Seeking inspiration for your upcoming honeymoon? Our country specialists have pinpointed specific, of-the-moment destinations that, for a variety of reasons, contain the ingredients for a fulfilling trip. We believe what makes a honeymoon ― apart from superb places to stay (and we’ve recommended some of those, too) ― is the experiences.
We’re talking real one-off activities that you might never (or rarely) get the chance to repeat. This might be spending an afternoon as the sole couple on a secluded Fijian beach, witnessing the northern lights, or a candlelit dinner in the African bush.
By Tanzania safari specialist Tom
When to go: anytime except mid-March to May
Glowing red and orange sunsets in wide, open skies, candlelit dinners beneath the stars and falling asleep under canvas to the sounds of the bush: a Tanzanian safari effortlessly delivers romance to any honeymoon.
That said, most camps and lodges love to acknowledge how important a honeymoon is and will go the extra mile to offer special touches for newlyweds. You might receive champagne on arrival, retire to your room to find rose petals scattered on the bed, or be offered a complimentary couples’ massage.
Best of all, your afternoon game drive might end with a surprise dinner set out just for you in the middle of the bush, lit up by the warm glow of lanterns.
The camp or lodge you stay at depends on your personal taste. If you’d prefer a more polished option, I suggest Sayari Camp in the northern Serengeti, whose huge tented suites (including the honeymoon suite) come with an egg-shaped bath tub overlooking the plains. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, stay at Lake Manze Camp in the heart of the Selous, where tents are more rustic and animals often roam past on their way to the lakeshore.
- Try this: Follow up your time on safari with some beach relaxation in Zanzibar. Just a short flight from the mainland, the island’s tidal beaches are washed by the clear, warm waters of the Indian Ocean, which are ripe for snorkeling. You could also explore Stone Town’s fragrant spice markets and narrow alleys.
By Lauren from our Indonesia team
When to go: April to October
Indonesia’s almost endless list of beach resorts and boutiques offer the secluded coves, spa treatments and champagne sunsets many honeymoons are made of. It’s also home to one of the least-explored areas of Southeast Asia — the jungles of Kalimantan, southern Borneo.
Here, thick jungle is broken only by the Sekonyer River. For some just-the-two-of-us seclusion, I suggest exploring the region on a klotok (a private, multi-storey liveaboard), which can navigate the narrow waters that flow into Tanjung Puting National Park.
The park has one of the highest densities of wild orangutans in the world, so you stand a good chance of seeing one swing past as you have lunch on the top deck of your boat. Come evening, you might see them building a nest in the trees. But for me, the orangutans aren’t the only highlight here.
At nightfall, the top deck of your boat can be converted into an open-air bedroom (with a mosquito net and canopy). As you settle into bed, the surrounding trees begin to glow with thousands of fireflies, and on a clear night you can see the Milky Way stretched out above.
- Try this: If you’re itching for some traditional honeymoon luxe after the simplicity of your cruise, fly on to Bali, where you can take your pick of beachside escapes — I like the villas and cottages at Belmond Jimbaran Puri, which have private gardens and sea views.
By Fiji specialist Peter
When to go: May to October
Fiji has the icing-sugar sand and aquamarine seas synonymous with the South Pacific, but it also has its own unspoiled culture and some of the most genuinely welcoming people I’ve ever met. Everyone greets each other daily with an upbeat call of ‘Bula!’ (‘Hello!’)
This 18-day Fiji itinerary gives you an overview of this island state. However, I’d swap Port Denerau for the wide, soft sands of Natadola Beach ― a good place to snooze straight after a long flight.
From here you can take a jet-boat safari of the Sigatoka River, which transports you into Fiji’s verdurous interior. It’s a chance to visit authentic Fijian villages, meet their chiefs, and participate in a traditional welcome ceremony which involves drinking kava root out of a coconut shell.
Wherever you are in Fiji, if your visit coincides with a Sunday, head to your nearest church. Fijian hymn singing is something else ― it’s like waves of soaring a capella harmony washing over you.
Finish your trip on Matangi Island, a private island resort surrounded by luxuriant tropical vegetation. Here you stay in a luxe version of a traditional bure (thatched cabin). Snorkel in crystalline waters over well-preserved coral; learn Fijian basket weaving or take a cooking class; hike among the palms, almond trees, and mangroves; and spot birdlife ― everything from fruit doves to sacred kingfishers.
- Try this: Being marooned, just the two of you, with a picnic on Matangi Island’s Horseshoe Bay. Formed from a sunken volcanic crater, you’ll be dropped off by boat to enjoy the bay’s utter seclusion for a whole afternoon.
By Mexico specialist Maddie
When to go: January to June, then October to December
Strapped for time, but want a honeymoon that’s more than just a week on a beach? Step forward Mexico.
Start by flying direct into Mexico City, where there’s a wealth of things to do. Interested in art? Pair a visit to Frida Kahlo’s home (filled with her memorabilia) with a tour of the National Palace to see her husband Diego Rivera’s politically charged murals. Food more your thing? You can take a guided cycling tour of the city’s best taco joints. For a change of scene, try a trajinera (gondola) ride through Xochimilco floating gardens, as featured in our Mexico highlights guide.
Then, you can fly direct to Zihuatanejo, quite possibly my number one beach destination in Mexico.
A world away from the glitz and commerce of the Mayan Riviera’s beaches, ‘Zihua’ is a low-key, faithfully Mexican fishing village with a crescent of burnt-toffee-shaded sand, watersports and good seafood restaurants overlooking the water. Stay in boutique property La Casa Que Canta (‘the house that sings’ ― as poetic a hotel name as I’ve ever come across) and fall asleep to the sound of the tide.
