BEIRUT: Lebanese travel agencies have released their 2014 honeymoon packages, and between the glossy brochure pages filled with trips to Thailand and the Amalfi coast are a few paths less traveled by local lovers.
Out of habit or hope for simplified visa procedures, Lebanese often look to two particular regions for their first travel as man and wife, said a representative from Ghorayeb Travel and Tourism Agency. The first option is the European cities along the Mediterranean: Mykonos, Venice, Nice and St. Tropez. And then, for the more adventurous, there are East Asian destinations such as Thailand, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
But travel companies also have a few offerings for the 2014 wedding season that are off the beaten trail in terms of local tourism trends. Safaris in Kenya and hiking through Brazil don’t cost that much more than the usual European escapes if you’re willing to shave a few extended family members off the wedding guest list.
WHAT: Pack your bathing suits and hiking boots for a two-week trip through Brazil’s cities, forests and coastal islands. Besides standard photo ops by Brazil’s iconic tourist sites – like the Corcovado Hill, where the Christ statue overlooks Rio de Janeiro – you’ll spend much of this trip wandering through the country’s lush wildlife. Hike through the Amazon, take an off-road trip into Tijuca Forest and tour the subtropical Iguassu waterfalls by boat.
AGENCY: Kurban Travel
WHAT: This is an eight-day tour of Kenya’s wildlife. From day one, travelers are driven around the Great Rift Valley and Nakuru National Park to catch panoramic views of sprawling green brush. The group also heads into one of Africa’s best-known reserves, Masai Mara, for a tour of the grasslands and its animals. The last couple of days are spent on the beaches of Diani on the Indian Ocean.
AGENCY: Kurban Travel
WHEN: March-April or October-November
WHAT: The Seychelles, made up of 115 islands off the eastern African coast, is an obvious choice for beach loungers. These escapes put the emphasis on relaxation and sunbathing, but away from the sand, the Seychelles is also rich with ecotourism opportunities: from bird watching and scuba diving to hiking and boating.
WHERE: Cruise through the Baltic Sea
WHEN: Trips from June-August
WHAT: This cruise disembarks from Kiel, a port city in northwestern Germany. Passengers will travel for eight days and seven nights, stopping off in some of the major Baltic cities of northern Europe: Copenhagen, Gfynia, Helsinki and St. Petersburg. Daytrips include excursions through Copenhagen’s Christiansborg Palace and other historic sites along the way.
AGENCY: MSC Cruises Lebanon
WHAT: A new addition to the honeymoon offers at Al-Awael Travel, the six-night package takes travelers to Habana and Varadero. Special for honeymooners, couples get a private boat trip with dinner at sunset as well as daily breakfast, lunch and dinner. Local tour guides will show travelers around Cuban heritage sites, a traditional cannon-blast ceremony and a Cuban cabaret show.
AGENCY: Al-Awael Travel & Tourism