Top 10 Most Romantic Cities in South America
|Top 10 most romantic cities in South America|
South America, fourth largest of the world’s continents. It is the southern portion of the landmass generally referred to as the New World, the Western Hemisphere, or simply the Americas.
The continent is compact and roughly triangular in shape, being broad in the north and tapering to a point—Cape Horn, Chile—in the south.
South America is known for its love and its show of passion. This is evident in every aspect of life ranging from food, to greetings, to dancing and more. Take a look at these 10 most romantic cities in South America that you can spend your honeymoon there, according to Your Top Destination and Culture Trip websites.
List of Top 10 Most Romantic Cities in South America
10. El Calafate
9. Rio de Janeiro
3. Buenos Aires
What are the top 10 most romantic cities in South America?
10. El Calafate
|Photo: SC Travel Adventures|
Named for the berry that, once eaten, guarantees your return to Patagonia, El Calafate hooks you with another irresistible attraction: Glaciar Perito Moreno, 50 miles (80km) away in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. This magnificent must-see has converted once-quaint El Calafate into a chic fur-trimmed destination. With a range of traveler services, it’s still a fun place to be. Its strategic location between El Chaltén and Torres del Paine (Chile) makes it an inevitable stop for those in transit.
Located 199 miles (320km) northwest of Río Gallegos, and 20 miles (32km) west of RP 11’s junction with northbound RN 40, El Calafate flanks the southern shore of Lago Argentino. Its main strip is dotted with souvenir and chocolate shops, restaurants and tour offices. Beyond here, pretensions melt away quickly: muddy roads lead to ad hoc developments and open pastures.
January and February are the most popular (and costly) months to visit, but shoulder-season visits are growing steadily.
9. Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro, in full Cidade de São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, byname Rio, city and port, capital of the estado (state) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is located on the Atlantic Ocean, in the southeastern part of the tropical zone of South America, and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most beautiful and interesting urban centres.
Looking out from the 2329ft (710m) peak of Corcovado, you will see why Rio is called the Cidade Maravilhosa. Lushly forested mountains fringe the city, shimmering beaches trace the shoreline and a string of tiny islands lie scattered along the seafront. Far from being mere cinematic backdrop, this seaside beauty hosts outstanding outdoor adventures: hiking in the Tijuca rainforest, cycling alongside the lake and beaches, sailing across Baía de Guanabara (Guanabara Bay), and surfing, rock climbing and hang gliding amid one of the world's most stunning urban landscapes.
Rio's beaches have long seduced visitors. Copacabana Beach became a symbol of Rio during the 1940s, when international starlets would jet in for the weekend. Hogging the spotlight these days is Ipanema Beach, its fame and beauty unabated since bossa nova stars Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes introduced the world to its allure in the 1960s. For cariocas (residents of Rio), the beach is Rio's backyard – a playground that's free and open to all, offering endless enjoyment in the form of football, volleyball, surfing, snacking, drinking or simply relaxing amid the passing parade of people.
|Photo: Perú Travel|
Arequipa is dominated by its volcanoes. This is apparent in the walls of its streets, buildings and churches; in the wonderful geography that has created a fertile valley and one of the world’s deepest canyons. Imagine yourself enjoying the warm waters of a thermal pool as you look out towards green mountains crowned with perpetual snows.
Arequipa is a place you won’t want to leave, thanks to its unique cuisine, its history, and its marvelous cordiality. Arequipa, the legendary White City, where its noble history can be felt in the air, beneath the eternal watchful gaze of its volcanoes.
Guarded by three dramatic volcanoes, the city's resplendent setting makes an obvious launchpad for trekking, rafting and visiting the Cañón del Colca. The Unesco World Heritage–listed city center is dressed in baroque buildings carved from sillar (white volcanic rock) stone, giving Arequipa the nickname 'Ciudad Blanca' (White City). Its centerpiece, a majestic cathedral with the ethereal El Misti rising behind it, is worth a visit alone.
Pretty cityscapes aside, Arequipa has played a fundamental role in Peru’s gastronomic renaissance and dining here – in communal picantería eateries or tastebud-provoking fusion restaurants – is a highlight.
