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Tropical destinations perfect for elopements, micro weddings

Tropical destinations perfect for elopements, micro weddings

A micro wedding can have macro impact if you are exchanging vows in tropical splendor. These are our picks for out-of-this-world nuptials.

Mexico

Why here: Robust culture, delicious cuisine and scenery from beaches to ancient ruins.

Travel requirements: No COVID-19 test is required on entry, but travelers may need temperature checks and health screenings.

Where to get hitched: Create a splash with a wedding in a cenote — a freshwater sinkhole that the ancient Mayans believed to be entrances to the underworld. Book through planners such as My Playa Del Carmen Wedding (from $1,575 for two hours). Stay at the 40-room, upscale jungle wellness resort Chablé Yucatán, which features a cenote on the property, or dip at will at the breathtaking Hacienda Kancabe, which comes with its own hole. The restored 19th-century sugarcane plantation home sleeps 10 and is available on Airbnb for $585 a night.

Tequila has fueled many a celebration and now it can be a special guest at yours. The 25-room Casa Salles opened in August 2019, adjacent to the scenic grounds of El Tequileño distillery in Tequila, a UNESCO heritage site. A buyout of all the rooms (approximately $4,053) is necessary for a ceremony on the property, but amenities include a tranquility spa, pool, sky bar and 150-year-old mango trees.

My Playa Del Carmen Weddings in Mexico.
My Playa Del Carmen Weddings in Mexico.Christian Velazco/Gaiaphotostudi

If you want to add a signature drink to your nuptials, just ask the mixologists at the newly opened Conrad Punta de Mita which sits on a two-mile-long beach of the Pacific coast resort of Riviera Nayarit. The themed cocktails are included in their wedding packages, which start at $2,200 and also include perks like a mariachi band and a spiritual ceremony.

Hawaii

Why here: Come for striking natural beauty and stay for native hospitality. Plus, you get to wear leis.

Travel requirements: Journey quarantine-free with a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival. On the Big Island, a second test is required upon landing.

Where to get hitched: All the natural beauty of Kauai resides at the Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens and Sculpture Park. Choose to tie the knot under a canopy in its hardwood forest, alongside a koi-filled lagoon, in an oceanside meadow or on the white sands of Kaluakai beach. The park is also home to 200 bronze sculptures and vast acreage including waterfalls and romantic blooms. Site rental for a three-hour ceremony for up to 25 guests is $1,500.

The secluded paradise island of Lanai was good enough for Bill Gates’ wedding. It has two Four Seasons resorts: the Four Seasons Lanai on the southern coast

for a quiet beach ceremony, and the recently opened Sensei Lanai, for Japanese-inspired wellness.

Weddings for up to 30 begin at $9,950. Or, ditch the guests — a four-night, dual resort experience for a couple is the same price.

St. Lucia

Ladera Resort in St. Lucia
Ladera Resort in St. LuciaLadera Resort

Why here: Those Piton mountains aren’t just photogenic — the trails that wind up them are one of the outdoor adventure offerings, as well as being home to the world’s only drive-in volcano.

Travel requirements: Tourists must complete a pre-arrival registration form and obtain a negative COVID-19 result within seven days of arrival.

Where to get hitched: Steeped in the vibe of the island down to tropical-wood furniture made onsite, every room in the Ladera Resort is open to the elements, with a plunge pool and stunning views of the Pitons.

At Têt Rouge, choose from lush tropical gardens in a hilltop location or directly on the beach at the base of the Gros Piton. The entire oceanfront resort and its sunset views belong to your wedding of up to 12 people for seven nights, from $14,860.

Belize

Royal Belize resort in Belize.
Royal Belize resort in Belize.Muy’Ono Resorts

Why here: Tiny Belize has big ecotourism, including the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere.

Travel requirements: COVID-19 tests can be taken within 72 hours of arrival or after landing. Visitors are required to download the Belize Health App for contact tracing and reporting health symptoms.

Where to get hitched: At Royal Belize, your 7.5-acre private island getaway comes with three luxe villas sleeping up to 16 guests. Prices starting at $11,500 for a full staff including a chef and an adventure ambassador for lobster-spearing. Wedding packages (from $999) include a pig roast reception, local garifuna drummers for a procession, a full band, conch shell wedding aisle, private couple’s massage and more.

The sustainable Copal Tree Lodge is in a jungle attached to an organic farm, 12,000-acre nature preserve, and the Copalli rum distillery. Ceremonies are fully customizable for up to 75 people (with elopement package available) in locations including the lodge’s rustic thatched-roof palapa or under the farm’s towering Ceiba tree, which the Mayans called the Tree of Life. Packages can include a live band or snorkeling adventures for the wedding party. Prices start at $1,899 for the couple plus 4 guests, to $4,189 for up to 30 guests.

