The best of Latin America’s newest hotel openings, revamps, and the latest travel news out of Latin America

The Best of Latin America’s Newest Hot Properties

Sofitel Barú Calablanca, Colombia 

Cartagena has long attracted travelers to discover its undeniably incredible art, culture, cuisine, and history. But with the opening of Sofitel Barú Calablanca just off the coast of Cartagena on the island of Barú, luxury travelers have another reason to visit. The Sofitel Barú Calablanca was designed to combine natural seaside materials and local artisanal décor with Sofitel’s renowned French sophistication. Each of its 187 rooms and suites face the Caribbean Sea. Three restaurants and seven bars serve everything from farm-to-table Mediterranean cuisine to a slow-cooking grill set in a relaxed, Bohemian setting.

Take to the water to explore 60 different species of coral and the other aquatic species who call this tropical paradise home. And certainly the fun isn’t just for adults. Indeed, there’s a kid’s club and dedicated family pool with plenty of activities designed for the youngest adventurers. It’s about 60 minutes by car from Cartagena, but we recommend arriving via the 25-minute yacht ride.  


Susana Balbo Unique Stays: SB Winemaker’s House & Spa Suites, Argentina 

The Susana Balbo Unique Stays: SB Winemaker’s House & Spa Suites is certainly unique. Just opened in February 2022, and set in the vibrant Mendoza suburb of Charcras de Coria, the brand-new boutique hotel was designed by Argentina’s first female winemaker Susana Balboa and her daughter Ana Lovaglio Balboa. Seven glass-walled suites each face a private garden and come stocked with a cellar of wines curated for your stay. Their newly launched Wine Expeditions offer unique and exclusive experiences. Set out on an aerial safari to iconic and remote destinations in Argentina (like the Andes Mountains or Patagonia) aboard the only amphibious plane in Latin America. 

Aqua Mare, Galapagos 

This May the first true super yacht in the Galápagos Islands takes to the waters. The Aqua Mare, originally designed and built by Italian luxury mega yacht builders CRN Yacht and refurbished in 2021 by Aqua Expeditions, incorporates original custom interiors designed by famous yacht designer François Zuretti. Aqua Expeditions added two spacious cabins for a total of seven luxurious suites, accommodating just sixteen passengers. Take in the incredible Galápagos landscape on the panoramic sun deck. Or rather, head down to the “Beach Club” located at water level and complete with a swimming platform. Sixteen crew, including two naturalist guides, provide exceptional one-on-one service and attention to detail, creating the ultimate retreat for exploring the endemic wildlife and nature of the Galápagos Islands. 

aqua mare cruise south america

Explora Patagonia, Chile 

Explora has long been a leader in bringing luxury to the most remote regions in South America. Indeed, with their latest opening, they are bringing their expedition-style travel to the southern tip through 32 handcrafted explorations designed for immersion and discovery of Patagonia National Park. Originally built in 2006, their 10-room lodge is set in the Chacabuco Valley in Patagonia National Park. Built of stone and recycled wood, it blends into the surroundings without interfering with the natural environment wherever possible. Refurbishments and renovations to the lounge, exploration and meeting areas, and bar give it the distinct minimalist Explora style. Seasonal and local products grown by small producers in Patagonia are used to create a cuisine reflective of the gaucho lifestyle throughout the region. Dishes are paired with wines selected exclusively from Chilean wineries. 

Best of Latin America - New Hotel Openings - Hottest Restaurants

A Feast for the Senses; the Best of Latin America’s Hottest Restaurants

See what restaurants made the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list in Latin America and why you should grab a seat at one of these coveted tables.

Boragó | Santiago, Chile

For a completely unique food concept, look no further than Boragó. Head chef Rodolfo Guzmán pulls from the Mapuche culture, the indigenous hunters-gatherers of Chile, and developed a process of introducing native ingredients and techniques found in surrounding territories. The relationships he has built with these foraging communities and small producers complement a highly seasonal menu named  “Endémica.” It is full of fresh foods and flavors that cannot be found elsewhere. Even the water served comes from the rain in Patagonia, making every attention to detail purely Chilean.

Hot Tip: Bring the Chilean experience full circle with a visit to a local Mapuche community to witness their ancient method of roasting organic wheat and taste their traditional home cooked fare. Don’t forget to enjoy a game of palin with the local people while there.

Leo | Bogotá, Colombia

Bogotá’s culinary scene is certainly heating up thanks to the unlikely ingredients used by award-winning local celebrity chef, Leonor Espinosa. Also crowned Latin America’s Best Female Chef in 2017, Espinosa pulls from Colombian ecosystems, finding creative ways to use different species in the dishes. Items like crushed ants and snails pair nicely alongside dried shrimp. Guests can also see how far the chef had to travel to source the foods used. There are several multi-course tasting menus to choose from. Try a little bit of everything that this rich region has to offer.

Hot Tip: The array of drinks available at Leo far surpass wine and cocktails. Try one of the refreshing nonalcoholic beverages like the corozo berry juice or the corn drink.

Best of Latin America - New Hotel Openings - Hottest Restaurants

Photos courtesy of Juan Pablo Gutierrez | Borago; LEO

Central | Lima, Peru – Hottest Restaurant

From the depths of the exotic Amazon to the mountains of the Sacred Valley, Central aims to connect Peruvian history, tradition, and culture with sustainable and locally sourced plates. The result is certainly an elevated and rich dining experience in the heart of Lima.

Hot Tip: Dive further into Peru’s culinary treasures during a private cooking workshop with a top renowned chef in Lima. Lima is home to 7 of the top 25 restaurants in Latin America. There’s certainly no shortage of all-star chefs to choose from.

Pujol | Mexico City, Mexico

Pujol has consistently ranked among the top restaurants in the world since opening in 2001. Choose from a flavorful set tasting menu or rather, go omakase-style and let chef Jesús Durón create a masterpiece of traditional mouth-watering Mexican dishes that are sure to satisfy.

Hot Tip: When in Mexico, mole is a must. Dig into Pujol’s most asked for dish, the “Mole madre, mole nuevo,” which has been continuously aged for over 3,000 days, making it an altogether completely unique plate.

Pujol - best of Latin America restaurants

Photo courtesy of Carlos Aranda on Unsplash

Don Julio | Buenos Aires, Argentina

Nothing pairs together better than a juicy steak and a glass of malbec. In Buenos Aires, parrillas are undoubtedly king, and Don Julio is the spot for both. All beef is grass-fed Aberdeen Angus and Hereford cattle, raised in the countryside outside Buenos Aires. Go for the house cuts like bife de cuadril (rump steak) and entraña (skirt steak). Complement the main course with one of over 14,000 Argentine wines.

Hot Tip: Leave your mark at Don Julio by signing and leaving a message on a wine bottle that will live amongst the many bottles enjoyed by guests.

Explore the Best of Latin America with Ker & Downey

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