What is your ultimate honeymoon adventure?
May 19, 2014 9:39 AM   Subscribe

With my wedding quickly approaching, my fiance and I need some help from the community in deciding where to go for our honeymoon.

My fiance and I have been having a difficult time wrestling with our indecision about where our destination should be for our honeymoon in October. I was hoping to scrape the hivemind for some good ideas for our upcoming getaway. Assuming that money is no concern, please tell me about the best vacation experience you have ever been, with bonus points for you if it is outside of the mainland United States. If possible, please include some details about some of the excursions you went on as well. Keep in mind that we will have approximately 7 days to see some of the attractions in the area. Thanks in advance for all of your input!
posted by SharkLangasta to Travel & Transportation (23 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Assuming money is no concern, I would go to South Africa.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:43 AM on May 19, 2014

Seconding South Africa.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:45 AM on May 19, 2014

Oof we are just going to make it worse! That 7 days - does that include travel time or is there another day on each side for travel?
posted by mskyle at 9:49 AM on May 19, 2014

Had my honeymoon in the Maldives, and it was awesome. Got SCUBA certified before hand, went out on a boat to fish for sailfish, took boats between islands for lunch in an underwater restaurant, absolutely beautiful, and also potentially will sink below the rising ocean before I die, so definitely glad I went and experienced it when I could. However, it's pretty far (Flew to London, then Dubai, then to the Maldives). I took two weeks off and it was awesome, but just 7 days might be cutting your time there too short.
posted by Grither at 9:49 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would say that anywhere extremely far flung from the United States is not going to be ideal for a 7 day trip. Western Europe is about as far as I'd go for a week.

I also think this question as written is way too broad. What do you like to do?
posted by something something at 9:51 AM on May 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you're really limited to a week-long trip, I'd avoid flying east: whenever I travel from the US to Europe (twice a year), I find myself absolutely overwhelmed by jet lag for at least a week. (Conversely, when I return to the US, I'm absolutely fine.) How about New Zealand?
posted by littlegreen at 9:59 AM on May 19, 2014

In October, and with only 7 days to play around with, and wanting to get off mainland US? Hawaii. Not a tourist hotel but a rental cottage or something. Pick an island and I am sure people will help you out with excursions.
posted by BibiRose at 10:01 AM on May 19, 2014


Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. A superb national park, beaches everywhere, monkies, kayaking, jet skis, zip lining, snorkeling & diving and, if you stay at the right places, a personal chef :D

Oh, and a volcano sorta-nearby, though we didn't go there.
posted by Jacen at 10:02 AM on May 19, 2014


I was a student there, so I didn't get to spend a ton of time doing touristy things, but it's got beautiful beaches, incredible food, lots of small towns to get lost in, and beautiful islands too! The calanques between Marseilles and Cassis are easily accessible, but not too crowded, and one of the most memorable places I visited.
posted by inertia at 10:06 AM on May 19, 2014

Bali, if you can handle the long plane ride.

Otherwise, seconding Hawaii. It's an excellent time of year, off-season but the weather is still spectacular. The only downside is that it isn't whale-watching season. Hiking, beaches, sunrises, sunsets, swaying palms...
posted by Pocahontas at 10:07 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you are on the west coast then Tahiti is totally doable for a week. We stayed on Moorea, where your options include everything from full 5-star resort to all-inclusive to camping on the beach. We opted for a small hotel, stocked up on baguettes and cold cuts in the morning, and spent our time between swimming in the glorious ocean and hopping on our scooters to find another beach to play at. I went with a BFF but for a honeymoon I'd find a low-key hotel that had over-water bungalows.

Our trip was a fairly low budget hotel/air fare package but since you say to assume money is no concern you could really have a ball in the South Pacific.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:12 AM on May 19, 2014

Can you sail? We rented a boat out of St. Martin and sailed around Anguilla down to St. Bart's in six intense, romantic, adventurous days.
posted by nicwolff at 10:14 AM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Money is no option? Mustique. Seven days is barely enough.
posted by neushoorn at 10:26 AM on May 19, 2014

Big Island: work your way around the island (lots of different ecosystems and cool spots), explore lots of Kona beaches (This book is great for thorough directions and lesser known spots) but stay over in South Kona (vrbo.com or B&B or farm stay). Visit Pu'u Honua o Honaunau and snorkel just outside the park at Two Step. Visit South Point, the black sand beach, hike around at Volcano National Park (if you are into backpacking and up for a grueling, hot hike to a beautiful, secluded palm-lined cove, camping overnight at backcountry sites Halape and Keahou on the Puna coast is pretty amazing. It was a rough hike, though.) Go to the farmer's market in Hilo, drive some backroads in Hamakua (see that guidebook), more charming B&Bs and cottages in Kohala, Puʻukoholā Heiau is quite beautiful and windswept. Overall, spend lots of time on beaches and bouncing around eating a lot of great food.

Molokai: Stay at Pu'u o Hoku ranch (stock up on food in Kaunakakai to cook in your cottage and/or buy produce and grass-fed beef from the ranch. Kick back, swim and unplug. Ask about horse rides, farm tours, guided or non-guided hiking around the ranch. Swim and explore Halawa valley right next door (with respect for private property, they're a little wary of outsiders.) Hire someone to take you on a boat ride out of Halawa to see the rugged north coast. Visit former leper colony at Kalaupapa and enjoy the beach there. Contact the Nature Conservancy Molokai field office and join a hike to Mo'omomi dunes or Kamahou fern forest or both. Go out for a drink at Hotel Molokai, get malasadas at Kanemitsu's, get plate lunch at Molokai Drive-In.
posted by dahliachewswell at 10:53 AM on May 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

Oh also: Oaxaca and Mexico City
Mexico City (spend less time here but eat great food, drink at cantinas and check out the Anthropology museum for a day or half day. I also liked the folk art museum a lot. Also, Coyoacan the neighborhood/area where Frida and Diego lived is lovely: stroll plazas, go to markets, go for a boat ride, visit the Frida museum. This could take up one day's time. Obviously you're supposed to visit the massive Teotihuacan site but I found it so crowded and tiring, it was hard to get much out of it. Maybe I'm crazy. You can see all the amazing ornate things they excavated from the site at the Anthro museum.

