12 Best Party Destinations in South America

party destinations in south america nightlife

Sometimes, I use affiliate/sponsored links with my recommendations, which if bought through might earn me a few pennies at absolutely no extra cost to you. This helps with the cost of keeping this site alive so I can continue to guide you on your travels. Please remember that I would never ever ever recommend anything I don’t or wouldn’t use myself. Big thanks to each and every one of you who have trusted my recommendations so far! Lozzy x


While we all might like to kid ourselves that we’re travelling merely to get immersed in culture, make connections with locals and see the wonders of the world, few of us are strong enough to turn down a good bit of nightlife when it’s offered.

Luckily, there are party destinations in South America’s every corner, so you’ll never be short of somewhere to let your topknot down, especially around the time of New Year’s Eve, and if this region isn’t quite swinging it for you, you may want to check out the best spots for nightlife in Central America & Mexico, too.

After you’ve got the best party destinations in South America in the bag, you’ll also enjoy reading:

Below is the list of my favourite party destinations in South America, in no particular order. And since no nightlife spot is the same, I’ll let you know the general vibe of the parties found in each of these places, too. I’m bloody helpful like that.

But first, some FAQs on party destinations in South America.

cocktail barman bar nightlife party destinations in south america

South American nightlife FAQs

What should you wear for nightlife in South America?

If you’re wondering whether I packed a full dress-up wardrobe in my backpack to frequent some of the more high-end party destinations in South America, the answer is a solid ‘no’.

Coupled with some over-the-top makeup, a summer dress or jeans & a nice top with sandals (plus a leather jacket if in one of the colder party destinations in South America), I could make my usual backpack stuff work for most situations.

I was lucky that wearing bright-white trainers with a small platform (Fila Disruptor-style) was in fashion for most of the time I was in the region, and I do love me a bright-white trainer! Bringing small accessories like hoop earrings or a choker could turn a daytime outfit into a nightlife banger fairly easily.

Here’s me in Punta del Este, Uruguay, having had a full 6 minutes to get ready in a hostel before heading to a bar in one of the more Miami-fied party destinations in South America, favoured by Brazilian rich kids:

ovo punta del este nightlife party destinations in south america

For guys, jeans, an ironed t-shirt and trainers is fine for most party destinations in South America. Never, ever turn up to a nice establishment in shorts or flip-flops.

What’s the drinking age in South America?

The legal drinking age is 18 in every country of South America except Paraguay, where you need to be at least 20 years old.

You very rarely get ID’ed as a foreigner in South America, but the upper-end places tend to be a lot stricter, and while pueblos are generally fine it’s not unheard of in bigger cities that police patrols are out looking for a reason to fine an establishment.

Either way, it’s best to always carry an ID with you – take your driver’s license, NOT your passport. Passport always stays in your hostel locker or behind reception.

So, the best party destinations in South America:

Valparaíso, Chile

While there is obviously nightlife in Chile’s capital, Santiago, no one would argue that the place in Chile to go and party is Valparaíso, which is known for its young hipster population and bars with views over the whole bay.

It tends to draw a youthful crowd, and it’s famed as one of the best party destinations in South America on New Year’s Eve.

The fireworks that night are spectacular, and mimicked all around the bay!

Party vibes: intimate bars with great views before heading to sticky-floored clubs

party destinations in south america nightlife valparaiso chile

Medellín, Colombia

It’s no secret that one of the best things to do in Medellín is to party the night away. Various sectors of the city offer different vibes, with the most popular being the lofty heights of Parque Lleras in El Poblado barrio.

El Poblado is crazy-gentrified and heaving with both tourists and rich locals, but its bar-lined streets guarantee a raucous nightlife experience.

Alternatively, there is the much less polished and way more local-feeling La 70, an area in Laureles known for its cheap drinks and salsa DJs.

Party vibes: everything from slick city rooftops to neon-lighted salsa bars

party destinations in south america nightlife parque lleras medellin


Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena is less of a party city and more of a city where you can always find a party.

As if things weren’t hot enough on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, the temperature gets turned up in many of Cartagena’s best bars, clubs and rooftops of an evening.

This South American party destination seems to be becoming more popular with bachelor and bachelorette parties now that there’s a direct flight from Miami.

Party vibes: Salsa and bachata with a vibrant Caribbean twist

best party destinations in south america cities cartagena colombia bar

Máncora, Peru

Peru isn’t really known for its beaches, which is surprising for a country with 1,500 miles of South Pacific coastline.

What Peru does get talked about for though is Máncora, a growing beach town that attracts thousands of party-going surfers every year.

The parties tend to revolve around some of the larger hostels like Loki, but there is also a small Magaluf-esque strip to the south of the town.

There’s still plenty of peace to be had along the sand, though!

Party vibes: 18-34 style surfer hostel bars with just a sprinkle of tackiness

party destinations in south amerifca máncora peru beach

Montañita, Ecuador

This is another of the surf-town party destinations in South America. Montañita is similar to Máncora, except the parties are found in one of the many booming multi-storey bars instead of at hostels.

