Why go: Colorful and chaotic, Rio de Janeiro is exhilarating. And between its white-sand beaches, mountainous vistas and beautiful residents, it's also one of the world's most scenic destinations.
Where to stay: A rambling, meticulously appointed guesthouse run by French expats, La Maison has gorgeous views and a swimming pool fringed with exotic plants. Rooms start around $330; lamaisonario.com.
Where to eat: Located in the Philippe Starck-designed Hotel Fasano, Fasano al Mare specializes in Mediterranean seafood dishes and sits right on Ipanema beach.