Top 5 Beach Honeymoon Vacations (Part 2)

Last week, our resident travel guru, Jackie Laulainien, gave us the rundown of two of her favorite honeymoon-by-the-beach locales. Here are the last three, which just leaves one question: where are you going this winter?

Thailand

Thailand Honeymoon

Thailand was one of the stops we made on our honeymoon, and I’ve never been to a country where traveling was easier. If you’re a first time traveler, this would be a great place for you to start. Thailand is also wonderful because it’s easy to live like a king there even if you are on a budget. Getting there is the expensive part, but if you can find a ticket for around $1,000, you are in good shape. The beaches in Thailand are literally endless, as Thailand has about 2,000 miles of coastline but is only the size of France.

Best time of year to go: November through February, this is Thailand’s “cool season” (cool is relative, it’s still nice and hot). The west (Phuket and around there) has a rainy season from April to October, and the east (Gulf of Thailand) has a rainy season between September and December.

How to get there: Fly into the capital city of Bangkok. For shorter flights to get around Thailand, check out AirAsia.com.

Activities not to be missed: Drink from a coconut, try every kind of curry known to man, ride an elephant, visit a temple, take a ferry, find a secluded beach, visit the beach from the movie “The Beach,” try fruits you’ve never tried before, go kayaking, go climbing if you like (it’s a top destination in the world for climbing!), float in a natural swimming pool, snorkel, shop, pick your dinner from the freshly caught array of seafood, have a drink at a sidewalk bar, eat Pad Thai from a street vendor, ride a longtail boat, visit Railay Beach, ride a tuk-tuk in Bangkok, walk down Kao San Road, put your feet in a fish spa, drink freshly squeezed juices, get a foot massage, and eat mango and sticky rice.

I know. That was a lot.

How much time to allow: Considering that it takes a couple of days to get over there, you may want to allow yourself as much time as possible to explore once you get there. At the very least 10 days, hopefully more like 2-3 weeks.

Bali & Gili Trawangan, Lombok (Indonesia)

Honeymoon in Bali

I’m sure you’ve heard of Bali, and I’m sure you haven’t heard of Lombok, but they are right next to each other in the chain of volcanic islands that make up Indonesia. These two islands offer a beautiful snapshot of Asian culture and provide the best of both worlds for the beach-goer and the adventurer.

Best time of year to go: Avoid travel between December and March, which is monsoon season, although you will still see plenty of sunshine during this time.

How to get there: Fly into Denpasar Airport on Bali. You can take a fast boat to the Gili Islands of Lombok easily from Bali.

Bali Honeymoon

Activities not to be missed:

Bali

Have dinner on the beach during sunset at Jimbaran Bay, explore the rice paddies outside the bustling town of Ubud, stay at one of Bali’s many jungle or beach resort hotels that cater to your every need and will be candy for your eyes, catch a traditional Balinese dance, and wander your way through the open air markets.

Gili Trawangan, Lombok

Stay a few days at Vila Ombak with its private swimming pools, waterfalls, and swim up bars just across the street from a beach with views of the main island of Lombok and its Mount Rinjani volcano. Eat seafood every day, go scuba diving or lounge at the beach or pool. Relax. If you have time, head over to the main island of Lombok to climb Mount Rinjani.

How much time to allow: Remember that it takes a couple of days just to get here, so try to come for two or even three weeks and you should have plenty of time to get your relax on.

Greek Islands

Greek Isles Honeymoon

For a unique European honeymoon, consider exploring the Greek Islands, whose beauty will be a treat for your eyes, the mediterranean cuisine a party for your taste buds, and the language a soft song for your ears. After exploring Athens and its ancient architecture, you can catch one of the many ferries that will take you out into the thousands of islands that make up a mediterranean paradise.

Best time of year to go: May through September will be the best time to visit the islands and beaches, as the storms set in late September and many resorts close.

How to get there: Fly into Athens and plan to stay a day or two to explore before you head out on a ferry to the islands. Check out Greek ferry schedules here. If you get seasick, you can fly to Santorini from Athens.

Activities not to be missed: Santorini, the most famous and most beautiful of the Greek Islands. Beach, cruise, snorkel, scuba dive, wine taste, hike, hot spring… Santorini has it all. Naxos is very chill, and Mykonos is happening and has one of the most beautiful downtowns I have ever seen. There are so many islands to choose from, do a bit of research to select the ones that are the best fit for you! Or just stick with Santorini….

How much time to allow: This is a great week to 10-day option, all depending on how much you want to move around and how long you want to spend in Athens. One or two days in Athens is plenty.

About the Blogger

Jackie LaulainienBozeman local Jackie Laulainen is a travel blogger at www.TheBudgetMindedTraveler.com. After visiting, traveling through, and living in over 35 countries in the last 10 years, she has a thing or two to say about travel tips and advice, which is a subject she does not take lightly! Her mission is to equip and inspire other Americans to travel the world and broaden their horizons through experiencing cultures outside of their own. She has just published her first book “The Aspiring Traveler’s Handbook: A preparation guide to international travel,” a detailed resource which answers many of the questions that come with being a new traveler.  The book is now available for purchase on her blog. Besides traveling the world as often as she can, Jackie does freelance web design for small businesses and teaches local adult Spanish classes in Bozeman where she lives with her husband Nate and 100-lb rescue mutt Rami. If there is anything Jackie can help you with in your planning process, please visit her on her blog, or say hi to her on Facebook or Twitter.

Have more questions about international travel? Jackie would love to hear from you. You can email her at jackie@thebudgetmindedtraveler.com.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Top 5 Beach Honeymoon Vacations (Part 1)

So now that the summer is officially over and we’ve had the first snow here in Montana (“What’s that!?” you say. “Snow? In September?”), we’re all thinking of one thing…

Where are we going on vacation?

