Luring travelers with rich ecosystems, sparkling beaches, ancient civilizations, and stunning eco-lodges, Central American countries are well positioned to reap the gains from a growing crop of newlyweds choosing eco-friendly honeymoons. Says Irene Lane, president of Greenloons, whose focus is guiding travelers to sustainable vacations, “Nowadays there’s a whole new audience of couples who are uncovering and discovering new and healthy ways to celebrate their nuptials, relax and have fun while preserving the planet and even giving back.”
Cuddling in Costa Rica
In Central America, no country matches Costa Rica for the variety and quality of lodges offering eco-authentic experiences, and Lapa Rios Eco Lodge on the Osa Peninsula was a pioneer in offering environmentally friendly luxury and an upscale rainforest experience. Set on a 1,000-acre private rainforest reserve, it offers plenty of wildlife watching, with guests spotting scarlet macaws, toucans and howler monkeys without leaving the very large decks—overlooking ocean vistas—of their grand and secluded thatched-roof bungalows. For those who want to step beyond the pool or beach, there are rainforest hikes, ocean kayaking, horseback rides, and the resort’s Twigs, Pigs & Garbage sustainability tour.
In addition to accommodations, three meals daily and transfers from Puerto Jimenez airport, the lodge’s 4-night honeymoon package features a lunch in the rainforest; a boat ride in Golfo Dulce with a nature guide to point out sea turtles or pods of dolphins and whales; a beachside horseback ride; a candlelit dinner; and an invitation to plant a tree in the rainforest to commemorate their stay. Rates run $2,820-$4,005 pp.
Bliss in Belize
Combine the hemisphere’s longest barrier reef and the largest cave system in Central America with solid achievements in conservation, and what you get is a world-class eco-tourism destination named Belize. That’s complemented by romantic, earth-friendly resorts ideal for the eco-honeymooner. One of many examples is Belcampo Belize, tucked into the verdant hills above the Caribbean coast at Punta Gorda and occupying its own 12,000-acre nature reserve. This luxury resort offers the best in local food (most from its own organic farm) and culture (surrounded by Maya villages). At the heart of the lodge is Jungle Farm Restaurant, the Rum Bar, and Jungle Spa, as well as a pool and observation decks with stunning vistas. Sixteen spacious suites are appointed with locally crafted furniture, screened verandahs and spa-style bathrooms with floor-to-ceiling tropical rainforest views.
The Belcampo 8-night Honeymoon All-Inclusive Package features accommodations in a luxury Ridge Suite, all meals, airport transfers, and a full menu of activities, including birdwatching, river kayaking, a garden tour, a mixology course, a bar-to-bean chocolate-making workshop, half-day reef snorkeling, a sunset wine cruise, and two spa treatments. Priced from $4,320 pp.
Passion in Panama
Panama is rich in history, natural beauty and astounding biodiversity, and its Caribbean fantasy destination is the Bocas del Toro archipelago. Here you’ll find Punta Caracol Aqua Lodge, a perfect hideaway for romance, set in 150 acres of protected rainforest and mangrove reserve. Built on stilts over the sea—in the style of the native communities—with a dazzling coral reef below and totally solar powered, Caracol has nine split-level bungalows, featuring king-size beds and great views on the second level, plus on the sitting room level, decks with hammocks and platforms from which to slip directly into the turquoise sea.
Its 7-night Honeymoon at Punta Caracol package offers newlyweds (with a marriage certificate not more than six months old) accommodations with daily breakfast, use of snorkeling equipment and a cayuco boat, a candlelit supper, a boat tour through the mangroves, and day trips to surf or scuba, go beach-hopping or dolphin watching, or hike to visit the Ngobe-Bugle Indian community. Priced from $2,100.
Romance Goes Green
Greenloons’ 8-day Nicaragua Romantic Escape, priced from $2,900 pp, has couples following in the footsteps of a personal escort, who helps them discover the hidden gems of Granada, Lake Nicaragua and the wilderness while staying at luxury lodges such as Jicaro Island Ecolodge, a nature eco-resort sitting on a private island in Lake Nicaragua, and Morgan’s Rock Hacienda and Ecolodge on the shores of the Pacific. This escape is liberally sprinkled with horseback riding, kayaking, couples massages and candlelit dinners. This sort of honeymoon, says Greenloons’ Lane, is ideal for today’s honeymooners, as “modern couples are more conscious today about incorporating green elements into their lives, into their weddings, and they see a natural extension of that in their honeymoons, which should be unique adventures, but also trips that benefit the country they visit and don’t harm the planet. Couples want to connect with the people around them and the nature that surrounds them. They want meaningful experiences. Greenloons fulfills these hopes and expectations by offering vetted, unique travel experiences that immerse people in the local culture via culinary or artistic activities and in the local environment via access to top naturalist guides and environmentally conscious lodgings. greenloons.com