A wedding itself can be an adrenaline rush, but a stroll down the aisle is only the pre-game to a truly wild adventure in marriage.
The real adventure starts with the honeymoon, and these unexpected honeymoons offer some of the wildest and most exotic experiences for adventure lovers—without missing out on luxury.
Scuba Dive in Palau
Located just east of the Philippines, where more than 300 islands create diverse micro-landscapes ranging from dense mangroves to verdant jungles, the Republic of Palau is one of the most beautiful countries on earth–but it’s actually what’s beneath the surface that makes this country so ripe for an adventurous honeymoon. Home to the world’s first national shark sanctuary, Palau is often ranked as one of the top diving locations in the world. Divers can enjoy wreck dives, reef dives, and drift dives, and just about everything in between. The Palau Pacific Resort’s PADI 5 Star Dive Center is a great place to start, where elite guides can have newbie divers out in the water with one-day “Discover Diving” courses or give them the gift of life-long exploration with a four-day Open Water Certification course.
Charter a Private Yacht Around Myanmar
WHERE: Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar
Charter a private yacht sailboat to serve as your first wedded home for seven nights through Black Tomato’s Mergui Archipelago experience. The archipelago is made up of 800 islands and is home to some of the most remote, undiscovered waters in the world. Spend your days exploring pristine waterfalls and limestone caves, and then catch your own dinner with the help of local Moken fisherman and spend the evening stargazing on an island with zero light pollution as you drift off to the sounds of monkeys playing in the jungles nearby.
Hike to the Highest Hotel in the World
WHERE: Khumjung, Nepal
The Hotel Everest View is the highest placed hotel in the world at 13,000 feet elevation and is located, as the name suggests, high in the Himalayas with a clear view of Mount Everest. There are only two ways to get to the hotel: Guests can arrive via a chartered helicopter (oxygen is provided for this arrival) or opt for the three-day hike from Lukla, where a professional guide and a porter will lead the way through tiny Sherpa villages up to the hotel. The journey is 100% part of the experience for this property, but once on-site, couples will have access to a warm shower, a hot meal, and arguably the best hotel room view in the entire world.
Sleep Underwater in The Maldives
WHERE: The Maldives
Most couples would be entirely content sleeping in an over-water bungalow in the Maldives, but anyone looking to go deeper into this island paradise need only seek out Muraka. The Muraka is the first-ever luxury guestroom submerged more than 16 feet below sea level. The room is part of a two-level residence at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort, which comes with an outdoor deck and infinity pool, private 24-hour butler service and a private chef, an on-call fitness trainer and spa treatments, private jet skis, and, oh yeah, a private underwater aquarium accessible 24/7 from the comfort of your private underwater suite so you can literally sleep with the fishes.
Spend the Night in an Igloo
WHERE: Kakslauttanen, Finland
There are actually three types of igloos to choose from at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finnish Lapland. Brave the cold inside a traditional snow igloo (where temperatures remain a balmy 21-26 degrees Fahrenheit inside even when outdoor temps drop to the -40s), or go the luxury way with a glass igloo or a kelo-glass igloo (a hybrid log cabin with a glass igloo extension and a private sauna).The area is known as the home of Santa Claus but come between August and April to see the real star of this Finland resort as the sky lights up with the Northern Lights above your private igloo viewing room.
Take a Cruise to Antarctica
Earn the ultimate honeymoon bragging rights by spending the first nights of your marriage traveling to the end of the earth on board a luxury cruise to Antarctica. Bare-bones expedition ships still make the trip but treat yourselves to a little luxury by booking a private stateroom through Adventure Life, a travel company that specializes in responsible travel with authentic experiences. Their trips range from 12-day Antarctic Peninsula cruises with kayaking and camping options for shore excursions or 10-day Polar Circle Air Cruise that avoids the dreaded Drake Passage (a.k.a. the “Drake Shake”) portion of the cruise.
Spend the Night at the Hotel de Glace
WHERE: Quebec City, Quebec
Although it’s not for the faint of heart, a honeymoon spent at the Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel) near Quebec City is absolutely the coolest start for a never-boring marriage…literally. The internal temperature of this seasonal hotel averages around 23 degrees Fahrenheit, even when the temperatures outside drop below zero between the opening dates of January 2 and March 21. Upgrade to the Premium Deluxe Suite with a fireplace, a private hot tub, and a sauna for the ultimate experience. The room package includes a welcome cocktail in an ice glass from the ice bar and comes with a backup room at the nearby Hotel Valcartier in case couples change their minds about sleeping in snow once they arrive.
