Honeymoons, anniversaries, engagements, make-ups — there are plenty of reasons to be amorous. Find love in all the right places with this list of romantic destinations in South America.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
What's to Love: Set in the leafy Recoleta neighborhood, the 1912 Belle Epoque villa is pure, old-world glamour.The mansion has ten sumptuous suites, each with its own butler. Which means you'll never want for a thing: snacks, fine wines, or even personalized calling cards which you receive upon arrival. The rooftop pool — a serious rarity in BA — is a welcome (and little used) diversion, as is the intimate Cognac Bar, complete with humidor. Chez Nous, a jewel box restaurant swathed in rich red fabric and meticulously restored gilding, serves produce and wines from its own Algodon Wine Estates in Mendoza.
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What's to Love: Isolated vineyard retreat in what feels like the middle of nowhere — and pretty much is. It's no longer open to the public but is available for private events. Art lovers will be thrilled by the stunning (and very unlikely) James Turrell museum on the property.
What's to Love: You love wine and you love each other. Never mind which you love more: At Entre Cielos, you and your beloved sleep suspended above vineyards in a mod love pod on stilts in Lujan de Cuyo, birthplace of Malbec, in the Upper Mendoza Valley. When you're not drinking, you're soaking in the spa, having wine-themed treatments in the first traditional hammam in South America.
What's to Love: White leather armchairs, red velvet in the rooms, and Cabaret Faena — all courtesy Philippe Starck. Feels like an Almodovar movie set. The hotel holds the largest collection of wines in Argentina. More than 400 wines are stored within the brick walls in a sophisticated and elegant dungeon-like space.
What's to Love: This intimate, 11-room townhouse is literally a home away from home. Owner Gonzalo Robredo has restored suites to their former splendor and has added 600 thread-count sheets, a rooftop terrace strewn with flowers and a hanging garden, and a small spa. The restaurant, Tarquino, is worth a detour for award-winning chef Dante Liporace's inventive takes on Argentine classics such as suckling pig, as well as for the secret hideaway vibe.Bespoke experiences for couples abound and excellent concierges will connect you to the best tango teachers, polo players, and art historians in and around town.
What's to Love: A short boat ride down the river makes you feel ever further away from civilization, but the delta lodge is all about the finer things. Private rooms are connected to the common areas by tree-shaded wooden bridges. Might as well be white glove service, amazing meals, and excellent soaking tubs make it hard to leave.
Take a pre-dinner cocktail and appetizer in the library where you can sneak in a quick round of Jenga.
Campos do Jordão, Brazil
What's to Love: It's as peaceful and quiet as it gets in the Mantiqueira mountains just outside Brazil's highest city. With a one-kilometer, no-car zone surrounding the eco-integrated, all-inclusive hotel, there's little standing between you, your lover, and nature. When you're not whispering sweet nothings in your glass-walled, hillside villa, there's water therapy, deconstructed Brazilian cuisine, falconry, and movie screenings to enjoy together.
What's to Love: You can reserve a private island at night for dinner-for-two; approach by walking over a candlelit bridge. It's a secluded, adults-only retreat on a peninsula surrounded by rainforest.
What’s to Love: A beautiful Bahia beachfront retreat with a handful of casas: Some are restored fishermen's cabins, some are built with local artisans in neo-rustic and eco style, one is a treehouse. The Quintal Da Gloria casa has a mini-kitchen, canopy bed, and a second-floor balcony overlooking the garden and aventurine stone pool.
San Pedro de Atacama
What’s to Love: Forty-two rooms enveloped by the Cordillera de la Sal mountain range and an open-air observatory will make lovers swoon. The desert resort has wooden decks with five swimming pools, an international bar, and a cozy common room with a fireplace. Rates are inclusive of food, drink, and excursions to to the Tatio Geysers and über-romantic sunsets in Valley of the Moon.
San Pedro de Atacama
What's to Love: The ten-room desert hotel is the only lodge that runs on a private guide system, making each stay completely personal. My favorite experience was returning to my room after a trek through the Quebrada de Guatín to find a charcuterie picnic spread with Chilean wine, which I enjoyed just as the sun began to set in a breathtaking burst of red.
What’s to Love: The hotel is located in the heart of Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park on the shores of one of the world’s most beautiful lakes. You’ll spend your days exploring the extraterrestrial expanse on guided hikes or horseback and your twilights eating lamb barbecue prepared by the gauchos you’ve fantasized about all day.
San Pedro de Atacama
What's to Love: What's more romantic than sitting under a bright starry night sky in the Atacama Desert? With only twelve rooms, seclusion is yours as are wide-open spaces, distant mountains, horseback rides and long hikes.
Good to Know: Skip the indoor options: You can even shower under those stars.
