Considering a South American honeymoon?

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If so, I'm hoping my next two posts will seal the deal. If not, they should at least persuade you to add this remarkable continent to your list of potential destinations. My husband and I spent 12 days in Chile and Argentina following our April 25 wedding. Since the seasons are opposite ours below the equator, it was fall in these countries—but that's actually a beautiful time to visit, especially if you plan to be active. And active we were. We started out with four nights in Chilean Patagonia, at the Explora lodge located inside Torres del Paine National Park. During our first two days we hiked a total of 20 miles. We got up close and personal with a gigantic glacier and conquered a steep climb to the base of the park's namesake towers ("torres" in Spanish).

I know what you're thinking—a honeymoon is supposed to be about rest and relaxation. You're right! And we had plenty of that later in the trip. But here's something to think about when you're planning your postnuptial vacation: I discovered that my wedding high lasted for almost a week after, meaning that rather than nursing exhaustion I was filled with adrenaline those first days away. And these exciting and challenging excursions were the perfect way to channel that energy. I think I would have gone crazy lying on the beach for that portion of the trip (though fatigue caught up with us later, so it's definitely important to plan some downtime no matter how ambitious you are).

There are other benefits of embarking on an adventure together. Nothing beats the sensation of achieving a goal with your new husband. And at the end of an active day you don't feel bad about indulging in fine food and wine, which is a highlight of Explora and the other places we stayed. I'll admit we did start to slow down by the third day, opting for an easy hike to a lookout over a lake and horseback ride through the pampas (plains) after a traditional Gaucho barbecue. And by the time we said goodbye to Patagonia and headed to Santiago, we were definitely ready for some urban diversions. We spent only one night in Chile's capital, at the luxe Ritz-Carlton, but hiring a tour guide for the day let us hit all the main sights—Plaza de Armas, Parque Metropolitan, the poet Pablo Neruda's house—and still have time for a steaming bowl of pastel de choclo (Chilean corn pie) at a cafe in the bohemian Bellavista quarter. Then we were off to another remote part of the country, the Atacama Desert, which I'll write about it my next installment. —Elaine Stuart, senior associate features/travel editor, Modern Bride

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