Spend the Night in a Luxury Dome Tent
WHERE: Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia
You could book one of the six domes at the Kachi Lodge set up on the salt flats of Bolivia, or you could design your own luxury dome with Black Tomato’s Blink travel service and sleep inside the only structure in sight. Work with the team to design your own temporary accommodations and sleep where no one else has ever slept before within the sci-fi-like landscape of the Uyuni salt flats. When you’re ready to leave, you’ll depart by plane as the Blink team takes down the entire set up, leaving no trace except for the memories you’ll have of this exclusive experience.
Sleep Among the Royals in the Thar Desert
WHERE: Jaisalmer, India
The sand dunes of the Thar Desert were once home to the royal caravans of Rajputana (translation: Land of Kings), but today they lay the foundation for a luxury tented camp with 21 canvas tents and one spectacular legacy. Manganiyar folk musicians still enter the camp nightly to serenade guests of Sujan The Serai beneath the stars while decadent feasts of Rajasthani cuisine are displayed like jewels in the desert. The camp is a short camel ride from the golden fortress Jaisalmer, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and tons of local villages and lesser-known temples.
Travel Through the Silk Road a Private Luxury Train
WHERE: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Imperial Suite cabins onboard the Golden Eagle Luxury Train include a personal cabin attendant, a private guide in each destination visited, and a bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne upon embarkation. The Jewel of the Silk Road journey travels for 10 days through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, stopping each day to allow guests the chance to explore the legendary trading cities along the historic Silk Road.
Dive for Pearls in Bora Bora
WHERE: Tahiti, French Polynesia
Tahitian pearls are famous for their exquisite beauty and rare black hue that glimmers with shades of green, blue, and purple when in the light. Local company, Dive for Pearl arms couples with a mask, a snorkel, and a guide who leads them underwater to forage and collect their own pearls before returning to the shop to create one-of-a-kind jewelry. Head out for the adventure from the St. Regis Bora Bora, where the overwater villas and luxury spa act as another rare find in this Tahitian paradise.
Explore the Okavango Delta
WHERE: Okavango Delta, Botswana
Botswana is one of the few safari destinations where visitors are able (and highly likely) to see the Big 5 (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo) in one trip. Travel with Abercrombie & Kent to experience the luxurious side of this UNESCO World Heritage Site with personal baggage handlers, local guides, and unreal accommodations, like the Sanctuary Retreats Chief’s Camp in the former game reserve of Chief Moremi.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Okavango Delta Guide
Soar High Above the Namibian Desert in a Hot Air Balloon
WHERE: Sossusvlei, Namibia
The red dunes and dramatic white salt pans of the Sossusvlei desert are often described as “untouched,” as part of the largest conservation area in Africa. The dunes are some of the highest on the planet (reaching nearly 1,300 feet) and have been said to “smile” for photographers in the morning light with their intense beauty. Keep the dunes untouched with an early morning hot air balloon ride with Namib Sky Balloon Safaris, who restrict their own retrieving vehicles to existing tracks and even sweep away the footprints after an “Out of Africa” style Champagne breakfast after the flight.
Kayak Among Sea Lions in the Galapagos Islands
WHERE: The Galapagos Islands
There’s no need to forgo beach days or fine dining just because you’ve opted for an adventure through the Galapagos Islands. The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel is a member of National Geographic’s Unique Hotels of the World, and for good reason. Honeymooners can spend the day kayaking among sea lions or spotting blue-footed boobies on the volcanic shorelines of South Plaza Island before returning to the resort for a couple’s massage and a multi-course dinner with wine pairings.
Swim in Blue Holes and Underwater Caves
WHERE: The Bahamas
Although best known for its exquisite resorts, like Kamalame Cay, The Bahamas is home to one of the best under-the-radar (and under-the-water) gems in the entire Caribbean. The islands are home to hundreds of offshore flooded caves, blue holes, and underwater caverns, in fact, the island of Andros alone boasts more blue holes and underwater caverns than any place on earth, with 175 inland and 50 offshore. Move with careful intention as you navigate through a flooded stalagmite forest in Dan’s Cave or attempt a free dive at Dean’s Blue Hole.