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Tis the Season for Smooches: Eco-Adventures for CouplesJanuary 12, 2011 By: Katie Tandy
While couples can certainly steal a smooch or two under the mistletoe or even among the joyful din of Times Square, Valentine’s Day is an ideal time to escape the winter doldrums and celebrate with an amorous adventure.
All About Honeymoons franchise owner, April Schmitt, said the biggest up-and-coming romantic destination is Fiji — not the main island, but the smaller ones.
Schmitt explained that while this area used to be thought of as “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” –esque travel, couples are discovering that is it half the price of going to Tahiti, while still offering the very essence of the South Pacific.
“Pricing is still really good,” Schmitt said. “They have the famous Rainbow Reef as well as scuba and snorkeling, tours of volcanic islands, hiking through waterfalls—any eco-adventure.”
Schmitt also said that every island features a different topography and focus so she often recommends that couples book a two-island stay to get two totally different experiences.
“The islands themselves are night and day,” Schmitt said. “Some are as small as a hundred acres with one resort that only has 15 bungalows. And then they can take a jet boat to an island that has virgin land and is relatively untouched.”
Bali is also slipping into the center of the radar for couples travel — Schmitt says she thinks that the film, Eat, Pray, Love has influenced conflated concepts of romance and exoticism. “It has amazing beaches but the airfare is still high. However, once you get there it’s very cheap.”
On a more local front, Schmitt said, “the Riviera Maya is still a close, extremely romantic getaway—you get a lot for your money. People can stay in higher-end luxury properties and get pampered.”
Travelers should be sure to check out the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, 1.3 million acres of protected land boasting sweeping wetlands, lagoons and mangroves as well as 23 archeological sites with relics dating up to 2,300 years old. “It’s a really new experience down there in eco-tourism.”
Schmitt also suggested couples could try cave diving while in the Riviera Maya — but warned that it’s dangerous and requires a certification. For those that don’t thrive on adrenaline, cave swimming is an ideal alternative and just as beautiful.
“Most people combine lounging and adventure– I always recommend one day on and one day off, then you come home refreshed,” said Schmitt. “Enjoying an amazing view together gives you something to talk about forever.”
Huts in the village of Navala in the Nausori Highlands of Fiji.
The Hindu Mother Temple of Besakih in Bali
Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka'an in Riviera Maya
(All Photos Courtesy of Creative Commons)