our wedding / travel

honeymooning — i need help!

03.31.14

where the f do we honeymoon // almost makes perfect

when’s a better time to do a wanderlust post than a monday!? we’re just starting to focus on just choosing a honeymoon destination and i seriously need advice. it’s just too hard to decide.

greece and paris were my top bucket list destinations and i luckily got to check them off the list with gideon, and while if i were honeymooning by myself, i’d go somewhere obvious like spain or italy. but the boy wants to do a “barefoot luxury” trip, where we don’t do a whole bunch of sightseeing and mostly focus on relaxing, swimming and eating. at first i said ugh, but then i decided i liked the idea — because we’ve done a lot of sightseeing, and we always spend all day out, and by nighttime i’m exhausted and we barely get… romantic. so i guess we should do a honeymoon where we have sex. right?

we’d love to find an amazing all-inclusive or a hotel with multiple restaurants, so we don’t have to worry about leaving and i can pig out the whole time. but we’re also pretty picky when it comes to hotels, we always prefer well designed boutique ones. finding both seems hard. we also talked about doing a week of relaxing somewhere like italy and then sightseeing for a week — but realized it’ll be a little cold for us in october.

click on the location for the image source.

bora bora // we would LOVE to stay on an overwater hut. doesn’t get more romantic than that — but it seems like all-inclusives don’t exist and prices are pretty high in tahiti

bali // while it looks amazing, i’ve spoken to two people who have spent time there and we’re not sure we want to deal with all the cons that come with traveling there – bugs, the water… have you heard of bali belly? is it worth dealing with all that?

fiji // dreams of going here bring up the memories of when i was a kid and i thought fiji water was the greatest thing on earth and i would tell my dad i was going to fiji someday. what a dork. it does seem like a more affordable version of bora bora, but we’ve had a hard time finding hotels that are actually affordable (we’ve been seeing prices like 2k/night!!) and also — they have sharks there i think. and i am afraid of sharks unfortunately. i don’t go in the ocean for the most part because of this but i wanted to on the honeymoon.

leeward islands // i’ve heard these are actually the most beautiful islands, but underrated compared to tahiti and fiji. anguilla looks amazing. anyone been!?

mexico // i’ve been to mexico a lot, so at first was against it. but it does seem like you get a lot more for your money. and we love mexican food.

costa rica // the only active things we’ve talked about doing are rafting, ziplining and snorkeling. we could do those so hard in costa rica.

thailand // of all the places we’ve chosen, thailand (and also vietnam) seem like the ones i’d be the most into sightseeing so i feel a tiny bit adamant that it would make a better trip later on. when i can GO HARD. but it does look spectacular and super romantic. i need advice on this one.

belize // i love the caves and the idea of rafting here, but have heard a lot less about it than the islands. they do have the over the water huts i love.

so, where did you honeymoon? or where did you travel that was the best ever? or which of these places sounds the best?!

we want to make a decision so we can check it off the list (just like everything else) so please advise! i’d love all the tips i can get.

(and sorry for the super long post – it seems i have a lot to say)

39 comments on “honeymooning — i need help!”

  1. Hello, I just dropped onto your blog from “I’m not sure where”
    Have you looked at The Andaman Islands? They are between India and Thailand.
    I always always wanted to go but it’s definitely a honeymoon kinda place.
    Nothing but beaches, delicious food and nature.

    I saw a programme once and there was footage of elephants swimming between islands and it looked so so beautiful.

    Good Luck
    {*}

  2. Look into Sugar Ridge on Antigua, amazing boutique hotel with mouthwatering food.
    They offer an all inclusive package!

  3. I’ve been to both Thailand and CR and had an amazing time. You can’t go wrong with either of em – you can do the lazy beach thing, or the adventure tour thing. Although, there’s something kind of magical about Thailand (I spent most of my time in Phuket), and would go back in a heartbeat.

    As for my honeymoon…hubby and I did the complete opposite of the beachy vacay, and went camping in Iceland (haha – extreme I know). We wanted an adventurous destination that required little planning, a location neither of us had been to, and a place where maybe we would never go back. Iceland seemed to fit the bill for us…and it was absolutely incredible.

