Top 5 Happiest Cities in South America
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Top 5 Happiest Cities in South America

6 min read

Nov 3, 2015


By Izabela Zielinska

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Read about the 5 Happiest Cities in South America from our Travel Consultant Izabela Zielinska.

Some would say, “A good life is a collection of happy moments,” and how can you disagree with that? A lot of us experience happy moments in our everyday lives, but from time to time people want to get away from their routine and travel to a magical place to restore energy and discover something different. Holidays are a perfect way to escape reality and create happy memories that will last a lifetime. Out of all the countries, I have visited, South America is by far the happiest continent in the world. And why is that? Well, it’s not hard to see that the simple life of South Americans is enriched with positive energy and a positive way of thinking often combined with the philosophy of mañana – the Spanish word for tomorrow. The key is, don’t worry too much about what is going to happen and instead cherish the present moment with a smile and a happy attitude. South American people are considered the nicest and most welcoming people in the world. They are friendly and energetic to the point that their happiness is contagious. They laugh out loud, they sing, they dance in the streets and they paint their houses pink. If you are seeking happiness, I would definitely give South America a try. Here are the 5 cities that both locals and tourists consider to be the happiest cities in South America.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Happiest Cities in South America


Rio de Janeiro is one of the most famous cities in Brazil, it is the perfect destination for sun, sand & ocean. There are long beaches that never seem to end, blue skies, sunshine, ocean breezes, colorful drinks, and palm trees, these are only a few elements of the local paradise. Cariocas – inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro – definitely know how to have fun and enjoy the day from dawn to dusk. They can show you how to dance the samba and how to enjoy the simplest things like drinking fresh coconut water or admiring the beautiful sunset on the beach. Carioca is a lifestyle that revolves around being happy and relaxed without the unnecessary stresses of everyday life. No wonder this “Cidade Meravillosa” (Marvellous City), hosts the world-famous Carnival where the only thing to do is dance the best you can and be blissfully happy.

CARTAGENA, Colombia – Happiest Cities in South America


This Caribbean city looks like it was taken right out of a movie – colorful colonial houses with flowered balconies, cobblestone streets, sounds of salsa, and colorfully dressed women selling fruit on the streets. This all makes for a happy city. The variety of delicious foods and drinks you can find in Cartagena is mind-blowing. It’s an endless feast for your eyes and your palate. Colombians are some of the happiest people on the planet because of their love for food, friends, family, and dancing. Cartagena is certainly a great gateway for honeymooners with its romantic places.  Just walking through the city you can feel the passion, it is so intense it is almost hypnotizing.

CUENCA, Ecuador – Happiest Cities in South America


Ecuador has been ranked the 3rd happiest country in the world and the best country in South America for ex-pats. Many foreigners have chosen Ecuador as their second home due to the low cost of living, good health-care, hospitality, favorable climate, and general happiness and tranquility that emerges from the people and destinations in Ecuador. One of the most popular tourist and expats destination is Cuenca, located approximately 187 miles south of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. In Cuenca, you have the freedom to follow the peaceful rhythm of the day without facing the frustrations of a big city.  Mingle with locals as you walk through the street, they are always ready to give a helping hand.  Cuenca is one of those places where the “Joy to Life Ratio” is higher than expected.

PUNTA DEL ESTE, Uruguay – Happiest Cities in South America

PUNTA DEL ESTE-happiest-cities-in-south-america

Uruguay does not have strong Latin influences, however, being different doesn’t correlate to less happiness. This small South American country boasts as one of the most democratic systems in the continent, which provides its inhabitants with comfortable living, stability, and a sense of liberty. Uruguay is a progressive, modern country that doesn’t seem to have issues with an abundance of poverty, crime, and economic instability. In general, life is very good in Uruguay. One of the most visited places in Uruguay during the summertime is Punta del Este, a city located by the Atlantic Ocean. When you visit the Uruguayan coast you can easily notice their vibe is different from what you will experience in say Brazil.  Here it’s all about peace and quiet. When you think about Uruguay a couple of things come to mind: a slower pace of life, smaller travel distances, great highways, outdoor activities, and the feel of a small town.

ASUNCION, Paraguay – Happiest Cities in South America


Believe it or not, Paraguay was claimed to be the happiest country in the world by the Gallup Poll on well-being. This is quite a surprise considering it is one of the poorest and most rural countries in South America. You shouldn’t expect high standards and great tourism infrastructure while visiting Paraguay, however, you can expect friendliness of local people, a peaceful lifestyle, calm attitudes towards everyday difficulties, respect for people and traditions. It looks like money cannot buy happiness in this case. The most important thing for the inhabitants in the capital of Paraguay, Asuncion, is to find a balance between work, family, and friends. That’s their recipe for happiness and if this is what you are searching for while vacationing you can learn a lot from the people of Paraguay.

Visit all 5 of the happiest cities in South America! To start planning your trip, simply fill out the form below or contact us directly at 1-800-747-4540.

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