For some, a honeymoon is like a pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow—a welcome respite from the chaos of a wedding and the demands of its myriad attendees. (Bye, Aunt Doris, and your unsolicited opinions/excessively-complicated dietary restrictions!)
Others, however, are redefining the tradition to include a subset of wedding guests in what’s known colloquially as a “buddymoon.” Often, these gatherings are tacked on to the end of destination weddings in order to offer close friends and family a chance to actually vacation abroad with one another (and, of course, the bride and groom) after the madness of the event has passed. As it can be difficult to gather loved ones together in one place at one time, the buddymoon approach takes advantage of the wedding’s power to do so to create a memorable, democratically-enjoyed (read: not bride-centric) holiday for all.
The destination for such an event may depend on the wedding’s location as well as on the financial means of either the bride and groom, who in some cases host, or those invited, who in some cases pay their own way; however, you can start your buddymoon brainstorm by perusing the eight dreamy Airbnb listings below. After all, you have every day of the rest of your life to enjoy one-on-one time with your spouse; a group trip might instead offer the once-in-a-lifetime friends-and-family-centric memories of a wedding, sans stress.
The only risk in booking your buddymoon here, on the rustic-chic Isla Popa in Panama, is upstaging your wedding. Urraca’s brightly-painted bungalows alone are enough to make your Instagram followers forget your floral arrangements, not to mention the fact that they float above crystal clear waters or boast, as their neighbors, 12 monkeys-in-residence.
Daytime activities at Urraca and its surrounding areas include snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, boating to nearby islands, touring a cacao plantation, spelunking through a bat cave, spearfishing with locals, zip-lining and, of course, playing with those aforementioned primates. At night, host Francine cooks up fresh meals which receive glowing reviews from her guests and may attract an unexpected visitor: Quiso, the kinkajou. (Google it and you won’t be sorry!)
You can rent out the entire property with room for a total of 14 guests (5 bedrooms, 9 total beds). Each bungalow has a private balcony, an outdoor shower, and a “natural swimming pool,” aka the Caribbean Sea, which can be accessed from the back patio.
The only (real) caveat to a stay at Urraca is this: You’ll want to book more than a few days here, as it’s not super easy to access. To get to the property, you’ll likely need to fly into Tocumen airport from your home city, then transfer to Albrook airport (about a 30-minute drive from Tocumen), then take a 1-hour flight from Albrook to Bocas del Toro, and then (finally!) catch a boat provided by Francine to the charming, one-of-a-kind property. (If your new marriage survives that travel schedule, forever should be feasible.)
Tuscany is a bucket-list favorite, which means that this wine country villa—situated on the border between this world-famous wine region and Umbria—is sure to be a crowd pleaser no matter the demographic range of your group. Casa Castalda, as its called, is a 100-year-old farmhouse which has been restored by local craftsmen. It sleeps 10 people in five bedrooms, with an additional “Artist’s House,” which sleeps two more, available for an extra fee. The property also includes an infinity pool with views of neighboring castles, because of course, as well as 12 acres of gardens.
Though this is the type of accommodation which invites you to stay put, there are several notable day trips (e.g., to Assisi, Montepulciano, Perugia, Cortana, and even Florence) in the area. The property’s host, Francesca, can also aid in arrangements for those wanting to engage in activities such as wine tasting, truffle hunting, and horseback riding. Restaurants are 15-20 minutes away, though cooking in the home’s well-appointed kitchens is also an option, as is the booking of chefs through Francesca. The price is right, too, as the entire property ranges in nightly fee from around $600-$900 per night.
One potential word of warning: Casa Castalda features quite a few stairs, so it may not be perfect for very young kids or the elderly.
This aesthetically elegant property, located in the Aldea Zama neighborhood of Tulum, is just minutes from the town’s trendy center. Villa Verde sleeps eight in four bedrooms, each of which features king beds and en suite baths. The property’s distinctive attributes also include a lap pool, an expansive rooftop patio replete with hammocks, and an alfresco bathtub, among other amenities.
Those who book a stay here can choose to spend their days lounging poolside or at nearby Tulum beach, visiting the Tulum ruins, and venturing to El Gran Cenote, an underground cavern deemed sacred by the Mayans. At night, al fresco dining at home is an option, as is sampling the many restaurants and bars in town. Bicycles are included in the price of the property, as is an on-call concierge. Activities such as in-house yoga or massages can also be arranged upon request. Find more details on Tulum’s myriad attractions here.