  4. I gotta say, Tahiti is basically my number one honeymoon dream spot so I’m biased toward that! I saw a series of vlogs from a couple who went to Tahiti for their honeymoon and was totally sold, I believe Bora Bora was their favorite of the islands! Here’s a link to the videos if you want to see. :)

  5. Oh man, I want to go to all these places! But from what you’re saying I’d scratch out Bora Bora, Fiji, Mexico and Bali. They either seem too expensive, not all-inclusive, and while gorgeous maybe you’d get a little bored? I feel ya when it comes to travel, there’s only so much laying around I can take. I’d want to do something!

    I’d say go Thailand, Costa Rica, or Belize. That way there’s plenty of relaxation, but you can still do activities together. You don’t have to do something super active everyday – maybe promise to limit it to 2 or 3 ‘big’ things while you’re there. Like snorkeling, riding elephants, day trips, or whatever, just so you don’t run yourself down either. And I like to only plan on doing that one thing that day so I have plenty of recuperating time ;)

    I think I’d have to vote for Thailand (my dream honeymoon destination) just because it’s cheap once you’re there, the culture is so unique, and the land is so gorgeous with plenty of all-inclusive options. Or go Belize, I’ve heard it’s really gorgeous, not too touristy, they speak English, and they have your water huts! Go explore new territory and report back!

    1. thanks lady! i love the one activity a day idea, that might be perfect for us (we get exhausted from a day at the mall) i have heard amazing things about belize and it’s so close…

  6. Hey there – I’m a travel writer and have been to a bunch of these spots – definitely pros and cons to each:
    1. Thailand – i think your instincts are right. This is one of my favorite places on earth and it would be a shame to JUST go and relax – you want to do Chiang Mai, elephant riding, bamboo rafting and hiking in the north, EATING, shopping and sightseeing in Bangkok and then island hopping. Might be a stressful amount of logistics for a honeymoon but you should DEFINITELY go some day! Or you can go this time around and just commit to doing the beach – then come back another time to explore other parts of the country.
    2. Bora Bora/Maldives/overwater bungalow places – Unless you are SUPER chill peeps, these can get a little boring actually (Especially in the maldives where most resorts are on private islands and you can only get there via $300 boat or more expensive helicopter transfers). You’re also stuck only eating at the resort, which adds up.
    3. Bali – Just got back from a trip here and I’d absolutely recommend it. It’s the perfect mix of chill cultural excursions, beach time and nature. You’ll also get WAY more bang for your buck hotel-wise. This hotel is MAGICAL with private villas starting at just $145 per night. I should warn that some of the beaches are a little crowded and some are dirty – you have to pick your location really well. And I actually think the hotels around Ubud are way more romantic and atmospheric (maybe do four nights outside Ubud, two-three nights at the beach?). As for the best beaches – Kuta is a frat party. AVOID. Seminyak has amazing handicraft/local design boutique shopping, really cool beach restaurants, etc. Nusa Dua doesnt have as much cultural stuff near by but the beaches are PRISTINE and empty. I thought Jimbaran was kind of dirty – don’t stay there but be sure to go at sunset for freshgrilled seafood on the beach (Menega was my favorite restaurant there). Do a day trip to the Green Bowl Beach – you walk past an abandoned temple of monkeys down a ton of old stone stairs to this dramatic beach with caves that is almost always empty minus a few surfers. Also be sure to see the kecak dance at Uluwatu temple at sunset. Oh and don’t worry about Bali belly – it’s no different than traveling in Thailand or Mexico or most places in the Caribbean – you just stick to bottled water and be careful with street food and you’ll be fine.
    4. Belize – this is another FAVORITE with alot of bang for your buck. Tubing through caves, horseback riding through Mayan ruins and the AMAZING actun tunichil muknal cave seriously feels like being indiana jones (except it’s actually a really easy hike). But at the same time, none of hte activities have to be high impact and the jungle hotels are super relaxing. And the beaches are gorgeous with amazing diving and the famous blue lagoon. Plus – it’s super easy to navigate as English is the national language and they accept dollars (not usually necessarily a selling point for me, but lowkey is definitely important when you’re coming off the exhaustion of a wedding week!).
    Don’t know Costa Rica. There are tons of amazing spots in Mexico (Puerto Escondido, Tulum, the colonial towns like Puebla) and it’s easy to get to so that could be a great option as well.

