We’re all trying to be Earth-conscious these days, and everyone is doing their part. Having an eco-friendly wedding is one way to share your love for the planet, but the environmental goodwill doesn’t have to stop after you cut the cake. Consider taking an eco-friendly honeymoon as well. You certainly don’t have to compromise on luxury or fun in order to be green.
Belize: Beauty on the Beach and in the Jungle
Belize seems to be the honeymoon hotspot these days. We can barely keep up with the couples sending us stories of the amazing trips they’ve taken there. With gorgeous beaches bordering the Caribbean sea and unspoiled rain forests, newlyweds are finding a little bit of paradise. And the zipline tours seem to be a requirement too!
Real-life couple Melody & Dave stayed at Ek’ Tun Retreat, deep in the mainland jungle of Belize, this tiny place respects its natural surroundings. With only two cottages on the property, this all-inclusive resort feels like a B&B in the middle of nowhere. Melody says, “Our cabana, which was the perfect balance of rustic and comfort, sat atop a hill overlooking the Black Rock rapids… From the open air cabana we fell asleep to the sound of the river flowing over the rocks … We woke every day to the sounds of nature from every angle.”
Couples looking for a bit more of the beach should check out Kanantik Resort in Southern Belize. This eco-sensitive beach-front get-away is surrounded by 300 acres of untouched land and has it’s own private airstrip. Relax on the sand, go snorkeling or take a kayak out on the sea. They’ve even got a special package for honeymooners.
New Zealand: Wild, Natural Beauty
The land of the Kiwis really is incredible, with so much untouched and rugged beauty. The indigenous Polynesian people — the Maoris — call this place the “land of the long white cloud” and have always respected the natural splendor. The rest of the world is taking notice and heading to New Zealand for fantastic eco-holidays.
Honeymooners can indulge in the luxury suites or the tree-top rooms of Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses on the South Island. This “contemporary country inn” is built to respect the natural environment. Newlyweds will love the large soaking tubs and in-room fireplaces. In the nearby town of Kaikoura, the country’s unofficial eco-tourism capital you can swim with seals, take a llama trek, surf or take a cave tour.
It might not be for everyone, but volunteering to work on an organic farm can be a bonding experience — and maybe even romantic — for the right couple. New Zealand’s Willing Workers On Organic Farms (WWOOF) program lets you work-for-stay with farm families. You’ll get a chance to get down and dirty while you help with daily chores and learn how the farm runs. Enjoy the fruits of your labors — literally — when you sample the just picked apples or taste the fresh eggs.
If you’re looking for a more laid-back holiday, stop into Aukland’s The Grange or The Organic Pizza Company for dinner. These restaurants build their menus around local, organic ingredients. Don’t forget to samples some great New Zealand wines.
South Africa: On Safari With a Bit of Luxury
South Africa’s Phantom Forest is another place that will let you sleep in the tree tops. Their “tree suite” rooms have an understated elegance and will give honeymooners some tranquil time together. A visit to the on-site spa and two gourmet restaurants are a must. Located within a privately-owed nature reserve along the Knysna River, the resort’s buildings are constructed with sustainable methods and materials.
A safari through Kruger National Park is for many honeymooning couples, an unmatched experience. With over 7,000 square miles, this massive public-entry game park is focused on wildlife conservation. At any moment you could be up close and personal with rhinos, lions, crocodiles, leopards and elephants.
Consider booking a tour with &Beyond Africa. They believe that, “With growing numbers of people visiting our planet’s wild places, it is crucial to ensure impacts on our natural environments are minimised.”
Other suggestions to green your trip:
Consider buying carbon offsets for airfare, take public transportation instead of taxis or rental cars if you’re in a city, carry a reusable shopping bags and refillable water bottles to avoid unnecessary waste.
James Gray has a life-long interest in politics, travel, the environment, and global affairs. He works in IT but his heart truly beats for the written word.