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Thread: Honeymoon Prospects

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    Cool Honeymoon Prospects

    Hey all,

    This Christmas, my fiancee and I will be taking our honeymoon, so I thought I'd field your opinions.

    These are the criteria...
    1. Duration should be from Dec 23 to Jan 2, there's some flexibility to extend it, but not much.
    2. For two of us, the cost should not exceed $5,500.

    And here are some preferences, they are preferred in this order...
    1. Get somewhere on the African continent, I haven't yet been there and would like to.
    2. Spend most, if not all, of our time in one general area. It's certainly a better idea to not be bound to any place and hop around as much as possible, but a honeymoon is probably one of the only scenarios where this is acceptable.

    The two places I've thought of are Casablanca and Dahab, definitely the latter if she learns to dive before our honeymoon. Although I feel it may be a shame to go all the way to Morocco and not see Fez and Tangier, or go all the way to Egypt and not see Luxor or Cairo. I suppose that is the nature of any trip which matches my second preference.

    Any input regarding the two places I've mentioned, any other place that falls within the criteria/preferences (or any place for that matter ) and any other suggestions in general (from where and how to book or honeymoon-specific things) are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks very much.

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    Any thoughts at all? Leave out the criteria and preferences as you see fit.

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    If you want to get to Africa, keep in mind that you're probably going to spend about 20 hours flying each way, even to a major hub like Cairo, which will really cut into your time. And no one feels sexy after spending that long on a plane haha.

    I did a quick look on kayak and flights around that time to either Cairo or Casablanca run you about $1400-1600 after tax. With that kind of time frame I'd stick to northern African places like you mentioned, anywhere else starts to get into stupid flight times or prices. It took me almost 40 hours to get back from Tanzania in Jan, and that was one of the fast"er" flights...

    If you do Egypt, maybe a side trip into Jordon? That's my plan in the fall. I've been told you only really need 4 days to do the highlights (Petra) and get back to Cairo.

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    My parents went to Egypt while ago and saw Petra, I'll ask about their costs. Said it was an amazing experience and the pictures were great. They were there for 3 weeks though.

    Going to Africa is surprisingly expensive and given your rather short timeframe of travel, I cannot see it being worth all that plane time.

    Somewhere in Europe might be a lot better for the ~12days. Get an early flight out and late flight back to expand your time there. Maybe somewhere like Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy? What was the draw the Africa? Would help pinpoint some substitutions.
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    Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to and there is plenty to do. Do you specifically want to go to North Africa?

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    Thanks for the responses, guys.

    Thrasher, I know what you mean about the flight times. Initially, I was thinking about the Seychelles, but the additional cost and time constraint lead me to believe we should take that trip later.

    BMW Power, North Africa is what I've now thought of as it's a place neither of us has been to, isn't too expensive, allows for some relaxation but not too much and definitely has an interesting political situation at the moment (may not be a good thing for all folks). And while I'd LOVE to go to South Africa, I know that when I go there it will be for a Safari... I don't have the cash to fund that at the moment, I'm probably not experienced enough as a hunter and I really wouldn't want to make our honeymoon that much of a selfish endeavor

    Matt, I've somewhat elaborated on my draw to Africa above. Essentially, I've not been anywhere on that continent and have a bit of an itch to go. I've seen some of western Europe, the middle east and some of the south Pacific, I'm not terribly interested in just relaxing in Cuba, DR or Mexico and I've got a specific time and plan for getting to South America in the next ~3 years. While I've not even come close to seeing all of Europe, I think there may be more value in going somewhere completely new.

    You all have very valid points about seeing other places around Egypt, but it is for this reason that I think we won't go there. To not give enough time to Petra, the Theban Necropolis, the Red Sea (among the top three diving spots in the world), Cairo and all the rest would just be too much of a shame.

    Casablanca (perhaps Rabat) is still on the table. Any comments about this idea are appreciated. If there are other places in north or west Africa that are possibilities, please let me know.

    I was looking at some of the all-inclusive deals that can be had for DR or Mexico and, even though it's almost decidedly not what I want, they can be quite tempting.

    Speaking of wants, perhaps I'll clarify precisely what it is I'm looking for... Somewhere that allows us to relax (in a nice urban setting, by some mountains or on a beach), but still grants us access to some unique culture (ideally one that I've not experienced) and the adrenaline-pumping outdoors. As I'm typing this, I realize that Hawaii or Costa Rica aren't bad options at all as they fit what I've just typed!

