Across the threshold |

Across the threshold

Kimberly Nicoletti
Special to the Daily/BellagioGoing into debt on the honeymoon is a stressful way to begin a marriage. So if your budget isn't allowing you to leave the country, Las Vegas is probably the cheapest destination. The Bellagio hotel, above, is a Vegas landmark and a great place to stay.

Let’s face it. When you’re swept away with love, it doesn’t matter if your plane’s late, the food’s not great or there’s a hurricane warning during your honeymoon. Any adversity just makes good stories later in life.

But since you want your honeymoon to be one of the most romantic, relaxing and exciting times of your life, here a few guidelines for planning a trip.

How much?

If you’re going to Mexico and planning to shop, “How much?” is the first Spanish phrase you’ll want to learn.

It’s also an essential question to ask yourself about the total cost of your honeymoon, no matter where you go.

Honeymoons range from low-budget camping trips to extravagant $900 per night over-water bungalow packages in the Tahitian islands. Decide how much you want to spend, and stick to your budget. Going into debt on the honeymoon is a stressful way to begin a marriage.

All inclusive packages to Mexico often start at $1,300 per person for a week, said Val Sundell from Breckenridge Travel.

As of Jan. 3, charter flights offer direct service to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, said Suzi Mirus, manager of Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Frisco. All inclusive trips to these destinations range from $1,500-2,000 per person.

“Many couples choose all-inclusive trips because it’s nice to have everything paid for so you know how much you’re spending and you’re not nickeled-and-dimed throughout the honeymoon,” Mirus said. “I always suggest all-inclusives so they can just relax and enjoy themselves.”

A new trend in gift giving includes honeymoon registries. Couples sign up for a free registry service at Web sites such as Then wedding guests contribute toward specific elements of the honeymoon, such as parasailing, spa services or a helicopter ride over a volcano in Hawaii.

Where do we go from here?

Once you decide on a budget, you can narrow down the perfect honeymoon destination.

First, figure out what you want to do on your trip (that is, once you leave your room).

Your usual vacations might involve adventure travel, but after planning the details of a large wedding, you may decide that for this trip, you just want to sit on a beach.

Sometimes, your new spouse wants something different than you do. Marriage involves compromise, so you might as well begin now. Find a destination that offers a range of possibilities and satisfies both of you.

It’s all a matter of style

Most couples from the High Country fly off to tropical destinations, but hot and steamy may not be your style. Maybe you prefer cool, deep powder turns at Mike Wiegele’s Helicopter Skiing Resort ( in British Columbia, Canada.

Or not. Maybe less is more when it comes to clothes you have to pack.

If you’re hot for tropical destinations, there are plenty from which to choose.

Tahiti may be the most romantic, as you island hop from Bora Bora to Moorea and sleep in bungalows beside or over the ocean. You can swim with dolphins, hike through the lush inland or snorkel offshore.

On the other end of the price scale, Belize offers incredible diving and snorkeling off its cayes as well as inland jungle tours that include ruins, canoe trips through caves and river tours. A bungalow on Tobacco Caye ” a small, remote island off the southern portion of Belize ” or sparse rooms in the jungle often go for less than $30 a night.

If you’re looking for adventure, Costa Rica may be the ticket. Though it’s complicated to travel to because there aren’t direct flights, it’s worth it if you love more remote locations.

Costa Rica offers beaches ” even ones with black sand ” rainforests, cloudforests, active volcanoes, hot springs and hiking. Canopy rides through the jungle allow tourists to zoom across the top of the jungle on ropes. Tabacon Hot Springs is a lush spring surrounded by flowers, and on a clear day, you can see lava flowing from a nearby volcano. Resorts such as Barcelo offer visitors high-end lodging, said Jackie Johnson, owner of Trips ‘N Travel in Dillon.

Sandals Resorts offer all-inclusive honeymoons geared toward couples in Jamaica, the Caribbean and the Bahamas. Packages range from $1,500-2,000 per person, Johnson said.

Sandals Negril, for example, sits at the western-most point of Jamaica, offering the longest single stretch of seven-mile beach. It’s home to one of the island’s best scuba diving, and tropical gardens surround the full service European spa.

Many couples honeymoon in Hawaii, but all-inclusive packages aren’t available, and overall, the trip tends to cost more than one to Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica or other common tropical destinations.

If you want to stay in the States, consider New Orleans, San Francisco or San Diego. Las Vegas is probably the cheapest destination, and Orlando ” with theme parks such as Universal Studios, Sea World, Animal Kingdom, Epcot Center, and, of course, Disney World ” still draws plenty of honeymooners.

For couples wanting to stay close to home, the High Country and Front Range offer plenty of options.

Historic hotels such as the Brown Palace in Denver and the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park provide romance with either the entertainment of a surrounding city or the serenity of a national park, respectively.

Colorado Springs and its surrounding area boast of Garden of the Gods, a free-admission park filled with amazing red and white rock formations; Cave of the Winds, an underground mansion of rooms and passages; and Seven Falls, a 181-foot waterfall. Historic bed and breakfasts throughout Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs surround couples in elegant romance.

The honeymoon suite in Bethanne and Tom Hossley’s Muggins Gulch Bed and Breakfast spoils couples with a marble bathroom and Jaccuzi tub, a Vermont fireplace and vaulted ceilings. The lodge is north of Breckenridge down the Swan River Valley (970-453-7414).

The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera also offers private, world-class spa services, from oil wraps to hot rock massages (970-569-6213).

Other close-by areas to consider include: Dinosaur Park north of Grand Junction; the wineries in western Colorado; the breathtaking scenery of the Durango area in southwest Colorado; and various hot springs throughout the state, including Glenwood Springs.

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