The wedding is behind you and now, with your other half by your side, it is time to head out on your honeymoon. South America is a continent steeped in romance and set up for seduction, so there are endless places where you can wrap up under the stars, toe-tap across the dance floor or dine by flickering light. Let us be your cupid and direct our bow at the continent’s most romantic spots.
Like Paris but better, Buenos Aires has the architecture, the food and the wine, plus Latin spirit and tango to top it off. Lovers in Argentina’s capital can spend their days strolling through the city, gazing up at neoclassical, Greco-Roman and Art Deco buildings; crossing over the Santiago Calatrava-designed Women’s Bridge in Puerto Madero; searching for Evita’s grave in Recoleta Cemetery; or cheering loudly at the polo and learning how to dance with the skill and passion of a local.
Fernando de Noronha, 320 kilometres (200 miles) off Brazil’s most eastern edge, is the ultimate island retreat. The archipelago is so special and unspoilt that it is protected by UNESCO, and visitor numbers are capped. The Atlantic’s majestic waters lap at its shores, bringing dolphins, whales and turtles. Basic infrastructure and one fancy hotel, Pousada Maravilha, provide all that honeymooners need to unwind and indulge in total peace.
Honeymooners should read Love in the Time of Cholera before wandering hand in hand through the rainbow streets of Cartagena. The town on Colombia’s north coast is widely thought to be the setting of Gabriel García Márquez‘s famed novel of real and imagined love. Today it is as charming and romantic as ever, heaving under a fringe of bougainvillea and filled with music and restaurants, travellers and tourists, lovers and lost souls.
The mind-blowing, eye-searing scenery of the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile is a sight to be shared. Beat the backpackers and set off together in a gleaming silver Airstream caravan to explore the lunar landscape yourselves. The combination of volcanoes, vast crusty salt flats, mirror-like lakes and islands of cartoonish cactuses will leave you in awe of the natural world and cuddling up close together under the stars on the cold desert nights.
Rio’s reputation as the grand dame of seduction is deserved and, as a honeymoon destination, Brazil’s most famous city has something for everyone. Whether you want to relax in a rooftop apartment, samba on the streets, eat out, party hard or just bask in the energy that radiates from her shores, Rio is the city for you. For those with blowout budgets, book into the Fasano, the Emiliano or the Copacabana Palace.
For a once-in-a-lifetime holiday, the Galapagos is a top contender. The islands of the coast of Ecuador were where Charles Darwin observed the indigenous animals and developed his theories on natural selection. Much of the wildlife you’ll see here is unique to the place. For an indulgent experience, book on to a boat or cruise to marvel at the blue-footed boobies, iguanas, giant tortoises, penguins and sea cucumbers by day before retreating into the lap of luxury at night.
Go south in Argentina and keep going. The dramatic scenery – sheets of ice slipping into pristine blue waters, jagged mountains and flocks of pink flamingos – at El Calafate will stop you in your tracks. The little town is on shores of Lago Argentino and not far from Los Glaciares National Park, giving you endless outdoor activities for entertainment, and the feeling that it is just you and your love at the tip of the continent.
Quito, Ecuador’s capital, is truly a special city. Cradled high in the Andes, it sits in a valley like an offering from the gods. The backdrop of towering mountains that turn pink at sunset and the ghoulish mist that often descends on the city change each day’s character. Its UNESCO-protected historic centre is the largest in the Americas and is rich in churches and basilicas, tiled houses, museums and galleries. Plus, the city pulses from day to night, making it an exciting playground for new partners.
In Paraty, rent a pastel-coloured boat from a captain on the pier and explore the surrounding Costa Verde. The colour of the sea is that of an emerald-encrusted engagement ring and the fresh, clear Atlantic is tickled by the heavy jungle and punctuated by rural islands. Loll on deck, drinking caipirinhas and motoring around until the sun starts to throw long shadows. Once back on land, the town is a thriving hub of culture with festivals throughout the year, classy restaurants and a fascinating history of the Portuguese gold trade to learn about.