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Romantic Destinations: Affordable towns with Splurge Options

"Honeymoons are the first chapter in a long love story."

Deciding where to go on your honeymoon can be overwhelming. There are many things to consider when deciding, such as hot or cold temps, relaxing or adventure, and most importantly high or low budget. I want to help make that decision easier with some exciting suggestions in a variety of places and offer an affordable option versus a splurge option for each one. After all, if you are in a more affordable town, you can splurge more on your hotel/resort. And I will start with where I honeymooned in Belize.

My honeymoon in Belize at Hamanasi Resort

(for more info on this resort, see my 10 Tropical Places to Visit (wanderlusttravelbucketlist.com)

Belize

Belize makes for an alluring honeymoon destination, offering a captivating blend of adventure, romance, and relaxation. With beautiful beaches and the lush jungle, there is lots to see and do in this magnificent country.

Where to Stay:

Affordable Option

Las Terrazas

4-Star Hotel

Nestled along the glistening, white sand beach and Caribbean Sea, this Belize resort on beautiful Ambergris Caye is pure bliss. Lounge under gently swaying palm trees on your own tropical beach with a Belizean rum punch. Relax in the 70-foot infinity pool, indulge in a soothing massage by the beach or paddle a kayak over the island’s crystal-clear waters. With oversized residences range from 1,000 - 3,100 sq ft, you can expect privacy and seclusion in your home away from home. O Restaurant offers seasonal menus showcasing fresh, locally sourced ingredients. You can also indulge the senses and rejuvenate the spirit at the onsite Serenity Spa.

Cayo Espanto

5-Star Hotel

This private island houses 5-star villas surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. Each luxuriously appointed beachfront villa has its own private plunge pool. In the restaurant, a new award-winning menu is created daily to cater to your tastes. Guests can also enjoy the spa and many watersports and excursions.


You can also enjoy a stay at Hamanasi Resort (where I honeymooned), which I wrote about in a previous blog post: 10 Tropical Places to Visit (wanderlusttravelbucketlist.com)


Things to do in Belize:

  • Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

  • Canoeing, Kayaking and Paddle Boarding

  • Cave and Jungle exploring

  • Bird Watching

  • Fishing

  • Touring the Blue Hole

  • Taking a boat cruise

  • Touring Mayan Ruins



Bali

Bali is an incredible destination for honeymooners because it offers a variety of stunning backdrops for your romantic getaway. It offers a wide range of romantic and luxurious accommodations. There are lots of adventures and activities to choose from. Additionally, you can immerse yourself in its culture and traditions, pamper yourselves at world class spas and savor the vibrant flavors of Balinese cuisine.

Best time to visit: during the dry season (April to October)

Where to stay:

Affordable Option

Alila Manggis

4-Star Hotel

Situated between the coast and majestic Mount Agung, Alila Manggis serves as both a seaside idyll and a sublime base for exploring Bali’s unspoiled East, with its traditional villages, ancient water palaces and wondrous dive sites. Housed in two-story thatched pavilions inspired by the Wantilan, or village meeting hall, Alila Manggis’s rooms and suites are contemporary interpretations of traditional Balinese architecture. All accommodations face the ocean with clear views across the straits to Nusa Penida. Dining options range in the variety and depth of Balinese cuisine, from light, relaxed bites to a ceremonial Megibung feast meant for sharing among family and friends. Feel the revitalizing power of nature with spa treatments held in outdoor bales situated within the Pandan Forest and facing toward the sea.

Splurge Option

Bvlgari Resort Bali

5-Star Hotel

Bvlgari Resort Bali is located on a stunning clifftop site near the Uluwatu Temple. Uniquely positioned more than 150 meters above the seashore, it offers unrivalled views across the Indian Ocean with a 1.5 kilometer long beach accessible only by an inclined elevator nestled between the cliff and ocean. The resort reflects a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Balinese design while conveying the distinctive Bvlgari Italian style. The layout and overall design incorporates the culture and natural elements of Bali. A collection of exquisite Balinese antiques and exotic art pieces adorn the entire resort. Accommodations are 64 ocean view villas including three two-bedroom units, one 1300 square-meter Bulgari Villa, three three-bedroom Mansions and two five-bedroom Mansions. All villas offer private pool and patio with secluded tropical garden, high-tech features, an extensive range of Bulgari amenities and award-winning culinary.

