Real Honeymoon: Belize

My friends Allison and CK first celebrated their wedding with a Sedona mini-moon back in October, but they were especially excited about honeymooning in Belize.  Looks like their wait paid off, because they had a fantastic time in Placencia where they enjoyed the beach and went on some pretty awesome excursions.  Read all about their relaxing yet adventurous Belize honeymoon below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

We honeymooned to Placencia, Belize November 14-21. We stayed at Robert’s Grove Beach Resort.

belize honeymoon

How long was your trip?

We stayed for 7 nights/8 days. We bought a Living Social deal online for the resort we stayed at. It was for 6 nights and we added an extra night. It was the perfect amount of time there. We felt that we were able to get everything in that we wanted to and had enough time to relax on the beach.

belize honeymoon

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

My husband was interested in Belize and had wanted to go there for a while now. After doing research and seeing some beautiful pictures, we decided it would be a wonderful place for our honeymoon. We prefer something a little off the beaten path. Travel time was only about 6 hours, so we could spend more time on the beach! Initially we wanted to go to Tahiti or Bora Bora, but it takes up so much travel time, and we could not get off enough work to enjoy our time there (another time!). Plus, we were able to get a good deal with Living Social, and since it was the end of the rainy season, the rates were lower.

belize honeymoon

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Relaxing and spending time together, of course. We spent plenty of time soaking up the sun on the beach, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, and riding bikes.

belize honeymoon

We went on a few different excursions that we really enjoyed. Our favorite was the snorkeling trip. Belize is known for its beautiful blue water and has second largest barrier reef in the world. We took a two-hour boat ride to a tiny island that looked like it was straight out of a Corona commercial. The water was so blue and beautiful. We saw a lot of different fish and swam with sharks, sea turtles, and manta rays. Swimming with the sea turtles was my favorite part. We also went on a jungle/river tour where we saw crocodiles, howler monkeys, and manatees.

belize sea turtles

Lastly, we went on a tour of the Mayan ruins and went cave swimming. The cave swimming was very exciting and adventurous. We swam/rock-climbed upstream into the cave. The water level was higher than normal so it was a struggle to make it very far, but it was definitely a thrill.

belize honeymoon

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

We loved everything about our trip, the location, resort and excursions. The amount of time spent was also just right. If we had a few more days we would have liked to explore the other side of Belize. Placencia is becoming more popular but is definitely a small, quiet rural town. There is always the option to rent a car or travel by small plane to different areas. Ambergris Caye is an island in the northern part of Belize that is definitely more popular and touristy. It would have been neat to spend a few nights there just to explore a different part of the country.

belize honeymoon

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Cheap and Adventurous Honeymoon Ideas

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.

Morning sunrise hike in Bali

Morning sunrise hike in Bali

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).

Patara

Alexis and Andrew riding elephants in Thailand

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.

panama snorkeling

Snorkeling in Panama

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.

Belize horseback riding

Agnes and Matt horseback riding in Belize

Again, you may save money if you stay away from the big name hotel chains and choose boutique hotels instead.

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Real Honeymoon: Belize

I don’t know about you, but this week’s Real Honeymoon makes me want to book a trip to Belize as soon as possible.  Matt and Agnes split their vacation time between the jungle and the beach, and the result was an exciting but very relaxing honeymoon that was perfect for these super busy lawyers.  Read all about their incredible Belizean honeymoon below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

The night after our wedding, we caught a redeye flight to Belize and got there the following morning.  We were there from June 17 through June 24.  This is technically the beginning of the “off-season” and rainy season, but it ended up being the perfect time to go, because the weather is still really great, prices are lower, and it’s a lot less packed but still vibrant.  We spent the first 3 nights at the Lodge at Chaa Creek, an amazing resort in the jungles of the Cayo district just a few miles from the Guatemalan border.  Then we headed back to the Caribbean Sea where we spent the next 4 nights relaxing on the beach at Victoria House on Ambergris Caye.

Belize

How long was your trip?

Our trip was a total of 8 days and 7 nights (not long enough!).

