If catching a flight from your wedding after-party feels rushed, here are more reasons to take a beat before your honeymoon.
By Marilyn Odessor-Torpey
For a while, it was the pandemic that forced couples to postpone their honeymoon. But even with COVID-19 restrictions lifted, newlyweds have found new reasons for taking extra time between their “I do’s” and traveling—such as more time to plan and save for the perfect getaway. Also, if your wedding date doesn’t align with the desired season of your destination, that’s even more reason to wait, points out Ian Swain, owner of Swain Destinations in Haverford, Pennsylvania. Some destinations are at their peak (or blissfully quiet) during specific seasons, he says. For example, “a couple who marries in September may want to wait until winter to escape to a warmer climate.”
Here, Swain and other area travel experts share which locales are happening, whatever time of year.
A flight to Indonesia is long and can be pricey, but the destination itself is rather affordable—and well worth the trek. At the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Padangtegal, more than 600 Balinese long-tailed macaques put on show after show. Ubud, the traditional cultural center of the island, is a mecca for spiritual healing. The culture is intriguing; consider a Balinese dance or cooking class to immerse your senses.
Brush up on your bargaining before visiting “mini town,” which houses hundreds of Balinese artists. The water beckons experienced surfers and neophytes alike, with waves that range from gentle to challenging. Diversify your palate with a taste of babi guling (spit-roasted suckling pig), a local delicacy, plus seafood from Jimbaran Beach, a small fishing village. According to Bob Older, founder and owner of Creative Travel in Newark, Kenran Resort provides five-star service and amenities at a three- or four-star price.
From Athens, it’s a short flight or ferry ride to the magical island of Mykonos, where the ocean hugs white-sugar shores and white speckled houses perch amid towering rock formations. Our autumn is the shoulder season in Greece, so you’ll have plenty of elbow room, according to Older. Mykonos is known as a party island, with unbridled fun on its beaches, but you can easily find a secluded spot for romance or rest.
“Mykonos is known as a party island, with unbridled fun on its beaches, but you can easily find a secluded spot for romance or rest.”
Take a day or sunset yacht cruise on the Aegean Sea, which stops for swimming and snorkeling. Dig into the archaeological treasures on the nearby tiny island of Delos, which, according to Greek mythology, was the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis. At the end of each day, unwind in your private stone bungalow at Mykonos Blu.
LOS CABOS AND ISLA MUJERES
Wintertime is comfortable in Mexico, where temperatures rise to the low 80s, the water is warm and the air humidity low, says Christina Maddox, founder and owner of Heaven Sent Wedding Consultants & Travel Agency in Wilmington. At Los Cabos on the west coast, you can get up close and personal with over 900 species of fish in the Sea of Cortés, dubbed the Aquarium of the World. Ride a camel through the desert by the sea to a tequila tasting. Do handstands on the water with paddleboard yoga at the all-inclusive, adults-only LeBlanc Spa Resort.
Delve into Mexican history at the Aztec ruins at Punta Sur on Isla Mujeres, a small island just off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. Explore the MUSA Underwater sculpture project, which displays more than 500 works depicting people, animals and more. At the Majestic Elegance Costa Mujeres, an all-inclusive resort recommended by Maddox, schedule a massage on a private beach.
Boasting over 8,000 acres, 200 runs of skiable terrain, extensive snowboarding parks and tubing, the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort is the largest of its kind in North America, encompassing two adjacent mountains for twice the challenges and thrills. You can reach the mountaintops in one of the 27 lifts or via helicopter. If you’re new to snow sports, classes will have you on the slopes in no time.
Honeymooners seeking nature and adventure will swoon for all Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, provides. Boasting one of the best ski resorts in North America, the region also offers snowshoeing, tobogganing and ski jumping at the Olympic Park. Alta Lake, pictured here, is open year-round for activities like canoeing and kayaking. You’ll even find people swimming here in the winter, cutting holes in the ice to cold plunge. Courtesy Tourism Whistler/ Justa Jeskova.
Après-ski, head for the pedestrian-only Village, formerly the Olympic Village for the 2010 Winter Games, for some lively nightlife. Or cuddle up next to the fireplace in your deluxe room at the Four Seasons Whistler, the resort suggested by Maddox.
