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Vacation Ideas

My husband and I have been together for about six years now, and are finally in a position to take a Honeymoon...(capital H intended). We've been investigating all-inclusive Caribbean resorts, but I'm a little afraid of a week of hotel food. Anybody have a Chowhound-worthy vacation idea? Something high on the relaxing and eating and low on the chicken fingers with boxed strawberry daiquiri mix?

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  1. Paris!
    Free yourself of the pressure to see all the sights and just enjoy the food.

    1. Why not a free, book your own way stay in the Dominican Republic? Beaches, food, not all that touristy, capital H... Other places you might think about: Rome, Oaxaca, Puebla, Trinidad, Aruba, Mauritius, Reunion, Hue...

      1. long ago i went to a few of those resorts. the food and beverage options are pretty bad, but the activities are great -- waterskiing, paragliding, snorkeling etc. if you want to explore local foods (sounds like you want beachy) i'd pass on the all-inclusive places. and my experience at the carribean resorts was TERRIBLE service.

        to sam's answer, i'd add book your own to canary islands or seville. (you can take a quick side trip to morrocco from there too!)

        1. We went to Vieques,a small unspoiled island a few miles off the coast of Puerto Rico and found the place to be charming and food quite good. It was a military bombing area for the US until about 5 years ago so still not overrun with tourists- but you will see wild horses running around. Quite a few nice restaurants. Stayed at the Inn on the Blue Horizon- a beautiful old hotel with excellent restaurant- just heard on tv today that it is still $150 per night. There is a bay there where you swim or kayak at night and the water is bioluminscent.
          A number of years ago ( about 15) we stayed in the Samana Peninsula on the Dominican Republic at a little hotel called the Tropic Banana- at the time $30 per night. with excellent restaurant, miles of empty beaches and quite a few choices of other restaurants. Was owned by a couple from PAris. Very very basic accomodations but good food.
          For another fun inexpensive place with great food look at Maho Bay in St. John. Maho Bay has all kinds of accomodations from tents to ecocabins in a beautiful wildlife preserve with excellent beaches. St. John is a real foodie paradise.
          Wherever you go have fun- these ideas are really offbeat.
          PS If you want to go the all inclusive route we once stayed at Swept Away in Jamaica and the food was quite good- our son went there on his honeymoon and also enjoyed.

          1. I think the best honeymoon-quality Caribbean destinations where you don't need a machete and that have the best range of good restaurants are St. Martin/een, Turks & Caicos (Provo), and Playa del Carmen.

            1. If you have saved up *a lot* of bucks, I think Little Palm Island would be a perfect honeymoon spot. Excellent cuisine. Superb accommodations. Totally relaxing.


              1. Greece! So romantic, old world charm, stunning vistas,and the foooooddd!

                1. i think food suffers at all-inclusives. despite that, they are still typically good values. i personally prefer to just find a home base (hotel, pension, gasthaus, etc) and really enjoy finding cute places around town.... not sure if that is the bast advice for some islands/countries. fwiw- we did 2 weeks at 2 different all-inclusive resorts on jamaica for our HM

                  if i were to do it again:
                  south of france- might be a nice balance for you two (tropical feel, french food)
                  cozumel or playa del carmen

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: alpine chef

                    For Hawaii, I think it depends on the Island and your approach. The food on the Big Island isn't that wonderful, with only a few exceptions. I think most of the good restaurants, and certainly the diversity, are on Oahu. OTOH, if you want to cook, the Big Island is great (wonderful ingredients and seafood). I did my honeymoon on the Big Island, but with kitchens everywhere we stayed except two nights at the Four Seasons (which is just the right amount of time to try their two restaurants....)

                    One of the reasons that we chose Hawaii was that the wedding was also there. And hubby isn't that fond of dining out anyway. Nor was food what we wanted most out of that particular vacation. That said, personally, if food were the primary desired element of a Honeymoon, I'd go to Paris!

                  2. A couple of people have mentioned Playa del Carmen. Unless you're specifically interested in a lot of night life, I'd recommend heading a bit further south to the Akumal to Tulum area. For the past five or six years I've rented a villa right on the beach for a helluva lot less money than you'd think. And many of the villas have caretakers who will do the cooking for you if you'd like. It's not only great to be able to go shopping with them, but to be able to spend time with them while they prepare the meal. The food is often fairly simple local specialties, but in my experience it's always been very good. And there are some good restaurants in the area, too, on those nights when you're just not up for drinking margaritas in the moonlight on your own private beach.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JoanN

                      I totally concur on the Akumal recommendation. Beaches are awesome and there are a ton of places for eats. There's a guy from Tulsa that runs a website and books a lot of the smaller places. www.bill-in-tulsa.com is where to go. He's got a message board there (he's thinking of discontinuing it due to spammers) that you can browse for recommendations.

                      Highly recommend it. We've stayed there several times but went the AI route because it was cheaper overall. It's a bit too crowded for us now but I love the area!

                    2. i'd charter a sailboat in saint lucia (marigot bay) and let the trade winds do their ec magic. can't sail? no worries, hire a skipper. very inexpensive. very romantic.

