Getting married is such a joyful and memorable time in your life—make that both of your lives—it's only fitting that your honeymoon should be the trip of a lifetime that's worthy of such a celebratory occasion and speaks to your interests, too. So if sipping cocktails by a pool is your idea of honeymoon bliss, fabulous. But if you're the kind of couple who craves a little adrenaline and adventure alongside your chilled champagne and rose-petal-strewn bed, it's worth seeking out destinations that can sate that desire.
An adventure honeymoon could mean journeying to some seriously off-the-beaten-path destinations. How many of your friends celebrated their post-nuptial bliss in a Berber village near Marrakech, Morocco, or by sandboarding down dunes in Paracas, Peru? Why not head to Western Australia, where flying over horizontal waterfalls and swimming with whale sharks are just a couple of ways to spend your ultimate vacation?
Of course, there are honeymoon destinations much closer to home where you can turn up the intensity and the romance, too. Try your luck at spearing your own supper in Punta Mita, Mexico, or go for big air during a kite-surfing lesson in Mauritius. Iceland and Colorado are two destinations that offer plenty of options for adventure-seekers in every season. The bottom line: Whatever sort of thrills you're after, there's an adventure honeymoon out there that's just waiting for you!
Rocky Mountains, Colorado
For a high-altitude getaway with a dash of spooky history, book a plush cabin at Dunton Hot Springs (across the mountain from Telluride in the Rockies), which was the site of a 19th-century ghost mining town and is also home to five heavenly sulfur-free hot springs for soaking. You'll have a slew of authentic Wild West outings to choose from: snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, fly fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, heli-skiing and even dogsledding, depending on the time of year. And really, what's more romantic than chilling out in a fur-filled teepee?
For couples enthralled by tales of Darwin's seafaring journeys and the prospect of close encounters with wildlife, look no further than the Galapagos Islands. Adventure honeymoons here include excursions by land and sea where you'll be on the lookout for some of the world's rarest creatures that include massive giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and blue-footed boobies. The intimate, sustainable Pikaia Lodge is one of the islands' newest properties; it sits atop an extinct volcano crater. Venture out to swim or kayak alongside sea lions and golden rays or bike through a giant tortoise reserve. It's a naturalist's dream.
What could be more magical and adventurous than spending the night in a cave? Of course, the caves at Yunak Evleri in Cappadocia, Turkey, are incredibly plush—no need to worry about hibernating bears here. It's where you'll want to be to participate in the fantastical ritual of hot-air ballooning at sunrise. Other outings include exploring the ancient national park's desert on horseback, which is strewn with fairy chimneys and natural rock formations, or cycling through vineyards and valleys.
Riviera Maya, Mexico
The showpiece of an adventure honeymoon along Mexico's Caribbean coast is not its beaches—although they're stunning, of course—but the region's Rio Secreto (which translates to "Secret River"), an otherworldly series of underground caves, rivers and caverns in which visitors can hike, snorkel and swim among dramatic stalagmites and stalactites and sleeping bats, too. From eco-luxe beachfront resort Viceroy Riviera Maya, set off for adventures including cycling through the jungle to explore Mayan ruins, swim in cenotes, and experience a pre-Columbian temazcal sweat-lodge ritual with your sweetheart.
For couples seeking some seriously exotic thrills, look no further than Marrakech, Morocco. This northwest African city sits at the foothills of the dramatic Atlas Mountains and offers a spectacle of sights, sounds and flavors. Besides seriously delicious cuisine and beautiful photo ops, a stay at the opulent Mandarin Oriental Marrakech can include excursions such as hiking (or riding a mule) to a high-altitude Berber village, crossing the Agafay Desert's semi-lunar terrain by camel, even a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the desert landscape.
Sacred Valley, Peru
The crown jewel of Peru's Sacred Valley is indisputably Machu Picchu, the massive display of Incan expertise where those who like a challenge should also climb the insanely steep Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain peak. You can recover in the serene, beautifully appointed confines of Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, where they'll help you schedule a range of activities, including biking with Sacred Wheels, trekking with llamas, kayaking, or whitewater rafting (depending on the time of year), and riding 4x4 quadbikes or horses to the spectacular Maras salt mines. The truly fearless can also rock climb and zip line their way to prime views of the valley.
