The pandemic has put wedding plans on hold, but now wedding season has turned into a year-round affair. And the best part of all this time waiting to finally get married? All the money you’ve saved can be used for an even more lavish honeymoon, according to the wedding planning site Zola, 77% of couples today focus their finances on the festivities after the ceremony. The majority of the world’s most romantic spots are up and running again, so you can stroll (and even book) dreamy overwater bungalows in Bora Bora or a medieval villa in the vineyards in Tuscany, or skip the crowds altogether and land in a more underrated destination.
But after all that (prolonged) wedding preparation, the last thing you want to dwell on is the part that’s supposed to be relaxing. Need some ideas to help you start the planning process? This is when the heavy lifting is best left to the experts. Zola, essentially the engagement handbook, let Thrillist take part in a recent poll covering the most in-demand honeymoon destinations for 2022 and, unsurprisingly, the Hawaiian Islands topped the list.
More than half of couples surveyed said their ideal honeymoon is somewhere on the beach, a place where they can focus on each other without distractions – and the eight most requested destinations happen to be islands fantastic or have ribs where you won’t be short of options for photo-worthy spots to flaunt in the sand.
Here are the most popular honeymoon spots around the world and the must-do activities (besides the obvious) when you get there.
Where to go: Lahaina, the ancient capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom and a historic whaling village that was once home to sailors and writers like Herman Melville (of Moby Dick fame)
What to do there: When you’re not lounging on the beach, go whale watching; stroll through the city’s museums; and learn about the architecture of the courthouse and former missionary homes.
Most interesting place to consummate the marriage: Find a corner in the city’s picturesque Library Grounds; with ocean views, you can enjoy a beach setting without having to get sand in your nether regions.
Where to go: Playa del Carmen, on the Riviera Maya, is as trendy as Tulum but has much better beaches. Although it’s one of the biggest resorts in the area, you’ll still find plenty of authentic taquerias.
What to do there: Stroll through the streets of the colonial city or relax in one of the seaside resorts; Discover the Mayan ruins or spend a day hiking in the surrounding jungle.
Most interesting place to consummate the marriage: Explore a secluded cenote (an underground cave) in Riviera Maya and pray that there are no bats lurking in the dark.
Where to go: Fly to Miami and take the scenic road trip to the southernmost point of the continental United States, Key West, stopping for conch fritters and roadside mermaid shows.
What to do: Snorkel on a boat trip to the country’s only living barrier reef; take a sunset cruise on a historic schooner; and linger over brunch at Blue skyknown for the best key lime pie in Key West.
Most interesting place to consummate the marriage: The Balinese-inspired private island resort for adults only small palm tree is a honeymoon favorite for several reasons, one being its no-phone policy.
Where to go: Montego Bay (or MoBay, as the locals call it) is exactly what it looks like on postcards: endless white-sand beaches within a day of sights like Dunn’s River Falls. Plus, you don’t have to search long to find killer jerk chicken.
What to do there: Raft down the Martha Brae River; hit Church Street to check out the local architecture; or go diving off Cornwall Beach.
Most interesting place to consummate the marriage: If you can afford it, on a yacht moored at the prestigious Montego Bay Yacht Club. Or, if you want a version of Tahiti without the flight, stay in one of Sandals’ overwater bungalows with ocean-facing tubs designed for two.
Where to go: Puglia, in the heel of Italy’s boot, is dotted with charming coastal towns and chic beach clubs on a par with what you’ll find in Capri.
What to do there: Cruise through the olive groves in a vintage convertible; eat at your leisure in the hilltop “white city” of Ostuni; or linger over a local rosé in the ancient seaside town of Polignano a Mare.
Mosyou interesting place to consummate the marriage: Many of the elf-like trulli or circular cone-topped stone cottages in Alberobello, double as hotels of the rustic variety that feel very Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Where to go: Castries may be the island’s capital and main cruise port, but a better place to post is on the west coast in the town of Soufriere, where you’re guaranteed to have stunning sunset views. sunshine from your room in the rainforest.
What to do there: Go whale and dolphin watching; visit the Castries market to sample local cuisine and crafts; or bathe in the mud of the only volcano accessible by car in the world.
Most interesting place to consummate the marriage: Sneak behind the stacks of the Central Library on Derek Walcott Square, for literary antics. If you’re ready to splurge, lock yourself in a villa at sugar beach or in one of the three-walled rooms of the jade mountainwhere your private infinity pool offers spectacular views of the island’s iconic twin peaks.
Where to go: Bora Bora is what helped put Tahiti on honeymooners’ maps. The island is surrounded by a ring of coral reefs, which you can easily swim around from the balcony of your overwater bungalow.
What to do there: Buy Tahitian pearls; canoe at a small private motu (island) for a picnic; and snorkel with sharks and stingrays.
Most interesting place to consummate the marriage: Just about any overwater bungalow will do, preferably one with a plunge pool that’s out of sight of the other thatched-roof villas.
Where to go: The Exumas are part of a chain of 365 islands in the Bahamas where you’re more likely to encounter a swimming pig on secluded beaches than other tourists.
What to do there: Sip spiced rum cocktails at a bar above the dock; visit the infamous Pig Beach to swim with star residents; or cruise the crystal clear waters around the many cays.
Most interesting place to consummate the marriage: Thunderball Grotto was the backdrop for two James Bond movies, so you can tell you were in a famous place, that is if you can find the entrance to the underwater cave.