with rooftop hammocks, a cool pool, and squeaky clean rooms enhancing the vibe.
Cheap dorms are available in addition to the privates, but this is hardly a hippie backpacker’s hovel. It’s solid overall.
The ideal spot to sleep off a hangover here is: Nuestra Casa
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 — not 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.
Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen, Mexico?
Despite the stiff competition, this place gets my vote for the best mid-range digs in PDC–especially for those in search of all-night fiestas.
The stylish hotel sits in the heart of downtown near the coolest bars, and each well-appointed apartment has ample space to recover from a big night out. Of course, you could just keep the good times rolling in your own private studio 😉
The ideal spot to stay in Playa del Carmen these days: Condohotel Fabiola
Cusco isn’t all about sacred Inca sites and hikes through snow-capped mountains — this city knows how to party hard. Almost all the action revolves around the pretty Plaza de Armas, so grab yourself a hotel there and get ready to get down and dirty.
Like many other touristy places in South America, party hostels rule the roost in Cusco, with Wild Rover and Loki pulling in most backpacking punters. Thankfully, you don’t have to stay there to party at the bar.
Cusco nightlife offers:
- Cheap booze
- High altitude hangovers
- Lots of clubs near the plaza
- Gringo hunters
- Party hostels for the backpacking crowd
Ready to book the best hotel in Cusco? Just click here.
Sure, it’s not exactly off the beaten track, but Cancun in Mexico is one hell of a good time.
During Spring Break, hordes of party-hearty college students overrun the town, turning its main beach into a beer-fuelled war zone. Grab an all-inclusive hotel resort package and watch the all-day carnage unfold. Outside of these hedonistic two weeks, Cancun is still pretty crazy.
Most of the action centers around the bars on the main beach, and there are quite a few super clubs to check out–think Senor Frogs and Coco Loco.
Cancun nightlife offers:
- Crazy Spring Break action
- An American vibe
- Lots and lots of Corona
- Big parties all year round
- All-inclusive hotel resorts on the beach
The best spot to stay in Cancun? Mayan Monkey Hostel Cancún
If surfing by day and boozing by night sounds like your idea of bliss, then make a beeline for Montanita, Ecuador.
South America’s answer to San Juan del Sur gets packed out with thirsty backpackers all year round who come to indulge in Ecuador’s wildest party scene. The surf here is pretty damned good, as well, so you can cruise a few barrels when you’re not too hungover from the debauchery of the night before.
Montanita is slowly but surely getting more trendy, with yoga studios and acai-berry-bowl-selling cafes popping up each year.
Montanita nightlife offers:
- Cheap alcohol
- Illicit party snacks
- Beach babes galore
- A strong backpacking scene
- A modest ex-pat community
Here's where to Stay in Montanita: Hotel Kundalini
Peru’s beaches are nothing to write home about — with dreary grey skies and bone-dry Atacama dunes defining most of the Pacific Coast.
But that’s until you get to Mancora, a palm tree-fringed oasis of crystal clear water and big barreling waves. The popular little surfy spot at the far north of the country is easily Peru’s biggest coastal drawcard and has developed a crazy nightlife scene to satiate the thirsty masses who visit each year.
Loki del Mar serves as the epicenter of the party scene, although the crowd kicks off around midnight to check out a banging local club.
Mancora nightlife offers:
- Beachfront views
- Cheap Peruvian beer
- An international crowd
- Lots of local Peruvian partygoers, especially during busy periods
Here's where to Stay in Mancora: Loki del Mar
Buenos Aires, Argentina
As the ‘Paris of the South’, Buenos Aires is a sophisticated capital full of theaters, bookstores, and upper-class tango halls.
But it’s also got a definite degenerate streak, as its less snooty inhabitants love nothing more than indulging in a booze-fuelled big night out on the tiles.
From sleek plaza side cafes to booming all-night megaclubs, Buenos Aires has got it all. Note that the scene here starts super late so don’t even bother turning up at the club until 2 a.m. Of course, you can always pregame at a party hotel or a local bar if you need to wet your whistle in a hurry.
The Best Place to Stay in Buenos Aires: Milhouse Hostel Avenue
Other Party Cities in Latin America?
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 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:
- Florianópolis, Brazil
- Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Praia da Pipa, Brazil
- Punta del Este, Uruguay
- Antigua, Guatemala
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Gringo’s Guide to Nightlife in Latin America
Got damn! That turned out a little longer than expected. 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, marica.
Que te vaya bien,
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!