Ozark Mountains, Missouri
Wilderness lovers can have the ultimate all-American honeymoon in the Ozarks, where the beauty of the natural surroundings is only surpassed by your post-wedding glow. Book Jack's Cabin at Big Cedar Lodge—a luxe retreat that features a wood-burning fireplace, outdoor shower, copper tub and spectacular sunset views. (You'll know the sun is setting when the property's authentic Civil War cannon is fired). Try your luck at fly fishing at nearby Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, or take in the park's natural beauty by horseback. Other ways to fill your days include local nature hikes, bike trails, tee times and lawn games, and water sports and boating excursions on Table Rock Lake.
Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Landlubbers need not apply for an azure-toned honeymoon at Hayman Island, set within the Whitsundays, which are located between Australia's Queensland coast and the Great Barrier Reef. Emerging from a multi-year refurbishment, InterContinental Hayman Island Resort is an ideal home base for ocean-loving couples seeking to fill their honeymoon with aquatic adventures aplenty. You'll have trouble deciding between booking snorkel sessions, sea scooter tours or daytime adventures bound for remote, uninhabited islands and beaches. Definitely book one of the resort's aerial heli or seaplane journeys, which include a fly-over of the famous Heart Reef.
Golden Triangle, Thailand
While there are no shortage of opportunities for adventure on a honeymoon in Thailand, one of its most remote regions worth discovering is the mystical Golden Triangle, where Thailand shares a border with Laos and Myanmar. Rescued elephants cohabitate the grounds of the Four Seasons Golden Triangle property, which features just 15 seriously luxurious tented accommodations. Pack your daypack for jungle adventures including foraging walks, up-close elephant encounters, private journeys by boat, and all-wheel drive vehicles into the untamed wilderness and some truly stunning temple sites.
Queenstown, New Zealand
The birthplace of that adrenaline-pumping sport, bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand holds the crown for its access to high-energy activities. From fast-paced jet-boating to canyon swinging, ice climbing, and bungee jumping (of course), the sheer number of excursions offered within close proximity of this South Island alpine town will bring wedding-day grins back to your faces in a nanosecond. Check into one of Matakauri Lodge's 12 gorgeous suites, which make the perfect home base for parasailing on the bright blue Lake Wakatipu and whitewater rafting on winding braided rivers. Get an eagle-eye view by leaping from a plane or soaring alongside glaciers in an eight-passenger plane. Whichever you choose, adventure honeymoon thrills here are served along with a heavy dose of natural beauty.
Cape Town, South Africa
There's no better place to mix daring feats—cage diving with great white sharks, anyone?—with luxurious tranquility (and endless pours of incredible local wine) than Cape Town. The first order of business should be scaling the iconic Table Mountain, which dominates most city views and is not far from The Last Word Constantia, a private luxury boutique hotel set amid secret gardens and vineyards. On a full-moon evening, hike the steep Lion's Head with a bottle of bubbly and enjoy the simultaneous sunset and moonrise; you can also paraglide from its peak. Of course, being in South Africa, don't skip a safari day-trip, where you'll see lions, elephants, and leopards, oh my!
Breathtaking beaches are served up with a side of adrenaline at Fiji's all-inclusive Laucala Resort. Book one of the 25 traditional (albeit very luxurious) Fijian villas and set off on horseback to discover the beauty of the island. Later, try your hand at manning a Dragon sailboat or Fijian outrigger, go windsurfing or explore the rainforest by foot. The reef encircling Laucala is spectacular, so don't miss an up-close-and-personal view via snorkel or scuba. Or, slide into the resort's DeepFlight Super Falcon Mark 2 submarine, sit back and marvel at the underwater view.
Iceland is remarkable. Where else in the world can you scuba dive at the fault line between two tectonic plates? The unique activities here are far from the only reason to visit the Nordic nation of fire and ice, which include discovering secret hot springs while trekking through lava fields, caves and a desert of black ash, as well as ice cave exploration and even glacier hiking. The otherworldly possibilities are endless and, especially during wintertime, Ion Adventure Hotel promises a fitting finale: prime viewing of those elusive Northern Lights.
Stray from the beaten path in the country best known for Machu Picchu and head for Paracas, one of Peru's best-kept secrets. Located three hours south of Lima on the Pacific Coast, Hotel Paracas prides itself on five-star service, stunning pools, elevated dining and serving a top-notch pisco sour, of course. But it's also the jumping-off point for a boat ride to the Ballestas Islands to spot penguins and sea lions, as well as a scenic—and potentially stomach-flipping—flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines geoglyphs, and a rollercoaster-like drive over gigantic sand dunes, followed by sandboarding down shockingly steep slopes.
Punta Mita, Mexico
Soaring canopy zip-lining, repelling waterfalls in the jungle, free-diving with dolphins, spear-fishing for your own dinner (which includes a gourmet chef preparation, of course)—the paradisiacal Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita has no shortage of activities catering to a couple dreaming of an adventurous honeymoon with plenty of low-key leisure time built in, too. Another highlight is a trip to the Marietas Islands' secret Playa del Amor (translation: beach of love), which is the result of collapsed volcanic rock and can be reached only by swimming through an underwater tunnel. The property also features a couple of Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses and the surf is up for anyone with beginner to advanced skills.
You're excused for thinking Tuscany is all about vino and mouthwatering meals. While that is true, this famously-beautiful Italian region has plenty of opportunities for scenic adventures, too, to make sure the two of you work up an appetite for that next bowl of freshly-made pasta. Popular pastimes at Belmond Castello di Casole include guided and self-guided walks through the property's vineyards and olive groves, as well as longer hikes through the scenic countryside and Tuscan cycling excursions. One delicious option? A truffle-foraging excursion followed by a delectable, truffle-focused meal, of course.
Mark Twain once wrote that heaven must have been copied after Mauritius, and indeed, The St. Regis Mauritius Resort—situated on an UNESCO World Heritage site with an ultra-turquoise lagoon—is more gorgeous than you could even imagine. But make no mistake, this idyllic Caribbean destination offers of plenty for adventure-seekers, too. Kite-surfing is a popular local sport and lessons are available; once you've ripped it up, you'll get a video of the action. Alternatively, consider booking a diving excursion amid pretty coral reefs and a plethora of Technicolor fish, or flex those muscles reeling in a big one on a deep-sea fishing trip.
Surrounded by mountains and blessed with eternal spring-like temperatures, Colombia's picturesque capital city makes for a great home base for high-adrenaline day trips ranging from cycling excursions along scenic mountain roads to paragliding above the valley below. Don't miss the chance to visit to the vibrant town of Guatapé, to climb 740 steps up the El Peñol monolith, where serious thrill-seekers can even base-jump off the top. A day at Parque Arví, which is only a Metrocable ride away, is a must for hiking, zip-lining and ropes-course fun. Rest and recharge for the next day's adventures at the chic Charlee Hotel, located in Medellín's cool Poblado neighborhood.
Can you keep a secret? Western Australia is one of the most adventurous, picturesque places on earth. In Broome, the Kimberley Sands Resort & Spa is a lavish home base for outings that include swimming with whale sharks, visiting a crocodile park and whale watching excursions. What's more, you can dive for pearls (talk about a perfect honeymoon keepsake), sign up for 4-wheel drive tours, learn to drive cattle like a real Outback rancher and even ride camels along Cable Beach. No honeymoon here is complete without a scenic flight over the famous horizontal waterfalls of Buccaneer Archipelago.
Inle Lake, Myanmar
Explore a new part of the world with a journey to Myanmar (also known as Burma), where simply experiencing the way locals live is fascinating. One of the world's more recently-named UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Inle Lake is famous for its floating gardens and houses perched on stilts, and a boat tour is the best way to see them, along with the fishermen who steer and paddle their flat-bottomed crafts with one foot. A more high-energy way to explore the serene rural landscape is via mountain bike, which properties including Sofitel Inle Lake Mayat Min and Myanmar Treasure Resort, Inle can readily arrange for guests. After an adventure-filled day exploring local villages and hot springs, perhaps even canoodling with elephants at a nearby camp, there's no better way to unwind than to watch the sunset with some local wine.