1. Montañita (Ecuador)
The town of Montanita is hugely popular with backpackers, all seeking good surf and even better nightlife.
It’s also a great hub for some of the best language schools in the country and the perfect place to learn Spanish – the combination of morning language classes, sunset surf sessions, and mad parties are difficult to tear yourself away from and many travellers find themselves staying for weeks rather than days.
The party never stops in Montanita. With all the different bars and club nights on the strip by the beach, you’ll never be at a loss if you fancy some madness.
That being said, weekends tend to be more busy in comparison weekdays. Ecuadorians travel to the surf town most weekends looking to escape the big cities.
Most nights out will begin on ‘Cocktail Alley’ which is also known as the strip.
You can’t miss it. It’s a row of small vendors all selling incredibly alcoholic cocktails and you’ll see travellers gathering in large groups on small plastic stools in the street.
From there, all the clubs can be found the end of the strip facing onto the beach. ‘Lost Beach Club’ is famous for holding some of the biggest nights in South America and has attracted famous DJs for a number of years. The club has two levels and is well known for electronic music hosting mainly trance, techno and house nights.
Two other clubs worth checking out are Nativa Bambu Disco Bar and La Cabaña which each have signature nights during the week.
If you are thinking of planning a long stay in Ecuador, then our extended backpacking itineraries are essential to help you plan your trip.
Check out the two posts below:
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2. Palomino (Colombia)
Starting off this list is a beautiful beach in Colombia on the Caribbean coast. Palomino is a quite town in the north of the country close to Santa Marta (around 70km away).
Palomino started as an off-the-beaten track town that has grown popular in recent years with backpackers.
Travellers come here for a few days to enjoy tubing along the jungle rivers or to wander along the endless stretches of empty beach. Tubing is a fun activity that starts in the jungle foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and ends on the beach in the Caribbean Sea.
This can be a relaxing journey or depending on who you go with, it can turn into a party. If you manage to join a big crew of backpackers then people will bring alcohol and enjoy floating through the jungle with a few beers as well.
The beach closest to town is Playas de Palomino. The beach, with its white sands fringed with huge palms trees is empty most of the time and you can enjoy peaceful walks up and down it without coming across another person.
So, where’s the party you ask?
Palomino isn’t known as an all-year-round party beach destination in South America. But if you know some insider information and who to speak to, you will be able to find some epic beach parties.
When you arrive, make sure to speak to the locals or the staff working at your hostel. These beach parties won’t be advertised anywhere but all the locals will know about them. Another way to find some great parties is to stay at one of the surf camps – the full moon party at Casa Grande Surf Camp is known to be a mad one.
Or you can try El Rio Hostel which is a little bit further out from Palomino itself. It is an incredible hostel that will also throw some huge nights so staying there is also an option (see video above).
For more information on this great beach town, head to the post below:
3. Mancora (Peru)
Mancora is another beach town in the North of Peru. It’s filled with locals, backpackers and other tourists wanting to do two simple things: surf and party.
The best places to let loose are the Loki, Point and Wild Rover hostels, but to be honest any of the other backpacker hostels in town which double up as bars and clubs will lead to a wild night. Loki, Point and Wild Rover all have great pools and poolside bars which back out onto the beach.
The hostel staff will regularly run activities and drinking games which often leads to some epic day drinking sessions that carry on into the night. Then once the party is over, it’s time to jump in the ocean the next day, get rid of that hangover and start over again.
To see how you can fit Mancora into a wider South America itinerary, check out the post below that summarises six of the best itineraries I’ve put together:
Mancora is also a great place for surf newbies who have never been on a board before and want to learn, as well as intermediate and advanced surfers. The continual waves, calm water and warm weather culminate in the perfect conditions for surfing.
If you are thinking of planning a long stay in Peru, then our extended backpacking itineraries are essential to help you plan your trip. Check out the two posts below:
4. Ipanema and Copacabana, Rio De Janeiro (Brazil)
These two beaches are on the list together as they are essentially one long beach.