Vista Celestial is situated halfway up a rainforest-adorned mountain overlooking the “Whale’s Tail” sandbar at Uvita Beach. It offers five villas with 10 beds which can accommodate up to 15 guests. Each features its own extra-large bathroom, a private outdoor hot tub, and sweeping views. The property also includes a pool, a full-service restaurant and swim-up bar, a jungle-chic outdoor yoga platform, and daily housekeeping services. Visits from local wildlife such as iguanas, monkeys, sloths, and birds of all feathers (pun intended) are to be expected here.
Several marked hiking trails depart from the property, and there are innumerable “off-campus” excursions from which to choose as well. These include boating, snorkeling, fishing, diving, zip-lining, horseback riding, and more. Vista Celestial’s hosts also offer exclusive tours of a private coffee farm located at the top of the mountain—this activity involves a strenuous-but-worth-it hike followed by a homemade lunch and a hands-on tutorial on how the coffee beans are picked, shelled, and roasted (plus a cup of home-grown joe, of course).
See more: A First Timer’s Guide to Buddymoons
While Kauai’s North Shore gets all the love, this South Shore beach is no slouch. In fact, the Travel Channel named Poipu one of the best beaches in the world. This hideaway house is located just five minutes from its sands by foot, which means that it’s likewise near enough to resorts like the Grand Hyatt and the Sheraton for guests to take advantage of their amenities and yet be removed enough to feel truly Hawaiian rather than touristy.
The property boasts four bedrooms with six beds with a total accommodation capacity of 10 guests. Though there’s no pool on the property itself, guests are admitted access to the nearby Poipu Kai pool and jacuzzi, as well as to tennis courts. To keep yourself busy off property, there’s plenty to choose from. You can swim, snorkel, or surf Poipu, cliff jump at Shipwreck Beach, hike Waialeale, the wettest spot on Earth, or even take a day trip—it’s a one-hour drive—up to Hanalei to see what all the buzz is about.
Flights to Jamaica from many parts of the states tend to be affordable, which is why this country is a popular choice for destination weddings. Use its accessibility to lure your friends and family into a buddymoon here, at Seagrapes, which is located on Discovery Bay, about an hour’s drive from Montego Bay airport.
This property, which accommodates 12 guests in six bedrooms, is fully staffed with a chef, a butler, and a housekeeper. It boasts a pool, a tennis court, a seaside gazebo, and a private beach. There are kayaks on property for guest use.
Though this isn’t the type of place you’ll be keen to leave, your excursion options from the property are extensive. Discovery Bay hosts a small village and a beach, and bustling Ocho Rios—a nightlife destination—is just 30 minutes away by car. If you’re up for a day trip, the famous Rick’s Bar is a two-and-a-half hour drive from the property. There, you can sip drinks with locals, cliff dive, and watch one of the most stunning sunsets of your life.
If you aren’t familiar with Formentera, you can think of it as Ibiza’s less-flashy, more Bohemian cousin. Casa Serena is located in the area of Migjorn on the island, just two minutes from the beach. The recently refurbished property accommodates 14 people and features a swimming pool, an outdoor shower, two bicycles, and free-to-use snorkel gear. It’s open from April to November, which is typical of the area.
Host Paula recommends grabbing a bite at the nearby Es Codol Foradat restaurant, which sits beachside and offers food typical of the region. The property is also near to Blue Bar, a famous venue which has been around since the 1960’s. The vibe here, in this part of Formentera, is very chill, but if you get antsy and decide you need to experience the epic party scene on Ibiza, it’s just a 30-minute ferry ride away.
Sonoma Broadway Farms is marketed as a retreat venue, but it’s available to rent by any large group. Its modern, off-the-grid (read: reliant on solar power and well water) “barn houses” can accommodate 16-24 guests with 16 beds in five bedrooms. They’re situated on a six-acre working farm complete with chickens, goats, and the like, a feature which offers the added benefit of a fully-stocked, farm-fresh kitchen (you can even harvest veggies yourself!). One family-style meal, cooked for 16 people, is included in the rate. The property also includes a barbecue, a fire pit, and an outdoor yoga studio—host Preston can arrange for an instructor to come to you.
Just a mile away is located the town’s historic center, and bicycles are provided in case you want to journey sans car. Sonoma Broadway Farms is also quite literally surrounded by world-famous wineries for those interested in (duh!) tastings. Preston can make recommendations, as well as advise on day-trip itineraries, assist with reservations, and even book at-home cooking classes with locally-renowned chefs.