Honeymoon Destinations in December
Where to go on Honeymoon in December
By Jane Anderson, Editor of 101 Honeymoons
December is such a romantic month for a wedding but you need to put some thought into where to go on honeymoon. If you want warm sunny weather, your short haul options are severely limited to destinations such as the Canaries, Madeira and Egypt – all within five hours flying time.
If you are prepared to fly long haul, the world is your oyster. The Caribbean and Southern Africa are enjoying fabulous weather in December, and there are other great options from South East Asia and India to the paradise islands of the Maldives.
You might also consider heading north to a snowbound wilderness and a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Caribbean Honeymoons in December
December is one of the best months of the year to visit the Caribbean – the hurricane season has blown over to be replaced by long sunny days, low humidity and cooling breezes. Typically, you can expect temperatures of 29ºC and an average 8 hours of daily sunshine. But – here’s the real bonus – if you travel before the start of the school holidays you’ll avoid peak season flight and hotel prices.
It’s a mistake to think of the Caribbean as one single destination: there are different types of islands for different types of honeymooner. Do you want a remote hideaway or a buzzing hotel surrounded by hip restaurants? Are you interested in local culture, or just a perfect hotel on a white sand beach?
The Dominican Republic is great value. As a destination it’s much under-rated, with lush rainforest, a vibrant local culture and beautiful beaches. Although it’s known for its all-inclusive hotels (many of which are excellent), the Dominican Republic has some luxury boutique hotels too. I recommend Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana as a great value, high quality all-inclusive option.
Barbados is an exciting place to stay in December, though it’s pricey over Christmas and New Year, when the restaurants are busy and partying is guaranteed. If you want splendid isolation, go for The Atlantis on the quiet east coast. With only 10 rooms and suites, it is one of the island’s oldest hotels, immaculately restored, and one of a great collection of small hotels and resorts in the Caribbean.
Cuba is excellent value for money and a great choice if you want a spicy cultural experience combined with relaxing beach time. It’s also a good time to visit, before the inevitable changes that will follow the relaxing of travel restrictions for US citizens. For a few days of Hemingway-inspired partying in the capital Havana – think mojitos, salsa clubs and cigar factories – stay at the historic Hotel Saratoga, then escape to adults-only Royalton Cayo Santa Maria.
St Lucia is arguably the most beautiful of the larger Caribbean islands. Hidden amongst the forested hills and colonial plantations are some exquisite beachfront hotels including Jade Mountain and its less expensive (but equally beautiful) sister hotel, Anse Chastanet.
Jamaica is another popular honeymoon destination, combining friendly people, a buzzing local culture and numerous beauty spots. If you want to go all-inclusive, head to the adults-only Sandals Grande Riviera Beach in Ocho Rios, which has butler service and a funky beach club. For something more intimate, I recommend Jamaica Inn, an elegant boutique hotel dating back to the 1950s where each suite looks out over a secluded beach.
If you really want to get away from it all, I suggest you head out to the sun-bleached British territory of Anguilla – a perfect coral island a short flight from Antigua. It has 33 pristine beaches and stunning hotels including Cap Juluca and the Four Seasons.
For an authentic Caribbean experience on a budget, see this superb collection of B&Bs, guest houses and small hotels such as Fond Doux Estate on a working cocoa plantation in St Lucia and Petite Anse in Grenada. See more ideas.
Steer clear of the Bahamas and Bermuda in December – they will be a touch too cold.
Another great option for a Caribbean honeymoon is a luxury cruise. Avoid the pile-’em-high cheap ships sailing out of Miami and instead book a cabin on a small luxury cruise ship such as the SeaDream Yacht Club or Seabourn, where crew outnumber guests by two to one and all the cabins are suites with a private balcony. Details from The Luxury Cruise Company.
For some old-school romance, you could go cruising with Star Clippers which has a small fleet of traditional sailing ships that are able to visit smaller ports of call that the larger vessels can’t reach.
