Today's trips rev up the romance with activity Adventurous Honeymoons

May 22, 1994|By Judi Dash | Judi Dash,Special to The Sun

Pairing the words "honeymoon" and "active" may bring a smirk, but along with a general trend toward more vigorous vacations comes a revving up of postnuptial trips as well.

With many couples marrying later -- often after having lived and traveled together for a while -- honeymoons seldom are of the getting-to-know-you ilk that once propelled newlyweds toward sedate resorts with the accent on room service. In addition, working brides and grooms often have to synchronize limited vacation time, so the honeymoon often is a hybrid kind of getaway -- part romantic escape after the tensions of wedding planning, and part annual job leave -- that must satisfy a variety of leisure needs.

"Very few newlyweds just go and lie on a beach somewhere," says Geri Bain, travel editor of Modern Bride Magazine, a 40-year-old publication with a circulation of about 350,000. "These days our readers are doing much more adventurous kinds of things, from llama trekking to river racing and bicycle touring."

Ms. Bain says a Modern Bride reader survey shows that 78 percent of the respondents rate beautiful natural scenery as the No. 1 consideration when choosing a honeymoon destination and that 43 percent consider outdoor sports a major priority. An increasing number of newlyweds are joining upscale organized group trips, where the day-to-day details are handled by the outfitter. Also popular are all-inclusive resorts where athletic activities are included in the price of a stay, so the couple can try new sports, such as wind-surfing or golf, without having to bust what may be an already strained budget.

Even couples heading to the most traditional honeymoon destinations, such as Hawaii, the Caribbean, Mexico and Florida, are looking to participate in some kind of challenging outdoor activity, according to Elizabeth Harryman and Paul Lasley, authors of Honeymoons: A Romantic Travel Guide ($14.95, E.P. Dutton Paperback).

"Honeymooners mainly want soft adventures, where they can do rugged things by day, but at night be assured of a wonderful place to sleep with a nice bed and soft pillows," says Sally Kilbridge, travel editor of Bride's Magazine. "Just because a couple is scaling a mountain or diving the deep doesn't mean they don't want a romantic honeymoon experience as well."

The good news for lovebirds who favor active travel is that the world abounds with opportunities to satisfy the appetite for adventure and the craving to cuddle. Following is a selection of options for reveling in the romance of nature. Before you stick your just-married sign to your backpack, however, have a heart-to-heart talk with your partner about just how athletic and/or rustic your trip should be. While camping under the Milky Way may put stars in the eyes of some mates, others might rate such a honeymoon at the rock-bottom level.

Diving Fiji or Honduras: Tropical Adventures has been taking lovers of the deep to the world's best dive sites for 20 years. But owner Bob Goddess says his hands-down favorite spot for combining romance with scuba pursuits is the Namale Resort on the Fijian island of Vanua Levu. A working copra plantation, with 125 acres of coconuts on one side of the resort and the coral- and fish-rich Koro Sea on the other, the resort is surrounded by landscaped gardens and accommodates just 20 guests. While divers will want to be under water as much as possible, for nondivers there are tennis courts, a fresh-water pool, outrigger canoes, wind surfers and horses available for trail and beach rides. Hikers can head out from the resort on paths leading to neighboring villages. With a few weeks notice, the resort can even a arrange a Fijian wedding, with villagers coming from all over the island to sing songs of well-wishing and, says Mr. Goddess, "more flowers than you've ever imagined."

For those on a tighter budget, Mr. Goddess suggests Anthony's Key Resort, a western Caribbean dive center on an islet just off the north coast of the Honduran island of Roatan. The so-called "honeymoon bungalows" are on a tiny island in a lagoon within the main island. For honeymooners who want to bring along children from a previous marriage (yes, it does happen), the resort has a summer children's camp, with weeklong sessions that include swimming with blue-nose dolphins and other nature activities.

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