As the party season starts to seriously heat up in South America, Paul Irvine, director of luxury Latin America travel specialists Dehouche (www.dehouche.com) gives the inside track on the hottest places to cut loose
Punta del Este, Uruguay
Combine long, rolling stretches of stunning coastline with understated elegance and legendary
private parties and you have yourself a recipe for success that has turned Punta del Este into one of the world's hottest spots for some fun in the sun.
Party: After turning on the charm to talk your way into the best of the private parties, head to nightclub Tequila on Calle 11 La Barra, which has floor-to-ceiling disco balls.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
With wide, tree-lined avenues, a thriving cultural scene and sophisticated nightlife, Buenos Aires deserves its reputation as the Paris of Latin America. During summer months, the city springs to life. Jet-set polo players mix with international rock stars and the beautiful locals who flit from secret cocktail bars to open-air nightclubs.
Party: Our favorite hidden haunt is cocktail bar Franks. Armed with a secret password, you need to punch a code into the keypad of a British telephone box, and upon whispering the magic words, the door will swing open to reveal a Prohibition-style bar complete with chandeliers and an impressive lineup of DJs (www.franks-bar.com).
Located two hours down the coast from Rio de Janeiro, Buzios is the epitome of laid-back, barefoot beach chic and attracts both a heady mix of Brazilian glitterati and an international crowd drawn to its myriad beautiful beaches.
Party: Set on a beautifully rugged horseshoe bay where the rhythmic pattern of waves draws the local surfers, Rocka is the definition of the perfect beach lounge. Dream away the afternoon drinking caipirinhas on loungers until after sunset, when the deck transforms into a dance floor (www.rockafish.com).
The glistening jewel of the Caribbean, Cartagena well deserves its reputation as one of Latin America's most beautiful cities. Its sun-dappled squares house a fantastic selection of boutique hotels and bars.
Party: Slip outside the city to Bar Havana. The old-school bar serves the best mojitos outside Cuba and live salsa bands play into the night (www.cafehavanacartagena.com).
A former hippie town at the heart of the Brazilian Bahia coastline, Trancoso's winning combination of beautiful beaches, lilting, laidback rhythm and vibrant social scene have turned it into a favorite hideaway for the international jet set.
Party: During the high season, Brazil's best clubs descend on Trancoso to host pop-up events on the beach with a stellar lineup of international DJs.