From the heart of Buenos Aires’ chic Palermo neighborhood to the salt flats of Bolivia, our picks for South America’s best hotels all have that certain “wow” factor. A 5-star hotel on the border of Argentina and Brazil boasts spacious private villas, each with its own plunge pool overlooking the surrounding scenery. An extraordinary palace hotel in Bolivia is constructed entirely of salt. A charming 17th-century casa has been reconfigured as a stellar boutique, with one of the dreamiest pools on the continent. These hotels are defined by reinvention and imagination.


Awasi Iguazú

Iguazu, Argentina

Found 20-minutes away from the Iguazú waterfalls—one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World—Awasi Iguazú is a gorgeous jungle lodge sitting steps from the River Iguazú in Argentina’s Puerto Iguazú. Each of its 14 villas is designed to have minimal impact on the surrounding environment while retaining a high level of comfort and luxury. Set up with guests’ privacy and serenity in mind, each villa comes with a private plunge pool and terrace and a spacious interior awash in a warm color palette of creams, beige, and wooden accents

Within its aesthetics, Awasi Iguazú gives a nod to both the surrounding nature and the Indigenous Guarani people by incorporating traditional textiles and woven baskets throughout the villas, including hand-carved games known as “Jaguar” in the main lodge. For guests, the main lodge is a short stroll from any of the 14 villas and serves jaw-dropping cuisine worthy of any Michelin-starred restaurant. With a menu curated by chef Manuel Agrelo, expect artistically presented dishes that pull from local ingredients—such as river fish—and deliver creative and sophisticated flavors. Alongside its cuisine, the main lodge offers both an outdoor terrace for dining and an indoor bar where you can imbibe everything from Malbec (this is Argentina, after all) to perfectly shaken cocktails. Awasi Iguazú offers impeccable service and attention to detail you’ll be hard-pressed to find at other hotels. The Awasi team seems to intuitively preempt any needs you might have—from turn-down service to cleaning—while somehow remaining unobtrusive.

Beyond the five-star accommodations that Awasi Iguazú offers, this Relais & Chateaux property provides its guests with a dedicated guide during their stay. Each of Awasi Iguazú’s guides is supremely knowledgeable on the local terrain and wildlife and can take you on myriad excursions, from visiting a nearby Guarani village to touring a wildlife rehabilitation center. But, of course, the main draw for travelers coming to Iguazú is the waterfalls found within Iguazú National Park, where your personal Awasi guide can set up an early morning tour to help you avoid the crowds.


Guatape, Colombia

Most people visit Guatape on a day trip from Medellin. But rather than breeze through this unique landscape, stay in Bosko, a hotel that practically defines “luxury glamping” in Colombia. Raised geodesic domes scattered through the forest blend in with their surroundings, providing guests with the feeling of being integrated into nature.

Starry nights and sunrises from the comfort of your bed are reason enough to stay here. But you’ll also receive a complimentary one-way transfer to the area’s two main attractions: beautiful Guatape town, known for its colorful stuccos depicting the story of each house’s family; and the Peñón, a monolithic rock that rises 722 feet over Guatape Lake. Climb 750 steps to the top of the rock for mesmerizing views of the lake’s emerald water. Then, enjoy kayaking and paddle boarding—courtesy of the house. Other exciting offers include helicopter flights, private speedboat tours, and romantic bonfires. Once the sun goes down, watch the partially illuminated Peñón rock from the hotel restaurant or the scenic sky pools.

Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogota

Bogota, Colombia

Originally a colonial-style 1940s apartment, the Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina has not lost its original design. The Andes mountains provide a scenic backdrop, while interiors marked by brick and stone walls, beamed ceilings, and wooden accents make for a cozy escape from the noise of the metropolis. Once you’re ready for action, you’ll be right in the middle of Bogota’s Zona G (gastronomical zone), home to some of the most highly-regarded restaurants in the city. One of which is the hotel’s very own Castanyoles, which serves Spanish cuisine with a Colombian twist.

Besides the impeccable service you can expect from the brand, you’ll have access to curated experiences. Indulge in a Colombian green coffee wrap at the in-house Harmonious Spa. Or join licensed local guides on exclusive tours that give you an insider’s peek into the city’s food, art, and fashion scenes. The hotel’s most jaw-dropping offers are its signature helicopter expeditions. Rather than spending long hours on the road, guests enjoy being whisked away to dreamy destinations like Zipaquira and Villa de Leyva while getting a truly unique perspective on the breathtaking Colombian landscape.

Home Hotel Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Just as the name suggests, checking into Home Hotel Buenos Aires is a lot like going home. While some hotels can feel corporate, Home Hotel is designed in such a way that it feels at once cozy, nostalgic, and artistically modern. From the print wallpaper to the shag rugs, the rooms evoke a sort of 1970s vibe, complete with vinyl records and a record player. Each room pairs vibrant patterns and minimalist furniture with splashes of rich colors, such as deep reds, bright orange, or neon greens.

The interior courtyard of Home Hotel is a lush oasis replete with an outdoor pool, vine-covered walls, and a sprawling garden with hidden nooks for reading and sipping coffee (a welcome respite from the busy streets of Palermo Hollywood). Nestled amongst the garden and dotted throughout the lobby are statues lending the entire hotel the feel of an art gallery—albeit one where you can lounge around in a bathrobe. On-site, a spa offers weary travelers everything from deep-tissue to hot stone massages to even a “Jet Lag Recovery” treatment that includes a shower scrub and a 50-minute massage. There is also an on-site restaurant serving brunch, lunch, dinner, and cocktails that seems to be popular in its own right, attracting guests and non-guests alike.