    Thanks again, all further input is greatly appreciated!

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    I'll let you know how Hawaii is when I get back in May but I agree, it sounds like it has a lot of your wants. Belize might be an option as I understand the diving there is world class.

    I'm really interested in heading to Cape Town - they bait Great Whites and you can go in the diving cages to see them underwater. Again the time to get there is pretty signficant.

    Perhaps look at some of the Polynesian countries that are cheaper than Hawaii or even SE Asia. You don't have to necessarily backpack but this link might give you some more options to peer over.

    http://www.pacific-travel-guides.com...ers/index.html

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    Egypt and Morocco are both fantastic places to go. Just curious, are you going out solo or have you made any bookings with tour operators?

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    I wouldn't consider either Egypt or Morocco to be honeymoon destinations. In fact, in my mind, no Middle Eastern country is romantic from a westerner's point of view due to the prevalent chauvinistic attitudes and treatment of women. Northern Africa may as well be the Middle East.

    Expect your wife to be groped and harassed in the big cities. Traveler's diarreah may cut into the romping that I would want on a honeymoon. Security should remain a concern in Egypt - especially in Cairo and around the Pyramids.

    That said, the scenery, food, and some customs are 'warm' and have that hollywood romance about them.

    If you want to do an 'adventure' type trip and are willing to endure the difficulties of those countries and given your ~week after flights, I'd recommend:

    Morocco:

    Trekking in the High Atlas mountains with side days spent in Marrakech at a fancier hotel or

    A couple days in each of Marrakech, Fez and Essaouira. I can't see spending a week in any of these cities, but 3-4 days in 2 of them would work.

    Skip Casablanca. Can't see enjoying a week here.

    Egypt:

    One day Cairo to check out the Pyramids followed by a high-end Nile Cruise.

    Hit Sharm el-Sheikh for an 'all-inclusive' type package with beaches and diving and such. I've never been myself but have heard it's a bit of a Brit strip.

    Dahab is probably a bit better option than Sharm, but as I haven't been to either, it's tough to give much input as to their quality as a honeymoon destination.

    You'll have to check out the weather as I'm not sure how Dec/Jan would be.

    Southern Africa and a Safari would be a much better option in my opinion, but your budget and time don't make it possible.

    If you're stuck on Northern Africa / Middle East, Jordan would be my top pick. I wouldn't necessarily hang out in one place for a week, but Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea are all great experiences. Jordanians are also more liberable, so you'll be able to enjoy booze with your meals if you go to the right places, and your wife won't be subjected to as much harassment.

    Have you considered Central America or the Mediterranean? A week in Italy or Greece would be preferable honeymoon destinations for me. Dec/Jan may not provide great beach weather, but they are certainly romance cultures and the sights, food, and wine would make for a memorable honeymoon. For relaxation and beaches or snorkeling / diving, why not Belize or Panama or Costa Rica? Shorter / cheaper flights, plus less jet-lag will let you make the most of your time.

    Dec/Jan is also a great time to be in Thailand or Cambodia, but the flights will eat up a lot of your budget and time.

    All just ideas....once you decide on a place I'll contribute more specifics if I've already been.

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    Originally posted by statick

    Speaking of wants, perhaps I'll clarify precisely what it is I'm looking for... Somewhere that allows us to relax (in a nice urban setting, by some mountains or on a beach), but still grants us access to some unique culture (ideally one that I've not experienced) and the adrenaline-pumping outdoors. As I'm typing this, I realize that Hawaii or Costa Rica aren't bad options at all as they fit what I've just typed!

    Thanks again, all further input is greatly appreciated!
    Sorry, just saw your follow up post after making my last post.

    Have you thought about Cuba? Lots of great culture. You can get some amazing honeymoon shots with classic American cars, chill out on the beach, and make the most of your time. You can always chill out in Varradero which is very all-inclusive / resorty, rent scooters one day and rip around on your own, and head into Havana for a couple of days of beautiful Spanish architecture.

    Cubans are also romantics and would probably go out of their way to ensure you enjoy your honeymoon. Only downside there is crappy wine and even crappier food.

    Costa Rica / Nicaragua / Belize / Panama are a little less 'cultural' but would be preferable to me over Hawaii. That said, I've never been to Hawaii - it just seems like an expensive American state to me, though I do realize they try to retain some traditional culture.

    I have a buddy with a place in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua, that would be available for rental.

    Have you considered Cusco / Macchu Piccu in Peru? That would be a great way to spend a week as long as neither of you get altitude sickness.

