Chasing the Best Sunsets in Latin America
When I booked my one-way flight to Ecuador, I did not anticipate that I would spend my time discovering the best sunsets in Latin America. Each sunset brought the most vibrant and varying colors I’ve ever seen. Even if I watched the sunset from the same location night after night, no two were ever the same. Whether the sun was setting over a Plaza de Armas, the ocean, in cities or in nature, I was never disappointed.
The more I watched the sunset, the more I craved it. If I went a week without seeing one, I would get sad. I noticed the sunsets were more than just pretty colors, it was a time for me to reflect on my journey. It was time for me to dream of my next destination, or simply be grateful for where I was at that moment.
I eventually made it my goal to find the best locations for sunsets in every new city I visited. I was successful most of the time, other times I struck out. In this post, you will find not only my favorite sunset photos, but also the locations I discovered to watch the sun cast its colors over the sky.
Quito is the first place I visited on my journey in South America and I was immediately stunned by the sunsets. Luckily, I was staying at Community Hostel, which had a rooftop offering panoramic views of the city. I could see from the Panecillo to the Basilica and beyond. When it wasn’t raining, you could find me on the rooftop around sunset time with a glass of wine, awaiting the colors that would dance across the sky each night. It was here that I realized I needed to keep finding the best places for sunset!
If you are not staying at Community Hostel during your trip to Quito, there are still a number of epic locations to catch the sunset. You can walk up to Parque Itchimbia or take the Teleferiqo up to Pichincha to watch the sun dip below the Andes. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!
I spent 10 days DIY-ing my way around the Galapagos Islands in search of magical places to watch the sunset. It was surprisingly more difficult than I anticipated! On Santa Cruz, I made the trek to Tortuga Bay one evening, only to discover that everyone must leave the beach at 5:00 pm! However, I did catch an amazing sunrise while waiting for the ferry to Isla Isabela.
That day turned out to be incredibly lucky, I witnessed a spectacular sunrise on Isla Santa Cruz and a stunning sunset on Isla Isabela. It’s quite amazing to watch the sun setting in a place you never thought you’d have the chance to visit in the company of wildlife that only exists on these islands. It left me in awe of the world around me and grateful that I took a chance on myself to chase my travel dreams.
After Isla Isabela, I hopped over to San Cristobal and got lucky again with a magnificent sunset. My last night on the island, I wandered beyond Playa Mann discovering a lighthouse which turned out to be the perfect vantage point to end the day.
After Ecuador, I headed to Peru where I really started to take my sunset chasing seriously. Peru responded by showing me how beautiful she makes her sunsets!
The Malecon connects the Miraflores and Barranco neighborhoods of Lima and is enjoyable at any time of day for a stroll or bike ride. At the suggestion of a Peruvian friend, one evening I walked the Malecon to a restaurant called Buena Vista Cafe. I snagged the last table with an epic view of the sun setting over Peru’s coastline.
Luckily, I stayed just a few blocks away from the Malecon so it was easy to go for an evening walk and snap some photos. There’s a place just north of Parque de Amor where the Malecon curves near a workout station. This was my favorite location where I could see the sun directly in front of me, the Pacific ocean to the left, the Lighthouse and city to the right.
An epic way I got to enjoy the sunset in Miraflores was by paragliding! Each day I walked by the paragliding location, they weren’t flying due to poor wind conditions. However, on my final night in Miraflores, just hours before I headed to the airport, I walked by just as the pilots were getting ready to fly. Luckily, the wind was strong enough and I jumped (literally) at the opportunity to glide across the sky as the sunset. It is one of my favorite moments!
The tour guide for the free walking tour got extra tips from me when he mentioned the best place to watch the sunset in Plaza de Armas. There is a bar called On the Terrace, which occupies the top level of one of the buildings in the Plaza. I ordered myself a Pisco sour, grabbed the last available seat and enjoyed the sunset over the city. Tip: get here early for a table away from the stairs, it’s not much of a secret and people will crowd the stairs and your view as it gets closer to the golden hour.
Before heading off to Machu Picchu, make sure you pay a visit to Cusco’s Plaza de Armas around the golden hour. It is the best place I found, in between cafe hopping, to catch the sunset. You can take a seat at any balcony restaurant along Portal Belen, order food or a drink and enjoy. It can get a bit chilly around sunset and many of the restaurants bring you blankets so you can relax!
Huacahina was my first time experiencing a desert and after a day spent dune buggying and sandboarding, a new friend I’d met and I decided to walk up the dunes to catch the sunset. The walk up to the top of the sand dunes was completely worth the burn and the sand in my shoes (and pockets and hair). Watching the sunset over the expanse of the desert reminded me of watching a beach sunset, with the dunes making wave-like forms in the sand and the sand reflecting the vibrant orange hues of the sun as it set.
On the recommendation of a friend, I paid for a sunset hike in the Paracas National Reserve through my hostel. It did not disappoint. A group of 5 of us hiked for about an hour along the incredibly windy coast, passing kite surfers along the way. Eventually, we came to an end where it was just our group and the setting sun. It was magical as we all sat there trying not to get sand in our eyes so we could witness Mother Nature’s nightly painting.
Chasing Sunsets in Argentina
I spent about a week in Argentina without seeing the sunset as I used that time to nap in preparation for nights that started well beyond sunset. It was in Argentina that I began to crave the setting sun. One evening I opted for a walk instead of a night out and I stumbled upon Puerto Madero. The sun set behind the buildings yet its colors still cast beautifully across the sky. It served as a reminder that our effects are far reaching, even though we may not see it!
After Argentina, I headed up to Mexico – I know it’s a ridiculous route that makes little sense. I spent most of my time in the Yucatan Peninsula and in Puerto Vallarta, yet I surprisingly found very few good sunset locations! But the ones I did discover, were pretty epic.
Laguna Bacalar had stunning sunrises, for which I enjoyed waking up and then jumping in the water for a morning swim.
I knew I had to get out on the water during my time there, so I booked a sailing trip. The sailing trip went twice per day, in the morning and in the afternoon. Since I was the only person booked, I asked if we could go at sunset and the owner agreed! I realized I Should be asking more for what I want – the answer could be no, but it could also be yes!
The day we sailed it was a bit cloudy, so I didn’t see the actual sunset. But I saw her colors and that made me incredibly happy.
Isla Holbox is a dream. It is a respite from the overcrowded areas in the Yucatan – looking at you Tulum. Upon checking in to my hostel, the owners of the hostel recommended the pier for sunset. So I joined tourists and locals alike who were sitting along the pier to watch the end of the day. Really, anywhere along the beach in Holbox is an excellent spot to watch the sunset. Each night it is different and each night it is stunning!
It rained 80% of the time I spent in Havana, but one night it cleared up enough for a sunset stroll along the Malecon. It was my only Cuban sunset, but one of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen. There were purple streaks from the sun against the dark blue clouds. Yet the sky lightened further from the sunset. Absolutely stunning.
Where is your favorite spot to watch the sunset? Would love to know so I can visit when I’m near your city!
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