Top 11 Destinations in Latin America + Where to Stay

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Latin America is generally understood to consist of the entire continent of South America in addition to Mexico, Central America, and the islands of the Caribbean whose inhabitants speak a Romance language. Recent Airbnb data revealed that this region is a popular trend among U.S. travelers based on the number of searchers on the platform. If a Latin American vacation is something you’ve been dreaming of but you aren’t sure which destination to choose, this list might help you narrow it down. To help make booking the entire trip easier, you’ll even find the top rentals for your stay.

San Juan, Puerto Rico
Old San Juan district of San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Why Stay Here: A popular Caribbean destination with white sands and turquoise waters, especially among Americans with no need for a passport.

Top Airbnbs: Treehouse with a Floating Deck at La BotanicaSolar Powered Los Balcones on Sol | Stunning Ocean View 2 Bedroom at Old San Juan

A stay in San Juan brings the opportunity to discover history while enjoying access to beautiful beaches too. Old San Juan is especially alluring with its cobblestone streets, pastel-painted colonial buildings, and grand fortresses. With 500 years of Spanish history, there are plenty of historic charms and a long list of outstanding eateries. You’ll find many of them along Fortaleza Street known as “Restaurant Row.”

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Convento De Los Dominicos, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Why Stay Here: The Dominican Republic’s capital, and the largest city by population in the Caribbean, offers the sounds of salsa, merengue, and bachata that drift from Malecon nightclubs, romantic cafes, and rich colonial history.

Top Airbnbs: Luxurious Rooftop Lounge Ocean View

Discover the “real” Dominican Republic with a stay in Santo Domingo. It’s home to the oldest street, the first stronghold, and the first church in the Americas. While it sits on the Caribbean Sea, exploring Zona Colonial is the must-do. Partially barricaded by stone walls, with baroque architecture and cobblestone streets, this is where Columbus settled in the New World. While it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it also hosts plenty of bars and eateries. The waterfront area (Malecon) is worth exploring and staying after dark for merengue and bachata dancing.

Tulum, Mexico
beautiful beach in Tulum

Tulum, Mexico

Why Stay Here: A fabulous alternative to Mexico’s more touristy spots with white sandy beaches and pre-Columbian Mayan ruins. 

Top Airbnbs: Private Jungle Penthouse ~ Aldea ZamaSanah Villa with Private Pool | Insta-Worthy Home with Pool, 24/7 Security & Concierge

Relax on powder sugar-like beaches where giant sea turtles roam, snorkel, swim in surreal cenotes, and visit ancient ruins with the Tulum area home to castillos and temples that date back to the 13th-century. The renowned Tulum ruins are the only archaeological site to have been built overlooking the sea, set atop a tall cliff. The town itself is known for its bohemian feel, with plenty of shops and eateries to enjoy away from the big tourist resorts.

Cancun, Mexico
The Hotel Zone district of Cancun, Mexico

Cancun, Mexico

Why Stay Here: A world-famous tourist destination with lots of luxuries, exuberant nightlife, and beautiful beaches.

Top Airbnbs: GrandeLuxe Family Home-WiFi Xbox TV Patio PrivPool| Luxury Apartment 102 w/pool & gym by Puerto CancúnCasa Santosh South Isla Mujeres Pool+AC+Rooftop

While most tourists stay in Cancun’s swanky hotels and resorts, there are plenty of rentals available here or just a few miles away that provide an alternative to the crowds, opportunities to save on dining, or just enjoy your own place, perhaps with a private pool and chef services. El Centro, the downtown area, offers a more authentic Mexican atmosphere in its markets, restaurants, bars, and clubs. Of course, the pristine white sand beaches are a highlight, with coral reefs and plenty of marine life just offshore for snorkeling and diving.

Mexico City, Mexico
Aerial view of Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico

Why Stay Here: One of the best destinations in Mexico and all of Latin America for architecture, museums, markets, dining, and city parks.

Top Airbnbs: Loft with Private Terrace in the Heart of Condesa| Pretty Pretty Pretty Apt Indoor-Out Space in La Roma Sunny Spacious Apartment in the Heart of Condesa 

There’s so much to love about Mexico City. It’s incredibly scenic, surrounded by volcanic mountains, and has a 5-square-mile UNESCO World Heritage historic center, and many gorgeous green spaces, including Chapultepec Park, the oldest and largest urban park in Latin America. The park itself offers many attractions, including the National Museum of Anthropology, the country’s most-visited museum.