Good thing Jackie from The Budget Minded Travelerhas some ideas. Here are her top 5 beach honeymoons to consider after the planning is over and all you need is a little fun in the sun!

Dreaming of the perfect getaway for your honeymoon? Having any trouble figuring out exactly where to go?

A honeymoon can be a once in a lifetime chance to go on the trip of your dreams, yet for many, it’s hard to put a finger on exactly the right destination. We all have our daydreams of perfect beaches or fairytale mountain hideaways, but when reality comes around, a honeymoon destination decision often depends on what we can actually afford, what time of year we can go, and how much time we have to get to these places.

As a budget-minded traveler and blogger, I want to equip others with the right information they need to travel the world, and I want to save them money in the process. Whether you have a budget for your honeymoon or not, any of these top beach destinations will make for an unforgettable experience.

In this post we’ll start with two hot spots in Central America, moving on to Europe and Asia in next week’s post. Here goes, these are some of my favorite places in the world!

Bocas del Toro, Panama

Honeymoon in Panama Guide

Aka “Paradise” (in my opinion), Bocas del Toro, Panama is an archipelago of islands in the northeastern corner of Panama. Bocas Town, on the main island of Isla Colón, consists mostly of one long main street, populated with boutique hotels, tour companies, restaurants, and shops. Beyond the main island are over 250 more islands surrounded by beautiful, green, crystal clear water housing thousands of fish, coral reef, palm trees, dolphins, white sand, and pure serenity.

Best time of year to go: Interestingly, Bocas del Toro does not have a predictable dry season. October has proven to be a beautiful time to visit. You may see a bit of rain, but not nearly enough to prevent you from enjoying your hot sunny days. Avoid winter/springtime particularly February through May when it will just rain buckets.

How to get there: Fly into Panama City, Panama. Stay for a night or two, visit the canal, and then hop a regional flight to Bocas Town. You can find these flights through AirPanama or Aeroperlas. Take a flight back to Panama City when you are done. Extra tip: Get a window seat on your regional flight, you will get to see the entirety of the Panama Canal as you fly the one hour to Bocas!

Activities not to be missed: Island hopping! Choose a different tour company each day to visit different islands, snorkel at different beaches, and eat lunch at different gazebo restaurants over the water. Don’t miss Hospital Point for the best snorkeling. Be sure to go dolphin watching, and try to get out to Zapatilla Cay. Try sport fishing for a day, there are tunas to be caught and cooked up by your hotel chef! For a fun adventure if you have enough time, take a boat tour out to Bird Island to see the only known nesting place in the Caribbean of the Red-Billed Tropic Bird, plus there is a fun cave they might let you swim through! Extra tip: Watch out for jellyfish; if you get stung by one just pee on it. Seriously.

How much time to allow: This is the perfect destination if you only have a week for your honeymoon, as you can do and see just about all there is to do in Bocas in about 5 days (but you could always spend more!), don’t forget to include a couple days for travel, with some time in Panama City if you want to see the canal.

Costa Rica

Honeymoon in Costa Rica

This country holds a big piece of my heart. It is one of the most beautiful, ecologically diverse, laid-back, happy countries you will ever experience. The people are wonderful, the food is delicious, the dancing contagious, and the landscape refreshingly gorgeous.

Best time of year to go: Mid December through mid April is the dry season. January through March is almost guaranteed to be 100% without rain on the Pacific. It’s hot and wonderful.

How to get there: Fly into San José. Costa Rica also has an international airport in Liberia, but it’s much more expensive.

Honeymoon in Costa Rica

Activities not to be missed: Where do I start? Here is my perfect itinerary in a nutshell: Start by heading east to Puerto Viejo for some Caribbean culture and jungle. On your way back go white water rafting on the Rio Pacuare and transfer to La Fortuna where you can visit Volcán Arenal (Costa Rica’s most active volcano). Do a canopy tour (zipline), ride horses, visit Badlí Hotsprings (at the base of the volcano), and possibly take a jeep-boat-jeep transfer to Monteverde where you can explore a cloud forest, some coffee plantations, and more extreme ziplines. From either of those places head to the Pacific coast to find a beach. One great beach is Manuel Antonio (National Park), another (and my favorite) is Montezuma, although it’s harder to get there. That’s a coast-to-coast adventure itinerary, although you could cut out any part and customize it to your liking.

How much time to allow: This itinerary can be done in 10 days, but two weeks would be a much better pace.

Stay tuned for next week’s post in which I’ll highlight three more destinations in Europe and Southeast Asia!

To find out more information about how to get a passport, how to find flights, how to pack, what you need to know about travel insurance, even how you can use your smartphone while you’re abroad, and much more, check out Jackie’s blog at The Budget Minded Traveler.

About the Blogger

Jackie Laulainien

Bozeman local Jackie Laulainen is a travel blogger at www.TheBudgetMindedTraveler.com. After visiting, traveling through, and living in over 35 countries in the last 10 years, she has a thing or two to say about travel tips and advice, which is a subject she does not take lightly! Her mission is to equip and inspire other Americans to travel the world and broaden their horizons through experiencing cultures outside of their own. She has just published her first book “The Aspiring Traveler’s Handbook: A preparation guide to international travel,” a detailed resource which answers many of the questions that come with being a new traveler. The book is now available for purchase on her blog. Besides traveling the world as often as she can, Jackie does freelance web design for small businesses and teaches local adult Spanish classes in Bozeman where she lives with her husband Nate and 100-lb rescue mutt Rami. If there is anything Jackie can help you with in your planning process, please visit her on her blog, or say hi to her on Facebook or Twitter.

 Have more questions about international travel? Jackie would love to hear from you. You can email her at jackie@thebudgetmindedtraveler.com.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain