sustainable honeymoon destinations

What are we doing for our 10th year on honeymoon? We’re going on a quest for the world’s most romantic and sustainable destinations! Places that aren’t just trying to be green, but those who’ve made it their compass. Tourism that actively makes the surrounding environment and communities stronger, all while inspiring their guests to do the same. We know romance and sustainability are the perfect pair and we can’t wait to see where this next chapter takes us. See our highly coveted destinations thus far…

Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

romantic and sustainable destinations

The country itself is a shoo-in for its progressive environmental policies, with 25% of its land protected as nature reserves, 53% of the country covered in forest (after a decades-long reforestation effort) and 99% renewable energy. Costa Rica is full of gorgeous beaches, volcanoes, rainforests, and swank resorts that could fit the bill for a sustainable honeymoon destination, but none more than the Osa Peninsula.

National Geographic ranked Osa in the top five most romantic destinations in the world, and with 2.5%of the Earth’s biodiversity (in less than one-thousandth of a percent of its total surface area), they also called it “the most biologically intense place on Earth.” It’s the most significant wetland ecosystem and mangrove forests in Central America and the largest remaining tract of lowland rainforest in Pacific Mesoamerica, not to mention gorgeous beaches…count us in! We spent a week in this magical corner of southwestern Costa Rica…hiking, birding, kayaking, swimming, and meeting the stewards helping make Osa such a dream destination. Read on for our Osa Peninsula sustainable travel guide and plan your getaway.
 
Watch our Osa video to see this magical place come to life.
 

Slovenia

Slovenia one the world's most romantic and sustainable destintations

The first country to be declared a “green destination” and the only one with “love” in its name, Slovenia was a shoo-in for our HoneyTrek list, but of course, we had to find out for ourselves! So we rented an electric vehicle to explore the alpine peaks, Adriatic Sea, wine country, historic villages, and culinary scene around this tiny European nation with a whole lot of heart. See all our Slovenia adventures, in our Instagram Highlight Reel and our full destination guide. And don’t miss one of our favorite experiences of the trip in the video below.

slovenia honeymoon

The Kingdom of Bhutan

Tiger's Nest Bhutan

A Himalayan Kingdom that has only been open to the outside world since 1974, and a country that measures success by Gross National Happiness, Bhutan has always fascinated us. Adding to the intrigue of “The Land of the Thunder Dragon,” they took pandemic precautions to a new level and closed their borders for the last 2.5 years. The country finally opened to visitors on September 23rd, 2022…but through a series of governmental hoops and a stroke of magic, we were invited in early to help show that Bhutan is back and better than ever.

During the 916 days without visitors, the kingdom took that quiet time to polish every facet of its tourism sector, including countrywide hotel renovations, transportation improvements, and personnel training. They also furthered their commitment to being a carbon-negative country with a slew of new sustainability initiatives—from an electric taxi fleet to the Million Tree Project.

It was an incredible honor to be among the first travelers to experience the “New Bhutan” and cover the story for Travel & Leisure, and now (in juicier detail) for our HoneyTrek fans. From trekking to the famous Tiger’s Nest to flying in the cockpit over Mount Everest, joining a mask dance festival, glamping at 12,000 feet, river rafting past 17th-century fortresses, sleeping in Buddhist temples, planting trees, to sharing tea with nomadic cow herders, we’ve got a lot to share in our Bhutan travel guide.

See our Bhutan highlights from the capital of Thimphu to Tiger’s Nest in our Instagram Reel.

Rwanda: The Heart of Africa

The Land of a Thousand Hills, home of the mountain gorillas, and the “Heart of Africa,” Rwanda has long captured our imagination. We featured the country in our National Geographic book, even though it was one of the few we hadn’t visited yet, because we knew their remarkable story deserved a spot in Ultimate Journeys for Two. This tiny central-east African nation, once decimated by genocide, has transformed itself into a leader in conservation, gender equality, economic development, and sustainable tourism.

