If your idea of paradise includes endless stretches of salty sand, beach-laden Brazil is your honeymooning haven.
You’re on your honeymoon, and this is probably the sexiest country in the world. Need we say more? In Brazil, the word ‘beach’ denotes lifestyle rather than a destination. And with more than 7000km of white-sand coastline, there’s a spot for every type of traveller. The smell of salt will hit you as soon as you touch down in the pulsating hub of Rio de Janeiro. A trip to Copacabana beach is de rigueur, and you simply must spend a few hours being The Girl from Ipanema on the sandy strip made famous by this hit song. Arpoador is a slightly smaller beach but a local favourite. The picturesque beachfront restaurant Azul Marinho is famous for its pargo fish baked in salt – to be washed down with a few caipirinhas (the national cocktail).
If you hanker after a less developed stretch of shore, head north to Natal, and explore this beautiful coastline at your own pace on a beach buggy, the wind in your hair and salt spray dancing on your face. Don’t leave Natal without trying carne del sol (salted, sun-dried beef) at Tabua de Carne. There are riches offshore too. Ilha Grande, a 45-minute boat journey away, is an expanse of deserted beach, and for avid snorkellers, the volcanic island of Fernando de Noronha is a clear-oceaned haven of sea life, such as turtles. And then there’s Parque Nacional Marinho dos Abrolhos, a stunning marine park boasting luminous multi-coloured reefs. Eventually there comes a time when you’ll want to put away your bikini. Iguacu Falls is a water experience that’ll have your shutter finger working overtime. Situated on the border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, the sheer ferocity of the spectacle – taller than Niagara Falls – is heartstopping. The locals certainly think so – they regard Iguacu Falls as something of a natural monument to romance. Legend has it that a virgin girl was sacrificed here to a waiting serpent, but when a lovestruck chieftain rescued his young paramour, the furious serpent smacked his tail on the water, creating the falls and immortalising the couple’s romance. For more info: justbrazil.org
Local Flavour: Taranaki
Taranaki locals love their beaches – and so do many international surfers. A road trip along the rugged Surf Highway 45 offers a welcome burst of salty-air rejuvenation to put that wedding stress well behind you. Have your togs ready at Oakura, or the picture-perfect sheltered cove of Opunake Beach – both great spots for fish and chips.