13 Monsters from Latin America Not Named La Llorona

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres
Art by Stephany Torres
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If you’re traveling in Latin America without a map, you can probably guess where you are by the food you’re served or the monster stories you’re told. That’s because of the diverse narratives shared between different Latin American cultures.

Sure, most Latines know the monsters that get the most headlines like La Llorona, El Chupacabra, and El Cucuy, but there are countless of other mythological creatures roaming the earth – from Tijuana, Mexico, to the most southern tip of Argentina – and they are all just as frightening.

Here’s a look at 13 monsters from Latin America that you may not have heard of before. They are the stuff of nightmares, so don’t say that we didn’t warn you.



The mythological creature is from Peru and Bolivia. Some parts of the Andes region call the monster kharisiri. It’s said that a pishtaco disguises itself as a white man who kills natives by cutting out their body fat and selling their flesh as chicharrones.


El Cadejo

The supernatural, dog-like creature with deer hooves has been seen across South America – from Guatemala to El Salvador to Honduras. It’s said to roam deserted roads at night. There is apparently a good white cadejo and an evil black one, which is an incarnation of the devil that has glowing purple eyes and eats babies.


El Chamuco

The creepy story in Mexico and in U.S. states like California and Texas serves as a cautionary tale about stepping outside of societal norms. In one version, a young woman who goes to a local bar against her family’s wishes shuns all the men who ask her to dance. She finally accepts an offer from a man in a black suit. They dance all night and when they are finished, she looks down and sees that he has hooves for feet. She had been dancing with El Chamuco aka the devil the entire evening.



The one-legged woman in South American folklore appears to hunters in the wilderness. Like a siren, she seduces the men with her beauty and her singing voice. Once she has a man deep in the jungle, she turns into a vampire-like creature and eats their flesh and drinks their blood.


El Huay Chivo

The monster from Mesoamerican culture is half-man, half-beast that can be found around the Yucatán Peninsula. It’s said that the creature is an evil sorcerer who can transform into a goat, dog or deer. Its name comes from the Yucatec Mayan term Huay or Uay (sorcerer) and the Spanish word chivo (goat).


El Padre Sin Cabeza

In some versions of the story, the Headless Priests hails from El Salvador, and is the spirit of a priest who died without confessing his sins. Others believe the priest was captured during a revolt and decapitated by an authoritative government. Some will see the priest standing at church doors before disappearing into the bell tower.


La Siguanaba

Found in Central America and Mexico, the supernatural monster can shapeshift into an attractive woman and, like Patasola, lures men away before revealing their true form. In the case of La Siguanaba, it has the face of a horse. The men usually die from fear. Sometimes the creature lures children, too, and drives them to insanity.



The Colocolo is depicted as an evil rat-like creature and comes from Mapuche mythology. Mapuche are the largest indigenous group in Chile. In some versions of the legend, the rat has feathers or is described as a snake with a rat’s head. The creature cries just like a child.


Hombre Gato

Originally from Argentina, the Hombre Gato, or Catman, has feline and human characteristics. The creature is reminiscent of a werewolf because it roams around at night and preys on humans and animals. We doubt it uses a litterbox.



In Aztec mythology, the Cihuateteo are spirits of women who died during childbirth. In the Aztec calendar, the entity descends to earth for five days as a demon and haunts crossroads in hopes of stealing children. With chalk-white limbs and claws for hands, they also used their powers to possess their victims’ bodies or seduce men.



From the Quechua language, Yacumama means “mother of water.” She is said to take the form of a serpent in the Amazon Rainforest in Peru. As legend has it, the monster consumes anything that comes within 100 feet of it. People in the area protect themselves by blowing a conch horn before stepping into the water.


El Pirata Sin Cabeza

The supernatural creature from Costa Rica is a decapitated pirate who guards a treasure buried at the base of a tree on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Based on the legend, a pirate was stabbed in the back and killed by another pirate who ends up being the Devil’s son.


La Ciguapa

In regions of the Dominican Republic, La Ciguapa is a nocturnal creature with the characteristics of a woman, but with dark blue skin, backward feet, and smooth hair that covers its entire body. They are said to live in the mountains of DR. Because of the position of its feet, it is difficult to locate a ciguapa because you never know if it’s coming or going.