Start off your evening of nightlife by watching the sunset from the Montañita Brewing Company on the beach, then sip a lethal cocktail in one of the temporary-looking 4-man bars/shacks along the side of the road, then shimmy off to a larger bar or club.

Parties often finish on the beach to watch the sunrise. Locals flock from the larger cities to join in with the backpackers for this side of Ecuadorian nightlife.

Party vibes: beachy nightlife that locals have actually been able to cash in on

party destinations in south america nightlife

Rosario, Argentina

Come party in studentville! Rosario, Argentina is home to a huge number of university students, and they bring the city alive at night-time.

There are bars for everyone here, and it’s known as one of the most welcoming party destinations in South America for the LGBTQ+ community.

Wash away the hangover with a pedalo round a park lake the next day.

Party vibes: inclusive nightlife with a young crowd

best party destinations in south america cities rosario argentina growler bar

Buenos Aires, Argentina

We all know that us Europeans can’t resist a good bit of nightlife, so as one of the most European-feeling cities in the region, Buenos Aires certainly needs a mention in my list of party destinations in South America.

With distinct hipster Shoreditch vibes coming out of its Palermo barrio, the Argentinian capital offers craft ale bars, speak-easies and themed clubs.

Just like Europe, it is a little more pricey than most of the other party destinations in South America, but well worth the pesos to absorb the vibrant atmosphere.

May as well kick things off with a wine-tasting pre-drinks!

Party vibes: hipster and smooth with a European feel

party destinations in south america nightlife buenos aires


Punta del Este, Uruguay

Used as a summer playground by Argentinians and Brazilians alike, Uruguay’s Punta del Este is a bustle of nightlife – if you go during the right season.

Take a few nice outfits and fill your wallet to get into one of the swankier bars such as Ovo in the Punta del Este Casino, or head to something smaller along the peninsula.

To continue the party through the day, book yourself a hotel with a pool club.

Party vibes: higher-end urban holiday frequented by Brazilian celebrities

punta del este party destinations in South America nightlife uruguay

Porto Seguro, Brazil

To be fair, Porto Seguro is more of a party destination for South American newly-grads, but I’ll give it a little mention anyhoo. Cheap and tacky beach resorts meet boozy afternoon dancing in the legendary Porto Seguro.

On the coast of the state of Bahia, the city offers a lot of colourful history and paradise beaches, too.

Party vibes: Gen Z celebrating their graduation with some way-too-sweet cocktails on the beach

best party destinations in south america cities nye porto seguro brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

When I call out Rio de Janeiro as one of the greatest party destinations in South America, your first thought is probably carnival, right? But what if I told you that Rio is still a bangin’ source of nightlife even outside carnival?!

Almost every night of the week, you can find a street party around the city, and the clubs and bars on offer are top-notch.

You can find intimacy in a samba bar in Lapa, football chants in the Irish bars of Leblon, swankiness in Copacabana or the grimy beats of Brazilian funk at a packed nightclub in the centre.

Party vibes: anything and everything!

Lapa street party Rio de Janeiro safety in lapa arches


Buzios, Brazil

Another Argentinian playground! Buzios is like a little Spanish holiday resort, equipped with a pedestrianised touristic zone, restaurants built over the beach and a few nightclubs that’ll take you through to dawn.

There are plenty of boozy options during the day too, such as booze cruises out to some of Brazil’s most beautiful beaches over in Arraial do Cabo, so it’s a solid candidate for the best party destinations in South America.

As evidence, below is my sister living her best life with a far-too-strong caipirinha.

Party vibes: Argentinians gone wild in a sparkling clean resort town

party destinations in south america nightlife buzios

Salvador, Brazil

Ok, ok, ok, ok, just one more Brazilian addition to the best party destinations in South America. Salvador brings a totally different flavour to partying, with its heavy West African influences and colourful, multi-leveled cityscape.

A great night out in Salvador starts with watching the sunset and eating Brazilian cheese from a street oven with friends on the grass under the lighthouse, and then heading into either the historical centre or Rio Vermelho area for some refreshing drinks and steamy dancing – with the distinctive rhythm of Afro-Brazilian drums if you bump into one of the parade groups.

Party vibes: a mesh of rich cultures with a colourful backdrop that makes it impossible not to join in

salvador nightlife: best party destinations in south america: party cities

Got any more party destinations in South America to add to this list? Let me know in the comments section below! I hope you have an incredible time dancing your way across the region – and don’t let anyone tell you that’s not the ‘real’ purpose of travelling.

If anything, it’s an easier way to connect with locals’ modern-day culture… Just don’t get so hungover you puke on a market stall the next day cuz ain’t nobody got tiempo for that.


Now you’ve digested the best party destinations in South America, you’ll also enjoy reading:

best of latam travel destination guides blog


Liked this post on the best party destinations in South America?

Save it as a pin on Pinterest to be able to find again later! And make sure to sign up to my mailing list to get more Latin America travel tips straight to your inbox!

party destinations in South America nightlife


Last Updated on 11 February 2024 by Cuppa to Copa Travels

Leave a comment :)

Scroll to Top