Couples narrowing down their honeymoon destination ideas can seek guidance from the Top 6 Honeymoon Destinations revealed in the results from a recent survey of nearly 150 travel agents who specialize in honeymoon and destination weddings. The top destinations are St. Lucia, Jamaica, Bora Bora/the Tahitian Islands, Riviera Maya, Italy and Hawaii. The survey was recently conducted by Vacation, an online travel advice planning resource that provides expert travel content powered by Travel Leaders Group (www.travelleadersgroup.com).
Each destination includes agent-approved and client-tested ideas for activities, excursions, food and more, showcasing why these predominantly island locales are among the most romantic, fun and satisfying places to spend a honeymoon or any romantic getaway.
Here are the top six honeymoon destinations:
1. St. Lucia.
The beaches, rainforest, luxury resorts, cuisine, history, lush landscape and majestic Pitons on St. Lucia’s west coast make this island in the Eastern Caribbean perfect for romance, especially for those who want to explore their adventurous side.
For example, the travel advisors surveyed recommend that couples go scuba diving in the warm blue waters to see exotic ocean life after taking a tour along the coast of the island on a catamaran watercraft. The truly adventurous may love a hike up the scenic Pitons, two impressive volcanic spires that are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or experience a volcano tour in a 4×4 Jeep.
After a full day, relax with a mud bath at the volcanic Sulphur Springs in Soufriere, or indulge your sweet tooth by booking a cocoa plantation tour at Hotel Chocolat, where guests can make their own chocolate bar, suggests Bonnie J. Laferriere, a New Hampshire-based advisor.
Blissful couples seeking a more laid-back vibe will enjoy the allure of Jamaica, where the reggae music genre was born. Newlyweds can enjoy the waterfall vistas on an excursion to Blue Hole in the Ocho Rios area or a romantic sea salt and hot stone massage.
For those wanting to try something unusual, several travel professionals recommend a horseback ride in the ocean. A quick splash along the shallow waters of a white-sand beach is a unique way to spend quality time with that special someone and end the day with a candlelit dinner on the beach or on a sunset cruise.
For those who prefer to immerse themselves directly in the incredibly blue waters, “there are local guides to assist you and teach you about Jamaica,” says Lori Randle, a New York travel agent.
3. Bora Bora and Tahitian Islands
Overwater bungalows, true luxury, wellness and spas are a few ways travel agents use to describe Bora Bora and the Tahitian Islands as an exotic honeymoon destination.
“A stay in a Tahitian overwater bungalow is much imitated, but never equaled in design and opulence,” says Connecticut-based travel agent Eric Ardolino. “Each bungalow has its own staircase right into the ocean and your dining room table inside has a glass top that looks into the water, so you can watch the fish below!”
After breakfast, which is delivered from an outrigger canoe, swim in the calm, stunning turquoise waters around the motu (“an island off an island”) where your bungalow is located.
Tahiti has a faraway mystic vibe, but it’s easier than you think to get there, especially for people who are on the West Coast of the United States,” says Texas-based travel advisor Laura Kreitz. “The overall experience is just magical.”
4. Riviera Maya, Mexico
A honeymoon in Riviera Maya lends more luxury treatment with a shorter travel time for a postnuptial getaway along Mexico’s northeastern Yucatan Peninsula.
From all-inclusive beachfront resorts to ancient Mayan ruins, this many-splendored region can suit the tastes of almost any couple.
Take a day trip inland along the Yucatan Peninsula to visit the Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá and climb to the top of El Castillo, an awe-inspiring temple pyramid. Or be “wowed” by a spectacular show at Xcaret, an eco-archeological park, where 300 artists recreate the history of Mexico.
For the sporty types, visit Xplor Park for jungle ziplining and tours of underground rivers with astounding rock formations.
There are many cities in Italy that offer the allure of romance coupled with thousands of years of culture.
For those who want to spend time on the beach, consider a relaxing honeymoon on the Amalfi Coast to admire the cerulean blue waters and breathtaking cliff-top views. “It’s more exclusive and can also be combined with touring the rest of Italy,” says Amanda Smerdel, a travel professional located in Ohio.
Spend time in Florence, the epicenter of Renaissance culture, and experience private museums tours, cooking classes, and day trips to local cities like Pisa. Or, while on an excursion to Pompeii, explore the remnants of an ancient Roman town preserved by volcanic ash.
The Hawaiian Islands are not only an amazing travel destination, but also easy for American newlyweds to reach for their honeymoons. No passport required! “You can be as active or sedate as you want,” says Pennsylvania-based travel advisor Helga Leonard.
Every Hawaiian island has its own distinct flair and attractions. Maui offers luxury beachfront resorts and the epic Road to Hana trip. Oahu draws honeymooners with its urban-metro feel and world-class surfing. In Kauai, happy couples can explore jaw-dropping natural wonders by hiking to waterfalls, such as the cascading Wailua Falls. These islands are perfect for couples who want to relax on the beach, tee off at a well-known golf course, or take an adventurous hike in a National Park.