Latin America for Lovers

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Jr. Suite at Latitude 10 in Costa Rica
Jr. Suite at Latitude 10 in Costa Rica.

The honeymoon experience in Latin America embraces upscale country inns; mountain and jungle lodges; seaside hideaways; and capital city treats.

a costa rica duo

The most popular road to romance in Latin America leads to Costa Rica, appealing to couples with a sense of adventure. We head to the Pacific Coast, home to two resorts with two different styles.

In the Papagayo Peninsula, Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo offers a perfect hideaway for the most luxurious and unforgettable honeymoons. Seclusion and romance are the hallmarks of the suite accommodations, which feature king beds and private decks with outdoor whirlpools and mesmerizing ocean vistas. The resort has several indoor and outdoor dining venues, three infinity-edge pools, a full-service spa and an Arnold Palmer championship golf course. Designed with romance in mind, the Suite Romance package comes with a 4-course candlelight dinner in the privacy of one’s verandah or in a cozy alcove of the resort’s elegant restaurant; a $250 spa credit; a Goombay catamaran sunset cruise; suite accommodations; and daily breakfast in-room or at the

On the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula on Santa Teresa Beach, the honeymoon style is quite different—the dress code: sarongs and surf shorts—at Latitude 10. Patrons describe the Latitude 10 experience as staying with good friends at their luxury beach house, complete with personalized service and a classy atmosphere. Each of the hotel’s beachfront bungalows is an architectural treat, appointed with Balinese and Indonesian art and furnishings, complimentary WiFi, and wraparound verandahs opening to lush gardens and a forest. The two Master Suites are the prize accommodations, with the best beach and sunset views, plus enormous outdoor garden bathrooms. Guest treats include an alfresco restaurant, an infinity pool, and an open-air yoga and massage pavilion. Bicycles are available for the 10-minute ride to Santa Teresa, one of the hippest surf towns in Costa Rica with great local dining. Active honeymooners won’t want to miss the famous Santa Teresa surf break, horseback riding excursions, tropical canopy tours, and boat and fishing excursions. Honeymooners booking a 4-night stay at Latitude 10 can choose a jr. suite from $1,042, a premium jr. suite from $1,192, or a master suite from $1,642, and add a welcome cocktail, full daily breakfasts, a 60-minute couple’s massage, and a romantic 3-course dinner with a bottle of wine.

belize’s coppola connection

Consider honeymoon planning that combines two luxurious resorts owned by Francis Ford Coppola, with time divided between the lush highlands and the Caribbean Sea. The magical and romantic pairing includes three nights in the Maya Mountain hideaway of Blancaneaux Lodge, whose Honeymoon Cabana comes with open-air bath and waterfall views, followed by four nights beachside in Placencia at Turtle Inn, where lovers relax in a Balinese-style, beautifully appointed Honeymoon Cottage with private garden and outdoor shower, plus an interior Japanese bath. (The hands-down winner in luxury and romance is the Chinese Matrimonial Suite, with a tranquil setting steps from the sea.) This luxury week offers Thai spa treatments, two pools, delicious and varied cuisine served up in three restaurants, a full-service dive shop, and complimentary use of bikes and kayaks.

Priced from $5,975 per couple, the 7-night Honeymoon package covers all breakfasts, lunches and dinners at Blancaneaux; all breakfasts and lunches, plus two dinners at the Mare Restaurant, and one dinner at the beachfront Gauguin Grill at Turtle Inn. Additional enhancements include airport transfers arrival/departure plus a chilled bottle of sparkling wine on arrival at each resort; at Blancaneaux, a canoe trip to Barton Creek Cave and a full-day 4WD excursion to the Mayan citadel of Caracol and the Rio Frio Cave; and at Turtle Inn, a full-day snorkel trip and a full-day Monkey River trip.

the “love boat” in Amazonia

Awesome Amazonia is indeed a lush area embracing one of the most biologically diverse regions on Earth. Peru’s sector of the Amazon Basin offers a wonderland of black caimans and red-bellied macaws, giant otters in the rivers and howler monkeys in the canopy. For nature-loving, relaxation-seeking couples, a boat afloat will be the perfect way to find romance in the rainforest, and for this once-in-a-lifetime experience we recommend booking a luxury discovery cruise aboard Aria, one of Aqua Expeditions’ two river cruisers.

Honeymooners will record such special memories as a private skiff serenade at sunset, a surprise chocolate cake in the cabin suite, and other little staff surprises that complement this luxury cruise. Designed in the style of a floating luxury hotel and cruising out of a port north of Iquitos, the 16-suite Aria is a handsome river cruiser, fitted with sleek, dark-wood chaise longues, imported Italian bath fixtures and outdoor hot tubs. Measuring 240 sq. ft., the vessel’s spacious suites come with air conditioning, king beds and a seating area; couples can count on waking up in a bed of 280-thread-count cotton sheets, and pulling back the curtains of the floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows to see pink dolphins playing in the Amazon’s black waters. Getting close to nature while afloat, head for the sun deck, outdoor jacuzzi or the air-conditioned bar on the upper deck, and remember that Peru boasts some of the best food in the world, and the meals aboard the Aria are no exception. Getting even closer to nature, guests take up to three excursions a day—fishing for piranhas, walking through the jungle, spotting monkeys, sloths and red-bellied macaws, enjoying life on the river when meeting the local fishermen and visiting local communities—going ashore by motorized skiffs in the company of one of four naturalist guides. Offered are both 4-night cruises, priced from $3,800 pp for a design suite, or $4,000 pp for the Master Suite; and 7-night cruises from $7,000 to $7,350 pp, depending on first or second deck.

