All-inclusives are all about relaxation, providing you with the perfect stress-free, budget-friendly way to start your honeymoon. Everything you need is at your fingertips: no cash to carry around for a Mojito by the pool or a card to swipe for stand-up paddle boarding in the ocean. Yet some couples shy away from them, worried they can’t customize their resort stay in a way that better reflects their unique personalities.
Au contraire. By adding a few out-of-the-box activities to your all-inclusive resort stay, you can turn your honeymoon into a true adventure tailor-made for you and your individual brand of awesomeness.
Check out these unique ideas to customize your first vacation as a wedded couple in five popular all-inclusive honeymoon locations. You’ll leave your friends wondering how you did it all on a budget!
Maybe you’ve seen the wild and crazy side of Cancun on reality shows and immediately discounted it as a place for romance. Think again. While Cancun is certainly popular with spring breakers, it has a lot to offer couples and newlyweds on a budget. Hit the road in a rented car for the day to explore local open-air markets filled with handmade crafts, foods and performers. Or, if you’re up for the three-hour drive, head to jaw-dropping Chichen Itza, one of the largest Maya ruin complexes, where tickets are only $12USD. A bit closer to home, you can mingle with iguanas that inhabit the El Rey ruins near Cancun, followed by a traditional tequila tour at Las Destileria and an authentic Mexican bistek with green mole at Hacienda Sisal.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
You’ll find adventure around every corner in Jamaica. Start your day by heading to the top of Blue Mountain, where you can hop aboard a banana seat bike to cruise down the winding roads of the jungle. You may grow dizzy during the descent as your head will be swiveling from side to side to take in the secret waterfalls, banana trees, exotic flowers and local coffee fields.
Before finishing your ride, stop at a tiny café overlooking the valley for a taste of local coffee, which will give you an extra boost to head to your next adventure: a cool dip in Dunn’s River Falls. This is your opportunity to pull on some sexy water socks and climb upwards through a rushing waterfall. Be sure to wear your dirtiest clothes in the Falls, because they’ll be well-cleaned by the time you reach the top.
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Honeymooners love St. Croix for its slower pace and more secluded atmosphere than other Caribbean islands. Your resort will provide plenty of opportunities to taste fresh fruits, either alone or as part of a frozen, rum-punched concoction, but nothing will beat the food you’ve caught yourself.
Charter companies abound here, so head out to sea for the day to take advantage of their world-renowned deep sea diving or fishing. Both options will give you a different view of the islands, a glimpse into the glittering waters and the option to bring a fresh fish back to be cooked to order.
And when Sunday rolls around, follow the locals to Eat @ Cane Bay for their Sunday Reggae Brunch. Your pig cake pancakes and passionfruit mimosa will taste even better with a side of Bob Marley in your ears.
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
In Guanacaste, the scene for romance is set. Rolling waves dance off the ocean in one direction, lush jungles tower in the other, and monkeys sing overhead; it feels like a private oasis.
Even if your all-inclusive is located in the budget-friendly northern side, a day trip to the Nicoya Peninsula will have you feeling like a celebrity without the Lear jet. At Santa Teresa, a sleepy little town way, way off the grid, you’ll find surfers ripping across wind-whipped waves to the delight of beachgoers who enjoy the show while sipping on fresh mango smoothies. Don’t be surprised if you run into stars like Matt Damon, who favors the town for its laid-back style.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The three primary exports of this region—cigars, chocolate and rum—are all perfect for a day trip from your resort. First, book a tour at La Flor Dominican Cigar Factory, where you’ll see up close how cigars are made, rolled and packed. Of course, what would a good cigar tour be without a little sampling of their 14 different blends?
Next it’s time to speak the universal language of true love: chocolate. If you’re time crunched, you can visit the ChocoMusuem, but for a more authentic experience head to La Esmeralda, an organic cacao plantation. Not only will you get to savor delectable fresh cacao at both locales, but you’ll learn about all the health benefits, which will absolve you of any guilt you might feel for woofing down the samples.
Finally, finish the day at Punta Cana’s own Playa Blanca for breathtaking beach views and a flight of rum samples—don’t forget to drink from light to dark. For those against rum, head to the Paradisus Palma Real Resort for punch made with habanero-infused vodka that will, quite literally, knock your socks off.
When you can’t settle on just one island, it’s time to add a cruise to your consideration list! A cruise, after all, is a floating all-inclusive resort with tons of dining, entertainment and relaxation options all baked into the price.
Maybe you had Eiffel Tower dreams that weren’t quite in the cards right after the expense of the wedding. You can get that same feeling, plus beaches, sun and sand with a cruise to Fort-de-France, Martinique, a lively French outpost with boutiques lining streets stocked with made-in-France fashions, cosmetics and other finds.
Feeling a little more adventurous? Look for Roatan as a featured port. Divers have long tried to keep this mellow isle off the coast of Honduras a secret, and it’s easy to see why: sugar-sand beaches front calm turquoise waters while pristine reefs teem with marine life. You can cavort with dolphins in their natural habitat at Anthony’s Key, or go snorkeling in Lobster City, a protected area home to hundreds of spiny lobsters.
The Best Advice
Travel agents, some of whom work for free, will gladly share their personal experiences to help you create a customized honeymoon that fits your dreams and your budget. Every destination, every resort is unique, so the best advice comes from the people who have actually been there.