To truly add to the magic of Home Hotel Buenos Aires, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give a nod to their feline mascot, Mulata, a sweet black cat who languidly moves from the lobby to garden, sleeping atop couches or sunning by the bushes. This cozy cat has even been known to follow guests to their rooms, spending an evening cuddling in bed, truly making a stay at this Buenos Aires hotel feel like home.

Hotel Casa San Agustin

Cartagena, Colombia

Three white-walled houses with wooden balconies are the setting for Hotel Casa San Agustin. As you go inside, you’ll be pleased to see both original 17th-century architecture and modern touches that enhance the guest experience. The boutique hotel only has 20 rooms and 11 suites, so expect personalized and thoughtful service, be it at the Aurum Spa (whose highlight is a luxury hammam) or at Alma Restaurant, helmed by chef Heberto Eljach.

Plan to do the 45-minute boat ride to the hotel’s private beach on the paradisiacal Baru Island. And if you feel like staying in, do so without guilt. You can escape the Cartagena heat at the L-shaped pool while admiring the centuries-old aqueduct that runs through the middle of the inner courtyard. At night, sip signature cocktails at the hotel bar or enjoy live music on the patio.

Palacio de Sal

Uyuni, Bolivia

Located on the edge of the world’s largest salt flats, the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, the Palacio de Sal is one of the world’s most extraordinary hotels and the only one on the planet to be made from salt. And everything here is made of salt–the walls and the ceilings and even some of the furniture. More than one million compact blocks, extracted directly from the salt flats themselves, were used in its construction, which must be partially rebuilt each year after the rainy season washes parts of it away.

Each of the rooms is warm and inviting, decorated with traditional Bolivian tapestries, and has a domed ceiling above the bed made entirely from salt blocks. Views look out across the vast shimmering flats from all spaces, whether the luxurious spa with its Andean-inspired luxurious salt treatments, the Tika Palace restaurant offering gourmet international cuisine, or the cozy rooms themselves.

Palacio Nazarenas

Cusco, Peru

The gateway to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu beyond, the Palacio Nazarenas is housed in a 17th-century Spanish-style convent. Surrounded by carved wooden balconies, it’s built around a central courtyard surrounded by stone arches. In the opulent rooms, you’ll sleep in a four-poster bed under hand-embroidered silk sheets, and bathe in Peruvian marble bathrooms with hand-painted frescoes.

Some rooms feature original Inca Stonework, while others have balconies offering views out across the soaring Andes Mountains circling the city. The hotel is also home to Cusco’s first outdoor pool and the indulgent Hypnôze Spa, inspired by Inca and Andean culture. When it comes to dining, the hotel’s Senzo restaurant will take you on a sensory journey, with their modern take on classic Peruvian dishes. Try the baked Sacred Valley trout with thyme, red pesto, and cheese foam, or the chicken marinated in pisco and lemon with wild mushrooms and asparagus.

Pikaia Lodge

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Set within a giant tortoise reserve on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos, Pikaia Lodge is the type of hotel that most nature lovers can only dream of. Perched on the edge of an extinct volcano crater, its location provides the perfect vantage point for incredible vistas over the reserve and the sea beyond.

Everything here revolves around being environmentally conscious, from the use of local sustainable building materials to carbon-neutral energy sources and the fact that it comprises just 29 rooms. A Relais & Chateaux property, it’s the very definition of an eco-luxury adventure. Rooms are all about the views, bringing the nature of the Galapagos inside with panoramic windows on three sides. The Evolution Restaurant, serving up Ecuadorian cuisine with an international twist, the serene Sumaq Spa, and the fabulous outdoor infinity pool all add to the lavish experience.

Portobay Rio

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

When looking for a hotel in Rio de Janeiro, you can’t beat Portobay Rio’s location right across from Copacabana Beach. This four-star hotel offers over 100 rooms with private balconies that look out over Rio and its shoreline. Upon check-in, guests are greeted with complimentary sparkling wine before being whisked away to their rooms, which are spacious with minimalist decor and all the anticipated amenities one would expect, from complimentary Wi-Fi to a television equipped with 90 channels. By far, the balconies of the Sea View Rooms are the most beguiling as they boast glass-panel walls and uninterrupted ocean views extending beyond Copacabana Beach. To take full advantage of the best rooms in the house, book one of Portobay Rio’s “Top Floor Concepts,” referring to the Superior and Deluxe rooms and suites on the top floors. These rooms—all of which come with stellar views and balconies—include a wider range of services, from daily ironing to a Caipirinha cocktail served poolside.

Beyond the rooms, Portobay Rio’s real draw is its rooftop pool and bar offering 360-degree views of Rio de Janeiro, from the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema to Mount Corcovado, where Christ the Redeemer stands tall over the city. Enjoy a massage with a view, cocktails and bites, an outdoor pool, and a fitness room with panoramic ocean views. Don’t miss the events at the rooftop bar—known as Bossa Lounge—where you can catch live Bossa Nova performances with a view of Rio at night.