Brazil has never been more in vogue. But it’s not the only country in the Americas with a buzz right now. In fact, nearly the whole of Central and South America is experiencing a surge of popularity on the back of Brazil’s status, especially aswe’re becoming more confident and adventurous in our travel choices.
Costa Rica’s cool surf towns and diverse natural beauty – from volcanoes to rainforest and sandy beaches – has the design-led hotel, the Andaz Peninsula Papagayo, confirming its position asan up-and-coming hot spot. Meanwhile, Mexico is tipped as the next country on the cusp of major economic growth.Nowhere demonstrates its vibrancy, edginess and colourful history better than the capital, Mexico City.
Back in Brazil, if you want to be close to the action, but would rather avoid Rio de Janeiro’s hustle and bustle, head north to Bahia, home to the country’s best beaches, where you can soak up the carnival vibes at your leisure.
AndAz PeninsulA PAPAgAyo
The lowdown State-of-the-art architecture with soul.
Best for reconnecting with Mother nature.
The first thing that’ll strike you about the Andaz group’s Latin American hotel is its original design – the vision of Costa Rican architect Ronald Zürcher, the hotel is all organic forms and open, free-flowing spaces that integrate seamlessly with the surrounding landscape.
Overlooking Culebra Bay, the building mirrors the shapes of the environment and uses an abundance of natural materials.
The 153 guest rooms and suites all have balconies with ocean views and balance character with modernity – think woven textiles, indigenous solid-wood furniture and health-minded mini bars stocked with local treats. In keeping with the peace-loving Costa Rican attitude and pura vida philosophy – meaning ‘pure life’ – Andaz Peninsula Papagayo’s concept is one of total relaxation.
There are no desks in the pod-like, open-air lobby, no tedious checking-in processes, no stress. To unwind further, the Onda Spa sits elevated in lush tropical rainforest and offers wellness treatments using organic products.
Book itdouble rooms from £300.
Mexico City, Mexico
The lowdown Colonial grandeur-turned-hip hangout.
Best for soaking up local culture from a rooftop vantage point.
Stay at Downtown México and you won’t have to go far to experience authentic Mexican culture. Located in the city’s Centro Histórico borough, the hotel sits on the cobbled streets of a Unesco World Heritage site.
Part of Grupo Habita (the team behind several boutique hotels across Mexico and New York’s Hôtel Americano), Downtown was once a palace belonging to the Countess of Miravalle (who also gave her name to the city district of La Condesa) and has been lovingly renovated, leaving its original character intact.
There’s a spectacular stone staircase complete with ornate balustrades, intricate detailing around the windows and cement tiles, yet the rooms have a stripped-back, bohemian mood. Some have high-vaulted brick ceilings, others exposed walls, but all achievea laid-back elegance with bags of personality.
One of Downtown’s most unique features is the show-stopping fresco by muralist Manuel Rodríguez Lozano, covering an entire wall of the breakfast balcony that overlooks the building’s central courtyard. When margarita hour arrives, head to the roof-terrace bar to bask in the views of the neighbourhood’s church spires and cool off in the pool.
FazEnDa Sao FranCISCo Do CoruMbau
The lowdown A secluded cluster of suites set on a wild stretch of Pacific coastline.
Best for A romantic break on one of Brazil’s finest beaches.
Translating from Portuguese as ‘a distant place’, Corumbau certainly lives up to its name – its closest city, Porto Seguro, is 40km away by boat. But the remote location is part of the resort’s raison d’être– it’s as close to paradise as it gets.
The farm (or fazenda) is located in a grove of coconut palms, so expect to be greeted with chilled coconut water on arrival before you set off to explore the one-and-a- half kilometres of private, deserted beach that stretches as far as the eye can see.
There are only ten suites on the property, so space and privacy are guaranteed. Each of the timber, beach house-style bungalows features large porches, sliding shuttered doors, crisp white bedding and sizeable bathrooms – think The Hamptons gone south of the equator.
Aside from lounging by the saltwater pool, activities on offer include bike riding along the shore and diving the coral reefs on the Fazenda’s doorstep. Or, for a change of scenery, legendary beaches Espelho and Barra do Caí aren’t too far away and worth getting out of your hammock for.