You’ve tied the knot, taken the plunge, looked deep into the eyes of your loved one and said “I do”. You do! And now with the love of your life on your arm, all the rice on the ground behind you, where to? Granted, just about anywhere would likely be a blast, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something exotic, to get crazy, forget the budget (well not entirely), and go on that dream trip you said you would, someday, eventually take. So what’s out there?
1. New Zealand
High atop the list of most sojourners already, New Zealand boasts more natural wonders than just about any place on the planet. Rugged peaks adjoin translucent blue ocean water. Fjords and archipelagos, volcanoes and basalt deserts – you’re as likely to brush-up on your high-school geographical terminology while visiting this gorgeous country as you are likely to have a blast exploring it. Visitors here enjoy the area’s extensive wine tasting, the rich flora and fauna of the region, and, of course the beautiful outdoors which are as well-suited to those thrill-seekers as they are to those who just want to enjoy the mud baths and hot springs.
2. Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa? Yes. Combine a beautiful waterfront, an active nightlife, and the winds blowing in from the plains of the African brush, and you’ve got the getaway of a lifetime. Here, you can dive with great whites, walk on white-sand beaches, roam across the brush on safari, and experience the local and poignantly diverse culture. For the adventurer, there’s plenty, even what they call “blokarting”, in which the sails of little buggies are pushed to near warp-speed by the winds of the ocean. Try one out and hold on, or meander at a snail’s pace down through the vibrant bazaar and “slow” food markets, historic walking tours, or enjoy a leisurely coastal train ride if you’re more interested in this being a laid-back honeymoon.
Of course Hawaii would make the list. Any place commonly referred to as “paradise” is sure to be a good bet. But Hawaii makes the list for honeymooners for a variety of reasons. There’s the bright, sunny, unbelievable weather year-round; there’s the warm ocean downright resplendent with life; there’s all of life’s modern amenities to assure you that you’re not too far away from anything; and the inner jungle and unique landscape of this little archipelago make for a diverse array of activities to engage in.
An example? Head to Waikiki to rent beachfront bungalows and be pampered with massages and spa treatments, mai-tais and pina coladas. Then head for ATV riding on Kona, or pop-over to Kauai and explore the Na Pali coast were no man is said to have tread, yet where kings are buried.
4. The Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
Croatia is fast-becoming a destination hotspot. From Dubrovnik to Hvar to Split, no beach anywhere compares to the blue of the Croatian coastline. For rampant partying at can’t-believe-it prices, the Croatian islands have it all—mainly for the younger sect. For relishing in 1500 year-old white marble palaces, shopping, and exploring the ancient, Split and Dubrovnik take the cake. Here, it’s best to stay in the old towns and venture out for day trips to experience all that the Croats have to offer.
5. Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
Fancy the beauty and romance of tropical beach escapes without the crowds or tourism? Consider Brazil, specifically the city of Salvador da Bahia. Pastel-colored houses line cobble-stone streets in a confluence of what appears to be a mix of Nicaraguan and Caribbean influence, but is purely Brazilian. Here you can dance the night away to bossa nova music, sip on authentic caipirinhas, and shop the best of local craftsmen.
6. St Lucia, Caribbean
A beautiful Caribbean escape is second to none when it’s time to get away. Unrivaled and empty white sand beaches, aquamarine water so clean you can see the trigger fish swimming 75 feet down, and all the rum you can stomach make the Caribbean an ideal honeymoon escape. What makes St Lucia special, however, is its mountainous terrain, offering visitors the ability to have panoramic vistas from their resort deck down to the glassy waters below. This, and lush tropical gardens make St Lucia a lazy lovers’ paradise.
7. French Polynesia
If the idea of gazing through a glass-floored bungalow into the crystal-clear water beneath you doesn’t entice, perhaps this escape is best reserved for the more docile crowd. Here, the biggest plans of the day might include swimming with endangered turtles or lazing about on your own private beach. Other thrills might include scuba diving some of the best reefs in the world, getting spa treatments, feeding sharks, or walking the cute and quaint French Polynesian beach-side island towns.
8. Telluride, Colorado, US
If snow is more your bag than sand, consider the rocky escapes of Telluride, Colorado to be your calling. Ski across the mountainous forested escapes, breathe deep the pristine air, or snuggle up fireside with a cup of warm mocha. Cross-country skiing, snowmobile riding, or attending some of the rife mountain culture in this small town makes it high atop many coveted ski-retreat lists.
9. Galapagos Islands
If you and your newly acquired spouse are nature lovers, then there’s no better place to go see untouched, pristine wilderness than the Galapagos Islands. Tours of these islands are selective, as space is numbered and therefore at a premium, but specialty catamarans can come fully equipped with hot tubs and spa-like rooms and showers. Here in Galapagos, you can swim with sea lions and marine iguanas or hike the island with free-roaming peacocks, blue-footed boobies, and red bats. See nature as nature intended it.
10. Paris, France
The city of lights is made for lovers. There’s no mistaking Paris’ charms, whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned veteran of these wandering, narrow cobblestoned streets. Morning croissants, afternoon crepes, dinner aperitifs, and delicatessen pastries make eating in this iconic city an adventure in itself. Then there’s the oodles of cheap yet good French wine, the soft French cheese, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Sacre Coure, and about a hundred other good, notable, and postcard-worthy reasons to honeymoon in Paris. And don’t forget all of Europe that is now lying at your doorstep…