The prospect of getting away after you get married will seem more and more attractive the closer you get to your wedding day. But, while your wedding is a great way to celebrate your love with your friends and family, your honeymoon lets you revel in private. Once you become engaged, take the time to consider honeymoon destinations that you’ll both love.
There’s no overselling a tropical paradise like the ones you can find throughout the Caribbean Sea. It has all of the honeymoon essentials—a perfect mix of exotic, romantic, and practical. You can explore ancient forests and ruins, find all the privacy you need for intimacy and relaxation, and enjoy luxury on beautiful, white sand beaches. Read on to find out why the Caribbean is the perfect place for a romantic honeymoon.
There’s a reason that millions of tourists flock to the Caribbean each winter to escape the ice and snow. Between the weather and the vistas, you have the formula for a perfect honeymoon. White sand, turquoise waters, and lush jungles are all easy to come by in the tropics. Islands that are volcanic in origin have scenic mountain backdrops and jagged rock features. In contrast, islands formed from coral deposits are generally much flatter and may feature rolling hills. Wherever you are, you can admire beautiful oceanfront sunrises or sunsets. The sea air and the sound of the waves can melt the stress of everyday life so you can finally relax together.
On top of that, the weather stays warm year-round, and so does the water, although some people may find it a bit cool in the winter. If you do happen to deal with a tropical storm, it can be stressful, but they do have an upside. The rough waters will send more fish to seek shelter in barrier reefs, so you can find even more species of tropical fish to swim up close and personal with during a snorkeling excursion.
Traveling across the world is a romantic idea, but doing it right after your wedding may not be realistic. If you’re already exhausted from the big day, then dealing with jet lag and long flights are probably the last thing you want to do.
Depending on where you live, you can touch down in the Caribbean in three hours or less. Even if you live in the Pacific Northwest, a trip to the Caribbean takes less time than crossing the Atlantic.
Plus, airfare to Central America is a fraction of the price of a ticket to Europe, Africa, or Asia. Even if you find great deals on honeymoon packages halfway around the world, it may not make up for the hundreds of dollars extra you have to spend on plane tickets.
Beach resort towns depend on tourism for their money, and every effort is made to ensure the safety of their guests. Often, a shuttle to and from the airport is included with your booking, and they frequently provide transportation for any excursions you want to take. Bottled water is generally provided at no charge, and they are mindful of how they prepare and serve fresh fruit and vegetables to reduce the risk of guests getting sick.
While you should still be mindful of flashing money or valuables around the beach resort areas, there is little risk of violent crime. The safety outside hotel areas varies widely from place to place, and US travel advisors are in place to reflect that. If you want to explore the cities outside of guided tours, do your research before you pick a destination
If you’re staying somewhere in the Riviera Maya, you can find a plethora of restaurants overlooking the water that serve authentic Mexican food. Of course, the farther from the all-inclusive resorts you get, the more likely you’ll find food that the locals enjoy. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also surprisingly affordable.
The food varies quite a bit from one Caribbean island to another. In Trinidad and Tobago or Jamaica, you can find staples like jerk chicken and roti, or lesser-known curries and stews that draw inspiration from cuisines all around the world. The Spanish influences on Cuban, Haitian, and Dominican is certainly noticeable, but with distinct indigenous influences and more African flair.
Wherever you wind up, it’s easy to find fresh tropical fruit, such as pineapple, mango, and coconut, that is guaranteed to be better than any you’ll find at your local grocery store. Sandy beaches with ocean-side bars and restaurants allow you to indulge in delicious treats without having to change out of your swimsuit.
The island of Puerto Rico is a US territory, so citizens are free to come the same as anywhere else in the US. Not only are flights to Puerto Rico surprisingly cheap, but you have the option of all-inclusive resorts or private locations in San Juan offering great bargains.