And there is no event that showcases Rwanda’s success and zest for life like Kwita Izina, the Baby Gorilla Naming Ceremony. This 60,000 person event celebrates the newborns of this critically endangered species and takes the opportunity to thank the local communities that support Volcanoes National Park & Biosphere with a massive party of top bands, traditional dancers, and A-list celebrities…and we were so honored to get the invite! We love the way Rwanda incorporates locals into their model of tourism and conservation.  For example, ten percent of all the national park proceeds go back to the surrounding villages in the form of schools, health clinics, wells, roads, and more community improvement projects! This move has massively decreased illegal activities, like poaching and deforestation, because locals know that if they look after the park, it will look after them.

After exploring all four of Rwanda’s national parks, their African Great Lake, tea country, and heart-warming villages, we’re excited to share our favorite places and why you have to add this African nation your bucket list.

Visiting Rwanda

Tetiaroa, French Polynesia

For centuries, this gorgeous atoll north of Tahiti was a sacred meeting ground for Polynesian royalty. In the 1960s, Marlon Brando came to these coral islets to film Mutiny on the Bounty, fell in love with his leading lady, and made Tetiaroa their home. They had a dream to use tourism, science, and the local community to preserve the island. Decades later, that has been fulfilled by The Brando Resort & the Tetiaroa Society environmental and cultural nonprofit. The Society’s projects, from green sea turtle conservation to The Blue Climate Initiative (a UN Ocean Decade project), are 70% funded by the resort and furthered by visiting researchers from around the world.

Though sustainability is probably not the main reason Kim Kardashian or Leo DiCaprio stayed here. It’s a private island and one of the most luxurious resorts in the world, with ocean-view villas, personal infinity pools, a lavish spa, gourmet cuisine, and five-star service. And all that decadence is supported by solar power, seawater air conditioning, a permaculture garden, extensive recycling, and French Polynesia‘s first LEED-Platinum construction. To understand both sides of this gold coin, we spent two days working alongside the researchers at the Tetiaroa Society and two more living the luxe life at The Brando. Both were equally inspiring and the combination took our breath away.


 Watch our video from our stay on Tetiaroa and see to see how sexy sustainability can be.

Dodecanese Islands, Greece

As a nation, Greece is majorly stepping up its eco-consciousness with a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, and this South Aegean archipelago is leading the charge! From Astypalea, who’s swapping out two-thirds of their gas-guzzling cars for EVs, to Chalki & Tilos running entirely on renewable energy, the Dodecanese Islands are keeping Mother Nature healthy and oh-so-beautiful!

We spent three weeks exploring the islands of Rhodes, Chalki, and Karpathos. Kayaking to ancient ruins, scuba diving with schools of tuna, taking cooking classes in traditional villages, staying in 5-star Green Key hotels, we fell in love with these stunning Dodecanese islands! Though we weren’t just on holiday, we were also meeting with government officials, volunteering with nonprofits, and speaking with tourism operators on the ground to learn about their hurdles to sustainability and the solutions in the works. The Greek economy has long been tied to tourism, with the idea that more is better, but now these islands are reframing the definition of success with quality over quantity. Smart, stunning, and so much fun.

Read all about the Best Islands in the Dodecanese, Greece: 6 Stunning & Sustainable Greek Getaways and see more videos and photos from our island-hopping adventure in our Greece Instagram Highlight Reel.

Eco-Resort Spotlight: Playa Viva, Mexico

Treehouse glamping Mexico

Part turtle sanctuary, part permaculture farm, part luxury resort, and 100% off-grid, Playa Viva in Juluchuca, Mexico is not just thinking about the well-being of its guests, but that of future generations. We found out about this forward-thinking eco-lodge while researching the “Conservation” chapter of our glamping book, Comfortably Wild, and recently had the chance to spend a few nights in their incredible treehouse along the Costa Grande of Guerrero, Mexico. We fell deeper in love with Playa Viva and know you will too.

Watch this video above from our Playa Viva stay and read the full blog about our stay at one of the world’s most romantic and sustainable hotels.

Reader’s Choice

This is an ever-growing list of the world’s most romantic and sustainable destinations…stay tuned for what’s next on HoneyTrek’s Instagram. Have a truly green region, hotel, tour operator, or outfitter that comes to mind? We would LOVE to hear about them!