    Haven't been to Colombia yet myself, but it's supposed ot be amazing as well. Ecuador would be another great spot, but I believe it's the rainy season in the Galapagos.

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    BMW Power, I'm quite confident it will be just the two of us. Having a guide and other travelers with us for much of the trip may harsh the romance.

    Matt, SE Asia gets to be a little steep in terms of time and price. Which polynesian islands do you find to be cheaper? They all seemed to be in the same ballpark to me
    We'll definitely chat after your trip, Hawaii is a bit more expensive than some of central America, but it may be worth it.

    David, thanks for your input. As I already mentioned, Egypt is not really an option anymore. Nor is Casablanca from the sounds of it! If Marrakech/Fez/Tangier are my best options for north Africa, I may just avoid it altogether. For me, the price of that trip would be more than its value to us. It seems Rabat and Casablanca are cheaper than the other three cities mentioned. There are actually quite a few nice places that we could head to in South America, but as mentioned, I do have a bit of a trip for that already planned. That said, we could always go to part of South America that is not on my prospective itinerary for January 2015.

    Belize and Costa Rica both seem fairly fitting. For now, I'm thinking central America may well be the best option, unless:
    -There's another African option that hasn't been discussed
    -A polynesian island is a possibility for ~$4,000 (flight & hotel for two of us for a week)
    -There's a good spot to hit in South America that I've not already planned for

    The first two points here are fairly self-explanatory, please post your thoughts and let me know if either can be fulfilled.

    Concerning South America... Argentina is definitely not an option. I'm thinking Chile isn't either, but if there's some coastal part of Chile worth exploring, please let me know. I'd love to go to Peru, but the dilemma is that between hiking the Inca Trail, seeing the Nazca Lines and going to Lake Titicaca, we won't have time and will most probably not be relaxed. I think all else in South America is fair game... What have been peoples experiences in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador? I leave out Bolivia as I'd likely cover it when hitting Peru.

    Once Africa, polynesia and South America are completely written off, the specifics of central America can be discussed. But for now, getting to another continental plate is preferred, if possible

    Thanks again to all those giving input. Reading such long posts isn't always the most comfortable thing. Any and all input is appreciated!

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    How long are you planning to travel South America for in 2015?

    Peru his huge. I spent 3 weeks there and didn't see Lake Titicaca or the Nazca lines or the jungle or the beach. Cusco, Macchu Picchu, Arequipa, Lima. Granted, I was held hostage on a bus for 2 days after being stuck in Cusco for 4 because of strikes and protests. You'd want 2+ months to do a decent job of seeing Peru and Bolivia.

    For 11 days, flying into Cusco, seeing Macchu Picchu, and flying out would be enough.

    If you're planning a bunch of time in Peru in the future though, I understand not wanting to go there now.

    Africa & Polynesia make little sense from a cost and time standpoint. I'd take off 3-4 of your 11 days and ~60% of your budget for flights plus a couple of days for jet-lag. It's possible, but doesn't sound like a nice relaxing or romantic time to me. Remember, your flight dates are peak season. Less $ on flights means more $ on hotel rooms and romancing your new wife.

    If it were me, Cuba, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belize, Panama, Colombia, Brazil, & Peru would be my only considerations once factoring in flight costs, flight time, weather (time of year), jet-lag, and bang for your buck. Find a town on a beach, indulge in a nice place to stay and nice meals, and do activities from there. Just my .02.

    Unfortunately, I've focused my travels on the Eastern Hemisphere to this point and have only been to Cuba, Costa Rica, Peru and Dominican, so I don't have a lot to offer on Central / South America. I have buddies resident in Nicaragua, Colombia and Brazil though so if you decide on one of those places, I can try to get the name of a good honeymoon town.

    I may head to Colombia in a couple of weeks and can do some recon for you.

    It seems sort of like you want to go to a new continent just to say you did...I wouldn't recommend doing this - especially not for a honeymoon!

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    Thanks for the quick response, David. I'm definitely not set on going to a new continent, definitely a new place though, somewhere I've not been. And if there's a place I've not yet been and am unlikely to have a chance to go to in the future, that will be my preference. Hence, north Africa... It has some interesting stuff going on at the moment and its stability in the next few years is uncertain.

    My time in South America at the beginning of 2015 is roughly six weeks. Although I'm hoping I'll be able to extend it. The plan so far is Inca Trail/Nazca, Patagonia, Antarctica and the Amazon, if we have time. We'll see how things pan out, there's a few years yet. I'd consider heading to Peru for the honeymoon, but, as you've mentioned, there's no way it can all be done in our short period of time.

