After all the pomp and circumstance (and stress!) of a wedding, your honeymoon should be a relaxing time together. But if you want a tropical honeymoon—and if you hope to get right to work expanding your family—this very special escape could be ruined by the threat of Zika-infected mosquitoes.
According to the CDC, the Zika virus is transmitted primarily through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes, which thrive in tropical destinations like the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central/South America. While Zika’s most common symptoms (fever, rash, joint pain) aren’t life-threatening, the virus can pass from a pregnant woman to her fetus and can lead to severe fetal brain defects—so if you’re planning on baby-makes-three sooner rather than later, you’ll want to pick a tropical honeymoon destination that’s known to be free of the Zika virus.
Let me introduce you to a few favorites:
Famous for its pink-sand beaches and British aplomb, the island of Bermuda is a semi-tropical paradise just 600 miles off the coast of North Carolina, making it an easy flight for east coast travelers. Bermuda has a version of winter, so it’s best to visit between April and November. You’ll find plenty of outdoor activities and a plethora of boutique beachfront hotels and luxe, full-service resorts, though it should be noted that this is not a destination to consider if you’re looking for all-inclusive accommodations. While there is affordable fun to be had (think pub crawls), Bermuda tends to be on the pricey side.
A tropical destination in the Pacific, Hawaii is comprised of eight major islands, and each one offers its own personality and experiences along with a unique selection of accommodations, from boutique hotels and full-service resorts to self-catering condos. Getting to Hawaii is a relatively short flight from the Midwest and west coast; if you’re flying from the east coast—and it’s definitely worth it!—plan to stay at least 10 days to make the most of your time. Whichever island or islands you choose, expect to relax and recharge with all sorts of natural pursuits, from snorkeling above a school of rainbow-colored fish to hiking lush tropical rain forests to stargazing with your feet nestled in the still-warm sand.
Romance comes easily to Tahiti, with its French culture and backdrop of clear blue water, cream-colored sand beaches, lush green foliage, and inviting rows of thatched-roof, over-water bungalows. Here, you’ll need bathing suits, sunscreen, and not much else! It takes time to get to Tahiti, due to the travel logistics created by limited air options; once you arrive, you’ll want to spend at least 10 days to maximize your R&R. A year-round, higher-priced tropical destination, Tahiti can get a bit rainy—and slightly less expensive—between January and April. Consider booking early for improved air availability (remember, options are limited) and to allow adequate time to budget for your trip.
A sizzling-hot tropical honeymoon destination for 2018, it’s now easier than ever to get to the Maldives via Dubai, though getting here is still a hike from all U.S. destinations, so you’ll want to stay at least 10 days to recover and fully immerse yourself in the spirit of relaxation (side note: consider extending your stay in Dubai to add a dose of over-the-top dazzle to your honeymoon). All about the stunning scenery—think white sand beaches and turquoise water—the Maldives is a water-lovers paradise with plenty of activities in and around the surf; there are also plenty of accommodation options, from over-water bungalows to island resorts like the Four Seasons.
From bright-pink sunsets to brilliantly colored coral, Fiji’s beauty will take your breath away. A collection of tropical islands in the South Pacific, Fiji is often grouped together with Tahiti but it has its own distinct culture and attitude . . . and hotel styles (instead of over-water bungalows, for instance, you’ll find beachfront bures). There are affordable, full-service resorts on the main island, and self-contained resorts on islands easily accessible by a short flight. Most of the islands have limited dining options, making them perfect candidates for all-inclusive accommodations; on the main island, meal plans aren’t necessary due to several restaurant choices. Traveling from the U.S., you’ll cross the international dateline getting to Fiji, so this is another destination with a suggested 10-day duration.
With a coastal landscape unlike anywhere else on earth—boasting bright-white villages hugging cliffs that extend down towards the twinkling azure sea—Greece is distinctly and delightfully itself. Honeymoon-friendly semi-tropical Greek isles like Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete offer up beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and only-here caldera views, along with charming shops, friendly locals, and cafes serving the freshest seafood and incredible wine. The best time to visit is between May and October and that short window means you want to book early to score a coveted cliff-side room. Consider extending your stay with a trip to Athens where you can explore the country’s ancient past by day then return to the present with an evening of electric nightlife.
Tucked away in Southeast Asia, the tropical Kingdom of Thailand makes you feel like royalty as it spoils you with, well, everything: modern cities, beautiful beaches, quiet countrysides, towering mountains, elaborate temples, ancient ruins, royal palaces, and really (really!) exquisite food. To experience it all, plan on a best-off trip lasting 10 to 14 days, with stops in a city (perhaps Bangkok), mountains (possibly Chiang Mai), and beach (maybe Phuket or the island of Koh Samui).
UPDATE (2019): In addition to Martinique, travelers can head to The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Guadeloupe, and Saint Barth’s for a relaxing trip—all are on the CDC’s list of Zika–free countries
As a Romance Travel Specialist for 20+ years, I’ve helped many couples plan and enjoy their dream honeymoon. I believe your honeymoon is just as important as your wedding—maybe even more so!—and I have unique insight into what to do, and avoid, in planning this most important trip. Whether you’re looking to honeymoon with a side of adrenalin or R&R (or a bit of both!), let me match you with your just-right destination. I can help you get anywhere in the world—whether it’s on the list above or not—and I can work with any travel budget. I look forward to hearing from you!
P.S. You’re not a travel agent, so stop acting like one. Trying to plan a perfect honeymoon with the information you find on-line is risky at best. Get in touch with me, and enjoy the absolute pleasure of having a travel professional ask the right questions and match you with your ideal experiences—as an added bonus, I’ll help you save time and money. Together, we’ll plan one once-in-a-lifetime trip after another.