Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024

Post originally Published January 12, 2024 || Last Updated January 12, 2024

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Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024 - Island Life in the Philippines

Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024

The Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands, many untouched and unspoiled. For couples looking for an affordable island honeymoon, the Philippines offers endless options without the high price tag.

One standout is Palawan, an archipelago of over 1,700 islands on the western edge of the Philippines. Palawan oozes romantic ambience with its white sand beaches, clear blue waters, and swaying palm trees. Stay in a beachfront bungalow or treehouse resort for under $100 a night. Island hop by bangka boat and snorkel off deserted beaches. Indulge in fresh seafood like grilled prawns and fish straight from the ocean. In the evening, stroll hand-in-hand along the shore at sunset.

Bohol is another Philippine island gem. Its main draw is the Chocolate Hills, an incredible land formation of 1,268 cone-shaped hills that turn brown in the dry season, hence the name. Rent a scooter and cruise around the hills together. Stop at Bee Farm for a cooking class and learn to make traditional Filipino dishes. Visit tarsier sanctuaries to see the world’s smallest primate with huge eyes. At night, relax in a floating bamboo cottage on the Loboc River.

For stunning vistas, Luzon island has Banaue Rice Terraces, carved into the mountains by Ifugao tribes 2,000 years ago. Take an awe-inspiring hike around Batad’s amphitheater terraces. Or view the terraces from above via scenic mountain drives. Stay in traditional Ifugao huts called Muyong for only $30 a night. Experience hiking, biking, and whitewater rafting adventures together by day, and stargazing at night.

What else is in this post?

  1. Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024 - Island Life in the Philippines
  2. Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024 - Romantic Rural Retreats in South Africa
  3. Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024 - Coastal Charm in Portugal
  4. Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024 - Mountain Magic in Peru
  5. Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024 - Tropical Bliss in Costa Rica
  6. Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024 - Old World Allure in Eastern Europe
  7. Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024 - Big City Bargains in Mexico
  8. Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024 - Outback Adventures in Australia

Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024 - Romantic Rural Retreats in South Africa

For couples seeking an idyllic escape surrounded by nature, South Africa boasts many affordable romantic hideaways off the beaten path. Away from the crowds and chaos of cities, rural South African retreats provide a tranquil setting to focus on each other.

The Garden Route along the southern coast is famous for its lush scenery and quaint towns. Stop in Wilderness National Park to stroll windswept beaches with mammoth sand dunes and go on guided bush walks to spot wildlife like ostriches and antelopes. Further west, relax in wood cabins tucked into the Outeniqua Mountains surrounding Knysna. Enjoy locally sourced food and South African wines on your cabin deck with forest views. Or try canoeing on the lagoon for a fun couples’ activity.
In the Drakensberg Mountains, marvel at the natural amphitheater of the Blyde River Canyon, the world’s third largest. Stay in nearby Graskop and book a helicopter ride for bird’s eye views of God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck Potholes carved into the red rock cliffs. Hike to Berlin Falls and Lisbon Falls, secluded waterfalls hidden in the lush forests. Enjoy a picnic lunch by the falls made from food you picked up at the local fresh produce markets.

For a safari experience, head north to the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve near the Botswana border. Track Africa’s Big Five on open-air safari drives and enjoy outdoor barbecues under the stars at your lodge. Some even offer sleep outs on private deck beds so you can drift off to the sounds of the bushveld. Or opt for Thornybush Game Reserve bordering Kruger National Park. Safaris are intimate with only a few jeeps allowed on the reserve at a time.

Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024 - Coastal Charm in Portugal

With over 500 miles of scenic coastline, Portugal is a dream destination for couples seeking an affordable beach honeymoon. From the Algarve region in the south to Porto in the north, Portugal's coastal charm and old-world romance make it perfect for newlyweds on a budget.

The Algarve has some of Europe's most beautiful beaches, many still devoid of massive crowds and development. Stay in an authentic whitewashed villa overlooking the sea for around $100 a night. Spend lazy days lounging on secluded coves only accessible by boat, like Praia da Marinha's tranquil turquoise waters tucked into golden cliffs. Or try your hand at surfing together in Lagos before sampling freshly grilled sardines along the lively promenade.