Puerto Rico has gone through a lot recently. A string of recent earthquakes, political unrest, and Hurricane Maria has devastated the local economy. Most of the resorts are up and running again, and this tropical getaway comes at a reasonable cost. Plus, your tourism can play a vital role in rebuilding the economy.
The nearly 500-year-old city of San Juan is right on the beach, and you can enjoy cheap, incredible food at restaurants while you explore a city with a long history. Get a glimpse at another world by scuba diving or snorkeling in the barrier reef surrounding the island. Or, you can spend a lazy day on the coral sand beaches and let the sounds of the ocean set the mood.
If you need a break from the beach, there are mountains and rainforests to tour inland, or you can go hiking at a national park. Puerto Rico happens to have the only tropical rainforest that US citizens can visit without a passport.
Stays are generally cheapest in the low season, but you run a higher risk of tropical storms or hurricanes raining you out. The weather is best in the peak season, but you’ll also have to pay premium rates. Shoulder season, which is in late spring (excluding Easter and Spring Break) and late fall, offers the best mix of pricing and weather.
If you’re visiting the Riviera Maya, you can make your dollars go far if you avoid the places that are targeting tourists. Places like Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel will have fewer college kids partying, and it will be easier to book villas that offer the privacy of a secluded beach.
The Dominican Republic is consistently among the cheapest of the islands to visit. You can have just as much fun exploring the jungle and mountains as you can relaxing on the beach in Punta Cana. Jamaica and St. Lucia are excellent choices for moderate to mid-range budgets, and they each have their perks.
While the idea of your own private island is a romantic notion, there are less crowded Caribbean honeymoon destinations. Grenada is much less developed for tourism, but there are still quite a few mid-range priced options for honeymooners hoping to avoid the package-deal crowds. Aside from the pleasure of a more secluded beach, you can check out an underwater sculpture park and explore the national museum to learn more about the island’s history.
Of course, this is your honeymoon, and there are plenty of ways to indulge in extravagance. Overwater bungalows give you the luxury of a four-star hotel, but let you open the door and step right into the ocean. The Virgin Islands and Grand Cayman cater to those with bigger budgets. You are more likely to find lavish honeymoon packages in those locations that offer private beach areas, spa treatments, and more. For more information, see our guide to honeymoon ideas on a budget.
Your friends and family can help, too. Use Zola’s Cash Fund to add honeymoon activities to your registry, and let them do the splurging for you. This is especially perfect for couples that have already lived together a while and don’t need sheets and pillows, kitchen appliances, or other standard registry gifts to outfit their home.
Not everyone thinks lying around the beach is the perfect honeymoon. Luckily, there are countless ways to spend a Caribbean vacation that cater to any personality type. Many people choose cruises to get an affordable mix of pampering and travel. You won’t have to do nearly as much planning, and a lot of the food, drinks, and activities are included in the price of booking.
Cruises aren’t for everyone, though. Thrill-seekers can get their fix with activities such as kiteboarding, jet skiing, ziplining, scuba diving, snorkeling, or cave swimming. You can charter a boat for deep-sea fishing. Hike up mountains, or explore the rainforests and discover beautiful, secluded waterfalls.
If you like nightlife in the big city, you can stay in San Juan or try Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Either way, you won’t be far from the beach, and you can snorkel through coral reefs or relax on the beach by day, and check out hotspots by night. La Placita de Santurce in Old San Juan is a farmer’s market by day and an outdoor nightclub in the evening, so you can dance your heart out in the streets.
You can even take a Caribbean safari, whether it’s through the jungles of Costa Rica or gliding through rainforests by riverboat. Every destination has diverse ecosystems rife with wildlife and plants you won’t find at home.
There’s no pressure to be up and moving the whole time. Laying out at the beach with nowhere to be and no one expecting anything from you is a treat you don’t have to feel guilty about savoring. You can even take a spa day to stimulate your muscles while you’re on your relaxing honeymoon destination. This is your honeymoon, after all.
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