Fiji Visitors Bureau

Honeymoons That Give Back: Voluntourism

In Holiday Reviews - Africa, Holiday Reviews - Africa & Indian Ocean Islands, Holiday Reviews - Asia, Holiday Reviews - China, Holiday Reviews - Fiji, Holiday Reviews - India, Holiday Reviews - South Pacific Islands, Honeymoons by The H4C Team

Jemma Fletcher and Katelyn Overby explore the growing trend couples bonding while giving back.

A romantic escape which fuses romance, seclusion, and luxury with the heart-warming gesture of giving back to the local community? Sign us up! Here at Holidays for Couples, we began to wonder if this fabled honeymoon could really exist… and it certainly does! With opportunities all over the world to engage with locals, a variety of native wildlife, and the conservation of their homes and environment, you’ll be sure to find the right fit for your perfect, meaningful honeymoon.

Below are our top six destinations which provide dream honeymoons with an opportunity to make the world a better place.

Swim with whale sharks on the Ningaloo Reef
Swim with whale sharks on the Ningaloo Reef

1. Australia

Is there a better way to bond as a newlywed couple than to interact with some of Australia’s native wildlife together? Learn the proper way to correctly handle each animal and how you can help in the conservation effort of Australia’s iconic kangaroos, wombats, and wallabies. You can also spend time marveling at the Great Barrier Reef during some relaxing time on a nearby island!

Stay in a 5 star accommodation, enjoy private guided tours of Sydney’s beautiful beaches, and take in the sights on your helicopter flight to the Blue Mountains. With the ability to customize your itinerary to suit your interests, you can add bucket list-worthy favourites such as swimming with whale sharks on the Ningaloo Reef, wine tasting in Adelaide, sailing in the Whitsunday Islands, and more!

Check out these customizable volunteering vacations with: Hands Up Holidays and their suggested itinerary.

Interested in an even more unconventional honeymoon? Check out Animal Experience International’s opportunity to care for native Australian bats while enjoying some luxury camping, and for more ideas and opportunities – particularly those that care for wildlife worldwide – be sure to visit the extensive honeymoon options on the Animal Experience International website as well.

Rear young cubs in Zimbabwe

2. Africa

Looking for an adrenaline rush on your first vacation as a married couple? Explore Antelope Park in Zimbabwe, run by The African Lion Research Trust. Stay on-site in a spacious en-suite River Lodge with your own private decking area, and enjoy the sounds of the jungle. Delicious chef-prepared meals are available each day, and you will have plenty of opportunity to engage with elephants and horses onsite, as well as see the best of Africa’s wildlife living free around the park.

The Research Trust aims to develop successful techniques for breeding strong lions that can be released into the wild, giving you the opportunity to get involved in data collection, rearing and walking the young cubs, and preparing food for the lions. Spend some free time in the pool or even join the community volunteers as they arrange activities with the children of the local orphanage and schools. During your stay, enjoy a complimentary private picnic breakfast and bush dinner for two.

Find out more with: Honeymoon Volunteers and Kaya Responsible Travel

Get to know Fiji with Marine Conservation programs

3. Fiji

With over 4,000 miles of reefs and over 1,500 species of sea life surrounding the islands of Fiji, it’s easy to see why Fiji’s tourism industry is booming. However, this level of traffic can have a negative impact on the environment and native wildlife. But what if there was a way to combine the beauty of a Fijian honeymoon and the ability to have a positive impact on the surrounding environment? Luckily, there are lots of volunteer projects that will not only allow you and your spouse to view Fiji’s magnificent natural landscape, but also contribute to its conservation for years to come.

With marine conservation programs, you can spend time on a boat or in the water diving, swimming, or snorkeling to conduct necessary research that monitors the coral reefs and several fish species in order to help them survive long term. (If you would like to go scuba diving, but have never been, you can be trained for an additional cost.) Prefer to stay on land? Take some time to participate in beach clean ups on remote islands, help with the production of protected land and marine areas while understanding the long term benefits your actions will provide to the local inhabitants.

Feeling particularly adventurous? Try out a shark conservation experience where you will live and work with other volunteers to continue the preservation of some of the most endangered marine species.

Check out these unforgettable opportunities with: One World 365 and Projects Abroad

Cotton Tree Lodge exterior Credit: Raeford Dwyer
Cotton Tree Lodge exterior Credit: Raeford Dwyer

4. Belize

Belize, located on the North Eastern coast of Central America, gives you a unique opportunity to learn something new as a couple! A chocolate tour (4 person minimum) in the southern town of Punta Gorda teaches you about the history, politics, and processes of Fair-Trade chocolate with several workshops and excursions to local villages, farms, and cultural sites. And don’t worry… there will be plenty of opportunities to eat chocolate! After harvesting some cacao beans yourself, spend some time at the Rio Blanco National Park for a picnic lunch and enjoy a walk to the gorgeous Rio Blanco waterfall – cliff jumping, anyone?

Spend a day volunteering with Sustainable Harvest International, a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing farming families in Central America with the training and tools needed to overcome poverty. This could include building a fuel-efficient wood burning stove, reforesting land, or even planting an organic garden. Cotton Tree Lodge will accommodate you in a beautiful, natural setting with a suite that features a jacuzzi, balcony and a view overlooking the Moho River.

Find out more with: Cotton Tree Lodge, their Cacao Farm Experience, and Sustainable Harvest International.

Get to know these gentle giants with Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand
Get to know these gentle giants with Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand

5. Thailand

Ready for the time of your life loving on the world’s gentle giants? Thailand is the place to be to learn about elephant conservation and to spend time caring for these beautiful creatures. With a designer travel experience with Elevate Destinations, you can customize your experience to include time viewing wild elephants and caring for others in a nature park and care facility among other exciting excursions such as a long-tail boat tour of Bangkok’s canals, a visit to several of the best wineries in the PB Valley, a floating “morning mist safari” in the gorgeous Sok National Park, and an exciting nighttime safari in Khao Yai National Park!

Elevate Destinations also offers opportunities for more extensive work within the volunteer sphere where you will get to spend more time with the animals (and do a bit more exhaustive work) at Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand including cleaning, constructing enclosures, conducting tours, and more! Then, take some time to cool off at the lush, more highly elevated Khao Yai National Park, and check out the gorgeous architecture of the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Pra Keaw.

Check out these amazing adventures with their Honeymoon and Adventure options!

Jicaro Island Ecolodge in Nicaragua
Jicaro Island Ecolodge in Nicaragua

6. Nicaragua

Have a blast volunteering and understanding the intricacies of Nicaragua on a fully-immersive trip for your honeymoon. Stay in ecolodges and bungalows, spend your time learning about the sustainability practices of the island, and do a little crafting with a program for marginalized children making piñatas and an exciting pottery workshop. Catch something that looks delicious on your fishing trip? Bring it back with you, and a professional chef will be more than happy to cook up a delicious meal with your catch!

You’ll have the opportunity to volunteer locally at the Padre Nello School, working on infrastructure or alongside the students in their garden. Afterwards, enjoy a relaxing activity such as a horseback ride through plantain, cacao, coffee and citrus groves with a lush volcano as your backdrop.

Discover the people you’ll meet and all you’ll learn with this Elevate Destinations exciting honeymoon.

Spending time volunteering and giving back during your honeymoon is a great way to bond with your partner, learn and grow together, and push yourselves outside of your comfort zone while showing love and respect to the places you visit and the people who live there. Celebrate your love, make a change, and have an absolutely fantastic time!