The Trendiest Neighbourhoods in South America

A famous street art in Barranco
A famous street art in Barranco | Mia Spingola / © Culture Trip
Photo of Harry Stewart
19 February 2018

South America has its fair share of happening cities, from Bogota to Buenos Aires and everything in between. And each of these buzzing metropolises has its own bohemian enclave, a notoriously trendy barrio that attracts hordes of stylish socialites. Here are the best on the continent.

Barranco, Lima, Peru

Move over Miraflores because Barranco is the new cool kid in Lima, thanks to an eclectic mix of boutique stores and hip cafes that are a hit with the bohemian crowd. Technicolored art-deco mansions that overlook the sea and a creative street art scene just add to the appeal.

Barranco, Lima, Perú | Mia Spingola / © Culture Trip

Bella Vista, Santiago, Chile

Packed full of happening watering holes and funky restaurants, the youthful hangout of Bellavista is a hit among Santiago’s expansive student population. The fact that it’s within an easy walking distance of some of the city’s biggest universities certainly doesn’t hurt.

Bellavista, Santiago, Chile | © Gubin Yury/Shutterstock

Cerro Alegre, Valparaiso, Chile

The Chilean port city of Valparaiso is famous for its street art, boasting a colorful array of artistic creations that attract a loyal following of artsy youth. And although these artworks can be admired on many of the city’s cerros (hills), the best of the lot are along the vivid Calle Templeman in Cerro Alegre.

Valparaiso | © amira_a/Flickr

San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

La Boca might be crazy colorful and Palermo decidedly upmarket, but it’s the colonial neighborhood of San Telmo where Buenos Aires’ cool kids hang out. Expect to find fascinating flea markets and uber-chic boutiques right throughout this buzzing hipster haven.

The flea market in San Telmo in Buenos Aires | © Gary Yim / Shutterstock

Sopocachi, La Paz, Bolivia

Bolivia may not spring to mind as the most bohemian South American nation, yet the trendsetters of La Paz are doing their best to change perceptions. Cool cafes, bars, and boutiques are popping up all over the city, with the fashionable central neighborhood of Sopocachi having some serious cache.

Sopocachi district in La Paz downtown, Bolivia | © Elisa Locci/Shutterstock

La Floresta, Quito, Ecuador

Give the backpacker ghetto of La Mariscal a miss and head for the more modern La Floresta instead. High rise apartments rub shoulders with neo-colonial mansions in this upmarket district, a place where dining options range from fancy hotels to urban street eats.

View of Quito, Ecuador | © sunsinger/Shutterstock

Santa Teresa, Rio de Janiero, Brazil

Copacabana and Ipanema are the best places to go to the beach, while Santa Teresa is a must for those in search of a funky, bohemian vibe. Arrive at this scenic hillside suburb in a vintage tram and spend some time perusing its eclectic selection of art galleries and locally run handicraft boutiques.

Santa Teresa area of Rio de Janiero | © Kanokratnok/Shutterstock

Vila Madalena, São Paulo, Brazil

Of São Paulo’s countless urban regions, none are as fashionable as Vila Madalena. Quirky shops, trendy bars, and some interesting avant-garde art galleries compete for space in these mural-lined streets, while its weekend open-air market offers an excellent alternative shopping vibe.

Vila Madalena, São Paulo, Brazil | © EQRoy/Shutterstock

Usaquén, Bogota, Colombia

Famous for its large weekend open-air handicraft market and a plethora of stylish bars and cafes, Usaquén is a must for any fashionista visiting the Colombian capital of Bogota. Stunning colonial architecture and quaint cobblestone streets are all part of the charm.

Usaquén | © Rosalba Tarazona/Flickr

Patio Bonito, Medellin, Colombia

A subsection of the famous El Poblado district, the largely residential Patio Bonito is awash with hipster cafes and eateries plus a smattering of uber cool co-working spaces that are a hit with the digital nomad crowd. For a crazy night out, El Poblado is just a short trip away.

Patio Bonito | © Secretaría de Movilidad de Medellín/Flickr

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