Much like weddings, honeymoons have looked different in the past year or so. Instead of jetting off to an exciting locale abroad, many newlyweds opted to enjoy a staycation-style honeymoon. Even now, with countries opening up to travel, newlyweds might not be ready to embark on their honeymoon just yet. And that’s perfectly okay.
Especially because the pandemic is far from over, and vaccine hoarding isn’t helping. In February, 10 countries had administered 75% of the world’s available Covid-19 vaccine supply, while 130 countries still hadn’t received their first dose. Recently, the U.S. gave 25 million doses to the United Nations’ COVAX vaccine sharing program. However, Africa is only receiving 5 million doses (enough for less than 4% of the continent’s residents), Latin America is receiving 6 million doses, and South and Southeast Asia will receive 7 million doses (a quantity less than 3% of the population of Indonesia alone).
If these stats make you even wearier about traveling, it’s more than okay to continue to postpone your honeymoon until you feel it’s safe (for everyone) to travel again.
The nice thing about a honeymoon is it is what you make of it—even if you pitch a tent in your apartment, share a carton of ice cream with your new partner, and daydream about this list of locations you and yours can travel to when the pandemic is officially over.
If you want a honeymoon like everyone else’s…
One of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world, this Caribbean island nation is absolutely stunning. And it has it all, from luxury all-inclusive beach resorts to UNESCO-approved mountain ranges and rich culture. During the day, you and your partner can hike the Piton Mountains or to the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens, swim or snorkel in Pigeon Island National Park, or soak in the volcanic sulfur springs. Then, at night, you can live it up thanks to St. Lucia’s lively nightlife scene. With so much to do and see, it’s no wonder St. Lucia is a reigning champ amongst the world’s honeymoon destinations.
French Polynesia has over 116 islands to explore, including Bora Bora. Though Bora Bora is known as the classic honeymoon island (with 90% of its visitors being honeymooners), this island paradise is less crowded than other populous tourist destinations like the Maldives or Hawaii. Whether you’re staying in one of Bora Bora’s many resorts or its iconic overwater bungalows, relaxation is the name of the game. Swim-up and beach bars are located in and around many of Bora Bora’s picturesque lagoons, which are also home to some of the world’s most vibrant coral reefs.
If you thought French Polynesia had a lot of islands, wait till you hear about the Maldives. This nation of islands in the Indian Ocean consists of 1,192 islands, with a total of only 298 square kilometers of dry land. This means the Maldives is white sand beaches galore. Colorful coral reefs are just waiting to be explored in the crystal-clear turquoise waters. Go out to surf or snorkel during the day and then go out again at night on scenic sunset boat trips. In terms of places to stay, there are plenty of resorts to choose from, including overwater bungalows and a first-of-its-kind luxury two-level residence featuring the world’s first underwater restaurant.
If you want a snow-neymoon…
Harbin City, China
Harbin City, China, is home to the world-famous Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, which takes place every January. If you and your partner are looking for a honeymoon unlike any other, transport yourselves to this winter wonderland complete with ice and snow castles straight out of your favorite fairytales. You can also check out an ice lantern show in Zhaolin Park and snow sculpture exhibitions on Sun Island. If you find yourself needing new scenery, Harbin City also features Russian, Baroque, and Byzantine architecture like St. Sophia Cathedral and Central Street, as well as Dragon Tower. Once you’ve ogled the beauty of the sculptures long enough, fill your itinerary with skiing, ice skating, snow carriage rides, and other snow sports.
What’s more romantic than the Aurora Borealis? Snuggling up in a glass igloo (at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort) to watch the Northern Lights with your partner. Saariselkä is a village located in northern Finland, with skiing, hiking, and spa experiences designed to help you enjoy the unspoiled Arctic wilderness in luxury. Traverse through Finland’s two largest national parks (Urho Kekkonen National Park & Lemmenjoki National Park), check out the reindeer farm, experience your first snowmobile safari, and enjoy a sleigh ride pulled by huskies all in one majestic trip.
El Calafate, Argentina
Outdoorsy couples who aren’t afraid of a little cold can head to El Calafate, Argentina, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. June till late September is winter in Argentina, which means all you Northern Hemisphere summer brides can still go on a snow-neymoon. Glaciers are the main attraction in this locale, with various hikes, treks, and even cruises helping newlyweds get up close and personal with Perito Moreno Glacier. Other glaciers in the area include Upsala and Spegazzini, which are smaller than Perito Moreno but still worth seeing. Rafting, kayaking, snowshoeing, and snowbiking are other daytime activities to get up to. When you need a break from the great outdoors, you can also shop your way through markets and learn a thing or two at the Glaciarium.
If you’re looking to test your limits with a certified adventure-moon…
Thrill-seeking honeymooners can bounce between snow-capped mountains in the Andes, lakefront views at Lake Titicaca, ancient runes at Machu Picchu, and jungle adventures in the Amazon Rainforest without ever leaving the country of Peru. Fill the days of your trip with activities like mountain biking, ziplining, white water rafting, horseback riding, paddle boarding, and trekking (whether via foot or with llamas) the Inca Trail. Then embark on adventures of a different kind by experiencing Pachamama ceremonies, folkloric shows, and rooftop cooking classes. If you and your partner need a lazy day, consider a river cruise through the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve or a dip into the natural hot springs found in Colca Canyon.
