Best Small Towns to Visit in Latin America in 2023

Latin America has great small towns that offer visitors an extraordinary cultural and artistic richness amid wonderful natural environments. These are some of the smaller destinations in the region that offer great experiences for tourists and are highly recommended to visit in 2023.

Ponce, Puerto Rico

The beautiful city of Puerto Rico, located in the Porta Caribe region, provides a peaceful setting, perfect for wandering through its colonial architecture and extraordinary museums. On the Plaza de las Delicias, visitors admire Victorian Gothic designs in buildings such as the Fire Brigade. Other sites one cannot miss are the famous Ponce Cathedral, the Fountain of Lions, the Mayor’s House, the Ponce Cultural Center, and the Armstrong Pugovin House, an extraordinary example of Creole architecture.

Hacienda Buena Vista Ponce, Coffee, Puerto Rico
At Hacienda Buena Vista, Ponce, travelers know the ancient harvesting and roasting techniques of the beans. (Photo by Luciano Tomazelli/iStock/Getty Images Plus).

For those looking for relaxation and the best of gastronomy, a highly recommended activity is to walk the streets of La Guancha, facing the sea, offering an extraordinary selection of restaurants and bars where tourists enjoy excellent cuisine and cocktails. Plus, there are tours to nearby places like Pomarrosa and Buena Vista hacendas, where visitors learn how different beans were harvested and roasted during the Spanish colony. In addition, in Ponce, fans of diving, snorkeling and sport fishing can also rent tours to get to the famous Isla Caja de Muertos.

Iquitos, Peru

Visiting Iquitos means going deeper into the Amazon jungle. To reach this destination, travelers can only use a plane or a boat on a route that crosses as lush nature as anyone can imagine. Iquitos is surrounded by amazing places where visitors can enjoy unique experiences, such as bathing in the waters of the Amazon and observing the enormous biodiversity of flora and fauna, such as pink dolphins, different types of monkeys, crocodiles, snakes, and piranhas, among many other species.

Amazon River at sunset
Iquitos, Peru, an amazing place in the middle of the Amazon jungle. (Photo by SL_Photography/iStock/Getty Images Plus).

The most recommended places are Pacaya Samiria, Allpahuayo Mishana Natural Reservas, and Gueppi-Sekime National Park. To stay, the tourists have rustic accommodations where the connection to the jungle is amazing. In addition, many tour operators offer excursions to interesting places, such as Monkey Island, where tourists have to travel to the port of Bellavista Nanai, about 15 minutes from the center of Iquitos, and then take a 30-minute boat ride. Minutes to reach the island. Those who prefer to stay in the city can stroll through the Bethlehem neighborhood, an area where homes, small restaurants, and taverns are built on the water and accessible by boat. Another highly recommended site is the Museum of Indigenous Cultures, located on the impressive Tarapacá Seawall.

Natal Brazil

Known as Ciudad del Sol, Natal is rich in culture and gastronomy. It has Meio’s gorgeous beaches, artists, and natural pools, making it an ideal place for families to swim without worries. Other most-visited sites are the Cajueiro de Pirangi, a giant tree located on Pirangi do Norte beach, and the Fortaleza dos Reis Magos, a listed historic and artistic building, located in the gorgeous Playa do Forte beach.

For the adventurous, the area around Natal is ideal as it offers sites such as Genipabu Dunes and the famous Pipa Beach. In addition, there are several points where tourists can ride quad bikes in Playa do Amor; Playa does Madero and Casimbinhas. Finally, for fans of windsurfing and kitesurfing, the gorgeous São Miguel do Gostoso beach offers the best winds for a fun day out.

Pipa Beach, Brazil
At Hacienda Buena Vista, in Ponce, travelers know the ancient techniques of harvesting and roasting beans. (Photo by Luciano Tomazelli/iStock/Getty Images Plus).

Otavalo, Ecuador

Home to the best craft market, this enchanting destination offers extraordinary pieces of ceramics, wood, textiles, and even the famous Panama hats. Otavalo also serves as a jumping off point for exciting activities in amazing places like Cuicocha Lake, Peguche Waterfall, Mojanda Lakes, Condor Park, and more.

The city’s main attraction is the famous Plaza de Los Ponchos (textiles), one of the largest indigenous markets in Latin America offering handcrafted textiles using techniques inherited from several generations of indigenous Kichwa culture. In addition, tourists can enjoy a great meal at the gastronomic market El Buen Sabor (The Good Taste), where traditional dishes and drinks from Andean cultures are served. In addition, they can rent excursions to see the stunning Belloche Falls, Cuicocha, Mojanda and San Pablo lakes, as well as the El Lechero viewpoint.

Ecuador, Otavalo Indian woman selling textile products
The Plaza de Los Ponchos in Otavalo is one of the most important textile markets in Latin America. (Image via xeni4ka/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus).

Another favorite visitor site is the White City of Ibarra, which has impressive colonial buildings and a unique natural environment filled with volcanoes and lakes sacred from the Inca culture. To reach this place, travelers can take a ride on the Freedom Train which traverses gorgeous areas in the middle of the jungle.