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7 Off-the-Beaten-Track Honeymoon Destinations That Won't Break the Bank
Forgo traditional locales for these unexpected yet enchanting spots.
Celebrate your newlywed status in an unconventional retreat.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town offers an enticing escape for couples craving a balance of relaxation and adventure. "The South African Rand remains weak against the U.S. dollar, so if you're planning a safari honeymoon ... Cape Town is a great add-on for the end of the trip," says Katie James, associate features editor at the wedding planning advice site Brides. As for lodging, she recommends staying at the upscale yet affordable Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel. "Dining is also really inexpensive in the city," James adds, pointing out that Cape Town is only a short car ride from the Cape Winelands, a scenic wine region with hundreds of wine producers, historic estates and first-rate restaurants. What's more, you can enjoy cycling and surfing before wine-tasting, says Tom Marchant, co-founder of luxury travel outfitter Black Tomato.
While places such as Paris and Rome are perennial honeymoon picks, you can enjoy plenty of European flair – and mouthwatering cuisine and wine – at a low price in little-known regions across Portugal. "For example, Sublime Comporta – located in a hip beach town in Portugal's Alentejo region – has a laid-back luxe vibe and affordable rates that range from 185 to 350 euros per night, depending on the season," James says. When taking a break from leisurely sipping top-tier wine from a hilltop perch above the Tagus River, you can explore a medieval fortress, lounge along secluded sands, tour the Baroque buildings of Evora or enjoy a daytrip to Lisbon.
If you want to get off the grid without skimping on luxury, Costa Rica offers "a number of glitzy beach resorts, but also quality hotels in under-the-radar destinations like Nayara Hotel, Spa and Gardens in Arenal Volcano National Park," James explains, noting that stays are under $350 night. Here, you can partake in a variety of eco-tours and active activities, from horseback riding around the volcano to joining a naturalist-led tour along Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park, which is home to a variety of bird species and other wildlife. When you want a break for your luxurious jungle surroundings, check out Costa Rica's pristine white-sand beaches and lush tropical rainforests.
Instead of taking a cookie-cutter getaway to St. Lucia or the U.S. Virgin Islands, consider a retreat to lesser-visited Belize. "Belize is another Central American hideout where the beaches are pretty untouched and never crowded," James says. "There, you'll find eco-friendly, boutique resorts like Turtle Inn, Matachica and Blancaneaux Lodge, which also offer packages that include dining and fun excursions to stretch your dollar," she explains. Plus, Belize offers verdant rainforests, a magnificent barrier reef and fascinating Mayan archaeological sites, catering to couples of all kinds. What's more, it's easy to maximize savings (and dodge crowds) by visiting in the off-season, specifically during September and October.
Sri Lanka lures budget-minded newlyweds seeking affordable, boutique-lodging options, Marchant says. Visitors can check out tea country on a hike and enjoy cooking classes in local residences in Galle, he adds. Sri Lanka and Bali have seen a surge in popularity in recent years among American visitors who have already enjoyed enriching tours in remote places such as Cambodia and Thailand, James says. "There's a real sense of discovery, history and spirituality on both islands, which have pastoral inland areas and stunning coastal beaches to give you that ideal combination itinerary," she explains. Kahanda Kanda, a boutique tucked amid a tea plantation and the jungle, offers suites for under $350 a night.
For an inexpensive yet far-flung honeymoon locale, consider India. Here, "guests can hole up in opulent palaces and get off the beaten path on a remote leopard and tiger safari," Marchant says. While there's a dizzying array of options, he points to the isolated Andaman Islands, a cluster of isles in the Bay of Bengal about 600 miles off India's east coast, as a top pick for honeymooners thanks to its idyllic, crowd-free beaches, lush rainforests and brilliant coral reefs. Plus, you'll find plenty of economical accommodation options like Jakalara, an intimate wellness-forward boutique with morning yoga classes, aromatherapy massages and recreational activities such as sea kayaking and nature walks. Nightly room rates start at around $200 to $300, depending on the season.
Known for its blend of European sophistication and South American charm, Argentina lures lovebirds with its impressive architecture, passionate tango dancing and world-class wine. Beyond strolling hand in hand through Buenos Aires' colorful barrios, catching performances at the Colón Theater or unwinding in the tranquil Rose Garden, you can plan daytrips to nearby wine regions and surrounding subtropical jungles. You can also master "how to blend your own sample of Malbec in the vineyards of the Uco Valley in Argentina," Marchant says. There are a variety of budget-friendly lodging choices, from laid-back boutiques to working ranches. Nuss Hotel in Buenos Aires' chic Palermo neighborhood offers rooms starting at $130 a night.
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