Adventure Honeymoons grow in popularity among newlyweds
By Lindsey Davis
Imagine standing on a 357-foot peak overlooking an enchantingly whimsical landscape of lush green fauna with a deep turquoise river kissing the foot of slate-grey hills. You slip your fingers into hand of the love of your life and jump.
This year, newlyweds are vowing to ditch the beach getaway after “I thee wed” and saying “I thee dare,” taking the plunge more literally than ever. The new trend is sending honeymooning specialists to gear up to tailor trips for an array of thrill seeking couples from the casual explorers to the adrenaline duo in Thailand, Costa Rica, and all that’s in between.
The November issue of Destination Wedding & Honeymooning dedicated its reverse cover honeymoon section to all things adventure with their “2012 Honeymoon Adventure Countdown.”
Landing at number one, bungee jumping in New Zealand’s Shotover Canyon. Senior Editor Erika Hueneke explains, “…We zero[ed] in on the best-of-the-best romantic adventures- because we know simple sand and sun doesn’t cut it for today’s well-traveled couples.”
Instead of the cliché beach bum honeymoon fad, brides and grooms-to-be of 2012 are opting for something more heart pumping. The magazine dives into adventures set in exotic locations including touring ancient Roman hideouts in Capris’ mystical underwater caves, sailing into breathtaking sunsets night-after-night with a private crew in the British Virgin Islands, and trekking along Peru’s Amazonian jungle bridges.
“People are steering away from one dimensional honeymoons,” explains Teresa Belcher, president of Honeymoon Islands, a website specializing in luxury honeymoon and vacationing travel.
“(Newlyweds) want an ‘all in one’ honeymoon.” Couples long for the perfect combination of romantic jaunts and thrilling stories to take back home.
Huekene attributes the growing trend on the exploding popularity of social networking sites and booming accessibility of travel planning resources, “Today couples can find leads and deals on Facebook and Twitter, download travel apps and choose from literally an entire world full of destinations.”
In the age of instant and affordable online booking agencies, once unreachable distant lands have become the new generation of lovebirds’ playground.
Thai me to the moon
The most highly anticipated destination for adventure seeking honeymooners is Thailand.
“People are looking for something diverse and all in one encompassing romance and adventure,” said Belcher. “And Thailand has that.”
Destination Weddings & Honeymoon (DW&H) marked Thailand as their number six best adventure honeymoon destination. The article suggests trekking the exotic Thai bamboo forests on the back of elephants at Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa along the banks of the Mekong River.
The resort offers a three day training course to become a mahout, Thai for elephant driver, learning commands in the native tongue while riding through muddy juggle trails. At the end of the day, students are welcome to hop in the river to bath with the elephants.
Honeymoon Island has seen skyrocketing interest in the southern Asian nation for romantic travel according to Belcher. Couples are opting to explore Thailand’s three major regions that map out a natural path for a well-rounded honeymoon. Starting in Chiang Mai, Thailand’s northern most province, couples can explore the breathtaking mountains and exceptional waterfalls while mingling with the locals among the culturally rich villages.
The Thai Circle
Bangkok, the second stop on the Thai circle, offers a cosmopolitan flare equipped with the modern amenities of other major cities but with a distinguished South Asian twist. Known dually as the “city of angels” and “Venice of the East”, the hub is saturated with nearly 400 gleaming Buddhist temples and streaming with traditional merchant canals flowing along the Chao Phraya River. The South, the final region, gives couples two options to complete their trip.
The east coast graces the Gulf of Thailand and provides serine location to decompress from the world wind adventure. As a second option, the Andaman Sea coast’s rugged limestone landscape continues the excitement but with the perk of premiere resorts. If there is still adrenaline pumping through the newlywed veins, the islands of Phang-nga, Krabi and Trang are home to many well renowned diving and sailing opportunities.
Costa honeymoon? Priceless.
Ranked as one of the world’s top 10 honeymoon destinations by Brides Magazine and the Signature Travel Network in 2011, Costa Rica is sizzling up the charts as a popular location for post-nuptial bonding. DW&H suggests “turning up the heat” on Arenal, Central America’s most active volcano.
Guided hikes are offered from the lower slope of the 5,358-foot pass through dense rainforests teaming with lively howler monkeys and sleepy sloths.
For a quicker ascent for a view of the volcano, the Arenal Sky Tram climbs an adjacent slope to an observation desk facing Arenal’s southern side. For a quicker descent, latch onto the cascading zip lines linked from one mountain to another.
At the end of the day, Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort is an Eden of over 20 natural pools, mineral springs, and lush gardens overlooking the smoking Arenal. The area is teaming with other adventurous opportunities including guided wildlife tours in Caño Negro Wild Life Refuge, Toro River rafting and waterfall repelling.
For an even more luxurious stay, Honeymoon Island suggests the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo is the ultimate Costa Rica richly costal location. Sprawled among unspoiled beaches and rainforest, the hotel is perfect for ocean and beach lovers. Their services offer eco-friendly deep-sea fishing guides.
Lindsay Davis is the editor of the UMass Collegian and a former editorial assistant at GoNOMAD.