Imagine a honeymoon in Napa Valley that includes wine tasting at scenic vineyards and dining at Michelin-starred restaurants, or a romantic trip to Mexico with whale watching, snorkeling, and tequila toasts. While this moment is everything you dreamed about, you can’t help but feel that something’s missing, and it’s not your sense of adventure—it’s your squad. After all, the more the merrier, right? Well, you’re not alone. While the honeymoon has traditionally been a newlywed’s private and intimate getaway, the rising trend of the “buddymoon” ensures the entire wedding party is tagging along.
As the New York Times pointed out back in 2012, newly married couples taking friends on their honeymoons has been gaining popularity, and the trend became reality in 2015 when Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux invited famous friends Chelsea Handler, Courtney Cox and Jason Bateman on their exclusive honeymoon in Bora Bora.Theroux said, “We had thought about it; we could just do a normal honeymoon or we could go with friends, keep the party going, relax and have fun.” And who can forget Johnny Depp and Amber Heard taking friends on a honeymoon cruise on Depp’s yacht in February 2015 after the private island wedding? Furthermore, in a recent Priceline poll, 12% of 1,000 people surveyed said they had attended a buddymoon in the past five years. It’s official: the buddymoon is here to stay.
It doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The bridal market has significantly changed, and couples are having less traditional weddings and honeymoons to celebrate marriage. Also, there are more destination weddings than ever before. Newlyweds are thinking: now that my friends are already here in this exotic destination, why not have them join our honeymoon? The option for vacation rentals over hotels in beautiful places—where you can comfortably fit many friends in an unforgettable villa and save a lot of money—makes buddymoons even more convenient. Some buddymoon destinations are better than others, and we rounded up the perfect places to celebrate your marriage—with your closest friends—while having the adventure of a lifetime.
Puerto Vallarta famously seduces couples with its balmy coastline, vibrant “Old Town,” lush jungles and exciting nightlife. The honeymoon-friendly beach town still has an air of glam ever since Elizabeth Taylor lived here in the sixties, and it’s the only Mexico destination touting beaches, waterfalls, cobblestone streets and mountain views all in one place. The variety of activities (from hikes and bikes to secluded beaches and gallery hopping) makes it a magnet for close-knit friend groups who have plenty to discover. Take a day trip to the secret, unspoiled beach of Yelapa, an excursion exploring the UNESCO-appointed Marietas Islands, sample raicilla (a trending, native mezcal) in breezy, al fresco bars and stroll through the lively streets of Old Town, a timeless and well preserved, authentic neighborhood. With friends in tow, you can stay at a number of exceptional villas in Puerto Vallarta, like Casa Septiembre, right on the foot of a secluded beach, or Villa Mandarinas where, due to the stunning, tiered architecture, all rooms flaunt balconies (many with private jacuzzis!) for unobstructed coastal views.
Where to stay in Puerto Vallarta
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Home to picture-perfect beaches, centuries-old temples, a vibrant market scene and endless shopping, Thailand remains one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world. Capital city Bangkok has been scrapping its backpacker reputation to lean towards more “high-end experiences, so travelers can expect more elevated dining (like The Jam Factory, a hipsterfied hot spot on the river—though still make room for authentic Thai food), swank bars (Skybar, which flaunts breathtaking views of the cityscape) and high-end shopping (like EmQuartier, a designer mall that’s about the size of a village!). Bangkok is the launching point to famous island destinations like Koh Samui, where buddymooners can experience signature snorkeling, diving, and unforgettable beach hopping. A buddymoon in Thailand is guaranteed to be a hit on social media. With your squad in tow, you’ll always have someone documenting your exotic journey in photos.
Where to stay in Thailand
With surf, sun and that warm Aloha spirit, the Hawaii islands make an excellent buddymoon destination. Head to the island of Maui, no stranger to special-occasion trips (ie: birthdays, anniversaries, honeymoons) so it’s effortlessly designed for intimate groups. Maui is upscale yet relaxed, brimming with endless buddymoon-friendly activities. There’s the Road to Hana, an iconic, 68-mile drive up the northeast shore that hugs the coast with breathtaking views and gorgeous, hidden waterfalls along the way. Pop the champers on a sunset sail in the Pacific, sprawl out at one of many pristine, uncrowded beaches (like Napili Bay) and eat your way through trendy, farm-to-table restaurants like Ka’ana Kitchen or Mama’s Fish House (the sunsets here are magnificent).
Where to stay on Maui
Honeymooners who prefer snow over sand make a beeline to the Colorado Rockies post-nuptials, and Aspen is the stomping ground for ski-obsessed lovers—though it’s not all about shredding snow. Art, food, nature, and nightlife merge in Colorado’s most famous ski town, where getting pampered is guaranteed, whether indulging at fine-dining restaurants, checking into award-winning spas or splurging at high-end designer boutiques. Heading to the slopes is more fun with your favorite squad, and you can later bond over apres ski cocktails and cozy up around a blazing fire. Considering Aspen is a magnet for the rich and famous, the resort town is already set up with the highest standard of comfort. You’ll certainly eat well at notably atmospheric and buzzing restaurants (like La Creperie Du Village or Poppycocks) and even dance past the witching hour at trendy nightclubs like Bootsy Bellows. Naturally, your friends will arrange the best bottle service and table for an unforgettable toast.
Where to stay in Aspen
With its trademark slogan “Pura Vida,” Costa Rica is the perfect tropical destination for buddymooners who want to experience the pure life and the good life: luxury villas in the rainforest, unspoiled, white-sand beaches, gourmet restaurants serving healthy, organic food and nature galore. Throw in the rich ecosystem teeming with abundant wildlife (including cute monkeys), and Costa Rica is a memorable, exotic and eco-friendly getaway. There’s loads to do here, from volcano trekking to white-water rafting, and a Costa Rican getaway is famously easy on the wallet. Buddymooners can explore several unique regions, like Guanacaste (an upscale resort area known for excellent beaches), Arenal with its landmark volcano with ubiquitous hot springs or the sleepy beach towns of Punta Arenas teeming with national parks and the perfect water conditions for surfing.
Where to stay in Costa Rica
A high-brow, sophisticated wine valley in Northern California, Napa Valley is historically a hot spot for girlfriend getaways, bachelor parties, and crew-themed weekenders, so it’s already primed for buddymoons. There’s no better time to go. The notorious California drought in 2015 ironically produced some of the best wine in California in nearly a decade (due to the lack of rain, the grape riper in drier soil). Impressive, high-end restaurants like Archetype and Harvest Table continue to open, and even non-wine lovers can toast the newlyweds in newly opened cocktail and specialty bars, like the sake lounge at upscale Morimoto. Visit Healdsburg for its charming, small-town vibe. It’s chockfull of bars, restaurants, boutiques, and bakeries, and you may even selfie with a celebrity—A-listers, like James Franco and Tyra Banks, are often spotted here.
Where to stay in Napa Valley