The Guide to a Rio de Janeiro Honeymoon for a Lively Getaway

Escape to this boisterous Brazilian destination.
Stunning snapshot of the Rio de Janeiro coastline.
Fabio Duarte / Getty Images
Beth Ann Mayer - The Knot Contributor.
by
Beth Ann Mayer
Beth Ann Mayer - The Knot Contributor.
Beth Ann Mayer
The Knot Contributor
  • Beth Ann writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, including venues, honeymoons and planning advice.
  • Beth Ann is a lifestyle freelance writer, with bylines on healthline.com and parents.com.
  • Prior to freelancing, Beth Ann was a writer and editor for Long Island Pulse Magazine.
Updated Jan 23, 2023
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With beautiful beaches, fun nightlife and history lessons galore, a Rio de Janeiro honeymoon allows for newlyweds to experience marriage with an enthralling start. A trip to the Brazilian city by the sea allows couples to toe the line between a relaxing beach vacation, a raucous party, and a rich cultural experience in between.

The city's versatility appeals to Reco trip designer and cruise expert Patricia Hand. "Rio de Janeiro is a perfect honeymoon destination with options for virtually every interest," she says. "Whether the honeymooners are seeking an intense urban cultural scene or they prefer a secluded, unspoiled beachfront hideaway, Rio has perfect options for all."

Is Rio De Janeiro Good for a Honeymoon?

Pros of a Rio de Janeiro Honeymoon

The stunning beach vistas are enough to put anyone in a serene state of mind, even those coming off the emotional high of a wedding. The Southern Hemisphere weather is perpetually balmy, making a Rio de Janeiro honeymoon perfect for those looking to escape the winter chill. History and cultural experiences, with a side of delectable local cuisine, make Rio a spot that can satisfy any kind of traveler.

The Cons of a Rio de Janeiro Honeymoon

As unforgettable as the trip is, Hand warns it's a bit of a trek. "Even if you're lucky enough to depart from an area offering nonstop options, flights to Rio will be close to 10 hours in the air...and expect as much as 12 to 18 hours each way with one connecting flight," she says. The trip is about 10 hours nonstop from New York City and Atlanta. A layover is almost guaranteed from LAX, where couples should plan for about 15 hours of travel or more. Petty theft, like pickpocketing, is also a risk in Rio.

Once couples touch down and begin to taste the Brazilian way of life, honeymooners gush it's well worth the flight. "I don't recommend Rio as a destination for those with less than a week to devote to their honeymoon trip," Hand says.

The Best Times of Year to Go on a Rio de Janeiro Honeymoon for Good Weather

Of course you want gorgeous honeymoon weather and, thankfully, Rio is gorgeous 12 months of the year. "While you can visit Rio virtually any time of year—and there are arguments to be made for each—the Southern Hemisphere's 'summer' season that runs December through March is widely considered to be prime time for this destination," Hand says.

She also recommends February for couples looking to keep the party going. "If you are looking for nonstop parties, sexy samba music and excitement, you should consider timing your visit to coincide with legendary week-long Carnival Week," Hand advises.

Things to Do During a Rio de Janeiro Honeymoon

Have a Beach Day… Or Many

Beautiful beaches are hallmarks of a Rio de Janeiro honeymoon, and Ipanema and Copacabana are among the top two spots. Ipanema has a lively atmosphere and tends to be crowded with sunbathers. A visit also allows honeymooners to explore the town full of laidback and upscale restaurants, boutique stores and gorgeous sunsets. Copacabana Beach has a similarly boisterous-but-relaxing vibe. The popularity of the beach has made it a coveted spot for shops, restaurants, and bars, giving honeymooners a chance to make a day trip of the experience.

Day Trip to the "Imperial City"

A popular mountain getaway for locals, Petropolis is located north of Rio. Forests and waterfalls in Serra dos Órgãos National Park provide a gorgeous backdrop for photos. The destination is home to the Imperial Museum, where honeymooners can walk through and see Brazil's most historical objects and artifacts.