Things to do in Bali:

  • Sightseeing

  • Deep Water fishing

  • Cooking classes

  • Cycling the countryside

  • Temple tours

  • Village Dining

  • Snorkeling at the Barrier Reef

  • Rainforest tours


Budapest, Hungary

While not the typical honeymoon destination, It offers a captivating blend of romance, history, culture, and adventure, making it ideal for couples seeking a unique and unforgettable experience. 

Best time to visit: Spring or Fall

Where to stay:

Affordable Option

Hotel Clark Budapest

4-Star Hotel

Hotel Clark Budapest is a luxurious adults-only hotel situated in the heart of Budapest, Hungary, offering stunning views of the Danube River and Buda Castle. It's a great choice for a romantic getaway, especially for couples seeking a stylish and sophisticated experience. Situated on the Buda side of the Danube River, right next to the iconic Chain Bridge, the hotel offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city. It features a rooftop infinity pool with breathtaking city views, ideal for taking a refreshing dip or soaking up the sun.

It also offers a world-class spa with a variety of treatments and massages, perfect for pampering yourselves and unwinding after a day of exploring the city. Finally, it

boasts a fine-dining restaurant, "Aria", serving contemporary Hungarian cuisine with panoramic river views, ideal for a special occasion or a romantic dinner.

Splurge Option

Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace

5-Star Hotel

The Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest is a landmark art nouveau building exquisitely transformed into an architectural jewel with ultra-modern comforts. The tradition of the grand European hotel was reinvented creating spacious guest rooms in a setting filled with sweeping staircases, stained glass, mosaics, beautiful ironwork and soaring winter gardens. Guest rooms are infused with this art nouveau spirit and have vaulted ceilings, private step-out balconies and gold and green marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs, separate glass-wall shower and separate water closet. All guest rooms are equipped with large work areas, 2-line telephones and high-speed wired and wireless internet access. The hotel is located in the city center on prestigious Roosevelt Square overlooking the historic chain bridge and the royal castle. It is walking distance to the shopping, entertainment and financial districts. But guests may not want to leave before enjoying the indoor pool, the spa, or the traditional Hungarian dishes and contemporary international cuisine served at Gresham Restaurant.


What to do in Budapest:

  • Visit the Fisherman's Bastion

  • Explore Buda Castle

  • Take a walk through City Park

  • Rent a bike or boat to explore the city

  • See Vajdahunyad Castle

  • Visit Heroes' Square



Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is a truly magical destination for a honeymoon, offering a captivating blend of natural beauty, romantic experiences, and exciting adventures. 

Best time to visit: Spring or Fall

Where to stay:

Affordable Option

AC Hotel Cape Town

4-Star Hotel

A perfectly precise hotel experience awaits at AC Hotel by Marriott Cape Town Waterfront, conveniently located just minutes away from the buzzing Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and just a 25-minute drive from Cape Town International Airport. These 188 spacious rooms feel stylish, yet efficient and boast unparalleled views over the imposing Table Mountain, Lion's Head and Signal Hill. Savor the heritage of the brands Spanish roots with our delectable tapas from fresh and locally sourced ingredients at the AC Lounge & Bar grab a bite at V&A Waterfront. To wind down after a long day, pass by the bar and sample the finest spirits locally crafted.


Splurge Option

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

5-Star Hotel

The award-winning Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, part of the family-run Red Carnation Hotel Collection, is situated on Cape Town’s most scenic route. Poised above the Atlantic Ocean, the five-star boutique hotel is flanked by the majestic Table Mountain National Park, a World Heritage Site, and the Twelve Apostles mountain range. The hotel offers 70 guest rooms, with a holistic spa, private cinema and breathtaking views from the legendary Azure Restaurant and The Leopard Bar.


Things to do in Cape Town:

  • Explore the dramatic Cape Point: 

  • Relax on pristine beaches

  • Enjoy a candlelit dinner with a view

  • Cape Point Nature Reserve

  • Guided City Walk

  • Visit Constantia Winelands

  • Stroll around Kirstenbosch

  • Visit Robben Island

  • Explore the Waterfront

  • Visit Table Island


Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia in Turkey is known for its Hot Air Balloon tours and is a truly magical destination for a honeymoon, offering a captivating blend of otherworldly landscapes, fascinating history, unique activities, and romantic experiences.

