14 Under-the-radar Islands for the Ultimate Romantic Honeymoon
Whether you’re agonizing over seating charts or skipping venue fees and marrying your person at city hall, one thing is for certain: You’re going to need some serious relaxation after your wedding. Your honeymoon is going to be an entirely new adventure. It’s the start of your marriage and the perfect opportunity to grow your relationship on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
For couples looking for a romantic honeymoon that also offers rich culture and new experiences, exploring an off-the-radar island might be just what you need. Island destinations are home to some of the best honeymoon resorts, and the white sand beaches, stunning waters, and umbrella-dressed cocktails aren’t too shabby either.
There’s nothing wrong with gravitating toward Hawaii or Bermuda, but the world has so many other islands waiting for you. Some of the best honeymoon islands may be the less well-known spots that aren’t overrun with tourists. When you’re choosing a honeymoon spot, you don’t need to decide between absorbing history and culture or laying on a beach. You can do both, especially if you choose one of these 14 islands.
Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
The Phi Phi Islands have the advantage of being remote but also easily accessible from Phuket, which is perfect if you’re planning a Southeast Asian honeymoon. In Koh Phi Phi Le, you can kayak to scenic coves, rock climb, and explore Phi Phi Le National Park. Rebuilt after the 2004 tsunami, the islands are now a popular Thai tourist destination. To cover the most ground, you can charter a long-tail boat and island hop. Nothing says “honeymoon” quite like chartering a private boat.
Where to stay: Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort
Mauritius is a 38-mile by 29-mile island off the coast of Africa. Beyond the fact that the beaches are melt-your-heart beautiful, Mauritius offers a combination of fascinating cultures: there are African, Indian, Chinese, and Creole influences, and most people speak both French and English. Nestled in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius has some of the best deep sea fishing — maybe not your average honeymoon outing, but certainly worth exploring. In addition, history buffs will appreciate the eclectic architectural influence that dates back to the 17th century.
Where to stay: The Oberoi Mauritius
Shetland Islands, Scotland
The Shetland Islands are about 100 miles off of mainland Scotland and include more than 100 islands. The islands are close to Norway, too, giving the culture some Scandinavian flare. There’s history galore — the Vikings were there once, after all — and the rolling hills and high cliffs are breathtaking. These islands might not be a tropical honeymoon destination, but they’re a perfect addition to any European honeymoon.
Where to stay: South Ness House
Hainan Island, China
Hainan is China’s largest tropical island, located in the South China Sea. Sanya, the southernmost city of Hainan Island, has beautiful beaches and equally stunning luxury resorts. You can check out Sanya Monkey Island (which is pretty much a tropical island nature reserve) and the Nantian hot springs, all while learning about Buddhist culture.
Where to stay: Narada Resort & Spa Qixian Mount Sanya
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Part of Ecuador, the Galápagos are an archipelago of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean. Charles Darwin’s observations of the species on the Galápagos are what inspired his theory of evolution. The island doesn’t have natural predators, so the wildlife is friendly. You can get close to the sea lions, giant tortoises, and a myriad of other animals (with care). This is definitely a honeymoon destination reserved for animal lovers, but in addition to spending time at the El Chato Tortoise Reserve, you can visit the summit of the Alcedo volcano and check out Puerto Egas, which has a picturesque black lava shoreline.
Where to stay: The Royal Palm Hotel
Cebu Islands, Philippines
This East African island is 280 miles off the coast of Mozambique. It’s often called the "big red island," and it offers every kind of island treat: reefs, beaches, and rainforests. Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island and has a wide array of wildlife, including lemurs, birds, and reptiles. If you’re looking for something more Instagrammable than lemurs, the island is also known for their rare orchids.
Where to stay: Miavana
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Larger than neighboring St. Thomas in size but not in population, St. Croix is the ultimate island honeymoon destination for couples who want to feel far away from it all without dealing with the hassles of exchanging currency or renewing passports. The inviting U.S. Virgin Island is filled with authentic roadside Caribbean eats and creative fine dining; quirky towns with stunning architecture and a lush rainforest; laid-back beaches and vibrant nightlife. Honeymooners must go snorkeling at the Buck Island Reef National Monument followed by plentiful rum punch with Big Beard's Adventure Tours, and get up early to watch the sunrise at Point Udall, the easternmost point in the U.S.
Where to stay: The Buccaneer
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands. While for a honeymoon in Greece most flock to Santorini and Mykonos, Crete offers incredible scenery, affordable lodging, and a lot of history. The island also has an amazing food scene — so those romantic waterfront dinners won’t be disappointing.
Where to stay: The Royal Blue
Maluku Islands, Indonesia
Found in the Bandu Sea, these Indonesian islands boast volcanoes and pristine beaches. They’re known as the “Spice Islands” because of a trade route established in the 16th century. If you’re aiming for an Indonesian honeymoon, you could easily split your time between these islands and Bali.
Where to stay: The Natsepa Resort
American Samoa is a collection of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. Because it's a U.S. territory, American Samoa is a fun alternative to Fiji and Tahiti yet you don't even need to deal with a currency exchange. There are rainforests, beaches, and reefs to explore. You won't find a five-star hotel, but you will feel like family.
Where to stay: Sadie's by the Sea
Pom Pom Island, Malaysia
Pom Pom Island has zero pollution, which is no small feat in 2017. Off the east coast of Malaysia, its coral reefs are home to many species of fish, making it an ideal diving destination. At Pom Pom Island Resort you can stay in overwater villas with panoramic views of the Celebes Sea, or in beach or garden villas.
Where to stay: Pom Pom Island Resort
St. George’s Caye, Belize
St. George’s Caye is eight miles east of Belize City, and it’s the textbook definition of paradise. Because St. George’s is a private island, you don’t have to deal with hordes of tourists. There are no cars or public transportation either, so the island really has an unplugged feel. There’s world-class diving and snorkeling, and after you’ve enjoyed living without cell service in your overwater cabana, you can easily get back to the city for the rest of your Belize honeymoon.
Where to stay: St. George's Caye Resort
The Seychelles is a 116-island archipelago in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Africa. It’s also where Prince William and Kate Middleton honeymooned — they stayed on the North Island. African, French, Chinese, and Indian cuisines are all served up here, and the island is home to several five-star resorts. And P.S.: The Four Seasons Seychelles offers a bathtub for two that has views of the Mahé coastline. It might be worth a honeymoon splurge.
Where to stay: Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, Mahe Island