Skip to Content

These Are The Top 3 Most Popular Tourist Destinations In Latin America Right Now

Share The Article

Last Updated


Out of all the places you could travel as a U.S. passport holder, Latin America is, without question, the trendiest to be: not only is the tropical weather far more pleasant this time of year, but it is home to friendly locals and an inviting, vibrant, multicultural scene.

With so many diverse options to pick from, including trendy resort zones and up-and-coming cultural destinations, you may be wondering which spots are on everyone's radar this year.

Thanks to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), now we know.

Palacio Bellas Artes, Mexico City, Mexico, Latin America

If you've been wondering like us, these are the top 3 LatAm destinations with the highest passenger numbers right now (and why they should be on your list):

Mexico City

With 5.2 million international arrivals expected during the first half of 2024, Mexico City is officially third in terms of popularity.

The national capital of Mexico, it is a sprawling metropolis with eclectic architecture and the highest concentration of cultural landmarks on this list.

These include the Metropolitan Cathedral, one of the oldest raised in the Americas by Spanish colonizers, the cafe-lined, European-inspired Roma neighborhood, the charming canal district of Xochimilco, and the leafy parks, ornate facades, and hippy markets of Condesa.

Traditional Row Of Buildings In Mexico City, Mexico, Latin America

A short one-hour drive from Downtown Mexico City, tourists can also visit bucket-list item Teotihuacan, a large Aztec archaeological encompassing magnificent temples, two large Mesoamerican pyramids dedicated to the Sun and Moon deities, and the tomb-paved Avenue of the Dead.

Lucky for visitors, Mexico City is not as prohibitively expensive as the Mexican Caribbean or Los Cabos, seeing it is a global cosmopolitan hub with a diverse economy – not everything orbits around luxury tourism – and inexpensive, $10 eateries are not hard to come by.

Woman at Teotihuacan near Mexico City

Additionally, it is incredibly safe by Latin American standards, featuring on the U.S. State Department's Level 2 list.

In sum, Americans are not discouraged from visiting so long as they keep a higher level of situational awareness in crowded areas and steer clear of crime-ridden, untouristy barrios.

Panama

Second on WTTC's ranking is the country of Panama, predicted to capture 5.5 million arrivals in the first six months of 2024.

Though it is not yet as popular as Mexico, this Central American nation has been making headlines lately thanks to its rich biodiversity, Hispanic heritage and cheap prices.

Aerial View from Panama City in Panama.View to Casco Viejo and Panama Canal

The capital and largest city, Panama City is the main entry point for visitors and an exciting destination that is just as famous for towering high-rises and a business-centered atmosphere as it is for its UNESCO-listed historic center, full of Baroque churches and centuries-old houses.

Two other Panamanian gems you shouldn't miss out on are Boquete, a picturesque small town nestled in the Chiriquí Highlands, surrounded by verdant coffee plantations and jungle trails, and the Caribbean-bounded Bocas del Toro, famous for its sandy coastline and turquoise waters.

View OF A Footbridge In Boquete, Tropical Jungle In Panama, Central America

Panama's surging popularity can also be traced back to its trendiness as a digital nomad haven.

Remote workers have been relocating here for the vibrant culture and incredible scenery, of course, but also the affordability:

It costs only $2,575 to base yourself in tax-friendly Panama as an American nomad, thanks to the lower prices for food, accommodation, and transportation compared to the United States.

Even as a short-term visitor, you're only expected to budget a very reasonable $549 for the entire week.

White Yacht Off The Coast Of An Island In San Blas, Panama, Central America

Cancun

In case there was still room left for doubt – there wasn't – Cancun is undoubtedly the leading tourism hotspot in Latin America, with a significant 45% increase in passenger numbers this semester compared to the pre-crisis year of 2019. In total, that translates to 6.8 million passengers.

So, does Cancun remain the unchallenged King of Tourism, and will it be toppled by other up-and-coming destinations anytime soon?

Plain and simple, that's highly unlikely: nowhere else in LatAm will you find the same standards of hospitality, luxurious mega-resorts, and highly-safe tropical beaches.

Main beach at Hotel Zone of Cancun

Unlike Mexico City or Panama, playgrounds for backpacking solo adventurers with a hunger for culture, Americans heading to Cancun are primarily after a relaxing, worry-free vacation, especially if they're keen on slowing down, basking in the Mexican sun, and why not, getting pampered by resort staff.

That's not to say you can't sample some culture on a Cancun getaway now that the Maya Train connects the resort zone to historic, colonial cities like Merida and Izamal, as well as the New World Wonder that is Chichen Itza, a large, abandoned Mesoamerican city.

Colorful Cancun Sign, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Similarly to Mexico City and Panama, Cancun is quite safe, featuring on the State Department's Level 2 Travel Advisory, and while that doesn't mean you should let your guard down, pickpocketing is your primary concern as opposed to violence.

Visiting Latin America soon?

Start planning your trip and find out what some of the safest destinations in the region are here.

↓ Join Our Community ↓

The Travel Off Path Community FB group has all the latest travel news, conversations, and Q&A's happening daily! 

Travel-off-Path-group-1-1
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR LATEST POSTS

Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path's latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.

This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.