As marriage between same-gender couples becomes more and more widespread throughout the world, it is no surprise that my gay tour company, Zoom Vacations, is getting more and more requests from gay couples who are planning their honeymoons.
Planning a honeymoon for a gay couple has a few extra challenges that are usually not present with other couples. For starters, something we have noticed is that many people in the LGBT community are incredibly well-traveled, and probably more well-traveled than the average straight person, although of course there are exceptions. Perhaps one of the reasons is that a lot of gay couples have been together sometimes for decades and instead of having children they have spent even more of the time traveling the world and connecting with people from around the globe.
This may make them more discerning as travelers and it makes them want something extra special when it comes time to take their honeymoon. They are clearly not going to a Sandals resort, and this brings me to my second big challenge: that the destination, tour guides, hotels, and all other venues or excursions need to be gay-friendly.
With both of these things in mind, here are my top five favorite locations for an LGBT honeymoon.
1. What better place to celebrate starting your lives together then the place where life began: Africa. A trip to South Africa is going to offer so many different components that can only be experienced there. For instance, it has an incredible city: Cape Town, where magnificent wine-lands are only 30 minutes away, as is the stunningly beautiful nature reserve, the Cape of Good Hope. The entire city rings around glorious Table Mountain, and for not being very large, it really has some incredible hotels and restaurants and a fun night life.
After this, it is onto a five star safari experience in Kruger park. There is truly nothing quite like being on safari. It is enjoyable with a group of friends, by yourself, or it can be amazingly romantic to experience with someone you’re in love with. Many of the lodges such as the ones that we use for our group tours are utterly spectacular, and you will be amazed at what they create and offer in the middle of nowhere, from fine wines to gourmet meals to absolutely superb accommodations. And of course, seeing nature’s wild beasts in their pristine habitat is something I wish everyone could experience in their lifetime.
If you have time, definitely pop over to Zambia too visit Victoria Falls. How fabulous to celebrate your wonderful union at one of the seven natural wonders of the world! Plus, there is so much to see and do, that two or three nights there is perfect.
2. If you want an Uber luxurious experience where you will both be treated like kings or queens, without paying king or queen prices, then your best bet is without a doubt, India. In this breathtaking, inspiring, fascinating country, you can literally travel through the countryside like a maharajah, staying in former maharajah palaces and seeing beautiful things you’ve probably never seen in your life, such as the world’s greatest testament to love itself, the Taj Mahal. If that isn't romantic, I don't know what is.
Service in India is impeccable, and the local people are so completely friendly and loving. Shopping is amazing, and if you want to celebrate and explore your spiritual side there may be no better place on earth. A trip to India can truly change your life, as it puts everything into perspective. Yes, you may see people who seem to have very little or nothing, but they will seem more joyful and happy than many wealthy millionaires do here in the States. India, however, isn’t a place where I would advise just going to one city, instead you really need to explore different areas to take in everything that this country has to offer. And definitely, you must end your honeymoon in the gorgeous lake town of Udaipur. While there, stay in the Taj Lake Palace or the Udaivillas, and you will not be disappointed. Zoom Vacations has a great relationship with both properties and, and we can often get our travelers upgraded at no charge.
3. It is no surprise that my favorite destination in the world, is also one of my favorite places to celebrate a honeymoon: Machu Picchu in Peru. Actually, all of Peru is a very great place to spend your honeymoon. Lima, where you will likely start your journey, has quite honestly some of the best restaurants I've ever experienced in my life, as well as wonderful hotels.
Plus, Peru is not a you get what you pay for destination. I honestly feel like you get much much more than you would ever expect, from hotels, to cuisine, to tour guides, to the things you get to see and experience. And to date, I have never seen a traveler on our Peru trip think that Peru or Machu Picchu was just okay. To the contrary, people always love it even more than they think they’re going to, and they are always impressed with Lima.
There are some remarkably romantic properties all throughout Peru, but especially in Cusco, which is the ancient heart of the Inca Empire. Here, if you don’ stay in a prior monastery or other building from antiquity that has now become a hotel, you are truly missing out.
4. There is no way that I could create a list of romantic places to spend a honeymoon and leave out Bali, Indonesia. It is no surprise that it is in Bali where Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat Pray Love, finished her own journey of self-exploration and found love.
Speaking of love, it pervades every aspect of life in Bali—the island is virtually dedicated to love and natural beauty. . You see acts of devotion, love, and worship in every single place you'll visit, from small stops to restaurants to gas stations, you name it. Small wicker handmade plates and bowls with offerings of flowers and more can be seen nestled in corners of almost every establishment.
If you like the idea of waking up to a fantastic breakfast, and taking a walk-through gorgeous rice fields in the mountains with a beautiful creek running through, with palm trees dotting here and there, and then following this with an afternoon lunch al fresco, next to a gorgeous temple, and then winding down the day with plenty of beach time, then this is the place where you need to spend your honeymoon.
5. This last one may surprise you, because so many people have already been there, but there is just something about Italy. However, even though Rome and Florence and Venice are pretty spectacular I suggest going to Puglia, which is the region that is essentially the heel of the boot.
Puglia retains that old world feel, and has some absolutely spectacular properties. The countryside is authentic, cultural, historic, and beautiful. And whether you want a private villa or a hotel experience, there are sensational and stylish options for both.
Zoom vacations is currently working on a gay group tour of Puglia, and when we do, I hope that we will have some honeymooning couples joining us on the tour.
Now, of course places like Paris are always going to be popular, but they're just not where I want to spend my honeymoon, not when options like those I mentioned exist.
And also, don’t be afraid to join a good group vacation as part of your honeymoon. At Zoom Vacations, we have travelers do this all the time, and they love it. What's more, the people on the trip with them are always so excited to be with a couple who are celebrating their honeymoon. You can still have plenty of time to yourself away from the group, but occasionally it is really nice to be around other like-minded people and have other fun people to celebrate your union with you.