7 Spooky Locations in Latin America You Can Visit

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres
Art by Stephany Torres
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There’s no better way to celebrate the spooky season than by shining a spotlight on some real-life haunted or eerie places. And though, we wouldn’t want to visit any of these spooky locations in Latin America for Halloween – or really, at any other point of the year because we’re scaredy cats, there’s something about learning about them from the comfort of our own homes that’s appealing.

From the Isla de las Muñecas in Mexico to the Hotel del Salto in Colombia, these places from Latin America demonstrate that oftentimes reality is much, much scarier than any spooky story or movie can ever hope to be. And they also prove that, with the right amount of information, it can be even more interesting while teaching us a little bit more about our communities rich (and often terrifying) history.


Isla de las Muñecas, Mexico

The Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls) in Mexico is the kind of place that just by its name sounds like a no-thank you. The island is said to be home to the “largest collection of haunted dolls” in the world, which is a terrifying thought. Imagine Anabelle but times a thousand? 

Legend goes that a girl died on the island after getting entangled in the canal’s water lilies. The caretaker Don Julian Santana Barrera started leaving dolls for the girl as an offering and show of respect. He continued adding dolls until the whole island was covered in them. And apparently, some of them move at night. 


Cueva de los Tayos, Ecuador

This cave in Ecuador is both the kind of cool place adventurers might want to venture into and the kind of hell no place smart people should really not be messing with. There are movies about going into places such as this one, and none of them really end well.

First, there’s the fact that the cave is really, really deep. You can only rappel in. The underground passages stretch to over 3 miles and there are cathedral-like-caverns within that contain remnants of what looks to be the last remnants of a pre-Columbian culture. Also, you can stay overnight and camp there. And the thought of sleeping that far underground is enough to give one nightmares.


Hotel del Salto, Colombia

Colombia’s Hotel del Salto doesn’t sound that bad. Just a hotel, right? Wrong. This is a whole hotel-like structure built on the Tequedama Falls over the Bogotá River. According to local lore, during the Spanish conquistador’s reign of terror, indigenous Muisca people would jump off to escape the invading force.

That’s not all, while the hotel was still open, multiple visitors jumped to their death from the windows. Oh, and there was the time a guest was murdered after the victims’ attackers were “manipulated by dark energy.” Yeah, we’d never book a room here. 


Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s Castillo San Felipe del Morro in Old San Juan is notorious for being haunted, to the point that people regularly report seeing the spirit of a woman dressed in all white gliding along the ramparts almost as if she were part of the tourist attraction. 

Built in the 1500s, El Morro is also one of the most recognizable sites in Puerto Rico. It was an important military outpost for Spain and later the United States according to Discover Puerto Rico. Many account for this place being haunted due to its proximity to the Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery. But it’s the turret that was most feared amongst the soldiers after one of their own disappeared and the guards claimed the devil had taken him away.


Villa Epecuén, Argentina

Argentina’s Villa Epecuén is what we would literally call a ghost town. The town, which was destroyed by a flood over 30 years ago, was established along the shore of Lago Epecuen in the 1920s. According to The Atlantic, the water levels reached a depth of 33 feet in 1993. Only when the waters started to recede in 2009 were people able to visit the ruins. What remains looks like a disaster movie come to life with petrified trees looking like desolate ghosts across the town, buildings, and destroyed homes.


Devil’s Island, French Guiana

French Guiana’s Devil’s Island sounds like a no from just from the name. That’s without even going into the history. It used to be the most infamous penal colony in the world for about 100 years. It’s said that the pain and despair the people there suffered transformed into grim tales of apparitions, voices, and unexplained phenomena from the locals and visitors alike.


Fortaleza del Real Felipe, Peru

Peru’s Fortaleza del Real Felipe was known for its notoriously tight dungeons. We’re talking about the kind of tight where some in the prison had to remain standing, even while sleeping. So, it’s no surprise that there are quite a few different apparitions people report seeing at the colonial garrison that was commissioned in 1747 to combat pirates. The brutality suffered there has led to legends of a woman in white singing a funeral song and children heard giggling in its halls.