Every human being that is capable of emotion has a soft spot for furry creatures with eyes that look like moon shaped pools if you stare into them too long. If not, you might want to check that you actually have a soul and check out these locations instead. Cute animals put us at ease, bring us closer to nature, and often make us talk in high-pitch voices. Come to think of it, cute animals have a very similar effect to honeymoons in that regard. We’ve got a crazy idea—what if you combined the two? Oh, wait, somebody thought of that already. Come to think of it, there are hundreds of destinations that add ticks (not the blood-sucking kind) to the proverbial animal-honeymoon checklist. They pair breakfasts with a view, brunch with beaches and diving expeditions, and throw in wildlife that’s more interested in becoming #bffs4eva than hearing about your Instagram likes. So here are six honeymoon ideas that will absolutely melt the heart of anyone who lives by the coda of Marley & Me.
KoalasBrisbane Queensland, Australia
The big ol’ continent of Australia is still an ultimate destination for backpackers. In fact, the city of Brisbane alone is home to art festivals, black box theatres, and impromptu trips to Fortitude Valley, and then there’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary which is the world’s first and largest koala sanctuary. It’s home to a total of 130 koalas and attendees can interact with over 100 species of Australian wildlife—including hands-on activities with kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, platypus, kookaburras, wild lorikeets, freshwater turtles, and Tasmanian devils. The Major Mitchell and Gang-Gang Cockatoos are rare sights that are worth befriending, but being given the chance to have a cuddle session with a koala is enough to make you forget about “drop bears” altogether.
PigsPig Beach, Bahamas
The Commonwealth of the Bahamas is a one-stop resort for food tours, snorkeling, parasailing, and cigar rolling seminars, but there’s just something about the concept of “swimming with pigs”. The cultural phenomenon has captivated the hearts of everyone (including Nicholas Cage and you know how awesome he is) and even started a hashtag (#swimmingpigs), and for good reason. Guests staying in Nassau or at Royal Plantation Island can take a boat out to the Exuma Cays for a full day excursion in which you pet stingrays, feed Bahamian rock iguanas, take in Blowhole Beach, and pit stop for island cocktails at Staniel Cay Yacht Club. It falls on the pricier side of life, but it’s a trek you will never forget when you meet the pigs (so many piggies) against a backdrop of ocean blues you never knew existed.
Giraffe Manor, a charismatic 1930s boutique hotel is set within 140 acres of indigenous forest— a mere 30-minute drive from Kenya’s capital of Nairobi—and it’s one of the few places in the world where you can feed (or snap a selfie with) endangered Rothschild giraffes over breakfast. Honeymooners can also partake in guided walks in protected sanctuaries, uncover history at the Karen Blixen Museum and Matbronze Art Gallery, and enjoy afternoon tea (or complimentary drinks) while seeking out sunsets and views of the Ngong Hills. Even if this sounds like the perfect honeymoon, we always want you to be prepared.
Orangutans and MonkeysPangkalan Bun, Mendawai, West Kotawaringin Regency, Kalimantan central, Indonesia
Indonesia may not be as popular as Thailand or Japan, but it is known for a number of secluded havens that need to be struck off your bucket list. One of its most esteemed wildlife spots is the Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge, which is located in the popular Pangkalan Bun area in the Central Kalimantan province on Borneo. The forest lodge is built on a series of elevated pavilions and it comes with the added bonus of hiking and boating upstream to befriend orangutans in their own environment. It’s also a comfortable homestead for being able to see nine different species of primates, including gibbons, proboscis monkeys, and the Yoda lookalikes known as tarsiers.
Arctic FoxesWestfjords, Iceland
Whether you’re a travel nut or a full blown adventurer, summering in the sub-Arctic landscape of Iceland should be your dream honeymoon. The Westfjords are commonly known for looking like the country’s reindeer antlers (see Google Maps) but it’s an elfin corner of nature that’s all about seal watching, whale watching, diving with guillemots, and hiking through the roadless paradise known as the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, which is home to the elusive Arctic Fox. It’s also a 40-minute flight away from Reykjavik, which is worth exploring if you can get past the Seaweed baths, Drangsnes hot tubs, and Hólmavík village’s Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft (which is one the most metal things you could possibly do on your honeymoon). Just make sure you’ve packed accordingly.
DolphinsThe Azores, Portugal
The Azores is a chain of nine volcanic Portuguese islands that lie on the European, African, and American tectonic plates, and they’re known for being a crucible for life. It’s a pocket full of springs, forests, caverns, mudpots, blue lakes, and grottoes formed from molten rock. It’s also one of the few protected locations where guided tours offer the opportunity to snorkel with wild dolphins in their natural habitat. São Miguel is a major tourism spot for scuba diving centers and whale watching adventures while the smaller islands of Faial and Pico offer dolphin swimming tours that last between two and four hours. Operators such as CW Azores have a success rate of more than 97-percent and allow honeymooners a chance to bond with five different species— including the Risso’s dolphin, the Atlantic spotted dolphin, and the rare bottlenose dolphin.