Andros, The Bahamas
Sunset on island of Andros in the Bahamas

Andros, The Bahamas

Why Stay Here: The Bahamas is a country of some 700 breathtaking tropical islands extending 760 miles from the Florida coast to Haiti. Andros is often referred to as its largest unexplored island, one of the best for diving, adventurers, and anyone else who wants to get away from it all.

Top Airbnbs: Sunset Point Houseboat| The Seaglass Villa 1

Andros is an archipelago made up of three main islands. It’s home to five national parks, dense mangrove estuaries, and hundreds of islets. Central Andros National Park has an extensive network of trails that wind through mangrove flats, while Blue Holes National Park has dozens of blue holes. Divers often come to experience Andros Barrier, the 3rd largest reef system in the world.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Playa del Carmen sign

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Why Stay Here: Mayan ruins, a rich colonial past, stunning beaches, and a cosmopolitan air

Top Airbnbs: Beachfront Casa Marmol| Casa Niki

Once a small fishing village, today Playa del Carmen is a popular coastal resort town on the Yucatan Peninsula’s Riviera Maya, renowned for its palm-lined beaches and coral reefs. There are beautiful cenotes and lagoons for swimming and snorkeling, while its pedestrian thoroughfare, Quinta Avenida, runs parallel to the beach, with shops, restaurants, and hotspots for nightlife, from casual bars to dance clubs

Ensenada, Mexico
Ensenada, Mexico sign

Ensenada, Mexico

Why Stay Here: A popular base for wine tasting in the nearby Valle de Guadalupe as well as offering a picturesque Malecon and a thriving food scene.

Top Airbnbs: Casa Surf Beachfront Living

Just 80 miles south of San Diego, Ensenada is a very popular vacation destination for Californians. Many come simply to enjoy the beautiful beaches on this sunny coast, including water sports like surfing. Others are attracted by the lively party vibe or the many authentic restaurants and tasty street foods. With Valle de Guadalupe just east, it also makes an ideal base for wine enthusiasts who want to enjoy tasting and touring through Baja wine country. Horseback riding through the mountainous countryside or on the sand can be a highlight of any trip.

Medellin, Colombia
Botero Plaza in Old Quarter district of Medellin

Medellin, Colombia

Why Stay Here: Get a taste of a more traditional, authentic Colombia and enjoy a wide range of cultural attractions focused on the past to the present.

Top Airbnbs: Stunning Penthouse with Indoor Pool

Take a walk through the Old Quarter at Botero Plaza with its sculptures and be sure to visit the Museum of Antioquia. In the hills above town, accessed by the Comuna 13, you can explore the colorful homes and street murals. It’s worth checking out the genuine “paisa” towns on the Vuelta al Oriente, a looping day-long drive too, perhaps ending the day in the city’s trendy El Poblado neighborhood, home to boutique shops and popular eateries.

Puerto Penasco, Mexico
Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico

Puerto Penasco, Mexico

Why Stay Here: A low-key affordable beach getaway with a small-town Mexico feel, easily accessible from the U.S.

Top Airbnbs: 5 Star Beachfront House Las Conchas

Also known as Rocky Point, Puerto Penasco is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Sonora, located just south of the Arizona border near Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. It’s one of the top spots in Northern Mexico for a beach escape, with everything from famous Playa Arenosa to Playa Bonita, with a perfect stretch for everyone, from singles and couples to families. It also offers some of the best snorkeling in Mexico, along with water sports like paddle boarding. Off-roading is popular here too.



Why Stay Here: An island that can be visited year-round with a low risk for hurricanes, while offering outstanding snorkeling, white sandy beaches, and much more.

Top Airbnbs: Zentasy Private 4-Br. Villa & Pool close to Beach |Boca Catalina-1 bed-Full kitchen. Steps to Beach

Located just 15 miles off the Venezuelan coast, Aruba is one of the islands outside of the “hurricane belt” an area that’s a low risk for major storms. It also offers gorgeous white sand beaches and clear, calm blue waters with abundant marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and stingrays. There are underground caves and historic ruins to explore too. Its flamingos have become world-famous, often featured on Instagram, with the opportunity for close encounters with the pink birds.

Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
Plaza in Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

Why Stay Here: A colorful, romantic city on the Caribbean coast with a rich history and beautiful beaches.

Top Airbnbs: Authentic Loft inside Walled City | Jewel in Stunning XVIII c. Mansion at Walled City

Cartagena, also known as Cartagena de Indias, is a magnificent walled seaside city with a romantic air and gorgeous colonial architecture. Strolling the streets is like a walk back through time. Located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, visitors can enjoy everything from fascinating history to soaking up the sun on golden beaches and indulging in mouthwatering Caribbean fare.

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