After much of the wedding planning has been checked off your (ever-growing) to-do list, the real fun of being a newlywed starts to come into play: selecting your honeymoon destination and planning your honeymoon activities! Whether you’re the type of couple who prefers to stow themselves away in a mountainside cabin, tour around Europe and stay at Airbnbs or make your way to relaxing oases by the sea, an additional element that can make your honeymoon even more intoxicating is focusing on local culture. Considering every corner of the world has it’s own traditions, rituals, customs, flavors and menus, when you book an experience that takes you deep into the heart of the community, you not only expand your worldview, but share new priceless memories with your partner.
Here, some ideas for amazing honeymoon activities to truly get the local experience.
Cycle your way through markets in Italy.
While, sure you could rent a car and make your way through various stands, restaurants and museums, another way to tour a town is with your two feet and two wheels. With the DuVine Cycling + Adventure Company, hosting experiences in more than 20 countries and 50 regions, you can eat, drink and pedal to your newlywed-heart’s content. One four-day option in Provence will have your mouthwatering as you and your new spouse are taken through olive groves, vineyards, local markets and orchards. Here, your guide will not only explain the history but immerse you in customs and traditions, offering views from Provencal classic destinations, like visiting the Cotes du Ventoux vineyard, a family-run business that’s been smashing grapes for more than three generations.
Take a cooking class that helps women in Yucatan.
After the thrill and the splendor of your wedding day, you’re likely jetsetting off with a grateful, full heart. Take an evening to give back to the kindness in the world by booking the half-day cooking class, ‘Cocina Economica’, in the state of Yucatan in Mexico. Here, the owner and a few family members host you and your partner in the quaint restaurant they own, inspired by the affordable cooking style that local Yucatecan women developing during World War II.
Buy a personalized love potion in Durban, South Africa
Though you have no doubt you (finally!) met and married (score!) the love of your life, to keep the spark ever-glowing, a few dabs of love potion #9 won’t hurt. If your honeymoon excursion takes you to South Africa, book an adventure with the Durban Green Corridor, where a local will help you intertwine with the authentic Zulu culture of the KwaZulu-Natal Province. After you scour through traditional villages, learning of customs and rituals during a walking tour, your guide will take you to the home of a local healer. Here, you can request a blessing - or a love potion! - and finish your honeymoon activities with a drink at a local establishment and a home cooked dinner for two.
Take a traditional medicine walk and meet a village chief in Fiji.
Though unarguably known for their breathtaking, bright blue beaches and picturesque landscape, Fiji is also rich in culture, with many herbs and natural remedies of ancient medicine cultivating on this tiny Indonesia destination. If you book a stay at the luxury eco-friendly, all-inclusive Jean-Michael Cousteau Resort, a concierge can customize your honeymoon to focus on more than just fun-in-the-sun (or Instagram photoshoots), but also introduce you to the rituals of the region. You can hike through the rainforest that culminates at fresh-water waterfall, take a trip to the local farmer’s market and go into town to meet the Village Chief, volunteer at a local primary school or take a Fijian medicine walk, an experience that’s said to be life-changing and healing to your heart.
Book dinner at a local’s house all over the world.
If you and your new spouse love to travel together, you’ve likely already figured out the commonalities you share. One big perk to jetsetting with someone whose passions match your own is diving into adventurous honeymoon activities. One immersive option that offers the opportunity to transcend cultural and language barriers is VizEats. This company allows honeymooners the chance to dine at the home of a local in Budapest, Lisbon, Prague, Morocco, Valencia and countless other destinations throughout the globe. Not only does your at-home chef talk about the traditional aspect of their meals, but you get the chance to explore their homes and learn about their family history, too. Might we suggest coming with some questions - and a bottle of wine! - to pay respect to your host?
Hike through rarely-seen paths in the Amalfi Coast in Italy.
Not only is Monastero Santa Rosa a 17-th century ruined convent that’s been transformed into a 20-room luxury resort on the cliffside of the Bay of Salerno, but their focus on supporting the local culture will take your honeymoon activities from nice to unforgettable. One option to see Italy in a way you can’t read about in guide books is their ‘Health & Hike’ package, which includes a guided hike with a local expert that gives you and your fellow newlywed the opportunity to zigzag through unchartered paths on a two to three hour hike. Here, you will see another side of Amalfi that’s left untouched by tourists. In addition to a homemade Italian lunch to replenish after your workout, you will also enjoy a cooking class for two so you can recreate some of the magic back home.
Pick your own produce in Urubamba Valley, Cusco, Peru
When you wind your way to this hotel, you’ll feel like you’re part of the jungle itself, with countless mountains, trees and wildlife surrounding the property. It sits on 100 acres, throughout many lush, green mountains, offering a mere 12 rooms in the Casa Hacienda and 24 stand-alone luxury casitas with sweeping views to wake up to every morning. Not only will you be able to experience the privacy required for a honeymoon, but the on-site 10-acre organic plantation featuring quinoa, cord and medicinal herbs are all up for grabs for guests. You can pick your way through the crops, which are harvested in the traditional manner - with tools and oxens - and cook your load back in your home-away-from-home. For another way to immerse, the resort also offers ancient Andean experiences, like the Payment to the Earth ceremony. Here, you can watch a local shaman give thanks to the Andean gods, and finish with a Peruvian dish that’s cooked underneath the ground.
Gather mushrooms in Asheville, North Carolina
Known for it’s location in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is quickly becoming a must-see destination in the Southern region of the United States. Not only does this small city in a valley offer many local brews, but a 10-minute drive can open your eyes to countless beautiful hikes, all with gorgeous views of the oddly-colored ranges surrounding it. In addition to craft beer, the local food scene is also booming, making the ‘No Taste Like Home’ a popular add on for honeymooners at The Omni Grove Park Inn. Here, you will be taught how to safely gather, serve and preserve mushrooms, plants and other goodies that grow wild in the region. Once you’ve thoroughly explored the woods, you can deliver your findings to the local chef who will create an appetizer made for two.