Baja California, Mexico
For West Coasters, especially, there’s no simpler honeymoon destination than Baja California, the peninsula representing some of the best of Mexico. There you’ll find all the hallmarks of an authentic Mexican village in San Jose del Cabo, paired with dozens of pristine beaches for above and underwater activities, and divine resorts such as elegantly minimalist favorite Las Ventanas al Paraíso, shiny new Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal or Viceroy Los Cabos, and rooftop-studded The Cape. The less-traveled East Cape, with somehow even more spectacular seascapes and a major escapist vibe, is now home to the just-debuted Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas and Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Just over the border in bougainvillea-laden Valle de Guadalupe is some of the best wine and food imaginable, not to mention cool accommodations (see Cabañas Cuatro Cuartos and El Cielo Winery & Resort), with very reasonable price tags.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
If you venture to Argentina for your honeymoon, prepare to do the super sensual tango. The nightlife in the capital city is famously fabulous, and people come from all around the world to dance. Enjoy all the vibrant culture, local grill-focused cuisine and vivid, photogenic surroundings from a bicycle—bike lanes cover most of the city—or your temporary home in a sexy, well-designed place like Faena Hotel Buenos Aires or deluxe Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires.
What is now Cartagena was colonized by Spain in the 16th century. Today it is a vacation destination on Colombia’s Caribbean coast with cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and live music at every turn. There’s romance all around, especially at night when it’s salsa time. Stay in one of the gentrifying port city’s best boutique hotels—lush Casa Lola or the beautifully restored Hotel Casa San Agustin—and make it a point to visit the surrounding islands. Casa San Agustin’s new ACASĪ Experience takes lovers on a private boat charter to paradisiacal Isla Barú for lunch on a white sand beach fringed by turquoise water and palms.
The Pacific side of Costa Rica has everything for nature and adventure enthusiasts. Santa Teresa is a tiny beach town with plenty of surfing to mellow the vibe. There’s wildlife everywhere, the ocean is warm, the waves are perfect and the rainforest above the beach is home to creative kitchens and boutique-y hotels such as Florblanca Resort and Milarepa. Farther north, on Peninsula Papagayo, is the intimate, immersive boutique resort Kasiiya, with elegant platform tents and a profusion of ways to get into the wild and connect with each other and nature. Up on a quartz mountain overlooking the Pacific Ocean is The Retreat Costa Rica, a go-to for all things spa, healing and organic gardens.
There’s something to be said for the simplicity of a beach resort honeymoon, but if you’re a duo who seeks something more, there may be nothing more epic than a Galapagos adventure. The favorite destination of Charles Darwin’s offers outdoorsy types the ultimate opportunity to soak up an exotic dose of nature. There are several options for an island experience off the coast of Ecuador, one being a cruise, ideally on a small ship or mega yacht like Ecoventura’s brand-new luxury-meets-eco-friendly Theory, which sails around the northern or southern islands for a week at a time, with snorkeling, standup paddlebaord and kayaking gear, and naturalists on board. There’s also Pikaia Lodge, a bucket-list luxury destination with a sustainable culinary program, coffee they grow themselves, an infinity pool, spa and carbon-neutral hotel rooms.
Guatemala is its own distinctive place positioned next to Mexico, that was colonized by Spain. Parts of the Central American nation resemble Antigua with cobblestone streets and colorful buildings, and other areas are thick with rainforests and layered with volcanos. Explore the land's history by visiting ancient Mayan ruins as well as several museums in Guatemala City, which buzzes with nightlife after the sun sets. Get away from civilization at Casa Palopó on Lake Atitlan or in casitas on stilts at Francis Ford Coppola’s lakeside La Lancha, where friendly howler monkeys will lull you to sleep—or wake you up for a beautiful day in the rainforest.
Mexico City, Mexico
The World Design Capital of 2018 speaks to aesthetes, art lovers and couples for whom food is a big deal. Mexico’s capital city has only increased exponentially in appeal over the last few years as its foodie, nightlife and gallery and museum scenes have all exploded. Strategizing (and scoring ressies) in advance is key to enjoying world-renowned restaurants like Pujol, Sud 777, Merkavá and Mia Domenicca. Top luxury hotel brands like St. Regis and Four Seasons have outposts that are glamorous and grand, and the beautifully boutiquey Las Alcobas also provides the perfect place to snuggle up after long days of indulgence.
Sacred Valley, Peru
Nestled in Peru’s Andean highlands, the Sacred Valley comprises gorgeous valley towns like Urubamba and Aguas Calientes, where one travels to ascend Machu Picchu. Understandably, a honeymoon in this unique destination is for those who live to enjoy nature in all its glory. Both Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba and Tambo del Inka are flawless resorts that marry an eco-aware spirit with thrilling activities, cultural traditions and pure luxury. Make sure not to have too many pisco sours—alcohol doesn’t exactly help altitude sickness.