Best time to visit: Fall

Where to stay:

Affordable Option

Capdoccia Cave Suites

4-Star Hotel

Located in Nevşehir, Cappadocia Cave Suites Hotel is in a national park. Cappadocia Caves Hotel offers service with 32 rooms made up of private caves and natural stone rooms, a terrace overlooking Goreme with a pool and a magnificent location in Goreme, the center of Cappadocia.


Splurge Option:

Ariana Luxury Lodge

5-Star Hotel

Striking architecture, stylish interiors and a stunning Cappadocia hilltop setting. Perched high in the Uchisar Valley canyons, Ariana Lodge is part of a landscape dotted with ancient wonders. Designed with sustainability in mind, tiered gardens encircle this boutique retreat - with sun terraces for sitting back and admiring the views. From breakfast to dinner, The Plum Restaurant serves fresh, seasonal cuisine in a contemporary, light-filled space. With floor-to-ceiling windows, your meal will be accompanied by spectacular valley vistas. You can savor thoughtful treats from dawn to dusk, whether it is afternoon tea, evening port and cookies or complimentary local wine. Or unwind in your luxury room with its espresso machine and fireplace for snug nights in. Chic and contemporary, each room and suite at Ariana Lodge has its own look - but all promise custom-made furnishings and distinctive architecture. Pick from an enchanting, vaulted Cave Room or one of the Loft Suites, where beds sit on an airy mezzanine level. Ariana Sustainable Luxury Lodge is a Small Luxury Hotels of the World property.

Things to do in Capadoccia:

  • Göreme Roman Castle

  • Guray Seramik and Omurlu Ceramic

  • Horse riding, mountain climbing

  • Ecotours

  • Bike and explore all the area has to offer

  • Goreme Open Air Museum

  • Kaymakli underground city

  • Uchisar Castle

  • Cappadocia caves

  • Avanos town


Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a fantastic choice for a honeymoon, offering a plethora of activities and experiences for couples to enjoy. It features diverse landscapes: from volcanic mountains and lush rainforests to pristine beaches and coral reefs.

Best time to visit: Winter or Spring

Where to stay:

Affordable Option

Marriott Hotel Los Suenos

4-Star Hotel

Nestled between Herradura Bay and the lush rainforest of Costa Ricas Green Coast lies Marriott Vacation Club® at Los Sueños. The newest oceanfront vacation ownership resort is located in the Los Sueños Resort and Marina master-planned community and offers comfortable guest rooms, 1- and 2-bedroom villa rentals. Each feature locally inspired interiors, artfully blending rich hues, intricate wood carvings and diverse textures. In the villas, discover the convenience of an open living and dining space, full kitchen and master suite with spa-like bathroom, while guest rooms feature a queen bed, kitchenette and small seating area. You will also enjoy access to convenient amenities at the adjacent Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort including a free-form outdoor pool that overlooks a secluded beach, fitness center, and five distinct restaurants. Whether you're spending time on the tropical grounds or relaxing inside your villa, there's always space to find your pura vida.



Splurge Option

The Springs Resort & Spa

5-Star Hotel

Voted one of the seven resorts in the world with the most spectacular views by CNN Travel, this luxury 5-star resort offers the best that Costa Rica has to offer. The 165-acre tropical paradise features 28 thermal spring pools with the highest quality mineral content in the Arenal area. Guests can enjoy a cocktail at the Laguna Swim-up Bar or rush down the famous Monkey Slide at Perdidos Springs and relax in the natural hot springs riverside at the Club Rio Outdoor Center- the on-site Adventure Center and Wildlife Sanctuary. After a long day of adventure, the oversized 75 guest rooms suites and villas are the perfect place to unwind. The accommodations offer more square footage in each unit than any other area hotel as well as picture perfect panoramic views of the Arenal volcano and surrounding valley. The resort is proud to present five unique dining options including the award-winning Las Ventanas restaurant, a fine dining venue and the festive Ginger Sushi experience. Inspired by its appearance on ABC's The Bachelor, guests are offered private romantic dinners and elaborate in-room Romance Packages. The 14000 square foot Spa and Fitness center encompasses an entire level of the main building and reflects a serious commitment to provide a complete wellness experience. The Springs Resort and Spa- where the word Vacation is truly defined.