If you love nature and want a bit of an adventure, Costa Rica offers a great combination of rainforest, national parks, volcanoes, surf beaches and amazing wildlife. This two-week Costa Rica self-drive takes in most of the key sights, but if your budget is tight this 11-night Value Costa Rica tour is a real snip from just £1,250 per person including flights. Expect 24ºC temperatures and 7 hours of sunshine.
Also in Central America, I love this two-week twin-centre honeymoon in Guatemala and Belize. It’s a perfect combination of adventure, natural wonders and dreamy beach with stays at Francis Ford Coppola’s La Lancha Lodge and the chic Matachica Beach Resort on the Caribbean coast.
December Honeymoons in Asia
In the depths of the British winter, much of Asia is experiencing gorgeous weather in December. Perhaps more than anywhere else in the world you have a huge choice of destinations and types of honeymoon. You can crash on a beach for a fortnight, explore vibrant cities, venture out into the countryside – or do a combination of all three.
Bali is popular with honeymooners in December for its fascinating and colourful culture and great value local cuisine. Although this is technically the wet season you can expect 30ºC temperatures and 8 hours of sunshine, with just a few short sharp showers. My top hotel picks include Puri Ganesha, a laid-back luxury hideaway in the north of the island, COMO Shambhala Estate in Ubud, the great-value Gajah Mina Beach Resort on a surf beach in the south-west, and the gorgeous Spa Village Resort Tembok Bali. See more honeymoon hotels in Bali.
For couples that like a taste of adventure, how about Vietnam. From the buzzing streets of Saigon (31ºC and 4 hours of sunshine) to a lazy river cruise on the Mekong, you’ll be staggered by the richness of the culture, the quality of the food and the beauty of the landscape. This Ultimate Vietnam trip is one of the most popular private tours for honeymooners, taking in Saigon, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, the Mekong Delta and Halong Bay. For a more relaxed itinerary, try Luxury Saigon, Mekong and Beach, focusing on the south of the country.
Or how about Cambodia where you’ll be wowed by the jungle-clad temples of Angkor Wat. You can walk with elephants, stay on a floating river lodge and immerse yourselves in the café society of Phnom Penh (30ºC, 9 hours of sunshine).
The west coast of Thailand is lovely in December with fantastic honeymoon hideaways like the Sarojin on a fabulous beach near Phuket, though you should avoid the Gulf coast (Hua Hin, for example) and islands such as Koh Samui which are generally wet at this time of year. Phuket is perfect: 31ºC and 8 hours of sunshine.
India is a truly magical destination for a honeymoon. Visit this website for inspiration, or see this selection of luxury honeymoons to India. You could take a 14-day Classic Rajasthan private tour or combine spectacular hotels such as Oberoi UdaiVilas on the banks of Lake Pichola and Leela Goa on a perfect white sand beach. It’s high season in Goa: 33ºC and 10 hours of daily sun.
In the south of India, Kerala has just come out of its monsoon season and offers 31ºC and 7 hours of sunshine. Spend time on a rice boat drifting along the backwaters, stay in colonial hill stations and discover amazing beaches. See this private honeymoon tour in Kerala.
Africa and the Indian Ocean
There are few honeymoon destinations more beguiling than The Maldives where each hotel occupies its own private island set amidst turquoise lagoons and deep blue seas. It really is more beautiful than any photograph can convey.
December marks the start of the dry season in the Maldives (it runs until April) with 30ºC temperatures and 7 hours of daily sun. You’ll find everything from overwater villas to underwater spas to tempt you here.
Going all-inclusive in the Maldives makes a lot of sense, and one of the most popular all-inclusive hotels is the four-star Kuredu Island Resort which has miles of white sand beach, two pools, four restaurants and a great reef for diving and snorkelling. Seven nights start at £1,539 per person including flights.
NIYAMA Maldives is another exciting luxury resort. It offers 87 beach and water studios and pavilions – most with private pools – on two secluded islands. You can also opt to spend a night at sea in a luxuriously-fitted Maldivian sail boat, complete with personal chef and butler.