    Anywho, hope that’s helpful!

    1. colleen — SO HELPFUL. that’s exactly what we’re thinking about thailand, i want to do it when i can explore like crazy. and yeah, im definitely worried that ill get island fever in a place like fiji or tahiti, so we’re trying to find a place that has enough activities to keep us entertained but not enough culture to make me sad i could be missing out on sightseeing. thank you for your amazing input!

  7. We went to Belize for an international honeymoon (Disneyland for our immediate honeymoon) and Loved Belize. We’ve been suggesting destination weddings to each of my husbands siblings when they got engaged. No takers. Belize has so much to do. We stayed at the hotel san Ignacio, inland, and on san Pedro for the island. Atm caves, tikal myan ruins, beaches, dirty bananas and romantic evenings. Perfection.

  8. All these places look amazing ! I definitely would not go Bali though I don’t think it’s worth the risk ! I’ve been to Fiji and it was amazing we stayed at the Warrick I think it was called which there’s buffet breakfasts and dinner, pools and beach that has been divided off from the ocean so people can go kayaking and snorkelling but it also means there’s no huge waves and u don’t have to worry about jellyfish or sharks ! And there’s also shops at the hotel along the beach people have little stalls and thinks it was a really amazing experience ! Oh it also has a spa to ! Was a little bit far from the airport but so worth it !

  9. I visited Bali back in 2004 and it was amazing! Super cheap, easy to get around and to communicate. We stayed in basically a glass house in Penestanan Village. Absolutely beautiful! We also stayed a few days in Ahmed, a small beach village on the eastern coast. I fell in love with the island, the people, the food and have been dying to back ever since!

    We did the complete opposite for our honeymoon and spent 10 glorious days in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Simply magical!

    Good luck and safe travels!

  10. Hello, we went to Thailand for our honeymoon and stayed in koi samui at the ton sai bay hotel. It was totally rad and I would totally recommend it for our luxury but also quite lively and fun too. Happy honeymoon planning. X

  11. My husband and I took our honeymoon, finally, last year in conjunction with our five year wedding anniversary to Jamaica two years ago. We stayed in Ocho Rios at a couples-only resort called Couples Tower Isle. IT WAS AMAZING. All-inclusive, incredibly affordable, absolutely beautiful, and all around one of the best vacations I have ever been on.

    Private beach, multiple pools, all you can eat and drink with multiple on-site restaurants. Included excursions should you guys wish to explore one or two days that don’t make you incredibly exhausted by the time you get back… we went to the Dunn river and also biked down the Blue Mountains (that was a 1/2 day excursion). The people are SO nice. I highly, highly recommend. They even have dinners for ‘repeaters’ because so many people choose this location to go back every year, which we will be able to attend soon because we’re going back :)

  12. I was to Bali before and cannot recommend it because of the beaches. They are really not so nice as you might think. I was really disappointed! And as you want a “beach vacation” I would skip Bali.

    I can definitely recommend Thailand, the beaches are spectacular! No matter where you go. I think Kho Phi Phi could be the right destination for you, since the beaches are great and you can do a little bit of sightseeing, if you get tired of lying on the beach, but it’s not that there is too much to look at. Also everything is very cheap there!

    Be careful with Vietnam, because of the time you like to travel, since the climate is very different in this country depending where you want to travel!

    I hope you find the right honeymoon for you, good luck!

    1. thank you so much lena! i love the criticism because i totally want to know all the cons! bali is out! we’re now worrying about monsoon season so we might stay on this side

  13. This isn’t for everyone, but wait a year to take your big trip! That’s what my husband and I did it was the best thing. I would recommend it to anyone.

