Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tropical Temptations... The Best Honeymoon Spots in the Caribbean

Looking for your place in the sun? Find it in our guide to some of the top spots for honeymooners. 
By Patricia Canole


ITINERARY There’s just no better place for a laid-back honeymoon, where you’ll listen to hip-swaying music at every turn, than Jamaica—the birthplace of reggae. Of course, you’ll spend countless hours sunning on a dreamy beach. Good choice. But don’t forget to enjoy the country’s many cultural gifts as well. Jamaican artistry runs wild. Look for creations ranging from large canvases in ritzy Montego Bay galleries to silkscreened T-shirts from funky art studios. BEST FOR Those who love music! Take a Chukka Caribbean Adventure (chukkacaribbean.com) bus tour of St. Ann, where you will see—and hear—everything that is Bob Marley. WHERE TO STAY At Round Hill Hotel and Villas (roundhill.com) you’ll feel more like royalty than a guest. The resort occupies a breathtaking location on a Caribbean-lapped promontory just eight miles west of Montego Bay. Flowers bloom everywhere on the estate, a rainbow palette of hibiscus, bougainvillea and jasmine. Honeymoon in the Pineapple House which overlooks the Caribbean Sea. Rooms feature mahogany furnishings and terra-cotta floors. HONEYMOON HIGHLIGHT Spend an afternoon at the Martha Brae River, where according to legend, an Arawak Indian killed herself before ever revealing the whereabouts of a gold mine to the Spanish. The river now bears her name and is believed that her ghost stands guard at the mine’s entrance. Rafting down the river is a popular—and relaxing—pastime.


ITINERARY Affectionately called the “Spice Island,” Grenada has grown its trademark nutmeg, along with mace and cloves for centuries. The island is home to mountainous rainforests alive with tropical birds, white- and black-sand beaches, and always welcoming people. BEST FOR Newlyweds who love to get their feet wet will enjoy discovering Grenada’s lush jungles, mountain trails, waterfalls and glorious beaches. WHERE TO STAY Spice Island Beach Resort (spiceislandbeachresort.com) sits on Grenada’s sprawling Grand Anse Beach—one of island’s prettiest beaches. Opt for the Cinnamon or Saffron suite which is steps away from the beach. The 1400-square-foot ultra-luxurious hideaway features oversize whirlpool tubs, Frette linens, Molton Brown amenities and hammocks to allow guests to languish in the spice-scented breezes. HONEYMOON HIGHLIGHT Grenada is easy to explore by car. Discover the lush Grand Etang National Park, where you can hike to the waterfalls and jump in for a swim.


ITINERARY Situated just south of Cancun on one of the Yucatan Coast’s longest stretches of white sand, the wildly romantic setting makes it feel like you’ve arrived at the end of the world. All this plus ancient Mayan ruins to explore make for a perfect honeymoon. BEST FOR Couples who appreciate high-end resorts and the high-stakes adventures of exploring local villages for exotic cultural experiences. WHERE TOSTAY Step into a world of Asia-meets-Mexico splendor at the newly opened Banyan Tree Mayakoba (banyantree.com). From your first glimpse of the banyan tree in the water courtyard to the intimate design of each villa and you’ll be convinced this is heaven. Each villa features overwater or beachside accommodations tucked amidst lagoons, canals and lush mangroves for complete privacy. For sheer dining pleasure, enjoy an in-villa gourmet dining experience. HONEYMOON HIGHLIGHT There’s plenty to do in and around Riviera Maya. Browse the luxury shops of Playa del Carmen or explore the vast Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve with its pristine rainforest and mangrove swamps (one of the last stands of the jaguar in Mexico). Nearby are many of the Mayan world’s best ruins like Tulum—where you can explore together.


ITINERARY This island’s trademark is its beautiful beaches: sands that are not only whiter than your bridal gown but also incredibly soft. BEST FOR Food enthusiasts. There are more than 100 places to eat in Anguilla’s 35 square miles. Cuisine ranges from simple roadside bistros serving local fish specialties to romantic seaside restaurants catering to romantic gourmands. WHERE TO STAY With its splashing fountains, original artwork, and tall archways, Malliouhana Hotel & Spa (malliouhana.com) embodies the romance and beauty of the exotic East. Understated island luxe characterizes the décor, with treasures from all over the world beautifully capturing your imagination. You’ll no doubt spend plenty of time on your private terrace, designed for outdoor living and complete privacy. HONEYMOONHIGHLIGHT Water taxi to Scilly Cay for a barbecued lobster curry lunch. Grab a waterside table at the islet’s restaurant, place your order, then snorkel while you await lunch.


ITINERARY Known for its dramatic landmark mountains, The Pitons, the French West Indies island of St. Lucia is also home to abundant rainforests, mountainous terrain and spectacular dive sites. Wherever you go—whether you arrive on foot, bike or horseback—twin Piton Mountains dominate your view, a delightful reminder that the best-loved celebrity on St. Lucia is Mother Nature. BEST FOR Nature lovers. If you enjoy soft adventure excursions, then St. Lucia won’t disappoint. The town of Soufrière has some of the best spots for viewing the coral reefs. WHERE TO STAY Play Tarzan and Jane in this lush jungle setting at Jade Mountain (jademountain.com), where bedroom, living area and extravagant private infinity pool seem to slide into one another. Remarkable views of the Pitons are made even more spectacular thanks to its three-wall setting. There are no phones, radio or TV but who cares? HONEYMOONHIGHLIGHT Try a jungle-biking tour at the Anse Chastanet (ansechastanet.com) resort in Soufrière. Along the way, you’ll pass mango trees as well as an 18th-century sugar mill.


ITINERARY Just over an hour’s flight from Miami is a cluster of islands known as Turks & Caicos. Eight major islands and dozens of tiny ones give you that priceless honeymoon commodity: quiet. The long stretch of Grace Bay on the main island, Providenciales (Provo), is abuzz with activity and lots to do. BEST FOR Exploring! It doesn’t get much more romantic than chartering a private yacht to a virtually deserted island for the day. Make a stop at Little Water Cay. Here, there’ll be just a few like-minded day-trippers sharing the sand—oh, yes, and quite a few of the creatures that give the islet its local name: Iguana Island. WHERE TO STAY This posh private-island Parrot Cay (parrotcay.com) resort sits on a thousand-acre paradise northeast of Provo. Beach villas feature plunge pools, airy wooden decks and elegant whitewashed rooms. Enjoy lobster dinners (and other seafood specialties) on the deck of the Terrace restaurant, or grab a sundowner from the bar and stroll down to the talcum-powder-soft beach that stretches more than a mile. HONEYMOON HIGHLIGHT Kayaking to the conch-shell-strewn islands, snaking in and out of mangrove-lined coves along the way (keep your eyes peeled for little nurse sharks and other eye-catching marine 

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