Rio de Janeiro state in Brazil can be boisterous, intense, flamboyant and vibrant, backed by energetic samba sounds. It can also be overwhelmingly romantic, with its cobbled old streets, long stretches of white sand and captivating, forest-covered granite mountains. The difference comes down to the hotel you choose, perhaps staying in Ilha Grande or Paraty. For a romantic honeymoon in Rio, here are the top destinations to check out – all bookable with Culture Trip.
Leave the mainland behind for the tropical beauty of Ilha Grande, which has multiple secluded beaches and a completely undeveloped, forest-covered interior. Pousada Vila Pedra Mar is in the perfect setting for a romantic honeymoon getaway, with rooms that overlook the turquoise water, and kayak and boat rental available to guests. There aren’t many places you can go to find food nearby, but breakfast and dinner are included in the room rates.
Paraty is a 17th-century town spanning a curved bay in the west of Rio de Janeiro state. The historic cobbled streets and fishing boat-studded harbor create a romantic, laid-back atmosphere, which are all qualities you’ll find at Casa Turquesa, a colonial hotel on the waterfront. The rooms benefit from floor-to-ceiling windows with turquoise window frames, which can open fully to allow the sea breeze in. The furnishings are freshly upholstered in crisp, white fabrics.
Tucked away in Rio’s hilltop Santa Teresa neighborhood is an exquisite slice of luxury accommodation from MGallery. The Santa Teresa Hotel has a pool and sun deck with wide-ranging views over the historic centre of the city and Guanabara Bay beyond. Built in 1850, the hotel was once a coffee farm, and this rustic vibe is laced throughout the contemporary design in flashes of bare-brick archways and rooms with high ceilings. And if that doesn’t sound romantic enough, there’s a Michelin-starred restaurant here too.
East of Rio city, the Atlantic shoreline stretches out to a rocky cape before turning to the north. This area around Arraial do Cabo town has become known for its shipwreck diving sites, white sand beaches and pretty, boat-filled bays. Pousada Canto da Baleia overlooks one such bay. The sea view suite’s balcony is ideal for appreciating this lovely honeymoon destination at sunset.
Beneath the mighty Pedra da Gávea mountain, on a peaceful stretch of Rio coastline, is La Suite. The romantic setting is further enhanced by the hotel’s infinity pool, where you can sip a cold cocktail and look out over the ocean towards the high-rises of the city. Each room has its own bespoke design that begins with a key color. The pink room has marble his-and-hers sinks, while the black suite’s floor to ceiling windows have stunning coastline views.
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Pousada Riacho dos Cambucás is a rustic, jungle-enveloped escape from Rio’s sweltering city. Located on Ilha Grande, the best rooms have their own balcony with a hammock and a jacuzzi-style bath. Alternatively, reserve some time in the hydromassage tub at the on-site spa. The palm-lined Abrãao Beach is a few blocks away. The hotel’s honeymoon packages include a couple’s massage and a bottle of sparkling wine.
Do you find the mountains more romantic than the ocean? If so, it’s worth heading inland from Rio de Janeiro city into the forest-covered uplands to find a remote boutique hotel that exists in greater harmony with nature, such as Locanda Della Mimosa. This stunning upmarket property has been completely remodeled, with vestiges of the old hacienda it replaced – such as the original walls – poking through the design. The garden is shaded by thick foliage and the imposing cliff face of a nearby mountain.
In the historic, cobbled centre of Paraty, you’ll find one of the coziest and most sophisticated honeymoon destinations in Rio de Janeiro state. The rustic atmosphere has been carefully maintained, with designer wooden interiors and furniture, and brightly painted window frames adding contrast to the whitewashed walls. As the name suggests, literature and education are important here – spend time in the on-site library or head inland to Fazenda Bananal, a 17th-century farm with nature-watching trails and an organic restaurant.