Soak in Whistler’s healing thermal waters surrounded by old-growth forests and coastal mountains at Scandinave Spa in British Columbia, Canada. Courtesy Tourism Whistler/ Justa Jeskova.
When it’s simmering in the mid-Atlantic, it’s refreshingly cool in the Kalahari Desert. Every day is an adventure with safaris, says Swain, where you can spot over 80 animal species, including four of the Big Five mammals (lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino) and all Big Five marine creatures (dolphin, seal, sea lion, whale and shark). Plus, a botanist-led flower safari helps you to discover many of the country’s 900 plant species.
A private safari vehicle, guide and tracker bring an exhilarating sense of freedom to an off-the-beaten-track destination like South Africa’s Tswalu. Couples have the luxury of exploring the reserve at their own pace, with exclusive access to wildlife sightings. Photo by Don Heyneke.
For an authentic South African wilderness experience, couples can stay at one of the six private luxury accommodations at Tswalu Loapi Tented Safari Camp surrounded by open savannah grasslands in the valley of the Korannaberg Mountains. Overnight in a contemporary glass and steel tent home featuring a canvas roof, plunge pool and firepit. A dedicated butler and chef ensure the highest level of personal attention, while a private vehicle, guide and tracker allow you to design your own bespoke safari in your vehicle, on foot or on horseback.
Plunge-pool villas feature stunning views of the Coral Sea. Courtesy of Lizard Island Resort.
While parts of the continent may be white with snow in winter, other regions beckon with balmy air, white-sand beaches and water temperatures fit for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, Swain says. Lizard Island resort is the only accommodation of its kind near the coral reef and offers guided snorkeling tours. The all-inclusive property is surrounded by beautiful private beaches. Plunge-pool villas provide the ultimate privacy and stunning views of the Coral Sea. Its location in a lush national park also makes Lizard Island a not-to-be-missed destination for hikers.
Australia’s Lizard Island resort is nestled near the Great Barrier Reef and offers guided snorkeling tours. Courtesy of Lizard Island Resort.
LONDON, PARIS, AMSTERDAM
Amsterdam’s five-star Pulitzer hotel is housed in 25 restored Golden Age canal houses, home to more than four centuries of Dutch heritage. Courtesy of Pulitzer Amsterdam. Courtesy of Pulitzer Amsterdam.
Why choose only one European locale when you can visit three using the continent’s superb railway system, posits Dover’s Jetset Travel agency owner Angela Armutcu. From the London Eye to the luxurious Harrods department store and a whole lot of history in between, the English capital is less touristy in the spring. Overnight at the sophisticated Rosewood. Paris is also more accessible during this season so you can enjoy a stroll along the Champs-Élysées or a Seine River cruise without the peak season jostling. The Hôtel Lutetia, on the Left Bank, is one of Armutcu’s top choices for accommodations. After a day of exploring the museums and art galleries of Amsterdam, take your rest at the Pulitzer Amsterdam, housed in 25 restored 18th- and 19th-century homes.
One of the best ways to discover Amsterdam’s sights is by boat. The Pulitzer hotel offers a day of exploring the historic canals aboard one of two unique vessels. Courtesy of Pulitzer Amsterdam.
This small country in Central America offers plenty of different experiences, Armutcu says. For heart-pounding adventure, embark on a waterfall tour (you can even rappel down the side of one) in Arenal Volcano National Park, crossing the jungle canyon via swinging bridges. Zip line over the rainforest canopy. Explore the wild rapids in a river raft. In between adventures, recharge in your private cabin, complete with a spring-water plunge pool and heated whirlpool spa at the Amor Arenal hotel.
Courtesy of Amor Arena Hotel.
Or, float down a tranquil river while searching for the native wildlife in Guanacaste on the Gulf of Papagayo. Let the music of the rainforest wash over you as you drink in the view of a sunset, then see what wildlife emerges after dark on a guided nocturnal tour. Stay at Secrets Papagayo, an all-inclusive adults-only resort with miles of pristine Pacific coast beaches.
Costa Rica has it all—waterfalls, waves and wildly romantic accommodations, like the Amor Arena Hotel, where you’ll enjoy a private cabin complete with a spring-water plunge pool and heated whirlpool spa. Courtesy of Amor Arena Hotel.