Courtesy of The Southern Ocean
If you bonded with your spouse-to-be while hiking Kilimanjaro and the proposal took place mid-bungee jump, relaxing on the beach with fruity cocktails probably isn't your idea of a great honeymoon. Tammy Levent, CEO of Elite Travel, tells you where you can find action-packed honeymoons. —Anne Chertoff
Costa Rica is a destination made for adrenaline junkies. With hiking, white water rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, mountain biking, ziplining and exploring live volcanoes, you won't have a dull moment until you collapse from exhaustion. Costa Rica became the first country in the world to set universal safety standards for adventure tour operators—but you should still ask for credentials and references before booking travel packages, especially if they are unusually inexpensive.
Costa Rica's volcanoes are a major draw and each is unique. Volcan Irazu is known for the bright turquoise colored lake in one of its craters, while the Poas Volcano has a lake of boiling acid. The Arenal volcano is the most famous, and the most active. It's also the location of many adventure activities. Surrounded by lush rainforests, the area offers beautiful hiking trails; and if you're hiking in the evening, you can see the lava flow glowing in the distance. The nearby Baldi Hotsprings are more like resort pools than the liquid evidence of Arenal's boiling interior—complete with three swim-up bars offering tropical drinks, two water slides, a spa and a restaurant. Hey, even action-loving couples need to relax sometime.
If you are in very good shape...
try canyoneering where you use ropes and rappel gear to descend past dramatic waterfalls into canyons straight out of Jurassic Park. But, if you are not up for scrambling and climbing up and down vertical canyon walls, ziplining is another fantastic way to explore the rainforests. This isn't a sport for the faint of heart, so be prepared for an adrenaline rush as you zoom through the canopy. Most of Costa Rica's national parks have zipline canopy tour operators.
Where to stay: Just off the major road between Quepos and Manuel Antonio, Hotel Gaia is a boutique style hotel located on a nature preserve on Costa Rica's west side. You may see iguanas sunbathing by the pool, monkeys in the gardens, and sloths peering down at you while you eat your lunch. If you don't want to plan each step of your Costa Rican adventure yourself, Hotel Gaia offers an Adventure Escape package: three nights stay that includes a guided tour of the nature preserve, an ATV tour or white water rafting, and a boat tour of the mangrove eco-system. Package prices range from $1,370 to $3,570 depending on room type and season.
Just off the Southern coast of Australia, Kangaroo Island is like one big wildlife preserve. More than one third of the island is national park land which has remained virtually untouched since 1802. To really appreciate the bushland and native wildlife, take an ATV tour at dusk when the kangaroos are out in full force. To get closer to the animals, visit Parndana Wildlife Park to feed the kangaroos, and watch crocodiles and water buffalo from a safe distance. You can also walk among a colony of up to a hundred sea-lions at Seal Bay during one of the guided tours that run regularly throughout the day. Towards the center of the island are the white slopes of the Little Sahara, a series of steep sand dunes that you can climb and ride down on a sandboard or toboggan.
But a honeymoon on Kangaroo Island requires some downtime in order to appreciate the gourmet local produce and wines. The island is famous for its honey as the oldest bee sanctuary in the world and has the only pure strain of Ligurian bees, which were imported from Italy in 1881. Roadways are dotted with signs for cheese, honey and wine tastings, so a drive around the island is sure to be well rewarded.
Where to stay: The Southern Ocean Lodge is an unforgettable adventure in itself. Twenty-one suites with sleek, modern, and eco-friendly interiors stretch subtly along a cliff, with a backdrop of wilderness and views overlooking the rugged coastline. The Lodge even has a resident kangaroo named "Sol" who has been known to hop up to greet guests. Along with some activities, breakfast, lunch, dinner and beverages are included with the cost of the room. The menu makes the most of local produce and locally caught seafood, as well as locally produced wines and beers. Prices start around $650/night.