Wander hand-in-hand through the cobbled lanes of charming towns like Albufeira, with its Moorish architecture and plaza full of street musicians and sidewalk cafes. In the evenings, hop aboard a sunset cruise and toast to your new life together as you glide past the glowing coastline. Cap off perfect days with candlelit dinners on cliffside patios overlooking the glittering sea.
Up the coast, explore the fishing village charm of Cascais, with its narrow cobblestone streets lined with boutiques and ice cream parlors. Ride the quaint tram along the beach boardwalk out to the westernmost point of continental Europe at Cabo da Roca. Take the cliffside hiking trail to the Boca do Inferno, where crashing waves have carved out seaside caves and inlets.
Nearby Sintra charms with its fairytale palaces and estates. Retreat into the surrounding forests for leisurely hikes past mossy grottos, babbling brooks, and waterfalls straight out of a romance novel. Or escape into wine country just north of Lisbon to tour vineyards and sample Portugal’s famous vintages.
No coastal honeymoon in Portugal is complete without visiting Porto and the stunning Douro Valley wine region. Sip your way through tours and tastings at vineyards perched high above the snaking Douro River. Base yourself in a boutique hotel in downtown Porto where you can spend mornings at lively cafes in the Ribeira district, afternoons getting lost in the medieval alleys and temples, and evenings listening to traditional fado music over dinner.

Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024 - Mountain Magic in Peru

Tucked between the Andes Mountains and the Amazon rainforest, Peru offers couples endless opportunities for adventure and exploration. Peru's remote mountain lodges provide an intimate escape immersed in nature, making it a magical yet affordable honeymoon destination.

Make your way to the historical city of Cusco, the heart of the old Inca Empire, where you can acclimate to the altitude while exploring colorful markets and Incan ruins. Take a day trip out to Machu Picchu, the famous 15th-century citadel perched high in the Andes, to see where the Incas once lived. Then journey by train deep into the Sacred Valley to stay at one of the remote lodges scattered throughout the valley for under $150 per night.

Wake up to mist floating through the mountains visible right outside your window. Spend days hiking through the valley, passing local villagers along ancient Inca trails to see rural life unchanged for centuries. Trek to the edge of the Andes to stand on precipices overlooking the expansive valley below you. Ride horses together through the rugged mountains and across flower-filled meadows dotted with llamas. Unwind after adventures in your lodge's open-air hot tub tucked into the hillside. In the evenings, enjoy stargazing from your room since light pollution is nonexistent.
For an active excursion, book the Salkantay Trail trek to Machu Picchu, rated one of the best hikes in South America. You'll pass turquoise alpine lakes, waterfalls crashing from glaciers, and get breathtaking views of the Salkantay Peak reaching 20,000 feet high. Spend nights camping along the route and make friends with your fellow trekkers and porters before ending your journey at Machu Picchu for a sense of accomplishment.

Or escape the more heavily touristed Sacred Valley for the remote Lares region farther north. Stay in the only lodge in the area, a former hacienda with just five rooms. Ride Andean horses up into the mountains through isolated villages to 15,000 foot mountain passes. In the evenings, relax in the wood-burning hot tub under the stars. Hike to the local hot springs around the lodge and take a dip, or arrange a private picnic lunch delivered by pack mules.
You can also pamper yourself at one of the all-inclusive wellness lodges scattered throughout the Sacred Valley mountains. Spend your days cycling through the Andes, getting massages using ancient Inca healing techniques, and sampling fresh local cuisine. Many lodges grow their own organic produce and offer cooking classes. Unplug in nature together yet enjoy all the amenities and services of a luxury retreat.

Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024 - Tropical Bliss in Costa Rica

Brimming with rainforests, beaches, volcanoes, and wildlife, Costa Rica is a nature lover's paradise with plenty of tropical bliss for couples seeking adventure together. While Costa Rica offers luxury eco-resorts and high-end tours, budget-conscious honeymooners can experience this natural wonderland without breaking the bank.

