Thrill seekers, nature lovers, outdoorsy types, and just plain adventurers have plenty of options for a honeymoon. We've looked at some places and some providers that are sure to get your pulse racing and keep you plenty occupied. You can find more information about these destinations by not only following the links to the tourism sites listed here, but through a destination search right on this web site.
The Dominican Republic (tel. 888/374-6361; www.godominicanrepublic.com): Sure, it has beautiful beaches and waterfront hotels, but in the winter months of January-March, Samana is home to hundreds of humpback whales that are coming to spawn. Samana, located on the North Coast, is also in close proximity to many other activities. Iguana Mama runs trips -- one day and multi-day -- that involve hiking, waterfalls, diving, snorkeling, white water rafting, horseback riding and mountain biking. The southwestern part of the country is home to 300 different species of birds. A half-day biking the interior of the Dominican Republic costs about US$65 for adults; a white water rafting trip goes up four levels of rapids and costs $80 per adult. The company is offering a ten percent discount for online bookings. Cabarete or Jarabacoa, in the central region, are both good bases from which to go canyoning -- a combination of hiking, swimming, rock climbing, jumping and rappelling.
Couples looking to situate themselves close to water sports opportunities might want to stay at Velero Beach Resort (tel. 809/571-9727; www.velerobeach.com), located in Cabarete, which is known for its kiteboarding, windsurfing and surfing activities. Rates start at $82 for a basic double room in the off-season to up to $342 for the penthouse during high season. Eco-conscious couples can seek shelter in Cabarete's Natura Cabanas (tel. 809/571-1507; www.naturacabana.com), an oceanfront resort with palm-thatched roof cabanas and interior appointments that utilize local and natural materials. Rates start at $90 per person per adult, based on double occupancy and include "a healthy energy breakfast," according to its website.
Hawaii: It, too, like the DR, is another obvious destination for those who want to spend their honeymoons doing as little as possible other than enjoying the beaches and beauty. But Hawaii's Big Island (tel. 800/648-2441; www.bigisland.org), and the others, is a great place for adventurous types to explore, especially its volcanoes. Don't miss Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (tel. 800/985-6000; www.nps.gov/havo), home to Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. For a personalized, customized approach, Native Guide Hawaii, run by Warren Costa, can give you a closer look at the island's offerings (tel. 808/982-7575; www.nativeguidehawaii.com). You can also take surfing lessons, look at the stars from the peak of Mauna Kea -- home to the world's largest telescope -- and horseback ride at Parker Ranch (tel. 877/885-7999; www.parkerranch.com) or Kahua Ranch (tel. 808/882-4646; www.kahuaranch.com), a working ranch open to visitors.
The tourism site offers suggestions for weddings and honeymooners (www.bigisland.org) regarding accommodations and activities. You can choose from classy hotels and smaller bed and breakfasts nestled in the forest. The Mauna Lani Hotel and Bungalows (tel. 800/367-2323; www.maunalani.com), on the Kohala Coast, is an earth-friendly, seaside respite from the world with gardens, tide pools, fish ponds, restaurants, a golf course and more, with rates starting from $430. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a place like the Waimea Garden Cottages (tel. 800/262-9912; www.bestbnb.com), a two-unit facility with mountain views in Waimea, is a quiet destination near a stream, with rates starting at $150; breakfast is included.
Nature lovers might want to consider the trips put together by International Expeditions (tel. 800/633-4734; www.ietravel.com). The company offers small, guided tours ranging from a cruise of the Arctic Circle and Greenland, a private plane over the Nile River, to the upper basin of the Amazon River and a Galapagos cruise that lands you among lesser-traveled destinations such as the Black Turtle Cove. These are not inexpensive trips, though, but you are getting a closer look among a smaller group of travelers; the Amazon Voyage, for example, is priced from $3,048 for a ten-day trip with frequent departures through 2009. The cost covers your accommodations aboard the cruise ship, meals, guides, activities, company even provides you with a reading list geared toward educating you on your destination prior to your arrival. The East Greenland trip carries a steeper price tag, but consider the logistics and environmental concerns involved in such a journey before you immediately dismiss it: it's a two-week trip priced from $7,890 and you can see polar bears, fjords, glaciers, the foliage of East Greenland, and more.
Mountain Travel Sobek (tel. 888/831-7526; www.mtsobek.com) is another good provider for adventure travelers seeking unique trips -- including a six-continent river rafting trip that spans 25 days and goes to North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and South America. It begins in California and it's comprised of 16 days of whitewater rafting a range of rapids from class III to V. You spend eight nights camping, 11 nights in hotels, and five nights overnight on a plane or train, but the trip only departs in May. It carries the hefty price tag of $8,495 per person. For something tamer, the company leads trips in North and South America, along with Africa, Asia, Antarctica, Europe and Australia. Hiking honeymooners in April and October might enjoy perusing the company's offerings in Asia -- you can hike the Himalayan passages in Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet over the course of 16 days, priced from $5,395.
If that's not far-flung enough, Nomadic Expeditions (tel. 800/860-9008; www.nomadicexpeditions.com) takes you Mongolia -- a place most people have never been to. The company also leads trips to Nepal and Tibet. Activities ranging from camel trekking, elephant riding, walking, and hiking along with taking a trek across the Gobi desert, priced from $3,465 per person for two weeks. Or, for an overview of Mongolia's possible adventures, you can explore it on foot, horseback, camel and via a four-wheel drive vehicle for 13 days, priced from $3,290 per person.
South Africa: This country at the southern tip of Africa has a variety of options for honeymooners interested in adventure travel. For an overview of packages, check out the tourism site (www.southafrica.net), which has a section devoted to adventure travel packages offered by third parties, such as a Kruger National Park getaway from $1,999 per person for nine days. In South Africa, you can do things like bungee jump, sandboard, kayak, snowboard, go on drives through game reserves, and more. A stay at the Molori Safari Lodge & Spa (tel. 27/82/613-5723; www.molori.co.za) combines both adventure and relaxation. Each suite has its own infinity pool and the landscaping and design combines natural elements, and beyond the lodge itself is the Madikwe Game reserve, in the northwest province of South Africa. Another incentive for honeymooners: when you need a break from adventure, South Africa is home to many award-winning wineries, too.
Switzerland (tel. 877/794-8037; www.myswitzerland.com), in particular, the Swiss Alps, is a postcard-perfect destination for honeymooners who relish all the wintry outdoors activities of a cold, snowy mountainous terrain. The tourism site is a good place to start for suggestions for winter skiing, snow shoeing, and hiking packages, including suggestions for romantic winter walks/hikes and romantic winter taverns, complete with mountain views. Badrutt's Palace Hotel (tel. 41-81-837-11-00; www.badruttspalace.com) located in St. Moritz, is full of old-world European charm and supreme luxury dating to 1896, with rates starting at $460 for double occupancy for stays through mid-December; rates jump to $795 for high season, winter 2009 rates. Looking for something more affordable? Hotel Antika in Zermatt (tel. 27/967-21-51; www.antika.ch) is well situated and won't break the bank; rates start at about €140 for a room with a king-size bed.