Honeymoons for sun-seekers
Lemon-scented Santorini is the Greece postcards are made of. (BBC)
For many couples, a honeymoon spent basking in the sun is the perfect respite after hectically planning a wedding. Whether you drained your budget on the ceremony or still have plenty of dough to spend, your packing list for these sun-soaked destinations — broken down by Europe, the Americas, the Caribbean and Asia — will not include much more than your swimsuits and plenty of sunscreen. Instant honeymoon, just add water.
Europe high budget: Hvar, Croatia
Hvar Island, Croatia (pronounced like “Far”), the summer party spot for Russian billionaires and the St Tropez crowd, is the honeymoon hot spot of the future. While the water temperature may be less bath-like than the Caribbean Sea, its clarity is nearly identical. Hvar is a summertime destination, and you will not need more than a week to see it all. But make sure to spend at least one day on Dubovica Beach, and do not leave without some lavender-themed souvenirs. Request a room with a view of Amfora Bay and the Paklinski Islands at Amfora Grand Beach Resort .
Europe low budget: Santorini, Greece
With amphitheatre-like white-washed cubes and cliff-side domes perched above a sparkling sapphire caldera lagoon, lemon-scented Santorini is the Greece postcards are made of. Savour ouzo and olives while the flaming sun fades, visit a winery or splurge on a private boat charter. You can also save a bundle by staying at the breeze-filled Anastasis Apartments. While it rarely reaches the point of unbearable heat in Santorini, December through March can be chilly. A week is all you need to soak up the island’s Grecian delights.
Americas high budget: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Whichever came first, the Brazilian beach swagger or the sexy Brazilian swimsuit, bathing beauties have been flocking to Rio de Janeiro for sun and sand for decades. The see-and-be-seen hotel spot is Hotel Fasano, a pricey accommodation where supermodels and athletes frequent the rooftop pool. It also overlooks Ipanema, one of the most stunningly beautiful beaches in the world. (Skip the equally as famous, yet surprisingly less impressive Copacabana.) After a few days exploring sites such as Corcovado mountain, home to the Christ the Redeemer statue, and samba dancing in the soulful Lapa neighbourhood, head 100 miles northeast for a few days in Buzios, a beach town that moves to the beat of a slower-moving drummer. You will need a week to see both Rio and Buzios, and do not forget that South America’s summer season starts in November.
Americas low budget: Riviera Maya, Mexico
Riviera Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula is Mexico’s barefoot-chic Caribbean. Along Quintana Roo’s Highway 307, there is an all-inclusive resort for every budget, from sophisticated Playa del Carmen to coast-hugging Tulum, where the Mayan ruins are spectacular and spiritual — especially when viewed l from the water. Grand Palladium Kantenah Resort and Spa has an adults-only pool, jungle-like paths between buildings and an aqua-playground of a spa. You will need a week in this area and can generally count on the weather year-round — you just may need to take a shady afternoon siesta during the summer months.
Caribbean high budget: St Jean, St Barts
This Caribbean island has ties to France and caters to the rich and famous, so expect the locals to put on the ritz when it comes to restaurants and accommodations. Grand Saline Beach offers some seclusion from the glitz and glamour, it does not offer public restrooms. The beach is also unofficially considered to be clothing-optional – a positive or a negative depending on your personality (and depending on your fellow sunbathers). The luxurious Eden Rock Hotel has been an institution since the 1950s, and while you may find more reasonably priced options between June and November, you also run the risk of honeymooning during hurricane season. One week here would be suffisante.