Many honeymooners choose to combine the Maldives with a cultural trip to Sri Lanka on a twin-centre honeymoon. You can also get married in Sri Lanka (30ºC, 7 hours of sunshine) followed by a lazy honeymoon in the Maldives, only an hour’s flying time away. See more honeymoon ideas in Sri Lanka. (Note: you can’t get married in the Maldives, because the country is Muslim).
December is also a great time to visit the Seychelles (29ºC and 6 hours of sunshine). Here you have a choice of a luxury hotel on the main islands of Mahé or Praslin, or staying at a remote barefoot island resort such as Denis Private Island. Better still, combine the two with a short flight.
The Indian Ocean combines easily with southern Africa – for example, South Africa and Mauritius or Tanzania and Zanzibar. The combination of safari and beach is another winner in December. Or how about spending some time in Cape Town (25ºC, 11 hours of sunshine) before heading off on safari?
For a high-end luxury safari it’s hard to beat Botswana (32ºC, 8 hours of sunshine) – it is home to some of Africa’s most romantic camps. Kenya is a little more affordable and you’ll find some gorgeous places to stay such as Elsa’s Kopje in the Meru National Park and Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp close to the Masai Mara. See my selection of the best safari honeymoons in Africa.
More Long Haul Honeymoon Ideas
If you want to indulge and don’t want to fly a long way for your guaranteed sunshine, Dubai is a great option – it’s 6 hours flying time from the UK and promises 26ºC and 8 hours of sunshine in December. I recommend The One&Only Royal Mirage – one of Dubai’s more intimate luxury hotels – and the JA Palm Tree Court which offers all-inclusive prices with five-star standards.
Florida is a perfect choice if you fancy a fly-drive honeymoon: combine the glitz and style of Miami with the Keys and the pretty Gulf Coast. Stay on the ever-fashionable South Beach before chilling out at the Ocean Key Resort & Spa or the South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island.
For honeymooners looking for the ultimate long-haul adventure, Australia and New Zealand are in their prime in December. How about combining a few days in Sydney (26ºC, 8 hours of sun) with Hayman Island Resort in the Whitsundays.
In New Zealand I recommend a self-drive honeymoon that includes the cities of Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown and Auckland plus natural wonders on North and South Islands including Mount Cook National Park, Rotorua, the Bay of Islands, a cruise on Milford Sound and a ride on the Trans Alpine Train. This 23-day Grand New Zealand itinerary costs from only £2,189 pp (excluding flights).
Beyond New Zealand in the South Pacific lie the Cook Islands and Tahiti (formerly French Polynesia). Both can be combined with Australia or New Zealand, but they are also popular honeymoon destinations in their own right. You could take a cruise around the 118 gorgeous islands and atolls of Tahiti or stay in a fabulous resort hotel such as the Four Seasons Bora Bora.
Short Haul Honeymoons in December
Honeymoons are not all about sun beds and beaches. You could be snuggling up around a log fire, and venturing out into the snow for magical vistas of mountains and pristine night skies.
Relatively close to home, Iceland will be a snowy wonderland in December – with a great chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Stay at the Hotel Ranga on the banks of a salmon river overlooked by glaciers and mountains. In the evenings, you can sit in outdoor geothermal hot tubs, watching the sky.
I also recommend Artisan Travel which offers romantic honeymoons in the Arctic Circle. Stay in one of these ice and snow hotels including a glass igloo where you can lie back in a warm bed and gaze up at the Northern Lights.
Morocco is also warm and sunny in December – expect 19ºC and 7 hours of sun in Marrakech. Stay at a riad in Marrakech and treat yourselves to a night or two at Sir Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot in the Atlas Mountains.
The Portuguese island of Madeira has year-round sunshine, great hotels and mountainous landscapes that are perfect for romantic walks. Stay at a restored quinta (country house) such as Quinta da Bela Vista or Quinta da Casa Branco. Expect 17ºC and 6 hours of sun.
Where to go on honeymoon in December if you don’t want to fly? Britain has some charming hotels that offer guaranteed romance at any time of year. If you go in December there’s a special pre-Christmas atmosphere at hotels such as The Cary Arms in Devon.
Last updated: 22 November 2016
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