10 Honeymoons for the Adventurous Couple
The honeymoon is just the first of many big adventures that await, and while there’s nothing wrong with lounging on the beach sipping frilly drinks for days, some newlyweds crave a cocktail of thrills and adventure instead.
In recent years—perhaps since the dawn of Pinterest?—it seems as though weddings have been veering from tradition in the most unique ways, especially when it comes to the ceremony. Couples are taking the destination to entirely new levels, tying the knot with a backdrop of stalactites, walking down the aisle of a Boeing 737, and exchanging rings 13 feet underwater in the South Pacific. And when it comes to where to go and what to do after saying, “I do,” there’s no shortage of ideas just as cool.
Sure, you can have the most blissful week of your lives without ever stepping foot outside of your romantic all-inclusive resort. With private beachside butler service, who could blame you? But if you find it just as swoonworthy a prospect to hike to the top of an active volcano and roast marshmallows over lava smoke, these far-less-frequented honeymoon destinations and excursions are for you.
As a duo with a shared sense of adventure, you know by now where the two of you fall on the risk spectrum, and that can help to determine location and just how much daring you’ll do. Your romantic getaway can include a thrilling day trip to break up the R&R or be a full-on expedition, like the road trip this adorable New Zealand couple set off on in 1961, and again for their anniversary 55 years later.
From a “bait to plate” fishing experience off the coast of Barbados to a hot air balloon ride in the Italian countryside, here are 10 exciting alternatives to the average honeymoon experience.
Hike Guatemala’s Active Volcano
Couples who really like to live on the edge might want to take the most fearsome path up Volcan Pacaya, the most active volcano in Guatemala, which would be to climb straight up into its mouth. The less risky route would be to hike an hour around the sides of the volcano with the assistance of a certified guide. The entire expanse of Pacaya is covered in ash; some of it is black from a recent explosion in March 2014, and other areas are light gray from the eruption of 2010. Activities on the volcano include roasting marshmallows over lava smoke, shopping at the National Geographic award–winning Volcano Store (which supports the Guatemalan craftswomen whose homes were destroyed in the eruptions), and savoring the sliding descent while ankle-deep in ash.
Explore the French Riviera in a sports car
Rent a classic car, like an Aston Martin dbs or Porsche 356 Speedster, and set off on a dreamy tour through the south of France. A must-see along the way is the Quai des Pêcheurs fish market and the colorful Cours Massena spice market in the bustling marina of Antibes. The next stop, St. Paul de Vence, is located high in the lush mountains of the Mediterranean. (Its isolated location made it a favorite hideaway of artists like James Baldwin and Bernard Hassell.) In Villefrance, a vigorous walk around the Citadel, an impressive stone fortress built in 1554, may inspire you to add films that were shot in the destination, like the 1955 movie To Catch A Thief starring Cary Grant, to your Netflix queue.
Go paddle-boarding in Gurabo, Puerto Rico’s non-touristy “countryside”
Couples that gravitate towards a secluded, laid-back vibe should visit the remote area of Gurabo, Puerto Rico, where verdant hillsides surround the peaceful Carraizo Lake. The destination is only a 30-minute drive from the busy capital of San Juan. Here, Paddle Paradise hosts kayaking, paddle-boarding, and zip-line excursions for nature lovers. The trip to the lake is made all the better by Wilson, a Labrador mix who serves as a playful companion to visitors.
Hike the north coast of Kauai
The north shore of Kauai is lined with 3,000-foot-tall cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and the beautiful Hanalei Bay. Honeymooners can take an early morning hike up the Kalalau Trail on the Napali Coast. The trail is a total of 22 miles round-trip; a romantic overnight camping stay mid-way through will extend the experience. For less ambitious adventurers, there is a shorter option: a comfortable (and striking) four-mile round-trip hike to the lush Hanakapi’ai Beach, where you might encounter endangered Hawaiian monk seals sunbathing by the water.
Go on a fishing expedition in Barbados
A sun hat and sunscreen are the only tools necessary for a duo fishing excursion at the luxury Colony Club resort. During the “Bait to Plate” experience, a local fisherman will take the couple out on a private boat to land a catch. Using the traditional method of fishing—with little else but a string and piece of bait—the fishermen will explain how locals use this strategy to catch seafood and the trick to finding the tastiest fish. Speaking of which, when you return to the resort, the chef will grill that impressive grouper or snapper in front of you for no charge.
Trek Rwanda’s forests in search of endangered silverback gorillas
Honeymooners to Rwanda, called "the land of a thousand hills," will be met with a stunning mix of undulating agricultural landscapes, gardens, and tea plantations. The country is also home to a third of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. The Volcanoes Safaris tour company accommodates travellers in eco-luxury lodges decorated by locally commissioned artists and furniture designers. Guests are taken on a two-hour hike for a life-changing encounter with a gorilla family in the Volcanoes National Park. Most shocking will be how close the gorillas come to bystanders as they play or look for delicious stalks of bamboo.
Take a hot-air balloon ride in Italy’s Lazio region
The five-star Portrait Roma hotel in Rome organizes unique experiences for visitors to the area. Couples arrive by private limo to the airstrip in the Lazio countryside for a one-hour evening hot-air balloon experience that includes unspoiled views of the Tyrrhenian Sea and Tolfa Mountains. The trip caps off with Prosecco and local bites.
Cruise the fjords of Norway on the Hurtigruten
Norway’s spectacular fjords and colorful ports will leave newlyweds in awe. The best way to experience the Scandinavian country is by taking a cruise on the legendary North Sea on the 800-passenger Hurtigruten. The trip sails from northern Norway, heads through the majestic Arctic Circle, and finishes at the historic city of Bergen, stopping at several ports over the course of the five-day journey. The trip will also include visits to small, picturesque seaside towns such as Trondenes, which houses 1,100-year-old relics from Norse Vikings, and Kirkenes, where couples can feed off of each other’s warmth in the Snow Hotel.
Swim Victoria Falls’ Devil's Pool
After thousands of years of erosion, several rock pools have formed along the length of Victoria Falls in Zambia; one of them, aptly named the Devil’s Pool, is right on the very edge of the sheer drop. For thrill-seeking honeymooners, this becomes the ultimate infinity pool. Guides will lead the couple through a rocky walk and swim in the Zambezi River to reach the edge. With the force of the Zambezi flowing past swimmers and crashing down a 328-foot drop, the experience—not to mention the view—is exhilarating. The deafening and spectacular explosion of spray gives the Falls its nickname: “The Smoke that Thunders.”
Hike the mountains of Salzburg
Honeymooners in Salzburg can climb the city’s mountains just like The Sound of Music’s Maria did in the award-winning film. A hike across the Mönchsberg (Monks Mountain) offers charming views of the Austrian city. (Two breathtaking sites that can be seen on the trek: the Augustine Gate of 1621 and the Monika Gate of 1638.) To cap off the day, the intrepid hikers can visit the Museum of Modern Art, set at the top of the mountain.