    I'm interested in knowing your (and everyone else's) thoughts on Costa Rica, DR and Belize (I know you didn't mention you've been here). What are the benefits and drawbacks to each, which did you enjoy most and why? Would you say Cuba and Mexico deserve an equal shout, given the scenario? You mentioned bad food in Cuba... We definitely enjoy dining, so this is a bit of a factor.

    Colombia and Brazil both seem fitting, too. In Colombia, I'm thinking Santa Marta, Barranquilla, Cartagena or Riohacha. Has anyone been to any of these places? Brazil seems to have lots of coastal cities along the Atlantic... Has anyone experience with any of them?

    One thing I may not have explicitly mentioned yet is that the one activity we're looking for most, other than romantic relaxation, is probably scuba diving. I started diving a few years ago and, other than the Great Barrier Reef, all of my diving has been in the refreshingly frigid waters of the Canadian Rockies... I think it's time this changed! However, it should not be a diving trip, more like a honeymoon with some good opportunities for diving. Hiking is cool too, but not as important.

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    Belize is great, we went there this February. It's a tiny country and you can see a lot of it in 10 days if you rent a vehicle. Known for having some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world. Flights to Belize can often be lengthy and/or complicated from Calgary though.

    Google Map of things we did: http://tinyurl.com/7yjl3ys

    Costa Rica is also a great country, with the focus being on wildlife and adventurous activities (although I wouldn't say diving specifically).

    Wouldn't hesitate to recommend either country. Personally, I might lean towards Belize just because of your interest in diving. A lot of the really great diving there is out in the atolls though, and it can be costly and complicated to get to. Might not want to spend your whole honeymoon in planes and on boats.

    One other thing about Belize is that I think for some reason people picture beautiful beaches when they hear 'Belize'. A lot of the shoreline has mangroves up to the water. There are some nice beaches in certain areas, but I definitely wouldn't say it's one of Belize's strengths.
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    Regarding Polynesia ....



    Anywhere on that map not named Hawaii will likely run you a minimum of $1400 roundtrip after taxes, per person, for airfare alone. (And that's during a normal time period, not the most expensive 10 days of the year to travel!)

    That leaves you with about $1200 for the hotel for 10 nights. $120/night is not likely going to cut it for a honeymoon quality hotel in the south pacific at Christmas time. Not to mention how much more expensive everything else will be too (food, tours, etc).
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    Good points on Polynesia, Chris. I was hoping to give some ideas that are cheaper than Hawaii despite the flights not being short but less changeovers than going to Africa. I didn't realize they all were so expensive for hotels. Maybe another time!

    Sounds like Belize/Nicaragua may be the better options. Just to give you an idea, geologists from all over the world take a course in Belize to learn about the reef systems there. A friend of mine was doing Arky work for months in Nicaragua and she fell in love with it; she's living there now after meeting someone. I just remembered another friend does geophysical research in Belize. I'll ask him to give me the low-down on it.

    OT: David, I'll have to pick your brain about South America because I'm planning on going down there for a few months next summer. Maybe after your dissertation...ha.
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    Reconsider your place of choice, jet-lag will be a concern and the fact you are losing two days just doing airport. I'd be looking towards a south travel zone rather than major east/west flights.

    At best you have seven days somewhere at the highest season for most resorts.

    When it comes to honeymoons, just get there ASAP and enjoy the place, airport, jet-lag and ramping travel costs will take the wind out of what could have been a solid vacation. With the limited budget, short time block and high season, I would be looking to anywhere within NA or C. America, maybe Hawaii. Africa and like places will be a bust.
    Last edited by CanmoreOrLess; 03-19-2012 at 08:21 PM.

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    Originally posted by cmyden

    Personally, I might lean towards Belize just because of your interest in diving.
    Seconded. Haven't been to Belize myself but have always wanted to dive there. http://www.scubadivingbelize.net/

    Just visiting the "Great Blue Hole" would be great:



    Originally posted by msommers

    OT: David, I'll have to pick your brain about South America because I'm planning on going down there for a few months next summer. Maybe after your dissertation...ha.
    Sorry mate, don't have a lot of travel experience in S.A. yet. I do have a one year travel itinerary written up though so hopefully 2013 will be my year of the Southern Americas. My buddy has a place in Nicaragua that I can live in and make my base camp while he's working in Houston.

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