The first holiday you spend as a married couple is a really special time. After all the activity and planning that’s gone into your wedding day, you’ll need to take some time out together to unwind.
The Caribbean has always been a popular honeymoon destination, but what is it that makes these tropical islands so special to newly-weds? Well, of course there’s the weather, you’re almost certainly guaranteed balmy sunny days, warm seas to swim in and white sands to relax on. There’s also the laid-back atmosphere – everyone just wants you to have a good time on their island.
“Every couple has different interests and so there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution when creating the perfect honeymoon, says Holly Barnett from Caribbean wedding experts Sandals. “Some people will see a romantic outing as a hike up a mountain range, while for others it’s basking in the sun and enjoying a side-by-side massage. Your honeymoon is the most special holiday of your life, so make sure that the experience is tailored to your particular interests and needs, rather than just picking an idyllic destination.”
Thinking about your honeymoon budget?
If budget is an issue, then visit the Caribbean during the long low season, which runs from mid April to mid December. Prices at hotels are often reduced by 40% or more but the downside is that you may experience muggy weather and some shops, restaurants and hotels may be closed.
When should you visit the Caribbean?
Traveller’s guide Lonely Planet advises that the best time to visit the islands is November and early December when rates are still low, but the weather is good.
“Jamaica and Barbados are year round island destinations,” says Jane Bolton from Couples Resorts. “However you need to bear in mind that during “hurricane” season (which runs mostly from September through to October) you may experience short sharp bursts of rainfall. However hurricane season doesn’t happen every year and the rain keeps the islands looking very green and lush.”
What about other tropical islands?
Turks & Caicos was voted the third most popular island in the Caribbean and Atlantic by readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine. Readers raved about how ‘exquisitely clean and unspoiled’ it was, with ‘crystal blue waters and white powder sand’.
If you fancy a bit of island-hopping, then you should investigate the Bahamas – which offers both sophisticated resorts with top-class dining and secret small island hideaways.
Couples who love nature should investigate St John. Here you’ll find ‘emerald green beaches’ and can admire the island’s flowers and trees. You might find yourself swimming with a turtle whilst snorkelling and you can kayak your way (how about a double kayak for a honeymooning couple) around the various cays.
For a bit of French sophistication, visit St Barts in the French West Indies. It’s said to feel like Paris in the tropics and offers a great cultural experience with beautiful villas to admire and the freshest fish imaginable. Probably one for foodie couples we think.
It’s our advice to shop around when it comes to booking your Caribbean hotel. Let it be know that you’re a honeymooning couple and you should get all the extra treatment – chilled champagne on arrival, rose petals on your bed or sprinkled in a bath, a private terrace all to yourself.
If you’re planning to marry on a tropical island as well, most hotels and islands will have a wedding co-ordinator on hand to help you with all the legal logistics but just remember to give yourself a bit of time to plan – you’ll need at least five weeks notice if you want to marry in Jamaica to get the paperwork in order but it’s less time for weddings in Barbados. Wedding specialists like Sandals and Couples have great websites where you can investigate rates and packages and special offers whether you’re planning on marrying in the Caribbean or just looking for a dream honeymoon.