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Since I’m a travel writer, I get lots of questions from people looking for advice (especially about Latin America travel). Recently, I got an e-mail from a friend who was getting married soon. “We’re looking for a place to take a ‘mini-moon’ of five to six days, the week after our wedding,” she wrote. “Due to timing with work and another wedding the week after, we aren’t able to take a longer honeymoon quite yet. I wanted to get your suggestions on some destinations that we should consider. Because of the time frame, we don’t want to travel too far, so we can have a few days to really relax. We would be open for excursions, but we’re really looking at this trip as a time to totally de-stress post-wedding and just enjoy time together.”
That got my mind thinking about the best romantic vacation destinations in Latin America that are ideal for time-pressed travelers. Here are five close-by destinations that can satisfy a variety of vacationing couples.
Holbox, Mexico: This island, located off the northern coast of the Yucatan peninsula in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, is heaven for romantic couples as well as nature lovers. A quick flight from Cancun will leave you on this 26-mile paradise, which is graced with crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches and no automobiles. Check into small hotels like Casa Las Tortugas and Posada Mawimbi for an idyllic romantic Mexico vacation.
Vieques, Puerto Rico: This island off the east coast of Puerto Rico is another nature-oriented favorite, with a lovely slow pace and lots of natural beauty (including a phosphorescent bay). The W hotel here has gotten a lot of attention, as has The Blok, a 21-room hotel with modern, sculptural architecture and a restaurant that focuses on seasonal specialties, seafood and rotisserie-cooked meats.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic: Sure, Punta Cana has more than its share of giant all-inclusive beach hotels with lots of children (which can put a damper on the romantic vibe). But choose a smaller, adults-only property and you just might find heaven. The all-inclusive Zoetry Agua Punta Cana won the Travelers’ Choice 2016 award in the all-inclusive category on TripAdvisor, and the CHIC by Royalton also gets much-deserved recognition for its rather hip vibe, as well as for its 11,500-square-foot CHIC Mansion.
Riviera Maya, Mexico: The pristine stretch of sand on Mexico’s Caribbean coast has become something of a hotspot for vacationers of various stripes, thanks to its easy accessibility (via the Cancun airport), abundant natural beauty and proximity to various archeological sites and outdoor adventure activities. For a romantic and luxurious vacation, consider the Rosewood Mayakoba or the stylish Thompson Playa del Carmen.
Mexico City, Mexico: I know, I know. Some of you will say, “how can a huge metropolis be romantic?” But consider this: Isn’t Paris romantic? Can’t London be a great place for couples too? For couples looking to infuse their vacation with sophisticated activities like gourmet dining, museums and shopping, North America’s largest city is truly amazing. You can choose from various tranquil neighborhoods and beautiful boutique hotels, and stroll to open-air cafes, small shops and parks. My favorite neighborhood for that type of vibe is the Condesa district, and two hotels: Hippodrome and Condesa DF, both of which are small, stylish and beautiful.