St. Barts

Why here: The Caribbean island is famous for celeb-spotting from Beyoncé to Leonardo DiCaprio. Francophiles can go from daytime duty-free shopping to over-the-top nightlife.

Travel requirements: Visitors over the age of 11 must show a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of arrival. Travelers staying longer than a week must take another on the eighth day.

Where to get hitched: If Paris had a beachfront, it would be Le Barthélemy, with each of the 44 easy, breezy rooms of the luxury hideaway equipped with its own plunge pool and oceanfront views. Wedding locations include the recently added rooftop bar to the two six-bedroom villas, complete with full kitchen, wine cellar and swimming pool, which can be combined to create a residence of 12 bedrooms. Villas start at $35,200 for 7 nights; packages from $6,146.

Or, be exclusive in a private villa. From $3,050 per night, a cozy six-bedroom villa in Petit Cul-de-Sac from Airbnb houses four height-differentiated bungalows in lush gardens. Or, opt for the $10,000 per night Caribbean Dream Estate and get 12 bedrooms in two villas on the blue lagoon at Grand Cul-de-Sac.

Costa Rica

The Hotel Aguas Claras Honeymoon Suite in Costa Rica.
The Hotel Aguas Claras Honeymoon Suite in Costa Rica.Hotel Aguas Claras, Costa Rica

Why here: Rugged and rainforested, this Central American country is a haven for surfers and biodiversity.

Travel requirements: Visitors must complete a digital health pass, provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure, and have COVID-19 travel insurance.

Where to get hitched: Wake up above an oceanside jungle to the sound of howler monkeys at Tierra Magnifica. A takeover wedding at this surf-adjacent 14-room boutique resort (eight of them coming mid-December) requires a three-night minimum ($5,730 per night) plus $250 a head for a three-event package of welcome BBQ, rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony and reception.

The Hotel Aguas Claras is a bohemian Caribbean coast hideaway with relaxed vibes, secluded beach access and accommodation for up to 40 wedding guests across luxury bungalows, themed suites and a two-story house. A waterfront wedding package includes a rehearsal dinner, multi-course and a la carte menu. A full buyout starts from $6,000.

Puerto Rico

Why here: No passports required for natural wonders like rainforests, salt flats and the three out of five of the world’s only bioluminescent bays.

Travel requirements: Visitors must fill out a form through the health department’s online portal, and show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival. There is a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in place until Nov. 13.

Where to get hitched: For true wow factor, find a ruin. Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal, both 400 years old, overlook Old San Juan Bay and can be reserved with the correct permits. Or choose the elegant Hotel El Convento. Built in the mid-1600s and housing the first Carmelite convent in the Americas, old-world ambiance is imbued in every aspect. Couples can exchange vows outdoors in the private herb garden, with dinner on an outdoor patio under a 100-year-old níspero tree, or in the atmospherically hand-painted Salón Martorell. Wedding packages begin at $134 per person.

The former coconut plantation of St. Regis Bahia has an impressive entrance that’s only outdone by what sprawls beyond: 483 lush acres near the El Yunque national rainforest, a golf course, and two miles of secluded crescent beach. At this certified gold Audubon sanctuary, opt for a ceremony on the sand or flanked by greenery with the soundtrack of chirping wildlife. Prices start at $5,400.

Dominican Republic

Casa de Campo in Dominican Republic
Casa de Campo in Dominican RepublicCasa de Campo

Why here: Merengue on white sand beaches, tickle your taste buds, or tackle Pico Duarte, the tallest point in the Caribbean.

Travel requirements: No COVID-19 test is required for entry, but randomized rapid tests are implemented upon arrival. There’s a curfew weekdays from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., and 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekends.

Where to get hitched: The 7,000-acre Casa de Campo resort boasts its own marina, private airport and on-site hospital, providing a big-wedding feel no matter the size of your guest list. Its unique all-stone cathedral, perched at the resort’s Altos de Chavón, a replica 16th-century Mediterranean village, boasts views above the Chavón river.

Punta Cana’s modern Pearl Beach Club hosts weddings with six available venues, including a private beach, starting at $700, with complimentary personalized wedding-planning service. A good time is built in: The club is known for its pool bacchanalias.

COVID-19 requirements are subject to change. Check the latest advisories before traveling.

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Vicky Sequeira

With more than 6 years of experience working as a media professional, Vicky flaunts prowess in bringing the juicy tit-bits from the entertainment industry for the readers of News Brig.

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