When it comes to exploring new cities, the tourist areas are often the first stop for most people, but once you've seen the sights, those neighborhoods that have a quirky or modern feel to them will often offer a great vibe and the best insight into the people of the city.
From areas where artists and young people congregate to the areas where some of the really fascinating attractions and museums are located, what makes up a cool neighborhood can vary. If you're exploring South America, then here are a few neighborhoods worth visiting during your travels.
La Candelaria, Bogota
This historic center of the city has plenty of things going for it, because as well as having many of the attractions and the museums of the city, it is also a cool and quirky area.
The architecture here reflects several different periods, from twentieth century Art Deco buildings to traditional Spanish colonial building styles, while there are also cultural centers celebrating Colombia's relationships with America, France and Spain.
The night life in the area is also quite lively, particularly on Thursdays and Fridays when many people go out, but it is worth noting that some parts are known for muggings, so it is worth being careful.
A vibrant area of the Peruvian capital, Barranco is where much of the culture of the city is to be found, while it is also an area that attracts couples to the romantic restaurants and attractions.
The Bridge of Sighs covers a walkway heading to the ocean and is where couples go to kiss, while you also have a range of churches and museums, and a wonderful series of modern art galleries. Barranco is also one of the main student districts, and has some good bars and night clubs, along with several clubs that play traditional Peruvian folk music.
San Telmo, Buenos Aires
One of the biggest attractions for visitors who are exploring Buenos Aires is the Tango dancing scene in the city, and it is in the San Telmo district that you will find the series of Tango dancing clubs where you can learn the moves and try out your steps.
You can visit the 'Illuminated Block', one of the oldest areas of learning in the region, while you can also go shopping in the wonderful San Telmo market, which is housed in a huge traditional market hall.
Read: 10 Things Not to Miss in Buenos Aires
Santa Theresa, Rio de Janeiro
Away from the golden beaches and bouncing nightclubs of Rio's beachfront districts, Santa Theresa is a wonderful little area that developed around a convent on a hill which was cut off from the main part of the city until roads were built connecting the area in the late nineteenth century.
An old streetcar runs up the hill along the cobbled streets, and there are plenty of art galleries, cool little bars and restaurants that make this a village within the boundaries of a city.
Read: Awesome Day Trips from Rio de Janeiro
A historic district which is often alive with the sounds of live music and singing, Lastarria was originally built around the church in the area, although the modern district is centered around the Plaza Mulato Gil de Castro, a lovely square with cafes, bars, galleries and museums.
Plenty of bookshops and galleries help to foster a bohemian atmosphere, which makes it really popular among visitors to the city.
The Uruguayan capital is not the most visited of cities in South America, but the wonderful little district of Pocitos is just three kilometers southeast of the city center, and while there is a strip of hotels facing on to the beach, just a street or two back is the vibrant historical district of the city.
The park area near the seafront is a great place to relax, while the Plaza Gomensoro is a busy square with cafes and palm trees to continue the laid back vibe.