Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Still basking in the glory of all the international attention it received during the Olympics, Rio is hot, happening and happy right now. With its jaw-dropping setting and sultry tropical weather, this city is all about the beach and nightlife. This cute three-bedroom, two-bathroom bolthole sleeps five and is two blocks from famous Ipanema Beach (when you’re not on the sand, watch the action from your 10th-floor balcony). The colourful furniture and fun details lend character to the cosy space. Bonus: it’s pumped with fast wi-fi.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Like a fine wine, Buenos Aires’ timeless fusion of faded European glamour and Latin edge gets better year on year. Between tango dancing, ordering steak and goggling magnificent architecture and street art, you can get some rest at this pared-back pied-à-terre. Everything has been thought of: there’s 24-hour security, a cool balcony, proper gym and rooftop pool with stunning views. It’s in the heart of sophisticated Palermo, a stone’s throw from the restaurants and cafés of Plaza Serrano.
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The jewel in Colombia’s crown, Cartagena is a steamy Caribbean gem that draws visitors like bees to honey with its cobbled streets, bougainvillea-covered walls and colourful houses. Explore the historic plazas, cool bars and restaurants from this two-bedroom beach-chic abode that sleeps four. It’s within walking distance of the city centre and has wonderful sea and city views. After a hot day, what better way to relax than a nap in the living-room hammocks?
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Once a no-go gone zone ruled by notorious drug baron Pablo Escobar, this Andean metropolis has risen phoenix-like from the ashes to become an urban success story. Not only does it have a spectacular mountain setting, Medellín is a haven for the arts, nightlife and restaurants. This incredible open-plan penthouse sleeps six in three bedrooms and is within walking distance of the best diners and nightspots in the centre of town. There’s a pool table, two huge terraces, a bar and arched windows with gorgeous views that are even better to wake up to than a good cup of coffee.
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It was once considered a backwater: a transit point to access wild Patagonia and the far reaches of the Atacama Desert. But no more – Santiago is now one of Latin America’s coolest capitals, a hub for top-class restaurants and culture. This apartment is one of three that the owners rent out to Airbnb visitors. It sits within the green enclave of Providencia, within striking distance of clubs, shops and restaurants. Spacious, modern and dotted with contemporary art, the two-bedroom loft-style haven spans four floors and sleeps up to six.
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The city’s charms are being uncovered as visitors clock the fact that Ecuador is so much more than the Galápagos Islands. Quito’s gorgeous colonial centre is blossoming, as is the nightlife. This home is a case in point: it was snapped up and restored by well-known local architects, who retained its original, colonial-style features, including wooden beams and carved-stone columns. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom loft breathes magic and romance and it’s close to the historic Plaza Grande.
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You can’t come to Peru without spending some time in Cuzco, the country’s heritage honeypot par excellence. The former capital of the Inca Empire is a treasure trove of pre-Columbian history and relics from the colonial past, not to mention that it’s the base from which to visit the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Set in the Centro Histórico close to trendy San Blas, this cute, rustic apartment, the sometime home of a freelance photographer, is set over two levels and boasts a stupendous view of the burnt-orange rooftops of Cuzco. It sleeps up to eight in three bedrooms.
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Don’t just go to Mendoza, Argentina’s best-known wine region, to find the perfect malbec or syrah to accompany a juicy bife de chorizo. It’s also worth a visit for its elegant, fountain-filled plazas and leafy avenues; the laid-back, welcoming cafés and restaurants; and the vibrant street life. And this bite-sized metropolis is a great starting point for rafting, skiing and hiking in the neighbouring Andes. Spacious and central, this family home is close to everything. It sleeps 10 in five bedrooms, making it perfect for a large group, which can linger in the orange-tree and jasmine-filled garden.
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Nestled halfway between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo on the lush Costa Verde, the dinky coastal town of Paraty is loved for its pedestrian-only mossy cobblestone streets, dreamy beaches and richly painted houses festooned with bougainvillea. In the heart of the old town, sunlight-drenched Villa Rozario sleeps six in three bedrooms, all with ensuites. It’s hard not to feel rather royal in the luxe home – indeed, the villa was apparently once owned by a Brazilian princess. Enjoy the beauty of its exposed stone walls, charming palm-filled courtyard garden and winsome views over Paraty – no crown necessary.
Punta del Este, Uruguay
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José Ignacio at Uruguay’s Punta del Este is where the young, beautiful and glamorous of Montevideo decamp for a summer of hair swishing, bikini-flaunting and beach frivolity. Once a sleepy fishing village, Uruguay’s elite has made José Ignacio their own with sleek, architectural holiday pads. Up for grabs is this eight-bedroom home – the ultimate house-party escape. Casa 31 is moments from the beach and right next to the see-and-be-seen restaurant La Huella. The house sits within the Santa Maria de los Medanos country club so it benefits from 24-hour security, beach service and tennis courts et al.
Up Next: The Top Bucket List Experiences in South America
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