By Alison Fox
October 25, 2019

The Recoleta Cemetery is one of the most-visited attractions in Buenos Aires, known for being the final resting place of several of the country's most famous citizens, including beloved former first lady of Argentina, Eva Perón. Despite the site's popularity, it has an especially dark side (even for a cemetery), thanks to the rumors of ghosts who haunt its grounds. 

The infamous story of a young woman who was buried alive makes Recoleta Cemetery one of the most haunted places you can visit in South America. Across the continent, from Chile to Brazil, you'll hear legends of ghosts and vampires who still spook visitors today. 

While seeking out the most haunted places in South America may not be on everyone’s bucket list, there’s something thrilling, if not macabre, about doing it. From seemingly cursed winding roads, to hotels haunted by former employees who died but never left, there’s plenty of places to channel your inner ghost hunter.

These are some of the most haunted places across South America.

Pisco, Peru

In 1913, a British woman named Sarah Ellen Roberts was brought to the port city of Pisco and laid to rest after she was allegedly executed for being a vampire and a witch. Peruvian legend claimed that she would rise on the 80th anniversary of her death — June 9, 1993 — and wreak havoc to avenge her untimely execution. Even though residents prepared to fight the supposed witch on this fateful anniversary, nothing happened, and her grave remains undisturbed. We don’t know if this haunting tale is true, or if residents just drank one too many Pisco sours, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

The Tomb of Rufina Cambacérès, Buenos Aires, Argentina

While the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires is full of architectural marvels and the tombs of famous people, one of its residents has a much darker story. In 1902, at only 19 years old, Rufina Cambacérès, who was born into a wealthy family, mysteriously collapsed when she was getting ready for a show. She was pronounced dead of a heart attack and later laid to rest in a coffin in a mausoleum in Recoleta Cemetery. A few days later, a worker at the famed cemetery noticed the coffin had been moved and the lid was broken, and he claimed to have even seen scratch marks inside. The young woman was indeed dead, but now her hands and face were bruised from trying to break out. Whether it is entirely true or not, the story is certainly a haunting one.

Gran Hotel Bolívar, Lima, Peru

This hotel, built in 1924, is known for its historic architecture and list of famous past guests, including Ernest Hemingway. Despite its celebrity acclaim, this hotel is perhaps most famous for one guest who never checked out. The spirit of a woman who tragically threw herself from the hotel’s windows has never left, and she can be seen roaming the hotel along with the ghost of a former employee and a mysterious woman dressed in white. According to TripSavvy, the hotel’s fifth and sixth floors are closed because of paranormal activity.

Joelma Building, São Paulo, Brazil

In 1974, 179 people were killed in a tragic fire in this 25-story office building in São Paulo that broke out because of a short-circuit in an air conditioner. Since then, rumors persist that the building is haunted, with many unexplained noises reported. While we don’t know if it is indeed haunted, we wouldn’t want to be there after dark.

Death Road, Bolivia

North Yungas Road is a one-lane pass that sits as far as 2,000-feet above the rainforest, and it does not have guardrails. While the view is spectacular, it’s a dangerous road that has earned the nickname “Death Road” because it claims between 200 and 300 lives every year. One of the most dangerous and ghoulish roads in the world, it’s not surprising that the ghosts of the people who have died there may continue to haunt motorists to this day.

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