Things to do in Costa Rica:

  • Tubing, kayaking, horseback riding, rock climbing, nature hikes

  • Wildlife Sanctuary tour

  • Arenal Volcano tour

  • Soak in the hot springs

  • Ziplining through the forest canopy

  • Beach sunbathing



Naxos, Greece

Naxos boasts stunning beaches, charming villages, rolling hills, and ancient ruins, offering a variety of experiences. It has a more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere (compared to other more well-known Greek islands) and a more traditional Greek experience, perfect for couples seeking tranquility. It also offers wide range of accommodation options from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious resorts, catering to different budgets. Naxos also offers a lively nightlife scene.

Best time to visit: Summer or Early Fall

Where to stay:

Affordable Option

Mythology Sea View Suites & Villas

Mythology Villas & Suites, an unparalleled universe of serenity and elegance, offers a luxurious-chic stay, highlighted with astonishing bird’s eye sea and island views. Invitingly close to the historic Chora of Naxos and the island’s well-known beaches; yet ideally protected in complete privacy, this brand-new set of Villas and Suites is designed to offer world-class hospitality infused by a charming blend of tradition and contemporary sophistication. Guests can revitalize and nourish their spirit, indulge in glorious sunlight, enjoy private swimming that comes with signature views, gaze the stars and meditate in the serenity of the property.



Splurge Option

Naxian Collection Luxury Villas

5-Star Hotel

Sophisticated serene and sustainable, exclusive eco-luxury villas on postcard-worthy Naxos Island, Naxian Collection Villas and Suites are a true family affair. The wine you sip in the lobby looking out to sea will be from the vineyard owned by your hosts which you can wander. The oil drizzled over your delicious meals will be the product of their centuries-old olive grove. They even designed and created the residences themselves. Carefully crafted to make the best of their natural setting, these Cycladic sugar cubes fuse traditional architecture with up-to-the-minute interiors. Outdoors the gardens are peppered with contemporary marble sculptures and pools - some private and belonging to a specific villa. That old world meets new theme continues inside as each luxury retreat is decked out in a soothing palette of white and ivory. There are kitchens in each for straight-out-of-bed coffee and even a spot of cooking yourself. Ingredients will come from the Naxian Collection gardens brimming with fat tomatoes, peppers and eggs from the chicken coop. Grab a basket and fill up for dinner. Or if you prefer to be in total holiday mode, settle in to the lobby restaurant and bar where chefs give Greek classics a modern makeover. Naxian Collection is a Small Luxury Hotels of the World property.

Things to do in Naxos:

  • Boating and watersports

  • Hiking and biking

  • Cooking lessons

  • Bird watching

  • Horseback Riding

  • Enjoy delicious Greek cuisine in Old Town

  • Enjoy the vibrant nightlife



Phuket, Thailand

Phuket, Thailand is a fantastic choice for a honeymoon destination, offering a captivating blend of stunning beaches, luxurious resorts, delicious cuisine, and exciting activities. Whether you're seeking relaxation on pristine sands, exploration of vibrant culture, or adventure in lush jungles, Phuket has something for every couple.

Best time to visit: between November and April

Where to stay:

Affordable Option

The Slate

5-Star Hotel

The Slate is located 10 minutes from Phuket International Airport, on Phuket s northern shore, next to a pristine and secluded beach. A Bill Bensley design masterpiece and a member of Design Hotels, the property offers 184 accommodation choices, eight restaurants and bars, three outdoor pools, tennis courts, a private beach club, an Art Lounge and an award-winning COQOON Spa. The Slate remains firmly rooted in Phuket- paying tribute to local history, customs, heritage and cuisine.

Splurge Option

Keemala

5-Star Hotel

A modern take on Thai tribal culture at the fringes of Phuket's rainforest. Go back to nature without going back to basics. This luxury resort blends traditional tribal influences with distinctive contemporary design. The authentic Clay Cottages and Tent Pool Villas come with rainfall showers. The pod-like Tree Houses ooze avant-garde style. And for the ultimate indulgence there are exclusive Birds Nest Pool Villas with wonderful views. Woven into the forest and overlooking the Andaman sea, Keemala is a truly magical escape. Keemala Resort Spa is a Small Luxury Hotels of the World property. Fine dining at Keemala is a holistic dining experience. Guests enjoy wholesome, flavorful creations and impeccable service amidst the breathtaking natural beauty of the Phuket rainforest. Mala Spa embraces traditional healing approaches to the body, mind, and soul, and integrates these with the best of modern pampering and beautifying regimes.


