You’ve spent months mired in dress fittings, seating-chart decisions and color palette debates, all with the goal of creating a wedding that reflects your unique relationship. To ensure that your celebratory sojourn is just as suited to the two of you, let your dispositions guide you to the ultimate destination. As travel restrictions are easing, it's time to start planning a well-deserved vacation.
Animal Lovers: Have more fur babies than friends? Always break for cat videos? Costa Rica is crawling with critters big and small, adorable and ferocious, all living the pura vida in the eco-friendly nation’s lush jungles.
PLAY: There are several regions in Costa Rica that lure tourists, but Guanacaste, the northern region of the Nicoya Peninsula is a stand out boasting thermal pools, volcanic waterfalls (Sensoria), surfing, beach towns like Tamarindo and off-roading in Tomcars with Viva La Costa. Play animal bingo while cruising on the Tempisque River in Palo Verde National Park. Even when you least expect to see beasts—for instance, when learning how rum is made at the Sabandi distillery—animal friends have a way of dropping in, whether it’s a frog springing from the thatched roof or migrating birds resting in the surrounding wetlands.
STAY: Tucked into a 2,300-acre nature reserve, the W Costa Rica – Reserva Conchal is a wildlife paradise. Raccoons and coatis are frequent guests at the open-air restaurant. Join the iguanas basking in the sun by the pool and bar at Zona Azul Beach Club (the brand’s first beach club). The concept for the spa was inspired by Costa Rica’s 1,500 butterfly species, which can be seen fluttering throughout the resort’s landscaping. Enjoy the spa terrace’s plunge pool, with a flute of bubbly from the Champagne bar, while listening to the howler monkeys that live in the surrounding tree canopy. Play eye-spy on guided nature hikes or while snorkeling off the white sand beach.
Patrons of the Arts: Whether you create or appreciate, it’s easy to sketch an artful itinerary with a side of sunshine and sand on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao.
PLAY: This colorfully painted isle is home to an abundance of artists, many of whom invite visitors into their studios to create their own masterpieces. Paint like no one is watching with Serena Israel, the woman behind the iconic Chichi dolls; or with Omar Sling, an artist who works in several mediums and is well-known for his “KokoYoko” plaster rooster series. Once you finish your souvenir, take a street-art tour with muralist Garrick Marchena, who is credited with reviving the street-art scene, via tuk-tuk through downtown Willemstad, Otrobanda and Skálo. Andy Kirchner, aka “The Recycled Pirate,” is trying to save the environment one piece of found art at a time and he also offers classes.
STAY: At the secluded and peaceful beachfront Oasis Coral Estate Beach, Dive and Wellness Resort, Mother Nature has outdone herself with showstopping scenery. Find artistic inspiration from your cliffside porch by taking in the endless shades of blue, flocks of colorful birds and verdant vegetation. Experiencing some artist’s block? Release it with a massage at the 8, The Experience spa, a craft cocktail at the alfresco bar, Koraal Rooftop Terrace, or a dive arranged through the resort’s on-site dive shop, Coral Divers.
Galloping Gourmands: If the way to your heart is through your stomach, eat and drink your way through Western Australia.
PLAY: In Perth, recover from jet lag with a nap at the QT Perth hotel, a reinvigorating stroll through Kings Park and Botanic Garden and a superb meal at Wildflower planned around the indigenous six-season calendar. Hire a driver to transport you to the magical Margaret River region, the blue-chip wine country specializing in ultra-premium Cabernets and Chardonnays from wineries such as Vasse Felix. And there’s more than just wine, gin lovers can create a bespoke recipe at Margaret River Distilling Company’s Giniversity, identify native edibles on a bushwalk with Josh Whiteland of Koomal Dreaming (if you’re lucky he’ll play the didgeridoo inside an ancient cave) and sample fresh olive oil at Olio Bello. Make time in your agenda for a day trip to the Australian truffle capital of Manjimup, in the nearby Southern Forests region.
STAY: Set in a vineyard, Cape Lodge has 22 luxury lakeside rooms and suites stocked with locally roasted coffee and snacks. The restaurant is helmed by the award-winning yet down-to-earth surfing chef Tony Howell. Ask his kitchen to prepare a high-end picnic basket to take to Canal Rocks or on the breathtaking Cape to Cape Track. Even better, indulge in Howell’s French-influenced tasting menu or attend one of his cooking classes and bring new recipes to hone as a souvenir.
Travel Trendsetters: You like to do it all and, more importantly, first. Curitiba, a surprisingly cosmopolitan city is the next big destination in Brazil.
PLAY: The experts at SouthAmerica.travel take the guesswork out of your visit by designing a trip tailored to your tastes, duration and budget. The town’s must-sees include the architecturally amazing Oscar Niemeyer Museum; multiple parks, including one set in a reclaimed quarry; and a city market featuring stall after stall of fresh fruit. The surrounding area is up-and-coming wine country, and SouthAmerica.travel suggests booking one of the region’s top viticultural educators to escort you to tastings at wineries like Família Fardo. Travel by train (in a vintage railcar!) as it crosses the Brazilian rainforest Serra do Mar to the historical town of Morretes. The curved bridge shots taken along the way are Instagram gold.
STAY: In Curitiba, the indie boutique Nomaa Hotel is the way to go. Rooms are crisp and modern, with showers built for two. Start every day with fancy coffee and a hot breakfast buffet, and don’t forget to grab the complimentary “slippers,” which are a chic pair of Havaianas.
Water Babies: If a dose of vitamin “sea” is your cure-all, then soak it up on Kauai, the wettest place on the planet.
PLAY: This Hawaiian paradise is brimming with beautiful beaches and laid-back beach towns full of boutiques, where you can stock up on bikinis and board shorts. Take a helicopter ride to get a bird’s-eye view of the island’s many waterfalls. Or hike to one of the falls for a refreshing dip after paddling up river with Wailua Kayak Adventures. Pro tip: Book the morning paddle for less wind.
STAY: Steps from the beach, the Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort was reimagined, remodeled and upgraded last year to the tune of $28 million, and now includes a brand-new infinity edge pool complete with fire features and fountains. Borrow a bike to ride along the resort’s oceanfront trail and reward your efforts with a tiki drink at the outdoor bar, which, of course has views of the water.
Local Landscapes: Want to stay closer to home to celebrate your newlywed bliss? Luckily there is no shortage of top-notch resort options right in Minnesota. The Grand View Lodge offers sumptuous accommodation across several hundred acres, as well as luxe dining, spa and golf options for the ultimate in relaxation. At the Grand Superior Lodge, choose from a lodge room or a more private lake home to spend time in in between outings spent stargazing, birdwatching or biking. Also on the North Shore is Bluefin Bay, where you can take advantage of unmatched suites featuring fireplaces, whirlpool bathtubs and, of course, stunning views of Lake Superior. Finally, at Arrowwood Lodge at Brainerd Lakes, the focus is on fun. With ample recreational options, including sand volleyball, horseshoes and bocce ball, the adventurous couple will not find themselves bored at any point during their stay.