- Try this: A hot air balloon ride over Teotihuacán, the remains of a once-mighty Mesoamerican city just outside the capital. In the early dawn light, before the site even opens to visitors, you’ll float above its huge-girthed pyramids, gaining a view of the ruins that few will ever witness.
By Canada specialist Lucy
When to go: December to March
Starry skies might be romantic, but how about gazing up at ethereal ribbons of light shimmering across the inky blackness? Spend your honeymoon in Canada’s Yukon province and you have a good (though never guaranteed) chance of seeing the northern lights glow across the sky.
I suggest staying at the aptly named Northern Lights Resort. Set in the Yukon River Valley, its log cabins and glass-fronted chalets (which I particularly recommend) are surrounded by firs and feel completely cut off from the outside world. But, with the Yukon’s main city, Whitehorse, just a 20-minute drive away, it’s easy to access following a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Vancouver.
During the day, it’s tempting to unwind in the Finnish sauna or indulge in a massage provided by the resort’s host, Renate. But you can also spend some time in the great outdoors, exploring the icy landscape by snowmobile or mushing your own team of huskies on a dog sled.
When darkness descends, everyone’s eyes look to the sky. If the lights show, head to the property’s large deck or watch them from the comfort of your chalet.
- Try this: Extend your honeymoon with a stay in Whistler, as detailed in our British Columbia and northern lights trip idea. The polished resort town offers a mix of wintry activities, from guided snowshoeing along forested trails to fondue dinners in a mountaintop cabin.
By USA specialist Victoria
When to go: Year-round
Few places are as ideal for honeymoons as Hawaii, in my opinion. You have all the benefits of a tropical locale combined with the easy logistics of visiting the USA, as well as the chance to include stopovers in San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York City to break up the long flight.
The soft-sand beaches and limpid blue waters certainly invite long lazy days on the beach. But, if you want a more invigorating trip, you could explore the Na Pali coast of Kauai by catamaran, take a 4x4 tour of the valley that was the setting for Jurassic Park, or see Maui and the Big Island via helicopter.
One of my favourite things to do is take a privately guided tour of Volcano National Park. Guide Scott Wiggers’ laid-back demeanor hides a deep passion about the ecology of the park and the natural history of the Big Island. His dedication is so complete that, during the recent eruption, he refused to be evacuated so that he could watch the lava slowly roll through his town.
A trip with Scott begins with the question, ‘What do you want to do today?’ and he builds your tour based on what you’d like to see. Jouncing through the park, you can learn about the minerals that create the green-sand Papakolea Beach and other (to me) fascinating facts about the volcanoes.
- Try this: To see manta rays in the wild, I suggest a night-time snorkeling tour. Special lights on your boat attract the plankton which, in turn, attracts the elegant, slightly eerie mantas that feed just offshore.
By Hidden Beaches specialist Hannah
When to go: March to May or September to November
With more than 100 islands scattered like jewels among the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles archipelago is the quintessential honeymoon destination, especially for those interested in marine life or birdwatching. Which of the many islands do you want to visit? That depends on what you want to do while you’re there — you can explore your options in our highlights guide.
The archipelago boasts still-thriving reefs that are home to a wide array of turtles as well as vast schools of tropical fish. Most are easy to reach either from the beach or by boat, with sites suitable for snorkeling and diving. For the best and brightest house reefs, I’d suggest staying on Denis Island, La Digue and Bird Island.
Bird Island is also good for birdwatchers. This tiny private island, just a 30-minute flight from Mahé, is home to Bird Island Lodge. This isn’t where you go for polished luxury, but a rustic resort that rests gently on the land — for example, there’s no artificial light after sundown, so as not to confound the birds and turtles. If you might enjoy that sort of castaway feel, then the lodge offers an exceptional base for exploring the island’s raw landscape and spotting the abundant birdlife.
While there, you might be able to add a variety of birds to your life list, including sooty terns, common noddies and the fairy terns. You may also see hawksbill and green turtles nesting on the beaches at certain times of the year.
- Try this: You’ll fly in and out of Mahé, the largest island of the chain. A full-day guided tour of the island will let you understand Mahé’s natural and human history, with stops at a Hindu temple, the Botanical Gardens, a rum distillery and Morne Seychellois National Park.
By India specialist Sophie
When to go: November to March
There’s no set formula for a honeymoon in India, but for a combination of more traditional honeymoon relaxation and adventure, I suggest a few weeks exploring Kerala and Karnataka in South India.
If you’re looking for the sort of joyful chaos you might expect from India, I’d start in Mysore. Explore its Indo-Gothic palace ― especially striking when illuminated on Sunday evenings ― and delve into its spice, silk and food markets.
Then, travel on one of India’s toy trains to Coonoor to stay on a private tea estate. Looking out over neat rows of tea plaiting the hills gives you a breather after Mysore’s busyness. You can take tea tastings and walk through hamlets inhabited by the Toda tribe, who live in traditional dogles (bamboo and rattan huts).
Next, go to Nagarhole National Park to see wild elephants via boat and 4x4 tours — leopards, tigers and sloth bears also hide in the bamboo thickets, but you’re more likely to be shown their claw markings or tracks. You can then move on to Coorg, a verdant region of coffee plantations. You can visit a Tibetan community here (the only one in South India), Bylekuppe. Tour their monastery and try their momos.
For a relaxing finale, head to Neeleshwar for a stay in the thatched cottages of Neeleshwar Hermitage, located in gardens just off the nearby beach. You can even include a houseboat cruise on the Keralan backwaters as part of your stay.
- Try this: A walking tour of Mysore’s food markets, sampling local delicacies such as Mysore pak, a sweet made with ground flour, sugar and ghee.
Read more about honeymoons in 2020/2021
Tanzania and Zanzibar Archipelago