    We live in MO and headed to Naples, FL for 5 days as a “mini-moon.” A year later we spent two weeks in New Zealand and Australia. It allowed us to not only save up for our big trip, but it also allowed me to take more time off from work and we were able to enjoy something really big on our 1 year anniversary rather than have two big events happen back to back.

    1. that’s a pretty nice idea — the only thing is that planning this wedding on my own is already driving me insane and the light at the end of the tunnel is bolting with no worries for a couple weeks. how was nz?! we’re also considering it!

  14. We went to Thailand too, and can also highly recommend Koh Samui. I’d also recommend Chiang Mai. Thailand is so affordable, the people are wonderful and you can either go sightseeing or relax in whatever fractions you desire.

    1. we want to go there so badly! but are now wondering if it’d a better trip later on when we want to sightsee more and if it’s as cheap as everyone says than maybe we can even afford it! haha

  15. Your list of destinations is great! Off your list I have been to Mexico, Thailand, Costa Rica, and Bali. We honeymooned in Curacao and loved it. My husband has a pretty stressful job, so he likes all travel to be of the “barefoot luxury” type, while I like a little of that and a lot of going/doing. My vote would be Thailand or Costa Rica as they provide the best of both worlds – relaxing with beautiful scenery.

    Costa Rica – We stayed in the Guanacaste Province on the west coast. The beaches were rocky and the water was a little cold, but not so much that we couldn’t swim. Maybe the east coast is warmer? Make sure you check whether it is wet or dry season for your travel dates. We went in April which is several months into their dry season, so all vegetation was dead. We still had a great time lying on the beaches. It is a great bang-for-your-buck both getting there and while you are there. We rented a car and spent a day driving around to a few different cities. We also ziplined and scuba-dived!

    Bali – I have traveled a good bit throughout the Caribbean as well as SE Asia. My opinion of Bali is that it was beautiful, but not as beautiful as any of the Caribbean islands I have been to (in terms of the beaches). There are a lot of things to do and see on the island though that are very relaxing and won’t leave you too tired in the evenings ;)

    Thailand!!! – Oh how I love Thailand!!! – Bangkok is just another big city in Asia, skip it and go to Chiang Mai instead. Then go to Phuket, Koh Samui, and/or Phi Phi Islands. We spent a week in Phuket (Karon Beach) and dove off the coast of Phi Phi (the movie “The Beach” was filmed on Phi Phi). Koh Samui is a less touristy version of Phuket. You can do as little or as much as you want. Some of the most beautiful beaches I have seen in my life and so different from the Caribbean! Taxis are fairly cheap, food is Very cheap and excellent! Highlights include: riding an elephant, diving, and the MUST, MUST do: take a kayak tour of Phang Nga Bay…google Andaman Sea Kayak and drool. It is a leisurely day where a guide paddles you through caves into private lagoons! You will see monkeys, snakes, fish, and bio-luminescence. It was one of the best excursions ever and not at all tiring as they do most of the work for you.

    1. thank you so much for your input! we’re now thinking thailand might not be the best in october (in case of monsoon season looming) and if costa ricas water isn’t super warm i know we won’t want to go in — curaçao looks sooo nice! maybe we add that to the options?!

  16. All of these are great choices! Our only criteria for the honeymoon: that the flight wasn’t too long (wanted the honeymoon to start RIGHT AWAY! Haha) and that it was all-inclusive. We were really blessed to have the honeymoon gifted to us by my father-in-law and he chose Playa del Carmen, Mexico. It was wonderful. Good luck!

  17. Thailand for sure! I loved Koh Samui and you can see different cities in the country for a short, relatively inexpensive flight. I love your site. Nizhoni and I craft every weekend so we will try your projects!

  18. not to throw another destination into the mix but from the looks of it the perfect place for you to honeymoon is the tropical country of Panama. I am a little biased because I grew up here but it has been named one of the must visit places by many (ok so bill gates and a NY times article). Anyways it is a really lovely place with immense culture and history. Even traveling on a budget you can experience true luxury without “roughing it”.

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