Enjoy a Rugged Adventure at Tijuca National Park

Yes, there's a rainforest in the city. Tijuca National Park spans 8,300 acres, making it the world's largest urban rainforest. Hand highly recommends a trip to this location. With open-top jeep tours, honeymooners can breathe in the rainforest's fresh air while spotting sloths, monkeys, and more of Rio's long-standing residents.

Visit Christ the Redeemer

The iconic Christ the Redeemer is a mainstay of Rio's skyline. Hand recommends a sunrise visit to the Art Deco statue constructed about a century ago. "Or if you've indulged in one too many caipirinhas, sunset may be more your speed," she quips. Situated atop the 2,300-foot Corcovado mountain, the towering statue is considered one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. You don't need to hike that mountain, though. It's accessible by rail or car.

See Sugarloaf Mountain From Above

You could climb to the peak of Sugarloaf Mountain, but the most popular way to get to the summit is via cable car. Both James and Hand recommend this route, which gives couples bird's-eye panoramic views of the bustling streets, Guanabara Bay, and beaches below.

Stroll Through the Botanical Garden

This urban garden oasis is brimming with beauty and offers a respite from the lively city. "With over 6,000 species of plants, it's a great place for relaxation and taking in the beauty of nature," James says. A snap or five by the two 800-yard rows of royal palm trees is a must.

Explore the Museum of Tomorrow

Museum of Tomorrow, or Museu do Amanhã, is considered one of the city's top museums. Exhibits fuse science, innovation, and sustainability for a captivating look at the possibilities for our planet's future.

Best Hotels and Resorts in Rio de Janeiro for a Honeymoon

Copacabana Palace, a Belmond Hotel

Hand recommends this stately but-tranquil Art Deco hotel which has a turn-of-last-century charm. Expertly appointed rooms include furniture from the bygone era with modern amenities like WiFi and flat-screen TVs. Some have beach views, and suites may include butler service. From a convenience standpoint, it's about 8 miles from Christ the Redeemer. Three restaurants, including Michelin-starred MEE, serve as a cherry on top.

Vila Pedra Mar

An hour from the city, Hand suggests Vila Pedra Mar for couples seeking a more secluded escape. Each villa boasts its own private entrance, and the property includes a private jetty perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. Three-course dinners are included in the price of your stay.

JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janiero

This five-star beachfront Copacabana hotel can help you plan trips to popular attractions like Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf. If walks around the city aren't enough, get a workout with an otherworldly view in the outdoor fitness center. Or, get similar views at the Moonlounge Rooftop Bar & Truck. Either way, a spa offers massages for tired legs.

Fairmont Rio de Janeiro Copacabana

Another touted Copacabana hotel, Fairmont, boasts gorgeous water vistas. It is within striking distance of Copacabana and an onsite seafood restaurant, Marine Restô, which gets inspiration from its seafaring surroundings. A spa and fitness center allow you to choose your own wellness adventure.

Sheraton Grand Rio Hotel & Resort

Not far from Christ the Redeemer and the Botanical Garden, this chic resort hotel offers easy access to adventure and a comfy place to retreat after. Upgraded rooms have balconies with ocean views, whirlpool tubs, and kitchenettes.

Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro

Situated in the heart of Ipanema beach, this hotel is brimming with approachable elegance. Comfy-but-posh furniture like couches and statement cushioned chairs make for cozy spots to get ready for a day or night out. An onsite Mediterranean restaurant and British-style nightclub with a DJ ensure an array of after-hours experiences.

What to Pack for a Rio de Janeiro Honeymoon

Stumped on what to pack for the honeymoon? Rio is a beachside city with balmy weather year-round. Pack a bathing suit (or many), beach gear, and sunscreen. Light layers like cardigans will keep you warm when the sunsets. Comfortable sneakers and attire like shorts, t-shirts, and lightweight, long pants are essential for walking tours and shopping.

If you're planning to explore the nightlife, pack fun and festive outfits. Colorful dresses and tops, as well as classic slacks-and-polo combos all work here. Cool, chunky accessories like gold hoop earrings and bracelets to match are also perfect for a night on the town.

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