The headstrong city has produced one of Latin America’s most influential novelists, Mario Vargas Llosa. Juanita, the ice-preserved, sacrificed Inca mummy, is another Arequipan treasure.
Bohemian and colorful, Valparaiso’s maze of hills has long inspired poets and writers. You’ll discover something new at every turn: a gem of a building, a remarkable art gallery or some little gastronomic ‘find’.
Revel in the crazy architecture of this World Heritage City. Stroll along its narrow streets, climb its endless staircases, ride its historic funicular elevators and enjoy panoramic views from its many lofty lookout points. Feel the excitement in the air at one of the city’s many carnivals, or celebrate New Year in spectacular style at Valparaiso’s ocean-front fireworks party.
Don’t forget to explore the port and fishing wharves, where you’ll get a real feel for Chile’s quirky seafaring side. Buy or sample freshly-caught seafood at the market and enjoy the fishermen’s banter!
The ‘Jewel of the Pacific,’ as Valparaíso is known, is also home to Chile’s legislative Congress and the headquarters of the Chilean navy. Admire these historic buildings and soak up the country’s maritime history!
|Photo: Air Liquide|
Chile is nature on a colossal scale, but travel here is surprisingly easy, if you don't rush it.
Preposterously thin and unreasonably long, Chile stretches from the belly of South America to its foot, reaching from the driest desert on earth to vast southern glacial fields. Diverse landscapes unfurl over a 4300km stretch: parched dunes, fertile valleys, volcanoes, ancient forests, massive glaciers and fjords. There's wonder in every detail and nature on a symphonic scale. For the traveler, it's mind-boggling to find this great wilderness so intact. The human quest for development could imperil these treasures sooner than we think. Yet for now, Chile guards some of the most pristine parts of our planet, and they shouldn't be missed.
Before wine became an export commodity for the luxury set, humble casks had their place on every Chilean table and grandparents tended backyard orchards. Now Chile has become a worldwide producer catering to ever more sophisticated palates. Rich reds, crisp whites and floral rosés – there is a varietal that speaks to every mood and occasion. But at home, it's different. Chileans embrace the concept of la buena mesa. This is not about fancy. Beyond a good meal, it’s great company, the leisure of overlapping conversations with uncorkings, and the gaze that's met at the clink of two glasses. ¡Salud!
The southern half of El Nuevo Cuyo is taken up by Mendoza Province. Within its borders, you find dramatic mountain landscapes, where you can try all sorts of adventure pursuits, from mountain climbing to white-water rafting. Its lively capital, Mendoza, supplies much-wanted creature comforts after treks, climbs into the Andes or a day of white-water rafting. While Mendoza Province shares many things with San Juan and La Rioja – bleak wildernesses backed by snow-peaked mountains, remarkably varied flora and fauna, an incredibly sunny climate prone to sudden temperature changes, and pockets of rich farmland mainly used to produce beefy red wines – it differs in the way it exploits them. Mendoza leads the way in tourism just as it does in the wine industry, combining professionalism with a taste for the avant-garde. The two industries come together for Mendoza’s nationally famous Fiesta de la Vendimia, or Wine Harvest Festival, in early March, a slightly kitsch but exuberant bacchanal at which a carnival queen is elected from candidates representing every town in the province.
Argentina is now the world’s fifth-largest wine producer (after Italy, France, Spain and the US), with three-quarters of the country’s total production coming from Mendoza Province, focused on Maipú and Luján de Cuyo in the south of the city. San Rafael, La Rioja and San Juan are also major wine-growing centres.
|Photo: Lonely Planet|
A capital city high in the Andes, Quito is dramatically situated, squeezed between mountain peaks whose greenery is concealed by the afternoon mist. Modern apartment buildings and modest concrete homes creep partway up the slopes, and busy commercial thoroughfares lined with shops and choked with traffic turn into peaceful neighborhoods on Sundays. Warm and relaxed, traditional Ecuadorian Sierra culture – overflowing market stands, shamanistic healers, fourth-generation hatmakers – mixes with a vibrant and sophisticated culinary and nightlife scene.
