Where to Honeymoon in September, October or November?

It used to be, that the summer months were the most popular, but lately, couples are choosing more and more to get married during the fall months.

With September being peak hurricane season, many ask where should we honeymoon in September or October? Is it safe to travel to the Caribbean during hurricane season? What do we have to expect from hurrican season? And, are there any alternatives?

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Of course, choosing a destination has a lot to do with the time a couple has available as well as their budget. It also has something to do with what they ultimately want to experience.

Some couples aren’t worried about hurricanes and don’t mind a daily afternoon rain shower. That is mostly what you should expect during hurricane season. However, every now and then a hurricane forms and eventually takes one path or another.

Nowadays, hurricane tracking is fairly reliable and a hurricane’s path is predicted days before it actually happens. This can be both, great if indeed the hurrican takes a certain path and the chosen destination is affected, upsetting if you change your plans, only to find that the hurricane takes a different path or has weakened.

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The most important thing to have in this situation is solid travel insurance. If you have a “cancellation for covered reasons” policy, chances are that you are only covered if the hurricane hits. Meaning, that if the hurricane is supposed to hit tomorrow, but you are traveling today, you have no option to cancel because “fear of a hurricane” is usually not covered.  If you want to have the flexibility to decide not to go because you are worried a hurricane might affect your honeymoon, you need a so called “cancel for any reason” travel protection plan.

But, which Caribbean island to pick during hurricane season? If you want an all-inclusive experience, go with Jamaica, the Negril side to be precise. The island’s Blue Mountains offer a natural, protective barrier to the other side of the island. They also catch most of the rainfall. If an all-inclusive honeymoon isn’t on top of your list, pick one of the ABC Islands (Aruba, Curacao or Bonaire). These are usually out of the hurricane belt and less prone to stormy action.

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Whichever destination you choose in the Caribbean, or along the Pacific Coast, there never is a guarantee though. Weather patterns have been changing and are no longer as predictable as they once were.

For those who want to stay away from hurricanes altogether I suggest a trip to Europe. Fall in Europe is the best, and depending on where you go, you can still enjoy a beach vacation.

Here are some of my top choices:

IRELAND

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Great for nature lovers, couples on a tighter budget, couples afraid of long flights, and couples worried about language barriers.

How long does it take to get there? A quick 6- 7  hour flight from the East Coast will take you there.

ITALY

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Perfect for romantics, history buffs, art lovers, music lovers, food lovers… need I say more, the country screams amore and passion. Fall is less crowded, the weather mild, prices lower.

How long does it take to get there? Expect a little over 8 hours from the East Coast

GREECE

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For a laid back, sunny, island hopping experience. Sipping ouzo, nibbling on olives, watching a donkey go by. The perfect setting for a romantic, relaxing honeymoon. However, keep in mind that once October hits, many hotels, shops and even ferries shut down

How long does it take to get there? Expect a little over 10 hours from the East Coast

PORTUGAL

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Douro River – image courtesy of Viking River Cruises

For a romantic river cruise along the Duoro River where vineyards abound and harvest season is in full swing. Lisbon is also one of the most stunning cities in Europe!

How long does it take to get there? Expect a little over 6 hours from the East Coast

PARIS, LONDON & AMSTERDAM

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For a three city power pack cultural experience. Each unique, each worth a visit. Super easy to connect via high-speed trains. Track Royals in London and have High Tea at Kensington Palace, stroll book stalls along the Seine in Paris and enjoy dinner atop the Eiffel Tower, and ride a bike in Amsterdam and check out the Anne Frank museum.

How long does it take to get there? Expect between 6 – 7 hours from the East Coast, depending on which city you fly in and fly out of.

stefanie pichonnat aavtravel

 

Written by STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of  AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm, specialized in creating and customizing honeymoons. You can contact her at stefanie@aavromance.com

 

 

Loosing Track of Time at The Caves

A visit to The Caves resort was one of our highlights during the recent stay in Negril, Jamaica. This unique gem is perched above and built into Negril’s steep cliff and cave side.negril-pic1

A narrow road winds along the coast directing us to the resort, making it easy to miss the hidden entrance. A small light blue gate, just big enough for a mini-bus, is the only entrance at the resort, which is hidden behind walls. The driveway is so small that there is hardly enough space to turn your car. The lobby consists of a small, two-story building with a blue fenced in front porch; nothing fancy, just pure Jamaican country charm. It’s like arriving at a friend’s home.

As we arrive, the hotel sales executive was the first to provide us with a warm Jamaican greeting. Filled with pride and excitement, he escorted us on a small winding path to show us the highlights of the property. The stone path leads us through beautiful gardens, which guide us to a few unique cottages. We then approache Macka Tree; right below is a giant carved-out bluehole where visitors can jump into, at their own risk. The bluehole directs the swimmer to a cave that soon approaches the wide open Caribbean Sea.

As we move further, we walk towards the edge of the cliff that leads to a small spa. The spa is very discreet, but incredibly beautiful with remarkable service to satisfy your needs.

