wine time From Buenos Aires or Santiago, work into a honeymoon a wine lovers weekend (or any other days) in the Mendoza region—world famous for its Malbec wines—and check into the Cavas Wine Lodge, nestled in a 35-acre vineyard with spectacular vistas of the snow-capped Andes. A delicious outpost of discreet service and refined comfort, Cavas’ suites (each 970 sq. ft.) are scattered two by two throughout the vineyard, occupying elegant, free-standing, adobe bungalows. Each has its own roof terrace, fireplace, private plunge pool and alfresco shower. Guests also enjoy a first-rate restaurant, although a signature evening might combine a wine tasting with the resident sommelier and a private dinner in the lodge’s spacious cellar, showcasing fine wines from Mendoza. And for couples who can’t get enough of the grape, the next attraction may be a vino-therapy bath or grape-seed exfoliation in the spa (each guest gets a complimentary massage). The lodge’s hosts are quite adept at arranging memorable experiences: visiting the neighboring vineyards (25 of them) by bike, rental car or with private driver; going horseback riding or river rafting (in season); or playing a round or two of golf. Honeymoons planned for early-March during the grape harvest festival (vendimia) should be booked well in advance.
love boating For many couples, a boat afloat and the romance of the sea are good reasons to choose a honeymoon cruise. And when the cruising ground is the legendary Galapagos Islands, 700 miles off coastal Ecuador, nature-loving, fun-loving, relaxation-seeking couples have hit the honeymoon jackpot in discovery voyages. On a Galapagos cruise, they can count on shore excursions that guarantee encounters with blue- and red-footed boobies, huge land iguanas and giant tortoises in the wild; delicious meals accompanied by a choice of wines; and deck-time to relax, read and count stars in the clearest night skies. Couples also enjoy the Galapagos Marine Reserve on various snorkeling outings, swimming with the sea lions, sea kayaking, and spotting whales and dolphins. Cruise vessels come in all sizes: 8-passenger charter yachts to 100-passenger, top-of-the-line vessels. In the middle come two very-upscale yachts—not too big, not too small, with just the right stylish yet informal ambiance—carrying 48 passengers, who follow the best of the 7-night island routings in the company of super-fine naturalist guides.
• Yacht La Pinta, the newest of Metropolitan Touring’s vessels, accommodates passengers in freshly decorated outside cabins, with panoramic windows, desk, plenty of outlets for charging photo/video equipment, as well as iPods, portable DVD players and laptops. Queen-size beds are fitted with down duvets, and bathrooms have a shower, hair dryer and plenty of towels. On three public decks are a large bar-salon, dining room, natural history library, sky bar and sundeck, and other amenities include a gym, jacuzzi, whirlpool and hydro-massage. Four certified Galapagos guides are on board to lead daily lectures, shore and water excursions in zodiacs or a glass-bottom boat. Sailings are Friday to Friday, and the cost pp for the 7-night voyage is $5,138.
• M/V Eclipse, owned and operated by Ocean Adventures, makes guests at home in its lounge, indoor bar, spacious alfresco dining area and bar, elegant indoor dining room, well-stocked library and on its observation/sun deck with jacuzzi, sun loungers and two elliptical machines. Serviced three times a day, cabins are handsomely furnished with queen beds, bedside tables, writing desk, and ample closet space. Well-appointed bathrooms have shower, hair dryer and toiletries basket. Superior and deluxe staterooms have picture windows, while staterooms have portholes. Passengers, accompanied by certified natural guides, visit two sites a day with three to four hours at each site, and there is plenty of beach time for sunning and swimming, as well as optional activities such as snorkeling and kayaking. Sailings are Saturday to Saturday, and prices range from $5,150 to $6,100 pp for the 7-night voyage.
Contact: (877) 534-8584; metropolitan-touring.com or (877) 262-3496; eclipse.com.ec