Just a 30-minute boat trip from the coastal town of Angra dos Reis to the south of Rio, Ilha Grande is a paradisiacal retreat with soft sandy shores, crystal blue waters, and luscious vegetation. It is home to Lopes Mendes, a palm tree-lined beach renowned for its white sands and crystalline sea, a perfect spot for a romantic retreat. In the evening, beachside bars are the hangout spot, complete with lantern-lit tables scattered on the shores plus the sounds of crickets, birds and the ocean breeze in the background. Stay at Pousada Vila Pedra Mar, a boutique hotel on the island with honeymoon suites defined by four-poster beds and sea-view balconies.
Away from the golden coastline, the colonial city of Petropolis sits up in the hills of Rio de Janeiro, offering a different experience from the swimsuit-clad shores. Mountain trails yield to the breathtaking scenery of rocky peaks, hardy vegetation, and trickling waterfalls, whilst the city itself is rich in imperial and colonial history, complete with attractions such as the Emperor’s former palace and the House of Santos-Dumont, the Brazilian inventor who developed the aeroplane. The wooden panels, exposed brickwork, and large windows overlooking the mountain range at Pousada Canto das Tangaras make an ideal romantic retreat for honeymoon couples.
The charming city of Paraty blends the best of Ilha Grande and Petropolis for those couples debating between the two. The beachside town is replete with reminders of its colonial past, from cobbled streets to white-washed houses decorated with vibrantly coloured window frames and doors. Beach getaways come in the form of boat trips to neighbouring islands, many of which are inhabited, and offer sunny days of snorkelling among tropical fish and turtles, and relaxing moments on white sandy beaches. Stay at the Casa Turquesa Maison d’hôtes, a luxurious, airy hotel right in the centre of the city.
There is more to Rio de Janeiro city than beaches, and each neighbourhood has its own complex culture with particular characteristics and features. Santa Teresa, a bohemian retreat that has become popular among artists and musicians, clings to the hillsides in the centre of Rio. Its peaceful, hippie vibe sets a tranquil scene for honeymooners looking for an exotic place to relax together. The Santa Teresa Hotel is considered one of the best hotels in Rio, complete with a fully equipped spa, an outdoor pool with cocktail bar, and a fine-dining restaurant.
Arraial do Cabo
If it’s a white sand and blue sea kind of paradise that you’re looking for, then Arraial do Cabo neatly ticks all the boxes. The small region north of Rio de Janeiro is defined by its white shores fringed with grass-covered dunes and crystal clear, marine-rich waters, making it a popular spot among divers and snorkellers. The nighttime, however, is all about cosy bars, seafood dining, and live Brazilian music. The Pousada Canto da Baleia offers a romantic retreat for those looking for a hotel that combines simplicity with luxurious touches.
The secluded beach of Joatinga, a hot spot for surfers and camera-weary A-listers, is fringed by forest-carpeted hillsides, which provide a romantic getaway for an exotic honeymoon. La Suite is located in the Joatinga hillsides and is only accessible by following a winding dead-end road that leads to the hotel. The private retreat offers a calm cocoon of tranquillity and luxury, with a complete spa, swimming pools, and views that overlook the hills and the ocean.
La Suite, R. Jackson de Figueiredo, 501 – Joá, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 3259 6123