The city's crown jewel is its 'Old Town,' a Unesco World Heritage Site packed with colonial monuments and architectural treasures. No sterile, museum mile, its handsomely restored blocks – with 17th-century facades, picturesque plazas and magnificent art-filled churches – pulse with everyday life. Travelers, and many locals too, head to the 'gringolandia' of Mariscal Sucre, a compact area of guesthouses, travel agencies, multicultural eateries and teeming bars.
3. Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires, city and capital of Argentina. The city is coextensive with the Federal District (Distrito Federal) and is situated on the shore of the Río de la Plata, 150 miles (240 km) from the Atlantic Ocean. Buenos Aires is one of Latin America’s most important ports and most populous cities, as well as the national centre of commerce, industry, politics, culture, and technology. According to tradition, Spanish colonizer Pedro de Mendoza established the first settlement there, which he named Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Aire (“Our Lady St. Mary of the Good Air”).
BA's food scene is increasingly dynamic, but for many travelers it's the city's carnivorous pleasures that shine. Satisfying a craving for juicy steaks isn't hard to do in the land that has perfected grilling wonderfully flavorful sides of beef, washed down with a generous glass of malbec or bonarda. Parrillas (steakhouses) sit on practically every corner and will offer up myriad cuts, from bife de chorizo (sirloin) to vacio (flank steak) to ojo de bife (rib eye). But leave room for ice cream, if you can – a late-night cone of dulce de leche (caramel) helado can't be topped.
Look closely: this city is beautiful. Sure, it might look like a concrete jungle from certain angles, but stroll through the streets, paying attention to the architecture around you, and you'll soon be won over. French- and Italian-style palaces grab the limelight, but you'll see interesting architectural details in the buildings of even low-key, local barrios. These days the beauty of these traditional neighborhoods is further enhanced by colorful murals painted by artists involved in the city's vibrant street-art scene. For these talented individuals, the city is their canvas.
|Photo: Green Pearls® Hotels|
Cusco, known as the archaeological capital of the Americas, is home to a storied history that included the rise and fall of the Inca Empire followed by the invasion of Spanish conquistadors in the early 1500s. Today, remnants of both eras share the narrow city streets – from centuries-old baroque cathedrals to exquisite stone masonry – creating a rare collision of Andean and Spanish styles that makes Cusco like no other place on earth.
The city has come out of the shadow of Peru’s capital, Lima, in recent decades. Millions of tourists make the pilgrimage from Cusco and the Sacred Valley to get a glimpse of South America's greatest spectacle: Machu Picchu. Discovered by American explorer Hiram Bingham in the early 20th century, the fabled ruins are one of the most impressive architectural feats of the ancient world. If you're planning a visit to Machu Picchu while in Cusco, make the most of your time with these tips. But don't let this UNESCO World Heritage Site be the only thing you see while in Cusco. This enchanting city offers more: from the glimmering Qorikancha (Temple of the Sun) to the scrumptious Andean cuisine. It only takes a day to be charmed by this significant Peruvian city and all its wonders.
Visitors to the Inca capital get a glimpse of the richest heritage of any South American city. Married to 21st-century hustle, Cuzco can be a bit disconcerting (note the McDonald's set in Inca stones). Soaring rents on the Plaza de Armas and in trendy San Blas are increasingly pushing locals to the margins. Foreign guests undoubtedly have the run of the roost, so showing respect toward today’s incarnation of this powerhouse culture is imperative.
|Photo: Lonely Planet|
Cartagena de Indias is the undisputed queen of the Caribbean coast, a historic city of superbly preserved beauty lying within an impressive 13km of centuries-old colonial stone walls. Cartagena's Old Town is a Unesco World Heritage Site – a maze of cobbled alleys, balconies covered in bougainvillea, and massive churches that cast their shadows across leafy plazas.
This is a place to drop all sightseeing routines. Instead of trying to tick off all the sights, just stroll through the Old Town day and night. Soak up the atmosphere, pausing to ward off the brutal heat and humidity in one of the city's many excellent bars and restaurants.
Holding its own against Brazil's Ouro Preto and Peru's Cuzco for the continent's most enthralling and impressively preserved historic city, Cartagena is hard to walk away from – it seizes you in its aged clutches and refuses to let go.
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