“We wanted an active trip focused on nature, but most tours were out of our price range. Booking things separately, we created our own amazing Costa Rica honeymoon on a shoestring budget!” recounts Leah, who honeymooned in Costa Rica with her new husband last year.

Starting off in lively San Jose allowed them to adjust and get their bearings before venturing farther afield. Using public buses, an inexpensive way to travel the country, they made their way north to La Fortuna beneath Arenal Volcano. “Watching glowing lava flow down the volcano at night was unreal, like seeing an actual wonder of the world!” she says. Hiking the Arenal 1968 Trail brought them to lava fields where they saw the destruction firsthand from the volcano’s largest eruption.

Swinging in hammocks on their cabina patio, Leah describes relaxing to the sounds of the jungle. “Our $50 a night cabina was basic but clean, with awesome volcano views!” They kept costs low by preparing meals themselves and enjoying free attractions like hot springs heated by the volcano’s geothermal activity.
The biodiversity blew them away when they headed to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. “Seeing a resplendent quetzal was a major highlight. Those vibrant birds are so rare to spot!” recalls Leah. They took advantage of budget group tours for experiences like canopy zip lining over the lush forest and night hikes to see frogs and sleeping birds.

Manuel Antonio National Park was the perfect final stop, with its picturesque beaches, cliffs and coastal rainforest brimming with wildlife like monkeys and sloths. “We swam in idyllic hidden coves and saw more animals than I ever imagined!” she says. Finding an affordable rental cabin in quaint Quepos allowed them to cook, keeping costs low.

Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024 - Old World Allure in Eastern Europe

“We wanted the honeymoon of our dreams, but most tropical destinations were just too expensive. Then we discovered the hidden gem of Eastern Europe!” recounts Emily who honeymooned last spring in locations like Slovenia, Croatia, and Hungary with her husband.

Touching down in charming Ljubljana, Slovenia, they were dazzled by dragon statues adorning the onion-domed cathedrals in the Old Town. “Like stepping into a storybook!” she says. Strolling the cobblestone streets hand-in-hand and gazing over the red-roofed city from the castle ramparts high on a hill transported them to another time. At night, they sipped wine by candlelight in vaulted taverns while listening to traditional music echo off the medieval walls.

In Croatia, they discovered a romantic coastline dotted with Venetian-style towns exuding history and artistry. “Walking Dubrovnik’s 15th century walls overlooking the sea was straight out of Game of Thrones!” says Emily. They took scenic small boat tours to secluded islands like Sipan, spending the day swimming in crystal coves and walking around quaint harbors with cats lazily sunning themselves. At night, they dined by Dubrovnik’s marble squares entertained by street musicians and opera singers.

Plitvice Lakes National Parkemerged as the trip’s highlight, with turquoise lakes and over 90 cascading waterfalls set amidst limestone cliffs and beech forests. “Like a magical fairyland hidden in the mountains!” she recalls. Hiking the wooden trails and gliding across the lakes in rowboats provided countless photo ops. Staying at a family-run guesthouse on the shore of Lake Kozjak only cost $50 a night.

Hungary captured their hearts with romantic river cruises on the Danube passing storybook castles like Visegrad. “Budapest oozed vintage grandeur with thermal baths and ruin bars in abandoned buildings - such a cool vibe!” says Emily. Taking the 100-year-old cogwheel train up to panoramic views in the Buda hills capped their getaway.
Throughout their trip, affordable accommodation could be found in the $50-70 a night range by venturing just beyond major cities. Avoiding expensive hotel restaurants kept costs down too. “Eating at small family-run taverns was way cheaper - and more authentic!” she notes.

Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024 - Big City Bargains in Mexico

Mexico seduces couples with its fiery culture and cuisine, breathtaking natural beauty, and an exchange rate that makes every peso stretch. Cities like Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Guanajuato marry old world colonial history with vibrant modernity at prices that are easy on newlywed budgets.

“We wanted a honeymoon in a lively metropolis with museums, markets, and nightlife, minus the jaw-dropping price tag. That’s when we discovered Mexico,” shares Mark who honeymooned in Mexico City last spring with his partner.

