With Valentine’s Day almost upon us once again, Journey Latin America’s Laura Rendell-Dunn gives her Top 5 Romantic Destinations in Latin American, including Rio that holds a special place in her heart as it was where she became engaged.
A swirl of cosmopolitan delights awaits visitors to Buenos Aires, the seductive capital of Argentina and cradle of the tango. Enjoy opera at the newly refurbished Teatro Colón for a fraction of the typical European price, soak up the atmosphere in traditional districts such as San Telmo with their colourful antique markets, elegant boutique hotels and street dance performances, or enjoy a slap-up meal of steak and wine. I also recommend an evening stroll in Puerto Madero, the historic port area that has had a stylish makeover of late and is full of great bars and restaurants.
2. Luxury Patagonia
If the word ‘romance’ conjours up an image in your head of snuggling up in cosy surroundings with the snow pouring down outside, Patagonia could be a great choice. If you want to really do things in style, you could consider staying in one of the exceptional hotels that the region can offer, without doubt some of the best in all South America. Stay at a top-end hotel such as the Explora Patagonia, perched right beside the monumental granite towers of Torres del Paine, and you’ll enjoy about as romantic a setting as they come. There are also luxury yurts if you’d prefer to get closer to the wilderness without scrimping on creature comforts.
I admit I’m doubly biased here, as not only am I half-Brazilian but Rio was where I got engaged! However, even from as objective a perspective as I can manage, I can’t think of anywhere more perfect for a romantic holiday than Rio de Janeiro. It’s South America’s most exotic city, and surrounded by the gorgeous and secluded bays of the Emerald Coast, where you can relax after an action-packed city break. While you’re in Rio, make sure you visit sugar loaf mountain at around 4pm – most people head here in the morning, but your patience will be rewarded by an amazing sunset, plus you’re likely to have the place practically to yourself.
Visiting Cuba is like stepping back in time, and that sensation is perhaps at its strongest in colonial Trinidad, a town seemingly untouched by the 21st or even 20th century. As you walk around the cobbled streets with their pastel-coloured colonial houses – impromptu bands strumming away on the double bass, trumpets echoing through the streets – you’ll feel about as far from the mundane day-to-day as it’s possible to be. By night, dance salsa beneath the stars in a beautiful plaza or just enjoy a mojito, or two, or three. Combine with a few luxurious days in Havana’s best hotel, the Saratoga, for the perfect holiday.
Admittedly, Nicaragua isn’t a place often associated with romance, but that’s because not many people have heard of Morgan’s Rock, an ultra sophisticated lodge set on a secluded Pacific beach, where between August and November you can even see baby turtles hatching. Add in a few nights in colonial Granada, a stay at the Jicaro eco-lodge on lake Nicaragua and some relaxation in the Corn Islands (which are reminiscent of what the more well-known areas of the Caribbean used to be like fifty years ago), and you have a romantic break that’s really something out of the ordinary.