Another word for honeymoon? An island where the most important people are you and your new partner. There’s nothing quite as relaxing as sand, blue skies, clear seas, fruity drinks, and fresh seafood. But depending on if you’re traveling to Mexico, Europe, Asia, or even Africa, the vibe of your preferred oasis will differ. Here, a guide to where to set your sails if the island life is for you:
For being off-the-grid in the Atlantic, with a side of history: Eleuthera, Bahamas
While plenty of cruise ports will take you to Nassau, for a secluded, local experience, you and your new life partner might consider making the trek to Eleuthera. As the birthplace of the Bahamas, the archipelago has reserved this area for its history, making it less touristy and more tranquil. Not only is its past interesting and diverse, but it’s the pineapple capital of the world, making for flavorful dishes and drinks. Here, you’ll not only witness pink sand and see-through waters, but have an up-close-and-personal view of Cupid’s Cay, which looks as romantic as it sounds. Honeymooners will enjoy the private boutique experience at the French Leave Resort, where you can book a beachfront villa for two. In addition to the stunning sights, your rate comes complete with your own golf cart in which you can drive around the property and area, exploring harbors and, of course, golf courses. Via the in-room iPad, your personal digital butler can pack a to-go lunch to take with you.
For a destination where you don’t have to worry about hurricanes: Curacao
As the "C" in the ABC islands, Curacao is a diverse destination, home to more than 29 nationalities within its humble 150,000 population. Located 100 miles from Venezuela, it’s currently the only Caribbean island to openly support the LGBTQ community. In addition to an open-minded vibe, Curacao is also located outside of the worrisome Hurricane Belt, so your new mother-in-law won’t get anxious for your takeoff. Consider staying in the heart of downtown Willemstad (which might remind you of Copenhagen, thanks to its Dutch influence) at the Renaissance Curacao. In addition to being steps away from the sights—such as Christoffel National Park and the Curacao Museum—the resort offers its own private beach. Add on the Get Romantic Curacao! package to also enjoy ocean-view accommodations, daily breakfast, a bottle of bubbly, and a beachfront dinner for two.
For an island so private, it doesn’t have a traffic light: Vieques Island, Puerto Rico
No passport—or frankly, shoes or a shirt—for this private island, just eight miles off the coast of Puerto Rico. Here, it’s commonplace to spot Puerto Ricans traveling by horseback on locally bred horses called Paso Finos as the sun sets or as they go about their daily routines. Unlike some of the busier parts of this U.S. territory, nearly two-thirds of the island is a nature reserve, preventing large developments and cruise ship ports. For a luxe experience for your wedding trip, book a honeymoon suite at W Retreat & Spa.
Here, the level of romance is up to your preference as a twosome. From cliffside picnics and fire pits to locally-inspired and sourced treatments at their on-site spa, to glow-in-the-dark yoga classes, there’s plenty to keep you busy or relaxed, depending on your mood. The resort can also arrange nature excursions, including hiking, horseback riding, and guided nighttime tours of the nearby bioluminescent bay, where you can witness glowing plankton sparkle in the water. For an even more local experience, let their "island insider" (aka a local born and raised on Vieques Island) plan your honeymoon adventures for you, whether it's secluded culinary explorations or where to dance the stars away.
For a view out of a fairytale: Santorini, Greece
On your honeymoon, you have full permission to spam anyone (and everyone) since this once-in-a-lifetime trip is meant to be special… and Instagram-worthy. For a #ILiveHereNow that will take their breath away, you and your new partner will wake up to stunning views while lovemaking in Santorini, Greece. For a splurge, stay at Iconic Santorini in Imerovigli, which is a multilevel hideaway of traditional caves that are carved into the volcanic cliffs, more than 1,000 feet above the blue bay of a caldera. There are a mere 19 residences, giving you plenty of privacy and seclusion with rooftop decks, balconies, and terraces. If you decide you don’t want to leave the beauty of your suite, you don’t have to, especially since breakfast, lunch, dinner or, ahem, an afternoon delight is an experience made for two as you watch the sea unfold below you. Decide to venture to see the sites? The warm, generous, and enthusiastic welcome of the Greeks will make you feel right at home. Well, that, and all of the dry Santorini wine you can indulge in.
For feeling like you’re one of the locals: Taketomi Island, Japan
Even when you find secluded islands off the coast of nearly anywhere, you still might feel like a tourist, instead of the part-of-the-tribe vibe. That’s why a truly remote experience requires quite the flight path, like making your way to Taketomi Island in Japan. As part of the Yaeyama Islands, this area in the Pacific Ocean is only home to 323 Japanese locals, making a honeymoon here a step away from the rest. You’ll not only witness clear blue waters and sunsets you can’t put into words, but red-tiled roofs and an invitation into authentic culture are also all part of the trip. Stay at Hoshinoya, which is encompassed by coral reefs, featuring individual pavilions and locally-inspired touches like gukku (stone walls) and ishigandos, which ward off bad spirits.
For an island nearly all to yourself: North Island, Seychelles
Never heard of Seychelles or North Island? That’s the idea for this private oasis in East Africa. While the Republic of Seychelles is a country in the Indian Ocean made up of 115 islands, North Island is home to only one resort with 11 private villas. While this super-luxe resort does come with a hefty nightly rate starting at $6,871, if you’re up for the indulgence, the experience will truly be as secluded as you wish it to be. One of their suites, Villa North—8,000 square feet and perched upon granite boulders spread across multitiered levels—is for couples only with its own private beach. As you explore this area while celebrating your new marriage, you can enjoy water sports and mountain biking, snorkeling, sea kayaking, fishing expeditions, or tours of other islands, all in time to be back for unbelievable sunsets at the on-site West Beach bar.
For a reason to never leave your suite: Bali
After months of wedding planning, the last thing you want to do? Plan excursions, airport transfers, or really, even what you’re having for dinner. As one of the highest rated five-star hotels in the world, you really will feel like a celebrity when you and your new spouse check in to this incredible destination. The Villas at Ayana offers a 24-hour private butler who is certified by the exclusive Guild of Professional Butlers UK, as well as views of the garden or the sea, a private pool deck, preferred access at the renowned Rock Bar, a massage, and private buggy service around the 220-acre property. As if that wasn’t already overwhelmingly relaxing, this thoughtful resort also offers a floating champagne brunch, which drifts out to you as you soak up the morning rays. The only downfall of this unique honeymoon experience is that unlike your marriage, it can’t last forever.
For an all-inclusive that requires you to not think at all: Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Before you were married, maybe for your quarter-life crisis birthday, for a bachelorette party, or just because you needed to escape your hometown, you made your way to Mexico for an all-inclusive getaway. Before you rule out another trip below the border for your honeymoon, remember that not every all-inclusive screams party, and instead, a rare few give that relaxing, romantic, and luxurious vibe you’re craving. Instead of Cancun, consider Isla Mujeres, Mexico, just eight miles away. Here, you can stay at Isla Mujeres Palace, a five-star, all-inclusive hotel. Not only is your fine dining and beverages included in your nightly rate, but your honeymoon suite comes with double whirlpool tubs, premium liquor cabinet, specialized room service menu, two spa treatments, turn-down service, and whatever else you request from their 24/7 service.