What's to Love: Connoisseurs of fine wine and contemporary art will love the secluded luxury of the latest venture from hoteliers Alex and Carrie Vik. Everything revolves around the 11,000-acre vineyard where some of Chile's finest wines are being produced. Revel in complete solitude in one of 22 light-filled rooms, each with inventive decor and sweeping views of the lagoon and green hills in all directions. Of special note: Enlist one of Vik's wonderful huasos (horsemen) for a bespoke trip through the breathtakingly beautiful vines. Spa treatments have been formulated using ingredients from the terroir, including a Vineyard Recovery massage of grape seed and essential oils designed to relieve post-sipping fatigue.
Colchagua Valley, Chile
What's to Love:If you love to eat and drink as much as you love each other, check into one of the four suites (each named for a wine varietal) in the heart of Chilean wine country. The beautiful setting amid vineyards and mountains is timeless, the Lapostolle winery is cutting-edge, and the cuisine amazing enough for Relais & Chateaux designation.
What's to Love: A restored colonial house built in the 17th-century, the service is lovely, the breakfast is simple and perfect, the rooftop pool is a great place to spend hot afternoons, and the design is well conceived. They only have six rooms, and the small ones are just too small. If a big room isn't available, stay at , another restored colonial house that's bigger and brighter with slightly less charm.
Barú Island, outside Cartagena
What's to Love: Three rooms, all thatched hut, luxury bungalows with private freshwater pools, stunning views, and major tranquility. It gets pricey because all food and drinks are all shipped in from Cartagena. To save cash, bring a few bottles of wine and water and skip dessert — it was always disappointing anyway.
Read More on Popupla: Kick Back in Cartagena.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
What's to love: The Galapagos are treasured for their delicate ecosystems and diverse flora and fauna. This new — and very lovely — carbon-neutral boutique hotel is determined to keep it that way through solar panels, wind generators, innovative architecture, and respectful expeditions. That mean you and your ecobunny can trail tortoises, saunter with sea lions, and birdwatch like Darwin without indirectly endangering the local habitat.
What's to Love: Total seclusion from the outside world. (You may never feel as far away from everything as you do here.) The spa overlooking the dramatic River Colca, which runs through the entire property. The naturally heated thermal springs.
Good to Know: Be careful of altitude sickness. It's the ultimate mood killer.
What’s to Love: Let’s say this is an adrenaline junkie’s dream. First you hike and zip-line or climb a distance roughly the length of the Empire State Building. Then you check into your "room," which is a transparent capsule that hangs 1,400 feet above the Sacred Valley.
What's to Love: A series of spare, sleek houses made from wood, glass, and zinc afford total privacy — including your own beachfront. There are no televisions to distract, just crashing waves. A series of minimalist pools scattered throughout the property ensure you won't ever have to fight for a lounge chair. Request Vidrio, the farthest casita. A lovely, Bauhaus-esque, modernist cube, it's reminiscent of Philip Johnson's Glass House and is perfect for lovers of contemporary architecture.
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What's to Love: This sprawling property has stunning views of valleys, streams, and wildlife (yes, those are pink flamingos), as well as low-key yet luxurious suites. In other words, you'll never want to leave. Except to go horseback riding with sweet guachos who tailor trail rides to your level. Saturday night asados prepared in a special graffiti-laden room are a delicious spectacle (even for vegetarians), and the Absolute Nero infinity pool studded with lights in the form of the southern hemisphere's constellations are both standouts.
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What's to Love: Remote, rural oasis on the banks of the Rio de la Plata. You come here to relax and for the low country food, outdoor rain showers, and horseback riding.
Good To Know: Ten minutes up the road sits the lovely Puerto Carmelo compound where a fresh pasta meal and Tannat wine awaits at the charming, rustic Bodega y Granja Narbona.
What's to Love: Francis Mallmann's little hotel? If your soul doesn't turn to romance here, you should get a refund on your genitalia. Seeing as Mallmann is one of South America's most celebrated chefs, it makes sense that food and wine — from boutique bodega Finca La Anita — are covered in the room rate. Dig in.
What's to Love: With just 13 guest rooms (and no two alike), this whitewashed villa overlooking the Playa la Mansa feels more like a friend's chic home than a hotel. The pool's swim-up honor bar allows you to whip up a cocktail while you work on your tan. Splurge on a room with a private terrace.
If you want to enjoy the true laid-back vibe of this fishing village, avoid December and January: Prices are higher and the town is mobbed. Mid-February and March are much more tranquil.
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Contributors: Sivan Askayo, Anna Watson Carl, Malika Dalamal, Kate Donnelly, Peter Kaminsky, Charyn Pfeuffer, Deborah Schoeneman.