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20 Comments

  1. What a cool idea guys. Couldn’t imagine a better couple to put this list together. What destinations do you have coming next?

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Janette! We have been wanting to compile this list for a long time…so here we go. Oh wow, can’t tell you all the spots we have coming up…but we can tell you that the next one up is Slovenia (and we are currently sharing those stories on Instagram + Facebook + TikTok + Twitter…so come say hello @HoneyTrek across all those platforms)

  2. I have wanted to go to Tetiaroa, French Polynesia, since hearing about it a couple years ago! HOW STUNNING! Those turquoise waters and private villas look hard to beat, and its wonderful to hear that its so sustainable too! I love that you took the time to both relax and learn along researchers there. Thank you so much sharing- I’m moving it further up on my bucket list now. 🙂
    Also, I just found your blog and am so glad I did! I love that you’ve been on a 10 year honeymoon. You have so much wisdom to share!

    1. Thanks for your sweet comment! We’ve learned a ton honeymooning for 10 years and we’re so excited to take that knowledge and use it help people travel more sustainably. And Tetiaroa…OMG it will blow your mind. Pricey but so worth it. Make sure to spend time at the Eco-station, their ongoing research projects are fascinating.

  3. Honeymoon or anniversary, these 3 locations are great options for any couples’ travel destinations. I love the turquoise water of the French Polynesia, the rainforest of Costa Rica and the historical sites in Bhutan.

    1. So glad you agree Bhutan, Costa Rica, and Bhutan are fabulous and this list keeps growing…we just added Slovenia which is absolutely incredible too!

  4. What a great way to spend your 10th year. You certainly have some amazing romantic and sustainable places on your list. French Polynesia is high on our list. And love that the decadence includes real sustainability measures. I was not surprised to see Costa Rica on your list since I have heard such good things about their environmental focus. Those two are on our list for sure.

    1. Exactly, romantic can still be sustainable! Costa Rica and French Polynesia are great choices for your upcoming trips 🙂

  5. Such an amazing way to celebrate your 10th year! These locations are surely fabulous for a romantic getaway. My boyfriend and I have Bhutan on the list, and we hope to visit it next year. Glamping at 12,000 feet and river rafting sound wonderful! I also checked your Bhutan travel guide and got lots of useful tips too.

    1. That’s fantastic you are considering going to Bhutan in the coming year with your boyfriend. You two will absolutely adore it!

  6. Wow, what a fantastic story that you have been on your honeymoon for ten years and are still discovering beautiful places. Very inspiring! Your list of romantic places is incredible. My biggest dream from this list is to visit the Kingdom of Bhutan. It is tough to get to this happiest kingdom in the world. It’s great that you provide details on how to organize a trip. Incredibly, the country was closed to the world for 916 days. I would love to visit also Costa Rica, as I love nature, the jungle, and tucans.

  7. I want to head to Bhutan as soon as possible. Impressed on how they used the Covid closure time to renovate, polish and streamline everything in the tourism sector. I’m impressed by their sustainability initiatives from the electric taxi fleet to the Million Tree Project. Glamping at 12,000 feet and sleeping in Buddhist monasteries? I need to visit Bhutan asap….sounds amazing!

  8. This is a great list! French Polynesia is indeed one of the most romantic destinations. It’s a paradise. I am also happy to learn more about their sustainability efforts. Kudos to the people behind it. This can serve as a model for other tourist destinations.

    1. French Polynesia is sooo dreamy and Tetiaroa is truly using its pristine landscape and research institution as a model for other destinations.

  9. Bhutan’s focus on Gross National Happiness and its dedication to being a carbon-negative country is truly remarkable.

    1. so many countries have the wrong priorities…we could all learn from Bhutan!

  10. Really this article very cool and awesome also location looks so great.

  11. Pairing romance with sustainability is the best way to refresh one’s heart, soul, and body, as well as
    do good for the chosen destination. I like all the destinations selected where romance and
    sustainability coexist.

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