Want to go somewhere unexpected for your honeymoon? Any of these unique destinations would be the perfect backdrop for a once in a lifetime getaway.
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There are couples who want to honeymoon in the place they've always seen and dreamed about (Paris, Bora Bora, the Amalfi Coast), and then there are the couples for whom a honeymoon means getting away from it all in a place whose name they can barely pronounce. There's nothing wrong with visiting the classics, but when it comes to truly once in a lifetime honeymoons, it pays to think exotic and far-flung.
Sure, it might take you a day and a half to get there. Sure, your internal clock will be wonky for a spell. But once you touch down on a secluded island, board a cruise ship bound for the frozen abyss, or ride a 4x4 through endless savannas in search of the Big Five, and you'll have the unique fortune of feeling like the only two people in the world.
Where should you go? Well, that depends on the type of experience you're after. Safari-seekers will want to consider a next-generation journey through Kenya or gorilla-tracking through the mountains of Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park. Beach bums need look no further than the Maldives, the Seychelles, or Mauritius. Those who prefer a cultural journey should look to Sri Lanka, Japan, or Morocco, while those who really want to unplug should head to remote Indonesia or New Zealand. Here, a breakdown of the top exotic honeymoon destinations that guarantee the opportunity to "get there first."
Photography: Resplendent Ceylon2 of 13
Beaches with world-class surf breaks. National parks with safari lodges. Ancient sites with towering Buddhist temples. Metropolitan cities with inventive local cuisine. This Indian Ocean island nation has limitless experiences to choose from. The one that can't be missed: Leopard-spotting in southeastern Sri Lanka's Yala National Park. Post up at the brand-new Wild Coast Tented Lodge—the likelihood of any of your friends honeymooning there before you is slim to none.
Photography: Courtesy of Soneva3 of 13
There are more than 1,000 islands in this remote East Asian country, famed for its bluer-than-blue waters and reef-ringed tropical isles. Get off the grid at a luxurious private-Island resort like Soneva Jani, which has only a handful of guests in its incredibly spacious overwater villas, some of which come with their own two-story slide.
Photography: Courtesy of Scenic Air Safaris4 of 13
The Masai Mara didn't become one of the world's top safari destinations just by happenstance. This 583-square-mile national reserve is home to incredibly dense wildlife populations—lions, leopards, wildebeest, giraffe, and crocodiles can all be spotted in a day (if you're lucky!). But instead of posting up at just one safari lodge, tap luxury tour operator Scenic Air Safaris to custom-create a multi-stop itinerary that makes getting from A to B part of the journey. No other safari company will set you up in a private Cessna aircraft that flies as low as 50 feet above the plains—the aerial game-viewing experience is entirely unique.
Photography: Courtesy of Wilderness Safaris5 of 13
This Indian Ocean archipelago has become the "it" island destination for the post-safari crowd, and for good reason. Never before (nor likely ever again) will you see beaches like these: wide crescents of sugar-soft sand covered in giant granite boulders and fronting clear, azure waters. You can have an entire beach to yourselves at the super exclusive North Island (Will and Kate's honeymoon spot), just ask your butler to reserve it for the day. No need to worry about being caught skinny-dipping—the beach will be roped off with a "do not disturb" sign.
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Photography: Courtesy of Alan Keohane6 of 13
Whether you want to peruse the vibrant markets of the Marrakech Medina, ride 4x4s through Sahara Desert sand dunes, relax in the shadows of the High Atlas Mountains, or post up at a spa retreat in Fez, the options are limitless in North Africa's romance capital. To be honest, we think you should do it all: Start your journey at the famed La Mamounia, hang poolside at Kasbah Tamadot, glamp in a Berber tent at Scarabeo Camp, and finish off with treatments at Hotel Sahrai's Givenchy Spa.
Photography: Courtesy of Jacada Travel7 of 13
You've probably already dreamed about mastering crow pose on the lush, jungle-covered island of Bali, but there's more to Indonesia than just its crown jewel. Raja Ampat, composed of hundreds of uninhabited islands, has some of the world's best beaches and most marine-dense coral reefs. Tap the experts at Jacada Travel to customize your own island-hopping itinerary aboard a classic phinisi schooner.
Photography: Courtesy of Wilderness Safaris8 of 13
There's something magical about Botswana's Okavango Delta. Maybe because it's one of the most luxurious, least dense places to go on safari, so you feel like the only two people in the world. Or that the sunsets come in a kaleidoscope of pink and orange that a photo just doesn't do justice. Or that lodges like Abu Camp and Mombo Camp offer romantic tented accommodations that will feel like a scene from Out of Africa.
Photography: Courtesy of Matakauri Lodge9 of 13
Whether you're looking to hike glaciers on South Island, hit the coastal links of North Island, hang on the beaches of Waiheke Island, or visit a sheep farm…anywhere (people often say the country has 20 sheep for every one person), New Zealand is pretty much a shoe-in for once in a lifetime experiences. And when it comes to YOLO-worthy hotels, it's hard to top the three Robertson Lodges: Matakauri Lodge, Kauri Cliffs, and Cape Kidnappers. Might we suggest a lodge-to-lodge trek?
Photography: Courtesy of Seabourn10 of 13
Whereas most people think wedding plus honeymoon equals beach, adventurous couples should consider the polar opposite—literally. Board an all-suite cruise ship, like the Seabourn Quest, bound for the frozen tundras of Antarctica and you'll learn the true meaning of love.
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Photography: Courtesy of Wilderness Safaris11 of 13
If you and your fiancé spend hours on the couch watching Planet Earth, Rwanda is the place for you. The delicate ecosystem of Volcanoes National Park is home to one of the last remaining populations of mountain gorillas. At the new Bisate Lodge you can trek to spot these critically endangered animals, as well as hike to Karisoke, site of Dian Fossey's research camp, and help reforestation efforts in the area by planting trees.
Photography: Courtesy of One & Only Le Saint Geran12 of 13
The East African island nation of Mauritius is one of those dreamy places that looks fake when you see pictures of its white-sand beaches and electric-blue waters. But head to the recently reopened One&Only Le St Géran—set on a private peninsula with a mile of secluded beaches and 60 acres of gardens—and you'll realize Mauritius is for real.
Photography: Courtesy of Hoshino Resorts13 of 13
Couples who prefer action-packed trips should consider a cultural immersion in Japan: Stroll a seafood market in Tokyo, stay at a ryokan (traditional inn) in Hakone, take the bullet train to Osaka for a full-on foodie tour, witness sumo wrestling in Nara, go glamping in the shadows of Mount Fuji, learn about geisha culture in Kyoto, and more.