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A Queen Triggerfish in the waters off Turneffe Keys in Belize.

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Tahiti is terrific, and so are these nearer gems

  • Article by: KERRI WESTENBERG
  • Star Tribune
  • March 30, 2013 - 2:48 PM

It’s so far away and so expensive to reach, a reader lamented about Tahiti as she and her fiancé began researching honeymoons. With no direct flights from the Twin Cities, it can take 20 hours or more just to arrive at the classic post-wedding destination, and airfare for a single ticket can cost as much as some people budget for a full weeklong vacation. But then, for a scene that oozes romance, it’s hard to beat those thatched cabanas perched over aquamarine waters.

Or is it, I wondered. I took the lament as a challenge, and my research turned up some once-in-a-lifetime spots much closer to home.

White sand beaches, sparkling blue water, thatched roofs — and a morning flight that gets you on the beach by the afternoon: If this sounds appealing, consider Maroma Resort, a posh spot on the Mayan Riviera (www.maromahotel.com). It’s one of the top picks for a beach honeymoon at the wedding-planning site, the Knot (www.theknot.com). Or head to another luxury spot, on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, called One & Only Palmilla. It was rated the best of the Baja Mexico resorts in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards (http://palmilla.oneandonlyresorts.com).

For French Polynesian flair one time zone away, head to Belize. That’s where Francis Ford Coppola (who has branched out beyond movies into wine and hospitality) opened Turtle Inn. Grasses crown every one of its Balinese-style cottages, and some are specifically designed for honeymooners with private gardens and outdoor showers (www.coppolaresorts.com/turtleinn).

Of course, for some, only Tahiti will do. For them, we promise a story soon that just could answer whether that extravagant flight is worth it. 

Send questions to Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.

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