The Ultimate Telenovelas Bucket List to Stream Right Now


Growing up in a Latinx household, telenovelas were always playing in the background. Melodramas are part of our DNA, and we thrive watching the passionate scenes on TV with our favorite celebrities. One thing we love about telenovelas is that they have a beginning and an end. These short stories make us dream and take us into an alternate reality where everything is a life-and-death decision.

As we social distance and spend more time at home, we are looking for more content to watch, and sometimes a good ole telenovela is the perfect answer. Here's a fine selection of our favorite Mexican and Colombian telenovelas of all time, available now on streaming platforms.

click to play video

Betty en NY, Available on Peacock

Yo Soy Betty, La Fea was a phenomenon that captivated our hearts when it first aired at the turn of the century. The Fernando Gaitán original gave us a lesson about loving oneself and not judging others by their physical appearance. Telemundo remade the Colombian hit in 2019 and cast Elyfer Torres as the titular character of Betty en NY. The network updated the series to modern times, but the heart of the story remains. One unique aspect of the particular transformation that Betty receives is that they kept her hair curly throughout, making a statement that curly hair is also beautiful.

click to play video

La Patrona, Available on Hulu

Aracely Arámbula is one of our Latin telenovela queens. One of her classics is La Patrona, where she portrays Gabriela, a single mother who works as a miner. Being the only woman who works in that field, she is bullied by her fellow miners. However, her life turns to hell when she crosses Antonia Guerra and makes her life miserable for loving her son. When she finds out that Gabriela Suárez is her grandchild's mother, she goes to terrible lengths to vanish her.

We love this telenovela because it portrays two strong women who are resilient until they reach their objectives. When they think Gabriela is gone forever, she returns and makes everyone pay one by one.

click to play video

Destilando Amor, Available on Univision Now

Before being the First Lady of México, Angélica Rivera was a telenovela star. Her last melodrama, Destilando Amor, turned out to be one of the biggest telenovela hits at the time. It is a remake of the Colombian classic Café Con Aroma de Mujer that Televisa adapted in 2007. In this one, the coffee has been swapped for tequila, but the story is the same timeless classic about a rich man and a humble woman who fall in love and are kept apart by their family's feud.

click to play video

La Reina del Sur, Available on Netflix

There are very few telenovelas that are complete game changers, and La Reina del Sur is one to go down in history. The series that starred Kate del Castillo was based on the Arturo Pérez-Reverte eponymous novel. Teresa Mendoza is a woman who gets dumped into the dark world of narcos unknowingly. She soon finds herself being persecuted by the Mexican cartel and escapes to Spain only to revolutionize the drug-trafficking world in Europe. There was no intention to make a sequel, but Telemundo caved after fans requested it for years and in 2019 released another chapter of the saga. Both seasons are available on Netflix now.

click to play video

¿Dónde Está Elisa?, Available on Peacock

Another Telemundo classic is the thriller ¿Dónde Está Elisa? The suspenseful series revolves around a girl who goes missing. As the family is engulfed in knowing Elisa's whereabouts, deep, dark secrets start to unravel. How did Elisa disappear? Who is behind her disappearance? Is she dead or alive? The characters will ask themselves these questions, but the culprit of all this drama might just be at home.

click to play video

El Dragón: Return of a Warrior, Available on Netflix

Arturo Pérez-Reverte is the master of suspense, and after hitting gold with La Reina del Sur, he wrote a screenplay that ultimately became El Dragón. The series starring Sebastián Rulli revolves around his character, Miguel Garza, who finds himself in the middle of a cartel war after spending years in Japan. Twists and turns keep viewers on the edge of their seats and wanting to see more and more.

click to play video

La Que no Podía Amar, Available on Univision Now

Ana Brenda Contreras and Jorge Salinas star in La Que No Podía Amar. In true melodrama fashion, this Televisa production completely changed the rules. Our protagonista, Ana Paula, is not your typical heroine as she is not one to take orders from anybody. Our galán is also not the usual lead man as he mistreats everyone around him due to an accident that left him unable to walk. Despite their clashing, they somehow bring out the best in each other and create a magical love.

click to play video

Pasión Prohibida, Available on Hulu

Turkish telenovelas are all the rage right now, but back in 2013, Telemundo became a trendsetter when it adapted Aşk-ı Memnu into Pasión Prohibida. The story has two strong women at the center of the drama, a mother and a daughter, who duel throughout the story. Rebecca Jones is the mom, and Mónica Spear is the daughter, two actresses perfectly cast for this dark telenovela.

click to play video

La Usurpadora, Available on Univision Now

A telenovela roundup is never complete without mentioning La Usurpadora. Gabriela Spanic stars as twin sisters Paulina and Paola, who trade places when the latter abandons her family and escapes with her love. Paulina is the noble sister who ends up taking care of the Bracho family and finally making them feel like a family unit again. This sweet and bonkers story is one you have to watch if you call yourself a telenovela fan. Televisa adapted the story in 2019 with Sandra Echeverría as the twins. However, this time, it is set in the political world. This miniseries is available on Amazon Prime Video.

click to play video

La Reina del Flow, Available on Netflix

If you're a fan of reggaeton, La Reina del Flow has you covered. This Colombian production centers on a woman who is wrongfully convicted. While in jail, her boyfriend steals lyrics she has written and becomes a reggaeton superstar with her songs. When she finally is set free, she returns and doesn't stop until she exposes him and ruins his career.

click to play video

Teresa, Available on Univision Now

Angelique Boyer is one of the current telenovela queens. Her first starring role was on Teresa, back in 2010, the same role Salma Hayek gave life to in 1989. The story about an ambitious girl resonated with viewers as the lead is not the typical humble queen. This time, Teresa is an antiheroine who stops at nothing until achieving what she wants: money.

click to play video

Lo Que la Vida Me Robó, Available on Univision Now

Angelique Boyer went on to star in Lo Que la Vida Me Robó in 2013. What's interesting about this version is that the story isn't set in a particular time, and that soon after filming wrapped for this telenovela, Boyer and Sebastián Rulli made their relationship IRL official. Watching their romantic scenes, one can't help but wonder which kiss was the one that made them fall in love.

click to play video

Pasión de Gavilanes, Available on Peacock

If you are looking for something steamy to watch, look no further than Pasión de Gavilanes. The Colombian classic pairs three hot men with three gorgeous women, and there are lots (lots) of passionate scenes between all the couples involved. Telemundo remade this telenovela again as Tierra de Reyes with a whole new cast and abs galore.

click to play video

Cuna de Lobos, Available on Amazon Prime Video

If there is an iconic villain in Mexican telenovelas, it has to be Catalina Creel, from Cuna de Lobos. Televisa remade the classic story into a miniseries with Paz Vega in the leading role. Although this version is not as campy as the original, it is a high-quality production with an intense story that leaves you wanting more.

click to play video

María la del Barrio, Available on Univision Now

Did you think we would leave "Maldita lisiada" out of this list? Think again! María la del Barrio is the ultimate telenovela classic. Thalía as the titular character gives us life, and Itatí Cantoral as Soraya Montenegro is the epitome of what a villana should look and act like. If María la del Barrio is not enough, Univision Now also has María Mercedes and Mari Mar available.