                      1. I enjoyed Puerto Rico. The beaches are beautiful and not crowded (at least when I was there) and it's close. And unlike Jamaica even at the resort hotels you get to mingle with actual Puerto Ricans and not just Brits and mainland Americans. Note: In Jamaica at Breezes the only Jamaicans I had an opportunity to converse with were either serving me a drink or cleaning my room. Furthermore in Puerto Rico the food is wonderful although there are more than one or two chain here and there. Another interesting aspect was when I visited an Irish pub in San Juan. We were the only mainlanders in the place yet it seemed like we could have been in Boston or Baltimore. Beers, baseball caps, and a rock band yet all in Spanish; the band, patrons, etc. My idea of Puerto Rican nightlife consisting of salsa, maranga or cha, cha, cha were blown out of the water. Some parts are a little edgy but to me that makes it authentic (what real city isn't a little edgy?)

                        1. not sure if you are just requesting carribean options but I had just about the best vacation of my life in Barcelona. The food was fantastic! You really get to eat all day long mixed in with walking. Beautiful city.

                          1. Anguilla in the Lesser Antilles regularly appears in the "Hidden Treasures of the Caribbean" features in both food and travel mags, both for its exquisite white coral beaches and its unbelievably delicious food, both street food and four-star resort (like Cuisinart).

                            1. I found this on an Anguilla search, and I'm not sure why. BUT from a food and mellow standpoint, I would strongly recommend this island. While definitely not cheap, and definitely no all-inclusives in sight, its an amazing place to kick back, relax with a book and your one true love and eat the best meals you've had in the Caribbean for a long time We've enjoyed Tasty's, Hibernia, E's Oven and a few lunch joints and have been very happy with the results (as long as you have patience for the service - island time, after all). Meals to come will include Blanchards, Straw Hat and Trattoria Tramonto. We're staying at the Carimar, which is very reasonable for Anguilla and on a beautiful beach. To boot, you're right next the Malliouhana, and you can mooch off their (pricey) spa for a belatad-honeymoon treat.

                              Enjoy wherever you end up -

                              1. IMO, Italy is the way to go. Take some of the most unbeleivable food on the planet and add it to the scenery and you've got an unforgetable experience.

                                1. I know we are beginning to talk about going to Italy and just going from small village to small village, working on our Italian, eating a rediculous amount of lardo and drinking way too much wine.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: jpschust

                                    ipschust, If you go, do not miss Bucca Di San Antonio in Lucca. Amazing. Owned and operated by the same family for over 500 years. In all my Chowhound travels, I've never had a better food experience. Remarkably, it's not expensive. Lucca itself is ancient and charming and the locals are very friendly.

                                  2. Sonoma. Food, wine and relaxation. If you can, go in September during crush season! Stay at the Fairmont Mission Inn and roast marshmallows/smores by the fire pit and enjoy your wine there while meeting strangers chatting the night away. We'll see you there LOL!

                                    I am not a fan of Paris, as some have mentioned. I find the people quite nicer and the food quite superior in Belgium. Plus, it's a lovely country! One of my favorites! Plus, you can easily take the train into Amsterdam or Paris, Germany, etc. if you wanted to experience other places.

                                    1. I believe Hawaii is the way to go, it is paradise...., but keep in mind I am a "spoiled American". I have traveled to Europe, the carribean, and throughout the U.S, and prefer the U.S. to anywhere in the world

                                      We stayed in Waikiki, but could have stayed on any of the islands. We heard Maui was nice, but it did not offer all the dining choices Waikiki, and Honolulu offered. So we went with Oahu. For our 10 day honeymoon we didnt eat at the same place, or the same item twice(other than crab legs to which I am addicted.).

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: swsidejim

                                        I would agree. We enjoyed fabulous food and wine everywhere we ate in Maui and Kona. Especially if you like unique fish and food with an asian flair, Hawaii was filled with top notch food. I am now a huge fan of ginger crusted opakapaka.

                                      2. Thailand! It's no more expensive to fly to Bangkok than it is to fly to Hawaii, and once you get there, you can live and eat very well for a lot less money than other places. And the food is AMAZING.

                                        1. Hawaii and Thailand are both wonderful but I got the impression that the OP was not wallowing in $$$ The plane fare alone is $$$$$$$$$. Hawaii, while fabulous and has great food, is extremely expensive. Have travelled all over Hawaii and Maui is our favorite but boy oh boy is it expensive!! My choice- Vieques, and especially the Inn on the Blue Horizon, will cost half of what if would cost to go to HAwaii. If you have the money, Hawaii is paradise on earth!

                                          1. I would concur with Hawaii. Depending on what area of the country you are flying from, fares can be quite reasonable. I go every year in January to a different island-having made my 8th trip this year. I love it there and never get tired of it. I'd recommend Kauai and Maui-especially during whale season. Oahu is lovely, but not the "relaxation" state of mind I 'd think of for "honeymooners." The Big Island is wonderful, but not enough to do. Molokai and Lanai also lovely, but not much to do at all either. Then again, if you don't want much to do, Lanai has some great resorts. I certainly didn't mind being on the beach at the Four Seasons watching the spinner dolphins doing their dances. WONDERFUL foods in Hawaii. Paradise with no passport required.