Ethereal landscapes were made to be explored, and Iceland offers a variety of landscapes for honeymooners to galavant through. First and foremost, spotting the Northern Lights should be a top priority. This should then be followed closely by the geothermal spas and pools like Blue Lagoon Spa, where you can make a pit stop after a day of glacier hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, ATV-ing, and horseback riding. Then, venture down to the South Coast to feast your eyes on the region’s famed waterfalls, including Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. Iceland offers so much to do, one day you can fly over its glacial lagoons, and the next you can poke around the country’s subterranean ice cave systems.
South Africa is the destination to travel to if you and your partner are looking for a nonstop adventure with lots and lots of animals. Parks, reserves, and rivers wind through this picturesque country and provide ample opportunity to spot some wildlife. In the town of Hermanus, try whale watching. At Table Mountain National Park, visit the Boulders Penguin Colony. At Kruger National Park, embark on safaris to see lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and more. Afterward, go canyoning, bungee jumping, surfing, or wine tasting. And, if you and your partner are feeling up for it, plan a hike in the Drakensberg region via trails like Rainbow Gorge, Ploughman’s Kop, or Chain Ladders Hike.
If you’re looking to save some money on your honeymoon…
Belize has more than 400 offshore islands to explore as well as the second-largest coral reef in the world. In addition to beaches and an intricate network of river caves, this destination also touts tropical forests, Mayan ruins, and jaguar preserves. Set a day to visit Mountain Pine Ridge Nature Reserve, the oldest of Belize’s natural parks where you can see Big Rock Waterfalls. And speaking of waterfalls, you can also hike up to the Thousand Foot Falls, which offers an eponymous view. When you’re bored of ziplining, horseback riding, scuba diving, bird watching, and sailing, you can head out to historical relics like Cahal Pech Maya Ruins and Xunantunich Maya Ruins, so that the honeymoon fun never stops.
The Philippines is a hidden gem in terms of honeymoon destinations. Because it’s not as well-known as a honeymoon hotspot as a few of its neighboring countries, the Philippines can be more affordable than other places while still offering just as much to see and do for newlyweds. Boracay Island, Bohol Island, Palawan Island, Coron, and Elefante Island all offer spectacular oceanic views and endless activities, like cliff diving, scuba diving, kiteboarding, kayaking, jet-skiing, windsurfing, biking, and boating. Hot springs, coral gardens, and cultural landmarks and museums are also plentiful across these islands, which means you’ll never be bored.
Whether you’re staying exclusively in Tunis or popping over to the seaside neighborhood of Sidi Bou Said, the island of Djerba, or the sandy dunes of Grand Erg Oriental, there is plenty of fun to be had in Tunisia. Shop your way through the medina or marvel at the religious architecture in the area—you can even head to the top of the Roof of the Olive Tree Mosque to get a birds-eye view of the city. For a more artful trip, take a gander through the Bardo National Museum and then a drive to the El Djem Amphitheater and the ruins of Carthage. Also, there is a bevy of beach resorts to relax at after busy days exploring Tunisia’s cities.
If you’re looking for a honeymoon off the beaten path…
Vietnam is just as beautifully beachy as quite a few other destinations on this list. Newlyweds can enjoy the splendor of Vietnam’s sprawling shorelines at top-rated beaches like Danang Beach, Con Dao Beach, and Long Beach on the island of Phu Quoc. In addition to relaxing beaches, Vietnam also offers UNESCO world heritage sites like Halong Bay, which coincidentally is one of the most sought-after honeymoon spots in the country. Hoi An and Hue are other culturally rich cities in Vietnam that shouldn’t be skipped over for those lovebirds looking to make the most of their honeymoon. And, it wouldn’t be a romantic getaway if you didn’t visit Da Lat, known as the Valley of Love.
Less expensive than its neighbor Spain but just as beautiful, Portugal touts many a city worth exploring, like its capital city Lisbon, its romantic castle town Sintra (with UNESCO World Heritage Sites aplenty), its medieval village Sortelha, and the home to sweet port wine, Porto. Matter of fact you might as well turn your honeymoon into a road trip because you can’t just stay in one spot when you’re in Portugal. Pick a route in which you and your partner can check out the architecture, wine country, beaches, and waterfalls of the Azores to really enjoy everything Portugal has to offer.
Namibia offers honeymooners a serene desert escape with views of stunning sand dunes and, if you’re lucky, a glimpse of the country’s free-roaming black rhino population and desert elephants. Etosha National Park, the Skeleton Coast, Fish River Canyon, and the Kunene River are all must-see spots offering glimpses at Namibia’s unique landscapes and wildlife. Once you’re done adventuring, you can settle in for the night at any of Namibia’s luxury lodges. If a safari or a sunrise hot air balloon excursion isn’t on your itinerary, there’s still time to pencil these activities in, especially if you aren’t booking your trip until 2022.
Some honorable mentions include Segera Retreat, Kenya (very luxurious); Muscat, Oman (very unique); Bali, Indonesia (a classic); Tokyo, Japan (a cityscape unlike any other); Istanbul, Turkey (very beautiful); and literally anywhere in Thailand (because obviously).
No matter where you go and when—whether it’s this year or next or even the year after—there is a bounty of cultures, cuisines, and countries to experience for your honeymoon. Each spot is sure to help you and your partner make memories that will last a lifetime. In the meantime, say no to FOMO and get started on those memories by starting your honeymoon planning process—which can sometimes be more fun than the actual trip.
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