What are we doing for our 10th year on honeymoon? We’re going on a quest for the 10 most romantic and sustainable destinations in the world! 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 sustainability and romance are the perfect pair and we can’t wait to see where this next chapter takes us! If any countries, regions, hotels, tour operators, or outfitters come to mind, we would LOVE to hear them!
Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
First up on our year-long quest to find the most romantic and sustainable honeymoon destinations…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 this video to see how sexy sustainability can be.
Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
The country itself is a shoe-in for its progressive environmental policies, with 25% of their 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 it 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, no 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.
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 of 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. For the visual highlights see this IG Reel.