Ambergis Caye

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

We picked this location because we wanted to combine some great outdoor excursions with a healthy dose of beach relaxation.  Victoria House came highly recommended by a friend of ours, and the Lodge at Chaa Creek partners with Victoria House to create an amazing Jungle/Beach package.  At Chaa Creek we did some horseback riding, explored Mayan ruins, and really enjoyed being in the jungle.  It rained a bit while we were there, but what is the rainforest without rain? Right?  At Victoria House we spent the majority of our time just relaxing and sipping cocktails on the beach.  But we also went on two amazing snorkeling excursions… the coral reef there is incredible.  Coincidentally, we arrived in San Pedro (the main city on Ambergris Caye) during their week-long celebration to kick off their lobster season.  We ate lobster for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and had an absolute blast.

Belize horseback riding

The best part about our honeymoon was…

The tropical drinks (not sure how I’m going to live without Victoria House’s infamous frozen coconut mojito on a daily basis) and the lobster, of course.

Belize drinks

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

If we knew then what we know now, we would have made the trip longer and brought less clothing and stuff.  You basically live in your bathing suit, and so we didn’t use half of the things we had packed.

Victoria House

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Where Should You Go on a July Honeymoon?

Last week Condé Nast Traveler’s resident travel expert Wendy Perrin wrote a blog post answering the question, “What are the best travel destinations for July?”  While her article wasn’t necessarily honeymoon-specific, she mentioned many popular honeymoon destinations that would be wonderful in July, and a bunch of others that should be avoided.  Check out her recommendations below:

The Good:

Tahiti (As if you need another reason to choose Tahiti for a honeymoon, in July you can also celebrate Polynesian culture at the Heiva Festival.)

– Seychelles (A great tropical-yet-cool-and-dry destination that isn’t too crowded in July.  August, however, is another story.)

– Barbados (Big off-season deals are easy to come by in July, and you can check out the Crop Over Festival.)

– Anywhere up north: Canada, Scandinavia, The U.K. (Warmer weather and extended daylight hours – what’s not to like?)

Tahiti

Tahiti in July? Yes, please!

The Bad:

Belize (Humidity + mosquitos?  No thanks!)

– The west coast of Mexico (It can be so hot that the sand will burn your feet.  Yikes.)

– Eastern Turkey (Also suuuper hot.)

– The French Riviera (Lots and lots of tourists.)

– Croatia (Too many cruise-goers in Dubrovnik, but other seaside towns should be alright.)

– Rome/Venice, Italy (Really overly crowded with tourists; the prices skyrocket.)

– Southern Spain (Yep, just too hot.)

Belize

Belize is totally gorgeous, but probably not the best destination in July

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My two cents?  I think that Greece is also an excellent destination for July even though it will be high season.  The Aegean Sea doesn’t get super warm, so if you go too early in the year you might find the water to be on the chilly side.  But if you go in August, the islands get extremely crowded with Italian tourists.

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Real Honeymoon: Belize

Central America is perfect for honeymooners who want an amazing tropical vacation, but don’t want to lose a day traveling to the opposite side of the world.  Especially popular with scuba divers, Belize is only a two hour flight away from Houston!  But the biggest thing to consider before booking your tickets to Belize is its hurricane season.** Luckily, Dana and Andrew didn’t have any hurricanes to deal with during their honeymoon in Belize last year.  Read all about their hurricane-free honeymoon below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

Andrew and I went to Hopkins, Belize to a resort called Hamanasi Dec. 1-8, 2012.

How long was your trip?

8 days, 7 nights.Belize Mayan Ruins

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

Several coworkers suggested Belize as a fun place to honeymoon, and I wanted a mix of activities/relaxation…also TripAdvisor rated our resort as #1 travelers choice for several years in a row.

The best part about our honeymoon was…

The best part of our honeymoon was spending time with each other! Also, learning how to scuba dive (for me, definitely not for Andrew…), and seeing the Mayan ruins.

Hamanasi, Belize

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

I would change the time frame when we went…the sand flies were HORRIBLE that time of year. Also, it was the beginning of the rainy season.

How much planning did you do in advance?

A couple weeks to research resorts, but the resort took care of everything for us including transportation, puddle jumpers, etc.

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