February is the month for romance, and if you are planning a wedding, thoughts of a honeymoon can’t be far behind. In the era of COVID-19, it’s more difficult to find a destination that is both romantic and safe. Here are three options designed to please the most discriminating bride and groom.
This island of yellow birds, reggae, and rum punches is not just a generic isle, but a real country, with its own food, music, art, and culture. True, its beaches are among the most beautiful in the Caribbean – just check out Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay or Seven Mile Beach in Negril.
But there’s so much more to Jamaica than beaches, beautiful as they are. Honeymooners can climb Dunn’s Rivers Falls; raft the Martha Brae or Rio Grande rivers, or take a candlelight tour of Rose Hall Great House and look for the ghost of the notorious White Witch said to haunt it.
The last not sound romantic enough? For a kinder, gentler Great House experience, there’s Greenwood, built-in 1790 by a relative of English poet Elizabeth Barrett whose love affair and marriage to fellow poet Robert Browning beats anything the Hallmark Channel has to offer.
Whatever you choose, spend one evening toasting the sunset at Rick’s Cafe on Negril’s cliff end (if you’re an adventurous pair, you can jump off the 35-foot cliff into the cove below.)
Romantic Place to stay: Goldeneye. It seems James Bond loved Jamaica. He began his cinematic adventures here in 1962 with Dr. No, and it’s here that Daniel Craig’s turn as the suave spy comes to an end with the 25th film, No Time to Die, due out later this year.
It’s not mere coincidence that 007 loved Jamaica as his creator, Ian Fleming, lived here at a secluded property fittingly named Goldeneye. Now an intimate boutique hotel, Goldeneye offers a 4-night package which includes accommodations in a garden hut, waterside villa or private cottage. The package also includes a guided snorkeling expedition through Fleming’s favorite reef; a visit to Firefly, the former estate of Fleming’s friend, playwright Noel Coward, and a bottle of Bollinger champagne which Bond was known to pop the cork on when there was no Dom Perignon available.
Less than 300 miles from Florida, the Bahamas are a perennial favorite for honeymooners. Whether it be the pulsating calypso rhythm of Nassau or the pearl pink sands of Eleuthera; the shoppers’ paradise of Grand Bahama or the laid-back atmosphere of Abaco, these islands are meant for the honeymooning couple.
They can dive on Andros; snorkel on Green Turtle Cay; go big game fishing in the Biminis or enjoy the protected Land and Sea Park on Exuma (pigs may not fly, but they swim here).
Eventually, most make their way to Nassau, the islands’ intoxicating capital. Whether it’s basking on the white sands of Cable Beach, shopping for that special memento at the Straw Market, booking a candlelit dinner at 19th century Graycliff, once a pirate’s manor, or hitting one of the glitzy casinos, the fun is non-stop. And just across the causeway is Paradise Island.
Romantic Place to Stay: Paradise Island is home to the Atlantis Resort. Like its mythical namesake, Atlantis promises a wealth of otherworldly experiences. Chief among them is The Dig. Located just off the lobby of the hotel’s Royal Tower, it is a recreation of the submerged lost continent of Atlantis. Here, you can wander through a series of maze-like passageways lined by glass-walled aquariums. Marvel at colorful marine life showcased against a backdrop of reconstructed temples, columns, cenotes and statues.
For their accommodations, honeymooners may opt for The Cove at Atlantis, a quieter, more secluded tower a short walk away from all the glitz and glamor of the resort’s main attractions. Here, you’ll get an open-air lobby cooled by island breezes, stellar service, and an adults-only stretch of beach.
Mexico’s Riviera Maya is fast becoming North America’s version of the French Riviera, albeit a more casual, laid-back and accessible version. Riviera Maya is located on the northeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, one of the country’s most scenic areas.
If you choose to honeymoon here, there is no shortage of adrenaline-boosting activities: eco tours to Xel Ha and Xcaret; guided tours to the Mayan ruin at Tulum perched on its rocky outcrop overlooking the sea; snorkel expeditions to an underground river beneath a canopy of stalactites at Labna Ha Cenote and Eco Park, or a ferry to nearby Cozumel for some of the planet’s best scuba diving. Or simply relax on the spectacular sweeps of white sand beach.
Romantic Place to stay: El Dorado Casitas Royale is a tropical oasis for adults only, making it a perfect choice for honeymooners. In your overwater bungalow you will be pampered by your very own butler who is only too happy to fulfill your every request – whether it be champagne for breakfast or an en suite massage for two.
If you want to ramp the luxury up an extra notch, book the Casita Suite where the balcony double bed allows for your own private celestial show. Wishing upon a star has never been more romantic.