passion for patagonia

Ah Patagonia…and particularly Torres del Paine National Park, certainly top of the list of spectacular places to be in Chile—or anywhere. Your honeymooning clients can experience the rugged grandeur of this corner of the Andes from the total comfort of Singular Patagonia, a sleek, modern, award-winning luxury hotel set on the shores of the “Last Hope” fjord, just outside the town of Puerto Natales and a 3-hour drive from the Punta Arenas airport. The hotel’s acclaimed restaurant-bar and museum are housed in the historic landmark Puerto Bories, a former post-Victorian cold-storage plant built in 1915. There are 57 spacious (500 sq. ft.) guestrooms with fjord views beyond the 20-ft. glass-panel windows, and despite its rustic origins, Singular is top-of-the-line in modern luxury. Here, guests find a spa, a 2-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio, highly trained guides, and an award-winning culinary team. Guests are pampered and provided for at every turn, and for action-oriented honeymooners, Singular offers more than 20 excursions that add up to a great Patagonian experience—from horseback riding on private ranches to exploring the fjords by boat, and, of course, trekking through the famous Torres del Paine National Park. Check out the hotel’s Romantic Patagonia package that includes 3-night accommodations with breakfast, one lunch or dinner a la carte, one 50-minute massage pp, use of the spa, and transfers to/from Punta Arenas (three hours each way). Prices start at $410 pp per night.

buenos aires, mi amor

Buenos Aires is custom-made for couples who understand it takes two to tango: out dancing in a milonga social club, watching a nightclub tango show, or taking lessons together. Beyond its signature rhythm, honeymooners love B.A. for its best-of-everything in museums, street fairs, steakhouses, nightlife and historic barrios (neighborhoods) such as Palermo Viejo for high fashion buys; Palermo Hollywood for a cutting-edge contemporary vibe; San Telmo for antiques and authentic restaurants; and La Recoleta for fine galleries, museums and high-end hotels.

Truly wonderful boutique hotels are all the rage in B.A., and there are many luxurious and romantic choices. At the top of the list is Hub Porteño, with the critically acclaimed Tarquino Restaurant and flower-filled rooftop terrace, nestled in the exclusive La Recoleta neighborhood. This stunning townhouse hotel makes honeymooners at home in 11 light-filled suites, appointed with Belle Epoque furnishings and art work by Argentine masters on loan from the Fortabat Art Collection, as well as iPad/iPod docking stations, WiFi and Nespresso machine. Honeymooner extras can include room service (no time limit), flowers, non-alcoholic drinks and snacks in the room, as well as late 6 p.m. check-out, “Daily Candy” (a surprise aperitif in the hotel living room each afternoon), and the above-and-beyond services of concierges who help to introduce guests to the best B.A. experiences. ●

The Personal Touch

When asked to pick a personal favorite for a honeymoon, Sandra Borello, president of Borello Travel & Tours, says, “My first choice would be as exotic as possible, focused on both romance and wildlife: a cruise to Antarctica. In fact, if it could be arranged, it would be wondrous to be married en-route. My second choice would also be afloat, say aboard the Stella Australis cruising between Ushuaia and Punta Arenas, or an Amazon honeymoon on one of the luxury river boats cruising out of Iquitos in Peru.” She adds that many couples and/or their travel agents pick mostly iconic places if they are honeymooning in South America, including Machu Picchu, a luxury lodge in the Amazon, Iguassu Falls combined with Rio in Brazil. In fact, “While our recommendations, of course, depend on the clients, we believe the best honeymoons incorporate at least two destinations. The first will be the gateway city, where after a long flight from North America everyone should stop and rest. South American cities are modern, fun, interesting, and offer excellent hotels—grand or boutique. In Lima, for instance, we use the new and elegant Hotel B where in the delightful neighborhood of Barranco, our honeymooners are guaranteed Atelier rooms prepared for reception with a bottle of Champagne, flowers, and petit-fours. It’s important to make capital gateways an appealing part of the honeymoon planning. To this we suggest all kinds of combination itineraries: Take Buenos Aires and add time for the traditional estancia ranch experience in the countryside and/or wine tastings, fine dining, hiking and biking during a luxury lodge stay in the Mendoza wine country; make the same kind of city-and-beyond combination in Ecuador, with time in the lovely city of Quito, combined with highlands dining, horseback riding, nature hikes on the working ranch of Hacienda Zuleta and/or rainforest discoveries in and around the luxury Mashpi Lodge.

“I won’t say we are overwhelmed with requests for honeymoons, but the bookings are increasing, client reports are gratifying, and agents can recommend with confidence the most memorable honeymoons in the other America.”