Our tour continues by walking along the cliff’s edge again. We climb down a steep staircase towards the cave structures. Small terraces approach, and lead us to the first cave that invites guests to lounge and sunbathe while viewing the ocean below. Inside the cave it was so peaceful and secluded that it felt like the property was yours. The first cave was designed for guests to dine in private. At night, the inside of the cave fills your sight with beautiful candles and the sound of waves crashing below.

The second cave is a Rum and Cigar bar; a unique feature to Negril, which again at night becomes lit with candles and small lights. The bar invites guests to lounge in relaxing benches and enjoy a large selection of different rums and cigars. A warm evening breeze sways through the cave as the peaceful sound of crashing waves encircle it.

The last cave was also unique. A hot tub is built into the cave and opens up to the sea through a window. From there you can watch the sunset and toast a glass of champagne.

The Caves Resort treats their guests as if they were family. It is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. Guests enjoy cooling off in the deep blue sea by either jumping or climbing down a ladder. An inviting small pool that is above sea level allows visitors to relax while overlooking the breathtaking view of the ocean. Guests enjoy participating in snorkeling and kayaking, a favorite pastime activity at the Caves. There is also a variety of food to choose from that is cooked to your liking.

Feel free to check out the pictures we took during our visit! The Caves can be a wonderful option for a honeymoon, relaxing getaway, or a destination wedding.

Review – Romantic Getaway to Couples San Souci, Jamaica

Mid April 2009 my husband and I were treated to 3 incredibly romantic nights at Couples Sans Souci in Ocho Rios. “Sans Souci” is French and when translated into English means “Without a Care” or “No worries” which is a cute way to refer to Jamaica’s famous tag line.

Sans Souci is a very special resort in that it is built around a mineral spring said to have healing powers. From the turn of the century, people from the small fishing village of Ocho Rios would congregate on Sundays, lining up for the whole day, to take their 15 – 20 minute turn in the mineral spring which is particularly good for rheumatism, arthritis, and skin problems. Nowadays you have the possibility to bath in these healing waters during a stay at Couples Sans Souci.

Ocho Rios has a very rugged coastline with rocky hillsides and small bays. Sans Souci was originally built along the hillside running down to the mineral springs. It was setup to become one of the Caribbean’s most luxurious beach-side complexes. In 1966 the property was bought by a Bermudian who was truly impressed by the “tropical beauty” of the place. On viewing the site with its steep elevation, Mr. Ward, the architect, remarked that it was an “exciting challenge” to his architectural skill. This was the beginning of Sans Souci, which as such opened its doors in 1984.

Today Sans Souci is a truly unique property which embraces its history. You can feel the love the different owners had for this place.

In 2005 Couples resorts bought Sans Souci, the Jewel of the Caribbean, situated on a high bluff of land. The property entails approximately 35 acres with terraced gardens leading down to the Spa. At the west end of the property within a small bay is a 400 foot sand beach.

Couples Swept Away
The resort is just off the main road so no long driveways or anything alike. You check-in at a desk in the lobby area where you also find the tour desk and the resort concierge. Check-in is fairly painless but the fun starts when the bellman tells you how to find your room. Sans Souci is small but pretty complicated and you can easily get lost within the small walkways (particularly on the day of your arrival).

We were allocated a suite in the D block which sits high on a bluff. We really enjoyed our suite which was large with absolutely gorgeous views. The most unusual feature was the shower which after having stayed there for a couple of days is still a mystery to me. I guess some people just have more imagination than others.

We arrived fairly late in the afternoon and we quickly learned that it wasn’t all that easy to get reservations at one of the specialty restaurants. We ended up getting a late reservation at the beach restaurant which serves Caribbean inspired fare. The setting was really gorgeous. Right at the beach, the tree lighted with small lights – it couldn’t have been more perfect. The food was very good and it was interesting to discover the different tasting foods.

The next day we signed up for snorkeling which was no problem at all. The site we stopped at was fine but for someone who snorkeled the Great Barrier reef it wasn’t all that exciting. Other people on the boat told us that they sometimes take you to see a wreck which is pretty interesting.

Couples Sans Souci also has a great spa with very cute spa huts that are really romantic for couples massages… Since our time was limited I only tried a facial and it was very nice.

That evening we dined outside on the hilltop terrace at the Italian restaurant which turned out to be more Caribbean than Italian really. Again, the food was great and the setting truly romantic.

Nighttime entertainment is fun but it is by no means a party resort. It’s all about celebrating your love, rekindle the romance…some fun games, karaoke and a lot of cuddly dancing.

Our last day they organized the Gala Dinner which they do once a week. They spend the whole day setting up tables, food stations, decorating… just for an evening. The buffet and selection was great and it was nice interacting with other guests. For those who did not like to socialize the only other option available was room service, which by the way is available 24 hours a day and included.

Couples Sans Souci is a great resort if you are looking for a romantic place, something unusual with a Caribbean feel.