rio de janeiro helicopter tour

See Rio de Janeiro from above on a private helicopter tour. (Photo: Getty Images)

Culture + Style

Ready for Pampering? Here’s Where to Find Decadence in the Caribbean and Latin America

Whether you’re a beach or desert lover, an art buff or a water sports enthusiast, pink-sand beaches; helicopter rides; private, island-hopping tours; world-class galleries; and beachfront fine dining are some of the experiences that await at the Caribbean and Latin America’s top luxury destinations.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is synonymous with iconic beaches and pulsating nightlife. And while the city offers myriad activities, rest assured that you should start your trip by going to its beating heart: the beach.

Copacabana might be its most popular beach, but you might want to head to Ipanema Beach — located in the affluent neighborhood of the same name — for a less touristy experience.

There’s no denying that Rio’s green mountains superimposed against a backdrop of expansive blue water make it one of the most scenic cities in the world. Whether you’ve visited before or it’ll be your first time, a private helicopter tour will give you a whole new perspective of the city — literally. Rio Helicopter Tour will take you on an exclusive tour where you’ll gaze at Sugar Loaf Mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statue from above.

Food lovers will definitely want to dine at one of Rio’s five Michelin-star restaurants, two of which have a two-star distinction. Led by chef Felipe Bronze, Oro self-describes as serving “Brazilian vanguard cuisine cooked over fire,” while Oteque — chef Alberto Landgraf’s project — has an haute cuisine menu focusing on ethical farming practices and local produce.

Punta de Mita

st. regis punta mita
Enjoy butler service and pampering at The St. Regis Punta Mita. (Photo: Marriott International)

Few places in Mexico exude luxury quite like Punta de Mita. The most exclusive of the Riviera Nayarit’s 23 seaside towns, Punta de Mita is home to some of the country’s most upscale resorts, condos and golf courses.

Visitors seeking extraordinary service and striking locations will immediately be drawn here. Those who put wellness travel and impressive spas at the top of their bucket list should look no further than Remède Spa at The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort. Inspired by native Huichol healing techniques, the spa’s treatments are the highlight of many a traveler’s trip. But if pools and hydrotherapy nestled in a verdant jungle sound more appealing, there’s no better place to soak the day away than the AWAY Spa at W Punta de Mita.

Adventure lovers would do well to set sail on a private yacht to the nearby Marieta Islands, made famous by their Hidden Beach. Punta Mita Expeditions offer tailored tours.

For a world-class dining experience, head into town to Tuna Blanca, younger sibling to renowned Café des Artistes in Puerto Vallarta, helmed by chef Thierry Blouet.

Los Cabos

Los cabos arches
Take a private tour to explore hidden beaches beyond Los Cabos. (Photo: Getty Images)

Another of Mexico’s top destinations for luxury travel, Los Cabos is also known for exceptional spas and golf courses — with the added benefit of both desert and ocean views.

But the absolute highlight of the destination is perhaps its ample offering of water sports and activities. Whether you prefer to snorkel, go big-game fishing, hop on a paddleboard or kayak — or simply lounge with a cocktail in hand — chartering a private boat is one of the best ways to spend the day in style. A tour operated by Cabo Yacht World will take you from one highlight to the next, like the impressive rock formations of the Arch and the secluded cove of Lover’s Beach.

Away from the water, the nearby desert also offers thrilling activities to keep you busy, from speeding through desert dunes on an all-terrain vehicle to riding a camel with Cabo Adventures.

When it comes to dining options, Los Cabos offers some of the most unique experiences you’ll encounter in Mexico. Flora Farms, one of the pioneers of the farm-to-table movement, delights patrons with succulent dishes made with fresh, organic ingredients, as well as farm tours, cooking classes and a farm spa that emphasizes the healing properties of plant-based products.

St. Thomas

st. thomas aerial view
See spectacular St. Thomas. (Photo: Getty Images)

Dazzling powdery white beaches, hilltop views and beautiful sunsets are some of the main reasons to visit St. Thomas, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Water adventures abound, from jumping into a clear-bottomed kayak equipped with LED lights to discover the life lurking beneath the water to stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) lessons, windsurfing and going on a private, island-hopping tour.

St. Thomas is a duty-free zone, so if you’re addicted to shopping, you’ll be able to get your fix almost anywhere. Charlotte Amalie, the main town, has small shops that you’ll want to check out. It’s best to avoid Havensight Mall, as it’s generally crowded with tourists arriving on cruise ships; opt for Yacht Haven Grande instead, where you’ll find luxury goods.

Art lovers should visit Haagensen House, a restored 19th-century property, to admire paintings by Camille Pissarro and West Indian antiques.


bermuda cove
Find hidden coves amidst Bermuda’s luxury. (Photo: Getty Images)

Pink-sand beaches and old-world charm are some of the things you can expect in Bermuda, as well as — you guessed it — men dressed in Bermuda shorts.

Hamilton, the capital of the 181-island territory, is filled with art galleries and museums where visitors can while away the hours as they take in the culture and history of the place. With exhibitions by the likes of Banksy and Damien Hirst, the Bermuda National Gallery is a good place to start, while at Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, you’ll get to know local artists through a private curator’s tour.

Foodies will be pleased to hear that Bermuda’s dining scene is robust. Barracuda Grill, a contemporary fine dining restaurant in Hamilton, is known for its Bermuda fish chowder and is a local favorite for anything from power lunches to special occasions.