Some friends of mine recently got married in Mexico (blog post coming soon!), and now they’ve asked me for recommendations on where to go on their honeymoon. Their two biggest requirements? Adventurous and inexpensive.
Since this couple lives in California, I immediately thought that they have two major options: Asia or Central America. Here’s why:
1) SE Asia: The yes-the-flight-is-expensive-but-everything-else-is-cheap option.
If your honeymoon is 10+ days, I’d definitely recommend going to SE Asia, specifically certain parts of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia*, and Cambodia*. Although your flights will most likely be $1000 or more per person, your money is going to go a very long way once you’re there. You can stay at incredible resorts for less than $200 a night, domestic flights are super cheap, fancy dinners can be had for $30 or less, and spa splurges like massages are around $15.
SE Asia also offers a lot of cool options for adventure lovers. You can trek with elephants in Thailand, go water rafting in Bali, hike mountains in Borneo – the list is endless (and pretty damn awesome).
If you want to stay on budget, just make sure that you avoid the most touristy areas and “name brand” hotels. In other words, if you think that the Four Seasons in Koh Samui will be a steal just because it’s in Thailand, think again. (Because the cheapest rooms are about $1000 USD a night!)
2) Central America: The flights-are-short-and-inexpensive-but-you’ll-pay-a-decent-amount-for-everything-else option.
Remember when I was deciding whether to go to Belize, Nicaragua, or Panama last Memorial Day weekend? Well, the flights from SFO to all three countries were basically the same price: $600. And compared to flights to Asia, they’re really short which makes them perfect for honeymoons that are less than 10 days.
While Costa Rica is great for honeymooners, it will certainly not be your cheapest bet. Belize*, on the other hand, has great “beach + jungle” resort combo packages at all different price points, and our neighbors raved about the amazing diving resorts in Honduras.* Panama is a major up-and-coming surf destination, as well.
Again, you may save money if you stay away from the big name hotel chains and choose boutique hotels instead.
Regardless of whether you lean more towards SE Asia or Central America, there are plenty of options in both regions for adventurous couples that don’t want to break the bank on their honeymoon. Just remember to shop around, book flights and hotels far in advance, and avoid peak season when prices are at their highest. On the other hand, be wary of extraordinarily good deals. When prices seem too good to be true, they usually are.
* indicates that I haven’t gone to these countries myself yet, but they’re all at the top of my list of places that I want to visit!