This is an easy question for me as I actually returned from my own honeymoon in South America not long ago and had an absolutely wonderful time. Whilst every couple's dream honeymoon will be different, I'll explain the itinerary my husband and I chose and why.

We wanted somewhere where we could enjoy a high standard of accommodation but also experience some adventure, and where we could pack plenty into three weeks but without it seeming too much. Brazil was the ideal choice, not just because it's close to my heart but because it has such a huge variety of attractions. However we wanted something a bit different from the norm, an itinerary that would do more than skim the surface of the country but instead show it from a number of different angles. That's not to say that we didn't want a bit of the typical honeymoon luxury though – the trip ends on a high with a stay in a paradise beach resort I had been wanting to visit for years..

First off, where better to begin your honeymoon than Rio de Janeiro, one of the most exotic cities on earth and, in my opinion, the most beautiful. If you've got enough time to do more than see just the main sights, an interesting area to base yourselves is away from the beach, in the artistic neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. It's a pretty, historic area with a bohemian village feel, and completely unlike the stereotypical impression of Rio.

For the next stop it was time to add some wildlife spotting into the mix, but rather than the famous Amazon we chose to get back to nature in the Pantanal, a huge wetland wilderness in southern Brazil. It's inhabited by similar species to those of the Amazon, such as caimans, capybaras, giant river otters, anacondas, jaguars and many types of monkeys and birds, but you have a much better chance of spotting them thanks to the sparser foliage and seasonal patterns that bring the animals to the few watering holes in the dry season and onto what's left of the higher ground in the wet. Staying in one of the remote lodges like Rio Mutum is a real get-away-from-it-all experience, but the programme of wildlife watching safari expeditions by canoe, horse, riverboat or foot mean there's plenty to do each day.

Next came Salvador, often described as the most African city outside of Africa. It's an incredible place with a very strong cultural identity that has given rise to its own religion of candomblé, the unique martial art capoeira, axé music and Brazil's most delicious cuisine. It is also one of the country's finest examples of colonial architecture, with beautiful pastel buildings lining the winding cobbled streets. I recommend staying in the lovely Casa do Amarelindo, a boutique hotel in a colonial building in the heart of the historic centre.

From Salvador we headed inland again to an area not on the typical holiday-maker's radar but with a wealth of natural beauty and outdoor attractions: the Chapada Diamantina. This is an area of table mountains, waterfalls, aquamarine lakes and cavernous grottoes, so it gives yet another distinct flavour of what Brazil has to offer. A private package of excursions allows you the flexibility to pick and choose the activities you want to do each day, so you have control over the pace and itinerary.

Finally we wound down with four nights at Kiaroa, further down the coast from Salvador. By that time we had explored bustling cities, spectacular landscapes, cultural and historical sights and wildlife havens all within one amazing and diverse country, so we felt we had well earned our unashamed relaxation! 

See also our Private Honeymoon Holiday to Brazil


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