While my fiance and I are planning to ditch tradition and elope, we were initially planning a cliche honeymoon: a cruise.

Most honeymoons consist of some sort of tropical getaway with all-you-can-eat buffets, poolside bars, late-night clubbing, and a maybe few ocean excursions (snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, etc.).

Seriously, picture a honeymoon, and tell me those aren’t the first images that come to mind.

Last summer in Hawaii, though, I realized that I don’t like snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking or the ocean in general! I didn’t even pass the pool test for scuba diving — I burst into tears because breathing beneath 3 feet of water freaked me out!

So why then was I planning to set sail for six nights and seven days?!

I thought it was just the easiest option and also just what most people do. Then it dawned on me — I’m not most people. To my relief, my fiance was the first to broach the topic, suggesting instead that we honeymoon in Costa Rica. (He knew my reservations about the ocean.)

The initial planning brought up the same cliche honeymoon ideas: all-inclusive beachside resorts where relaxing on the beach is the main activity. BORING. With a little searching, we found a few eco-lodges — hotels that have sustainable practices in order to protect the rainforests.

The eco-lodges have reasonable rates and are situated on acres and acres of land. What is all that land for? Hiking! Sure, the hotels have modestly sized pools and a restaurant, but they are secluded in nature. The closest destinations are national parks meant for hiking and exploring!

As a runner, I often miss out on hiking, which is another sport I thoroughly enjoy. I hike some for cross training, but I have to keep the intensity low during my training season. A hiking honeymoon, however, means that I can abandon my regular fitness routine, spending every day hiking instead. Then there’s no worry about losing my fitness, and I’ll get to see what the real Costa Rica has to offer.

My fiance and I have booked our flights and hotels. Our itinerary includes hiking every day plus zip lining and waterfall rappelling (the only water activity I care to enjoy). My suitcase will be filled with hiking clothes — boots, sandals, pants, shorts, socks. My hair dryer — the one beauty tool I actually use — will be staying at home; the eco-lodges don’t have outlets or AC in the rooms in order to preserve energy. It’s going to be a low-maintenance, outdoorsy trip that fits perfectly with the athletic girl I’ve morphed into over the last few years.

And we’re not the only couple embracing the hiking honeymoon. Popular wedding websites like Wedding Wire and The Knot have articles dedicated to honeymoon ideas for the more adventurous couples. Travel and outdoor magazines are writing about the trend, too!

Here’s why you should consider a non-traditional route for your honeymoon:

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You get to experience the beauty of the world with the one you love most.

Be it a cross-country road trip, a mountain biking adventure, days spent camping, or hours hiking on the trails, you’ll be seeing places you never have before, and you’ll get to experience it all with your new life partner. Love and nature are two of the most beautiful, pure things in this world, so why not combine the two?

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You have endless hours to talk or find out how to be comfortable in the silence.

Hopefully you’ve talked about all the important topics prior to saying “I do,” and hopefully you also know how to be together without filing the silences. However, being out in nature for long periods of time will allow you a different type of experience. The peace nature brings will soothe your mind, and you may talk about things you never have before. As your mind wander, new topics may emerge! You also have the chance to just look over at your new husband or wife and smile, letting them know that you’re enjoying just being in his or her presence.

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You test your strength and endurance as a couple.

It’s easy to sit on the beach eating and drinking all day; however, it’s not so easy to hike for hours and navigate in a foreign place. Getting through the physical and mental challenges together will strengthen your bond as a newly married couple. Adventure, while fun, can also be scary; getting through the fear of the unknown together is just what you need to get through life — most of which is currently unknown to you both!

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You won’t have to fear the honeymoon weight gain.

Face it, after looking great on your wedding day, neither of you want to come back from the honeymoon with extra pounds. When alcohol and food are unlimited, it’s hard to resist, and sunbathing doesn’t burn many calories; the sex may not be enough either! When you’re out hiking, biking, swimming or doing other activities everyday, you’ll be burning tons of calories. Then you won’t feel so guilty about a few indulgences. Plus, you’re also more likely to choose healthier foods when exercising so much since healthy habits tend to go together; you’ll feel good about your activity levels, so you’ll want to make good food choices. And your body will crave proper nutrients to fuel the activity.

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You’ll actually have more energy for sex.

Exercise is great for your sex life. You’ll have more confidence because you’ve been working out, and you’ll have more energy and stamina for nightly romps with your new husband or wife. And if you’re really on an adventurous honeymoon, perhaps a round in the secluded forest, still lake, or under the stars is also on your itinerary!

 Have you been on an adventurous honeymoon? Are you planning one? Tell me all about it!

 

 

 

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