The words “Mexico honeymoon” conjure up mental images of sparkling azure waters, fine white-sand beaches, a cool drink in one hand and your lover’s hand clasped in the other. In this sense, the Mexico honeymoon is iconic and — dare I say it — somewhat of a cliche. No doubt, for newlyweds looking to relax on a beach and delight in all-inclusive amenities, Mexico can, and does, successfully serve up such fantasies year-round. However, Mexico should not be perceived as offering only this type of vacation experience. Like honeymooners themselves, Mexico is a wonderfully diverse country in which visitors can engage in a host of unique and memorable experiences — whether they’re looking for outdoor adventure, epicurean delights or secluded romantic havens.
Honeymooners have a range of choices when it comes to Mexico. // © Steve Harmon
Honeymooners seeking the thrills of sport and adventure in the great outdoors need not travel far. Perhaps the most idyllic Mexican destination for couples pursuing outdoor exploration is majestic Copper Canyon, a national park in the state of Chihuahua. Part of the Sierra Madre mountain range, Copper Canyon features a stunningly diverse terrain, from high plateaus covered in pine and oak forests to impressive canyons and gorges that, at some points, slice a mile deeper than the Grand Canyon.
Such an environment renders Copper Canyon an ideal locale for natural exploration and sport. The region surrounding the small town of Creel features excellent mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking trails. Candamena Canyon has two ideal sites for parachuting. The steeps of Pena del Gigante and Rancho San Lorenzo are perfect for rock climbing and rappelling. And during the rainy season from June to September, Rio Papigochi and El Rio Urique swell with Class III rapids and make for an ultimate whitewater rafting experience.
While Copper Canyon can be enjoyed without the aid of a guide, visitors often find that their experience is enhanced when they join a guided tour. Journey Mexico’s Copper Canyon Hiking Tour offers a nine-day, off-the-beaten-path hiking exploration through two of the park’s canyons, overnights at historic frontier settlement towns and a breathtaking ride on the famous Chihuahua al Pacifico railroad. A private tour for two starts at $3,597 per person.
For couples who find greater pleasure in taking in calories than expending them, Mexico offers a world-class epicurean culture that honeymooners can really sink their teeth into.
Among serious food-lovers, one of the most highly sought-after destinations is the state of Oaxaca.
Famous for its diverse and elaborate cuisine — highlights include seven varieties of mole, spicy and nutty chocolates, Oaxaca cheese and mescal, an alcoholic drink derived from the blue agave cactus — Oaxaca has been awarded the distinction of “Mexico’s best cuisine” by Food & Wine. Honeymooners interested in
exploring Oaxaca should check out Epiculinary’s La Cocina de Oaxaca tour. The six-night tour emphasizes the traditional food and culture of Oaxaca and includes visits to local markets, mescal factories and chocolate makers; four hands-on cooking classes using local ingredients; and all meals and accommodations. Rates start at $1,495 per person.
Gourmet honeymooners interested in a more formal dining experience will find it in the city of San Miguel de Allende. This 16th-century colonial city is the epicenter of contemporary Mexican cuisine and features an impressive collection of top chef-owned restaurants. Here, chef/restaurateur Shari Alexander and her partner Alberto Pacheco host Flavors & Magic of San Miguel de Allende, a six-night culinary tour that emphasizes the elegance and luxury of the city’s gourmet restaurant culture. Each night, clients will enjoy dinner at top restaurants, villas and vineyards. Rates start at $2,995 per person, based on double occupancy.
For honeymooners who want, above all else, to envelop themselves in romance, nothing is more fitting than a quiet and relaxing stay in one of Mexico’s colonial haciendas. Once owned by rich and powerful Mexican families, these colonial casas now function as small, boutique-style hotels known for their beautiful architecture, exquisite tile work, romantic gardens and secluded elegance.
For couples truly seeking a romantic escape — including an escape from hotel chains and swim-up bars — Hotel Hacienda de Cortes in Morelos and La Hacienda Xcanatun (pronounced ISH-CANA-TOON) in the Yucatan are ideal. These haciendas preserve the old romance of colonial ambiance and architecture while offering the comfort and functionality of contemporary luxuries. Romantics are sure to fancy the privacy that these small haciendas afford — neither hacienda houses more than 23 guestrooms and suites — as well as the Maya-inspired spa treatments at Xcanatun and the enchanted outdoor dining areas at Hacienda de Cortes.
Mexico is a land of many gems that suit a variety of tastes and preferences. Outdoor adventures, culinary explorations and romantic escapes are just a sampling of the many unique honeymoon fantasies to be experienced in the country. When it comes to honeymooning in Mexico, couples can, and should, break the mold and make their honeymoon their own.