Oaxaca: explore the city, buy handicrafts, visit the markets and eat great food, excursions to Monte Alban (ruins) and little towns in Oaxaca valley. Teotitlan del Valle for textiles and Tlacolula for just a big huge everything market were highlights for me. Archeaological sites at Mitla and bathing at Hierve el Agua hot springs can be interesting, too.
posted by dahliachewswell at 11:19 AM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're on the west coast go to French Polynesia. Skip Tahiti, pick two islands between Moorea, Bora Bora and Tahaa. We've been twice (once for our honeymoon) and it was amazing.

Snorkeling, fresh fish, beautiful nature, vanilla. Only downsides are cost and flight time.
posted by lydhre at 12:52 PM on May 19, 2014

For a 7 day trip I would not want more than 8 hours of travel time.

We honeymooned in Hanalei Bay, Kauaii. We found a great studio a block from the beach on VRBO. We had a FANTASTIC time and Hanalei Bay and surrounding area is ultra romantic too. Have not been there in 8 or 9 years, I imagine it is still pretty great.
posted by jcworth at 1:28 PM on May 19, 2014

I spent five days of my honeymoon in the Loire Valley, in France. We stayed in an "apartment hotel" (ie, a hotel room with a kitchen) in Blois, and walked around for the most part, but also rented a car for some daytrips to other parts of the valley. Historical chateaus, medieval churches, La Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin, fancy food and wine, beautiful scenery of the river and the bridges and the hills. A little touristy I suppose, but still less so than bigger European cities I've been to, and all of the locals were absolutely charming and wonderful to us as visiting Americans.

I had a similar experience in Cefalu, in Sicily. We were there in December, but I believe it's a popular beach resort in the summer. It was kind of nice being there in the off season. Hotels were much cheaper, and the atmosphere was peaceful. It was too cold to swim, but we hiked a bit in addition to taking in the local museums and cathedrals and ruins. But the same idea, small medieval European town with gorgeous historical architecture in a stunning landscape. A bit like travelling in time as well as space. With seven days, I would spend two or three in Palermo or another part of Sicily as well. It's a small island with some amazing history.

-- I know I shouldn't edit for content, but I want to say I like northern England for this kind of travel as well. Durham, York, Lindisfarne. Fantastic.
posted by OnceUponATime at 1:55 PM on May 19, 2014

Namibia: We headed down to the amazing, endless Arabian-Nights-esque sand dunes of the Namib desert, up to the central plateau to sit with rehabilitated cheetahs and a leopard at Okonjima big cat rescue, then to Etosha, for the big-game/safari experience in an awesome national park, then on to the Nauklauft mountains to see some ancient rock art and some of the oldest geology left in the world.

It was an amazing holiday, I think about it often and would love to go back.
posted by smoke at 3:38 PM on May 19, 2014

I'm going to also chime in and say that with only 7 days I'd be willing to forego longer flights like Europe and such for Hawaii because it's a 4 1/2 hour flight (tops) from the west coast, and if you stick to the Big Island it is truly amaaaaazing. Nowhere near as crowded or touristy as, say, Maui or Honolulu, plenty of gorgeous beaches and scenery and the traffic is nowhere like as insane.

Kona is a fantastic, low-key, interesting place to explore, and the astronomy / observatory tour we did of Mauna Kea ranks as one of the definingly mind-blowing experiences I've ever had in my life. Yep, and that includes the fact that I've been to South Africa, Switzerland, Tuscany and the UK. Better than any of that. Another consideration is that Western Europe in October btw (even Provence) can be one long unending dreary gloomy rain slog (I've lived there) and 7 days isn't enough to guarantee you won't have awful weather the entire trip.

if money's truly no object then book a honeymoon package to one of the nicer resorts on the big island; they specialize in that kind of thing and it's for a reason. My husband and I were quite pleased with the five star treatment we got at the Hilton.
posted by lonefrontranger at 4:20 PM on May 19, 2014

I've never done it, but I've always wanted to go to Alaska to see the Northern Lights.

Of course Hawaii is awesome, and if that's the kind of thing you're interested in, you might want to consider Fiji as an option too. Personally, 7 days sounds a little long to me for Hawaii and Fiji offers some cool cultural things to do too. If you're flying from the east coast, Barbados has alot of similar tropical paradise honeymoon suite type deals. Make sure to check when hurricane season is though.
posted by tinymegalo at 6:03 PM on May 19, 2014

We ended up in Hawaii for our week long honeymoon. It was actually something I resisted for a while, because it almost felt cliche. Well, it's cliche for a reason. Hawaii is awesome. I recommend the big island.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:00 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

We went to New Zealand, though with a day+ travel on each end, that might be too much. It was a fantastic experience though and the people were excellent.

Two weeks were barely enough to drive around the south island. Were we to try it again, I'd take three or a month and get some longer hikes in.
posted by bonehead at 10:57 AM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

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