If you’re looking for something more adventurous than a Caribbean cruise or a trip to Hawaii or Mexico, consider one of these exotic honeymoon destinations that take the concept of “exotic” to a new level. Naturally, you’ll have to do your homework to find the perfect fit for you and your new spouse, and careful planning is crucial. Still, couples rave about these out-of-the-way places, and a honeymoon at any one of the following ten locations will provide memories to last a lifetime.
EXOTIC HONEYMOON COUNTDOWN:
1. Belize. From sunset cruises to caving, rappelling, kayaking and exploring Mayan ruins, you’ll find plenty to do in this Central American exotic honeymoon, which CNN dubbed an “up-and-coming” destination for newlyweds. Belize is also a haven for birders, eco-travelers and snorkelers, with both jungle and beachside accommodations available. Book an all-inclusive package on the shore of the Caribbean, or add an excursion into the rainforest to get a feel for the diversity of wildlife.
2. Patagonia. What could be more exotic than a honeymoon at the bottom of the world? You’ll be based at the tip of South America, and can trek out to see penguins, glaciers, lakes and the beautiful Andes Mountains. This is about as far as you can get from lounging on the beach, so get ready for serious hiking and rustic accommodations. (If you don’t want to rough it, there is a nice selection of upscale properties, spas and golf resorts as well.) To round out your honeymoon, take a trip to Buenos Aires or book a cruise around Antarctica.
3. Kenya. Looking at wildlife doesn’t get any more exciting than this exotic honeymoon spot! If you choose to take a safari, you can still get lodging at deluxe resorts along the way. Even the smallest accommodations often have “honeymoon tents” to make the experience romantic and private. Take day trips into local game reserves, mingle with the natives or venture to Mombasa for a day at the beach. For a spectacle you’ll never forget, see the wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara in October, when upwards of two million animals are present in the grasslands.
4. Seychelles. Located off the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean are the magnificent Seychelles Islands, a tropical paradise that is a perfect exotic honeymoon destination. The beaches here have been called the most beautiful in the world, and the Seychelles are never as crowded as other island destinations can be. Hike through the forest, take a helicopter tour, try surfing, or explore nature. Mahe Island is the most populated and boasts several luxury resorts, many with private villas and spa services.
5. India. Imagine taking an elephant-back or Jeep safari into the jungle, seeing ancient temples and other historic wonders, wandering through forest reserves teeming with wildlife, or relaxing on the country’s beautiful beaches. For an unforgettable exotic honeymoon, travel by rail, taking a one-week trip on the luxurious Palace on Wheels, which highlights the history and cultural heritage of Rajasthan. There are plenty of other luxury resorts throughout the country, too, as well as lower-priced properties and even accommodations for backpackers.
6. Thailand. Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand is fast becoming a popular destination for exotic honeymooners. It offers an abundance of luxury hotels with top-notch spa services, lovely beaches and plenty to do, from snorkeling to boating to touring the jungle. Make sure Bangkok and Phuket are on your itinerary, and don’t miss the Grand Palace complex with its Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Plan to spend an afternoon at Safari World in Bangkok, a 150-acre marine park with live shows and a wide variety of animals.
7. Bora Bora. On the South Pacific island of Bora Bora, five-star accommodations range from luxury hotels to resorts featuring over-water bungalows with glass floors. If such high-end lodgings exceed your budget, you can find mid-priced properties and even campsites on the island. The area’s most beautiful feature is the storied azure Bora Bora lagoon, where you can jet ski, snorkel, scuba, windsurf, swim or tour aboard a glass-bottomed boat. Explore the Lagoonarium, or take an Aqua Safari to get close to the tropical fish and other marine life.
8. Mauritius. Off the coast of Africa, the island of Mauritius boasts pristine lagoons and coral reefs, beautiful beaches, breathtaking nature reserves and diverse cultures. The French influence is strong, with French colonial architecture dominating in the capital of Port Louis. There’s no language barrier, however, as most residents speak English in addition to French. Don’t miss a tour of the mountain in Domaine les Pailles, the museum at Mahebourg or a walk to the falls in Black River Gorges National Park. There is a good selection of upscale lodgings, so plan to be pampered.
9. Zanzibar. An exotic honeymoon on the Indian Ocean will give you access to other exotic spots, such as Tanzania's Spice Islands, Pemba Island (a scuba diver's haven); or Mafia Island, with its coral reef and marine park. Options include a safari where you’ll be flown to different stops, then set out on your own or with a guide to see the wildlife. Don’t miss historical Stone Town, recently named a World Heritage Site. For an added treat, visit Tanzania’s Gombe National Park where Dr. Jane Goodall centered her efforts to protect chimpanzees.
10. Egypt. If you think that all you’ll see in Egypt is pyramids and mummies, think again. You can take a hot air balloon ride over Luxor, snorkel in the Red Sea (reputed to be one of the best diving spots), take a sunset cruise on the Nile or simply enjoy an exotic beach vacation at a luxury resort. Don’t overlook the pyramids, or the wonderful museums full of antiquities. Travel by camel through the desert and stop at the ancient quarry at Aswan to see where granite monuments have been carved for the last 5,000 years.