Things to do in Phuket:

  • Visit Kata Noi Beach

  • See Karon View Point

  • Visit Wat Chalong

  • Shop at Phuket Town Night Market

  • Take a Thai Cooking class

  • Experience the nightlife on Bangla Road

  • Visit Chalong Bay Rum Distillery

  • See Phuket Big Buddha



Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal's captivating capital, is a treasure trove of romantic experiences waiting to be discovered by honeymooners. From strolling hand-in-hand along the Tagus River to exploring historic neighborhoods and indulging in culinary delights, Lisbon offers a unique blend of charm, beauty, and cultural richness that will set the stage for an unforgettable honeymoon.

Best time to visit: Spring or Fall

Where to stay:

Affordable Option

Hotel Baia Cascais

Hotel Baía Cascais is a family-run hotel located in the village of Cascais, with its feet on the seafront. It has a total of 113 rooms of various types, with views over the beautiful Cascais Bay (at the front) and the center of the village (at the back), with the Sintra Mountains as a backdrop.

If, on the one hand, it offers the serenity of a calm sea, flanked by sunny beaches accompanied by a seawall with a bike path and restaurants with terraces, on the other hand, it offers the movement and animation of the center of the village, in its various busy restaurants and bars. All this, just 15 minutes from Sintra and Lisbon.

Splurge Option

Hotel Fortaleza do Guincho Relais & Châteaux

5-Star Hotel

The Atlantic waves crash against the rock at the foot of this impressive building. At the entrance, two cannons confront you reminding you that you are entering an ancient fortress. Welcome to a region of character and an address of immense charm with it preserved 17th century interiors, princely rooms, delicious cuisine and a beach just two-steps away. On the program are water sports, golf, a casino and other pleasures just thirty Km from Lisbon and its vibrant cultural life. The hotel also features a Michelin star restaurant.


Things to do in Lisbon:

  • Visit Convento do Carmo

  • Walk along the Tagus River

  • Get lost in Alfama district

  • Take a tuk tuk ride through the city

  • Experience the nightlife

  • Visit a traditional Hammam bath

  • Explore the castles

  • Take a day trip to Sintra


Quintana Roo, Mexico

Quintana Roo is a beautiful state in Mexico, known for its stunning beaches, ancient ruins, and natural wonders. It is a popular destination for honeymooners, who can enjoy a variety of activities and attractions in this tropical paradise.

Best time to visit: December to April


Where to stay:

Affordable Option

InterContinental Presidente Cancun Resort

5-Star Hotel

Surrounded by white sand and crystal-clear Caribbean waters, InterContinental Presidente Cancun Resort is a five-star luxury resort located on the best beach in Cancun. Enjoy breathtaking views of the water, five dining and beverage venues and convenient location close to Cancun’s vibrant nightlife. Unwind with a spa treatment, or simply relax in your room and enjoy the tranquility of the calming sea. Indulge in the finest quality ingredients, expertly crafted dishes, and a delightful ambiance at InterContinental Presidente Cancún's many on-site restaurants and bars.

Splurge Option

Impression Isla Mujeres by Secrets (All-Inclusive)

5-Star Hotel

Embark on an extraordinary journey at this exquisite island sanctuary. Nestled high above a coastal cliff, Isla Mujeres by Secret resort offers unrivaled views and the perfect backdrop for a tranquil escape. Here, privacy abounds, your personal needs are exceeded, and the highest levels of service are our standard. Retreat to the privacy of your lavish suite featuring bespoke amenities and provisions tailored to your preferences. Then, relax completely as your dedicated butler ensures the perfect stay. With elevated Endless Privileges® inclusions, you’ll indulge in unlimited premium spirits and gourmet à la carte dining crafted by master chefs, curated activities and entertainment, and thoughtful touches throughout your stay.

Things to do in Quintana Roo:

  • Take a day trip to Cancun for nightlife scene

  • Enjoy Playa del Carmen for shops, cafes and bars

  • Tours & day trips

  • Water activities

  • Swim in the Cenotes

  • Visit a Shaman

  • Visit the Ruins

  • Swim in the Caves

What's next on your bucket list?

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