Staying in the hip Roma Norte neighborhood, they checked out the colorful street art and indie boutiques by day and hit the trendy bars and cantinas at night. “Dining was amazing, with incredible tacos, mole dishes, and fresh ceviche for just a few bucks at local spots,” Mark says. They spent one morning at the acclaimed Frida Kahlo Museum to see the Mexican artist’s iconic works and lived-in residence. Strolling the giant Bosque de Chapultepec Park visiting the castle and anthropology museum with its Aztec relics proved an affordable way to soak up culture.

Venturing two hours south, lively Oaxaca surprised them with its laidback vibe, brightly painted colonial buildings, and renowned regional cuisine. “Trying Oaxacan mole, chapulines (fried grasshoppers!), and mezcal cocktails showed us authentic Mexican flavors.” Among their favorite free activities were browsing the bustling Central Market, walking up to hilltop views from the church next to Santo Domingo Cathedral, and witnessing the dazzling displays of Mexican folkloric dance in the Zócalo square at night. Side trips to ancient Zapotec ruins at Monte Albán and the artisan village of Teotitlán del Valle cost mere dollars by public transportation.
In central Mexico, Guanajuato charmed them with its network of underground tunnels, brightly colored buildings clinging to steep slopes, and stunning colonial architecture. “Seeing El Pípila statue high above the city gave us unbelievable vistas,” Mark recalls. They admired the ornate Teatro Juarez and Templo de San Diego before the nightly spectacle of seeing the entire city lit up in rainbow hues. Taking the funicular up to the monument atop Cerro de la Bufa granted panoramic shots overlooking all of Guanajuato. Between the inexpensive bus system and walking Guanajuato’s sloped cobblestone alleys, they got their workout in while exploring. “Food and lodging fit our budget perfectly – we loved our sunny apartment right on Jardín de la Unión for only $45 a night!”

Love on a Budget: The Top 10 Affordable Honeymoon Hotspots for 2024 - Outback Adventures in Australia

The sweeping expanses of Australia’s rugged outback offer adventurous couples the ultimate escape into untamed wilderness teeming with unique wildlife, natural wonders, and indigenous culture. Bushwalking hand-in-hand through ancient landscapes unchanged for millennia creates memories to last a lifetime.

James, who explored the Northern Territory's Red Centre region on his honeymoon last year, says, “Nothing prepared us for that first glimpse of Uluru rising from the desert floor, radiating an almost spiritual aura.” This iconic sandstone monolith sacred to indigenous Anangu people mesmerized them with its hues shifting from burnt orange to deep red depending on sunlight angles. Seeing Uluru at sunrise and sunset when the rock appears to glow proved especially magical.

Hiking the steep switchback path to the top provided panoramic views over the vast wilderness, enabling an appreciation of the enormity of the Australian outback. Adding on the guided Mala Walk around Uluru’s base gave them insight into Anangu history and culture through ancient rock paintings and waterholes. At night they joined free cultural talks on stargazing in the clear southern sky using telescopes and enjoyed traditional dances around a campfire under a blanket of sparkling stars.

Kata Tjuta, another sacred Anangu site of monumental red rock formations, came as a highlight. Climbing through narrow passes and between the giant domed rocks brought a sense of insignificance against the raw natural wonder of this unique place.

Litchfield National Park to the north dazzled with its abundance of palm-fringed waterfalls and giant termite mounds dotting lush monsoon forests. They swam in pristine plunge pools and walked trails over hanging vines and past swaying pandanus trees. “Seeing half-submerged rainforest trees from the year’s flooding gave an idea of the extreme wet season transformation,” James says.
Western Australia’s numerous gorges awed with sheer ochre cliffs carved over eons by ancient rivers. Hiking trails through Tunnel Creek, Windjana Gorge and the Bungle Bungles brought them into chasms of palms and pools hidden in the red and orange banded rocks. Camping under endless outback skies lit up by shooting stars connected them to the elements.

Watching the sun set over Kakadu National Park’s wetlands painted in purple hues and teeming with crocodiles and birds created an unforgettable scene. Seeing 20,000-year-old Aboriginal rock paintings at Ubirr telling stories of spirit ancestors etched images of Australia’s first people into their minds.

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