The Top 10 Cities in Central and South America

Brazil, City of Rio de Janeiro, City Center, Elevated view of Largo da Carioca.

Our readers had heaps of praise for the best cities in Central and South America, but one word came up repeatedly: beauty. With their mix of old and new, these places continue to entrance Travel + Leisure readers.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisure asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated cities on their sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value.

Of course, we’ll always have Rio. “The people are friendly and there are a variety of international restaurants,” wrote one reader. “The nightlife is like no other, full of light and joy, including many carnivals and shows.” A few voters cautioned about the city’s safety, but as one reader gushed, “The character of the people, the music, and the beaches more than make up for it.” Buenos Aires won plaudits for its laid-back way of life and old-world allure. “The Paris of South America hasn’t lost her charm,” wrote one reader. “Buenos Aires is rich in culture, with many free events, like concerts and tango milongas. If you like steak and red wine, this is the place for you — the city has the best ice cream, too.”

Smaller cities received their fair share of accolades as well. One reader praised the festivals in Antigua Guatemala, recommending that fellow travelers “try to be there on a Sunday between Lent and Easter, because that’s when they have wonderful processions, in which men clad in purple robes carry floats that describe the Passion of Christ.” Of Mendoza, in the heart of Argentina’s wine country, one reader wrote of the “wonderful tasting experiences. The Argentines welcome visitors and are excited to educate about their wines. The food is amazing as well.” Of Quito, the capital of Ecuador, one voter adored the markets, with their “diverse and delicious fruits that I’ve never seen before.” And one reader recommended staying in the old part of Cartagena, Colombia, “where there are incredible restaurants — it’s also a good place to shop for emeralds.”

10. Valparaiso, Chile

Score: 78.25

Colored and steep neighborhood of Valparaiso, Chile

9. Lima, Peru

Score: 78.92

Landscapes of Lima city – Peru

See the rest here.