Maybe if you help me decide where we'll go I can actually book tickets.
December 9, 2010 8:55 PM   Subscribe

Where should we go on our honeymoon?

The perfect vacation destination would

a) not be a tourist trap
b) have a low cost-to-what-you-get ratio (like nice hotels and great food for not as much money as in USA)
c) make it easy to immerse oneself in the culture
d) not be too hot in mid June-July. 85-90ºF tops please.

Between the two of us we've got English, Spanish, and Japanese covered but we're completely comfortable in going anywhere that it would be possible to get around without knowing the language. For example, I spent a month in Japan while SO was studying abroad and spent many days without him while he was in class. I didn't speak a lick of Japanese but was able to get by just fine with gestures, pointing, etc. I feel this was mostly possible because, in my experience, people would fall over themselves in trying to help me (and some spoke at least some minimal level of English where I was in Sendai). I am completely comfortable with doing that. Did I ever tell you about that time I successfully returned a piece of hardware to an electronics store in downtown Sendai where not a single employee spoke English? I kept pushing the item and receipt towards them and then made a grabbing motion towards my body while saying "yen" over and over ...

We would go for roughly 2-3 weeks somewhere in the realm of June-July, 2011.

I would love to keep the whole thing under $5000. (Is this a ridiculous goal? I really have no idea how much these things usually cost. We could spend more if needed.)

I've spent some time fully immersed in an orphanage in Costa Rica and also done some traveling there and in Panama and Belize so I'd rather not repeat those countries.
posted by kthxbi to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
For that time of year and wanting both a lot of bang for your buck and non-hot weather, I'd look to South America. Especially considering that at least one of you is proficient in Spanish.

But this is a concern:

nice hotels and great food for not as much money as in USA

In my experience, a five star hotel is a five star hotel. They're all outrageously expensive, even in the developing world. Largely because they tend to be owned by huge multinational corporations. You can, however, find lovely quirky lower-starred hotels that simply wouldn't ever exist in the USA, for much cheaper than any American hotel room.

Foodwise, in terms of bang for your buck I'd suggest Argentina. It's also relaxing in a way that other parts of South America might not be. You could definitely lay low, drink cheap wine and eat cheap steak, take a tango lesson or two...
posted by Sara C. at 9:44 PM on December 9, 2010

How about Argentina? I've recommended it before, but it matches all four items on your list (perhaps matching D a bit too much, with winter temperatures peaking around 60 on average).

If you can find mostly-reasonable flights you should have no problem making your budget. That's a big caveat though, flights can easily be $1500 each unless you keep an eye on them and book when they're cheaper.

Once you get there, food and lodging are fairly inexpensive and generally excellent, and you could easily swing a bunch of long distance buses or even an internal flight or two (Buenos Aires to Mendoza, perhaps?)
posted by true at 9:45 PM on December 9, 2010

What about the Dominican Republic or elsewhere in the Caribbean? Summer is low season, and I think islands typically don't get as hot as, say, inland southern US locales. So even the nice hotels should have low season rates. And if you go to a more off-the-beaten-path kind of place and avoid the all-inclusives, you should find some good rates.

But it's hard to make a recommendation given you haven't said what kind of trip you want.

The New York Times's new Frugal Traveler wandered all over South America last summer. Maybe he can inspire you.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:42 PM on December 9, 2010

Here's a longer story about summer in the Caribbean.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:48 PM on December 9, 2010

I always recommend Verana. We spent our 25th anniversary there. Lovely and relaxing.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:32 AM on December 10, 2010

Keep in mind for a honeymoon do you want to worry about passport issues nad actually getting back home?

You can go to florida and have a hotel NEAR the good spots without being in the middle of the tourist trap spots.

LOok in places like pompano beach which is north of fort lauderdale but much quieter. about an hours rental car drive from miami and like 10 min away from ft lauderdale itself. also hotels are a lot cheaper also.
posted by majortom1981 at 4:50 AM on December 10, 2010

posted by molecicco at 5:03 AM on December 10, 2010

Villa in Spain!
posted by lizbunny at 6:36 AM on December 10, 2010

posted by sabh at 6:39 AM on December 10, 2010

Peru! Summers in the Andes are really pleasant - about 72 in the day, albeit a chillier 40-50something at night. Very nice (although not 5-star) hotels will run you around $100 a night.
posted by artemisia at 8:13 AM on December 10, 2010

With respect to not immediately leaving on the honeymoon - we aren't. The wedding is in May but SO doesn't go on summer break from grad school until mid June.
posted by kthxbi at 10:48 AM on December 10, 2010

Also I won't be changing my name until after the honeymoon so there won't be any passport issues.
posted by kthxbi at 10:50 AM on December 10, 2010

Hilo is lovely in June and July. Not at all hot--I'm quite sensitive to heat, and we were there in late July and it was fantastic. I think the record high in all of July for like, ever is 91. It's not touristy like the west side of the Big Island, and there are tons of little cottages and B&Bs along the coast to the south. Plus, you know, volcanos and heated tidal pools and all that. There are some good earlier threads with specific lodging suggestions that I can look up, if you like.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:00 PM on December 10, 2010

For those of you suggesting various regions in Hawaii - I've never been but I was under the impression that it is quite an expensive place to vacation. Is this not the case?
posted by kthxbi at 1:36 PM on December 10, 2010

Not Hilo. Check those vacation rentals--starting around $100 a night. This is out in the jungle, 20 miles from town--there are some seriously rural parts of the island south of Hilo. And there isn't much fine dining around there--amazing fresh fruits of course, but you'll be doing a lot of your own cooking and eating in a lot of road-side diners. Downtown Pahoa ain't a resort--this is old Hawaii.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:42 PM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Portugal! Beautiful, a lovely mix of European and Moorish architecture, and much cheaper than the rest of Europe (bonus - help out their economy!). That's where we honeymooned and we had a wonderful time - the people we met were friendly and helpful. Our hotels were not super expensive, but were still very nice, and tons of free port because we told everyone it was our honeymoon :)
posted by echo0720 at 5:34 PM on December 10, 2010

Ok a little more about what we like. I found this and there are many reasons I like it. First, it's a self-drive tour of a country / culture I've never experienced so we can stop where ever we want to check things out along the way. Second, the cheapest version is actually the one I would prefer - it talks about how at some of the stops you won't be staying in a hotel but rather in someone's farm house. That's PERFECT! It's best way to not be a tourist and to really experience what it's like to be in Norway. I showed SO and he thinks he'd love to do something like this but in Ireland or somewhere else. He loves beer and whiskey and says he'd like to drive around to different distilleries or breweries in a foreign country.

Does that help anyone narrow it down to a different country? Sorry I wasn't very clear at first as to what kind of a trip is up our alley. We're definitely not the lay on a beach kind of people.
posted by kthxbi at 7:41 PM on December 18, 2010

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