Exciting honeymoons on a tight budget

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of February 26-March 4, 1998
Family vacations for high-energy boys
Exciting honeymoons on a tight budget
Driving cross-country for $25 a day
African safari for a family of five
Outfitting a one-year trip to Japan

Exciting honeymoons on a tight budget
Question: I'm writing for my friends, who are getting married on June 7 and will have five days for a honeymoon. They're active and outdoorsy but I think they'd like to spend more time relaxing than scaling cliffs. But they're also graduate students and therefore on a tight budget. They live in Princeton, New Jersey. So whaddaya have that fits the bill?

Margery Mark
Princeton, NJ

Adventure Adviser: How tight a budget are we talking? Your friends should register with an airline for plane tickets as part of their wedding gift registry instead of ordering a lot of china. That way they'll cut their honeymoon expenses, and not have to worry about buying a bigger house in order to fit all of their wedding gifts.

My first recommendation is to think off-season. There are a surprisingly large number of destinations where June isn't a prime tourist month — places like Hawaii, Belize, the Caribbean, and the Rocky Mountains. If they aren't opposed to package deals, I'd get on the horn with a travel agent and ask her for the least expensive packages offered in the month of June.

Take Belize, for example. From New Jersey it would be a hop to Miami and then a two-hour plane ride beyond. You can stay in a palapa hut on the beach for a few days and then head inland to the Chan Cheech lodge.

The thatch-roofed jungle lodge is strategically placed so you'll have first dibs on sighting the keel-billed toucan, lineated woodpecker, or even a jaguar, or you can simply laze on a double hammock outside on your private veranda. The all-inclusive rate during high season is $120 to $160 per night, but may be less expensive in June. Call 800-343-8009 for details.

Another option is to head for the Rocky Mountains. Early June is still pretty muddy in the high peaks, so you may get some great rates. A few miles southwest of Durango, in Hesperus, Colorado, there's a great little bed and breakfast called Blue Lake Ranch.

Not only is the ranch an idyllic private spot for a honeymoon, with purple mountains in the background and bright tulips planted everywhere else, it's perfectly centered in a flurry of outdoor activity.

When I've stayed there, I've biked Hesperus Mountain one day, drove over to Mesa Verde National Park the next day, and took a sight-seeing drive up to Ouray the following morning. Plus the breakfasts are out of this world — don't miss the green chile corn bread. Rooms start at $85 per night. Call 970-385-4537.

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