This huge stretch of golden sand will be buzzing throughout the day and filled with locals and tourists enjoying the sun, playing football, and sipping on caipirinha’s (Brazil’s popular cocktail which is a blend of lime, caster sugar and cachaça that’s topped with tonnes of ice).
As the evening reaches, you can find small beach bars on the sidewalk close to the beach or you can make your way over the road to one of the many bars or clubs facing out onto the beach.
Thinking of backpacking South America and including Brazil in your plans? Then be sure to check out our collection of itineraries to help you plan and have the best possible trip:
5. Florianópolis (Brazil)
Florianópolis, the capital of southern Brazil’s Santa Catarina state, is made up mostly one huge island.
The island, also known as Floripa to the locals, has 42 beaches and they all offer something different from water sports to surfing to secluded strips perfect for sunbathing.
The party scene in Florianopolis can be found in Lagoa in the centre of the island whereas the beach parties are around Jurerê International Beach and Joaquina Beach. Try to time your travels to Florianopolis in the Brazilian summer and this island will be packed with Brazilians on holiday looking to party. Even better, why not come here in February for Carnival. The entire island becomes one giant outdoor festival that is said to rival the party in Rio.
Hostels are spread out all over the island but along the famous beaches is where most are clustered. Lagoa da Conceição is good for budget travellers and first time visitors to use a base to explore the island. However, the hostels close to Barra Da Lagoa have some of the best beachfront locations.
Canasvieiras is where you can find some crazy nightlife with epic bars and clubs but there aren’t many backpacker hostels around there – best to just travel there of a night.
The Surf House Beachfront Hostel has featured on our best all-round hostels in South America for its incredible set up, staff and location. It’s right on the beach and has its own private stretch only for people staying at the hostel.
For the rest on the list, including a couple more from Brazil, head to the post below:
6. Mar Del Plata (Argentina)
Argentinians flock to Mar Del Plata in the summer to party by the beach.
Located about 5 hours south of the capital Buenos Aires, Mara Del Plata is a big tourist destination full of resorts, but is also draws in a young crowd looking to enjoy the sun and let loose at night.
Hit Playa Grande for all day beach discos or Playa La Perla for a more relaxed beach. Nightlife in Mar Del Plata is the stuff of legend, and the city is known for its super clubs. Head to Avenida Constitucion and Avenida Costanera for some big name clubs such as Chocolate and Sobremonte.
If you are thinking of planning a long stay in Argentina, then our extended backpacking itineraries are essential to help you plan your trip.
Check out the two posts below:
7. Punta Del Este (Uruguay)
If a town is nicknamed the ‘Miami of South America’ then you know its going to be a great place to party.
The town is set on a peninsula and its two best beaches, Playa Mansa (calm beach) and Playa Brava (turbulent beach), are found at each side of the peninsula.
Punta del Este has some of Uruguay’s best nightlife and is full of most glamorous resorts that are extremely popular with Argentines and Brazilians. Of a night-time, party-goes will make for the club hubs of La Barra to the east or Punta Ballena to the west.
We haven’t made it to Uruguay yet on our travels but we hope to soon. In the mean time, check out more of our expertly planned backpacking itineraries for South America:
8. Morro de Sao Paulo (Brazil)
Morro is a small village located on an island, on the northeastern tip of Brazil’s Tinharé Island in the Bahia northern State.
It’s a beautiful village that is relatively unknown to most travellers which is strange because its home to some of the best beaches and parties in the whole of Brazil.
December to March is the busiest time and travellers from Brazil and around the whole (especially Israelis) flock here.
The island has some great bars and clubs but the best part is the Luaus (Brazilian Beach Party) on Mondays and Thursdays at the Second Beach of Morro de Sao Paulo. This beach party has a live DJ, sometimes a stage with live music, carts selling drinks and you’ll find people dancing the night away on the sand.
The beaches of Brazil are one of the many great why backpacking South America is well worth it. For more great reasons, head to the post below:
Popular South America Itineraries
If you have more than two-weeks to spare then why not check out our other South America itineraries ranging from three weeks to three months: