In 2013, when 7,500 members of The Knot Wedding Network were surveyed about their honeymoon plans, 23 percent of respondents cited adventure as a top attribute for their post-wedding getaway. This came after more obvious answers like sun, sand and surf, a casual and relaxing atmosphere, and romantic surroundings. But still, you can definitely have all of these elements when opting for a more adventurous honeymoon destination. It’s simply a matter of knowing where to look.
The survey, conducted by XO Group Inc. (parent company of lifestyle brands “The Knot,” “The Nest,” and “The Bump”), was dubbed “The Romance Travel Study: Honeymoons” and sought to identify the top honeymoon destinations, broken down by regions, countries, islands and states, and even specific cities within countries.
In compiling this list of some of the world’s most adventurous honeymoon spots, we took a look at the top regions and then pinpointed the most adventurous locations within each. From deep sea diving in Fiji to horseback riding through the woodlands of Ireland, the following are some of the most exhilaratingly romantic post-wedding destinations in the world.
According to the survey about 4.7 percent of honeymooners choose St. Lucia for their post-wedding getaways. And while it’s certainly quintessential in many different senses, it’s also quite adventurous. Lonely Planet lauds this destination not only for its beaches and beautiful resorts, but also the many exciting activities available, including diving, snorkeling, hiking and kite-surfing, just to name a few. In fact, Lonely Planet says it’s an especially great option for nature-lovers.
A popular destination for all types of vacationers, when the survey data is separated at the country, state and island level, this Caribbean island boasts a spot among the top 20 honeymoon spots. One location of particular interest is the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa in Rio Grande. Here, guests are spoiled with a seemingly endless list of exciting onsite recreation activities, including hiking and biking trails, pre-mapped jogging routes, two 18-hole golf courses, a full-fledged tennis center, “dive-in” movie nights, sea turtle viewing, snorkeling, SCUBA diving and countless other watersports.
You may not believe it, but it’s true: when the survey data is sorted by regions, the continental U.S. is the second most popular destination for honeymooners. California and Florida are (unsurprisingly) the top two states, but with so many different options to choose from, we felt an underrated adventure destination, like Block Island, would make for a more romantic and exhilarating U.S. getaway. This locale boasts a thriving bike culture, lush green hills, towering coastal bluffs and a whopping 17 miles of beach along the Block Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s no surprise that Mexico is a popular honeymoon spot — the third most popular, according to the survey, when the data is sorted by regions. But instead of hitting popular spots like Cancun, Riviera Maya, Playa Del Carmen or Cozumel (the top four honeymoon spots in Mexico), we suggest a lesser known destination like La Paz. This historic coastal city is situated along the Sea of Cortez and offers adventurous excursions like swimming with sea lions and stand-up paddleboarding with whale sharks.
Shutterstock/Leigh Anne Meeks
Among the top regions identified by the survey, Hawaii is the fourth most popular honeymoon destination, and Maui, Kauai and Oahu are the three most popular Hawaiian islands for honeymooners. If you’re thinking of going to Oahu, though, skip the big beach resorts and adventurously opt for the lesser known Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, recently named the best beach in America by Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman (aka Dr. Beach), director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. For a rustically romantic getaway, set up camp at one of the park’s 10 beach-side sites and relax blissfully amidst the soft white sand, blue turquoise waters and stunning Ko’olau Mountains.
Nestled among some of the most picturesque forests and woodlands in Ireland as well as along the stunning shores of Lough Corrib, Ashford Castle in Cong is a quirky and cozy destination for newlyweds who want to honeymoon in Europe (the fifth most popular post-wedding region according to the survey). Surrounded by woodland paths, lake shores and the mountains of Connemara, the area is described as magical and Ashford Castle offers the opportunity to explore it all by horseback with carriage rides and even private riding lessons.
From volcano hiking to jungle ziplining Costa Rica is essentially an adventure-lover’s paradise, and with its many stunning landscapes it also makes for a romantic honeymoon setting. In fact, when the survey data is narrowed down to a country, island and state level, it’s also among the top 20 most popular honeymoon destinations and it's the number one spot in Central and America. It’s not hard to see why. Take for example an eight-day trip with REI: you’ll hike, bike, kayak and raft through jungles, embark on a two-day whitewater rafting excursion, rappel down waterfalls and explore the many landscapes of the country’s beloved national parks.
South America also happens to be a well-loved destination when it comes to honeymoon getaways (it came in sixth on the survey's list of top regions). Of particular interest is Argentina, where there’s never a lack of things to see and do. For newlyweds who love to ride it’s hard to go wrong with a six-day cycling tour hosted by Butterfield & Robinson. The trip highlights the best of the country’s zesty characteristics providing unbeatable views of mountain landscapes, vividly colorful canyons and vibrant colonial towns. Then, of course, there are the flavorful foods and fragrant wines—as the tour hosts put it: it’s “deliciousness all over.”
According to the survey, the South Pacific is the seventh most popular honeymoon locale. We particularly like Fiji, where at the Laucala Island private resort you and your newly pronounced spouse can embark on a deep sea excursion in your very own DeepFlight Super Falcon submarine. You’ll experience close encounters with majestic coral reefs and vibrant tropical fish as you navigate the depths of the South Pacific Ocean. Of course that’s not all. The resort boasts a luxurious vibe and offers guests the opportunity to partake in activities including everything from jetskiing and golf to game fishing and rainforest tours.
To some it might sound crazy, but to the truly adventurous honeymooners, nothing could be more romantic than setting out to conquer this challenging climb together. Although it's not exactly "popular," Africa still came in at number 12 on the honeymoon survey's list of most visited regions. An 18-day trip with Wilderness Travel leads hikers up an uncrowded route to a “Hemingway-style” safari camp at the summit, where, no doubt, the main reward is the absolutely breathtaking views. According to the company, not only have many couples chosen this for a honeymoon trip but they’ve also seen people propose and even have their actual weddings at the top.