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Now, That Was a Vacation

Thirteen recently married New York couples share the highlights of their honeymoons.


Cayo Espanto in Belize  

BELIZE
Who: Carla Landry, 31, national sales manager, and Jeffrey Knowlton, 33, account executive
What: One week in March 2011 on $15,000 to $20,000
How: “We picked Cayo Espanto (from $1,295; aprivateisland.com) even though it was over our budget; the allure of being on a five-star private island with only seven villas reeled us in. We had two butlers who knew everything about the island, and there was never a moment that my husband didn’t have a small beer chest by his side.”
Highlights: “We took a small flight to Belize City, and a tour guide drove us through the Belizean country; we were then transported by a hand-cranked ferry to Mayan ruins. We also went cave-tubing, which was mind-blowing. We were floating down turquoise water through caves with bats, stalactites, and crystal formations.”
Take their advice: “Eat and drink like the locals. Our favorites were the conch and tamales. Also try the [hotel’s] Espanto Wave, not your average fruity beach drink.”

CROATIA
Who: Julie, 28, global recognition manager, and Jordan Viray, 36, graphic designer
What: Two weeks in June 2011 on $5,000 to $10,000
How: “We took a three-hour ferry (commodore-cruises.com) from Venice to Porec and stayed at the beautiful Valamar Riviera (from $215; valamar.com). Our room had two balconies overlooking the sea and a bottle of Champagne waiting for us. Another favorite hotel was in Split: the Peristil (from $175; hotelperistil.com). It’s built into the walls of Diocletian’s Palace and sits minutes from the beach.”
Highlights: “Driving. We were able to travel at our own pace and stop at roadside booths selling grappa and honey, and at konobas, restaurants roasting pigs and fish in brick ovens. We met a woman in Dubrovnik who used to run a gallery but lost most of her things in the [1991] bombings; now she sells her collection of Croatian textiles from her home. We bought a rug and shared plum wine with her.”
Take their advice: “Skip Pula on the Verudela peninsula. It felt like Reno in the eighties.”

MONTREAL
Who: Mary Hawkins, 33, broadcast designer, and Brian Stillman, 36, writer
What: Six days in April 2011 on $2,000
How: “We stayed at Le Petit Hôtel (petithotelmontreal.com; from $160). The neighborhood was walkable and picturesque, with a lot of museums and cathedrals.”
Highlights: “We walked around, ate macarons and crêpes, and went to thrift shops and bookstores; it was like the longest Sunday afternoon ever. Our favorite restaurant was this all-you-can-eat Chinese-vegetarian place, Yuan (514-848-0513). There was a great row of thrift stores on Boulevard St. Laurent, and we found a cool gallery with screen prints by local artists (Monastiraki, monastiraki.tumblr.com). We also saw Beast of the East, a tournament thrown by Montreal Roller Derby (mtlrollerderby.com), which was awesome—totally DIY and local.”
Take their advice: “Indulge in French desserts. We liked local chain Juliette & Chocolat (julietteetchocolat.com) and Une Crêpe Mont Royal (514-849-0836).”


Hotel Caruso Belvedere in Ravello, Italy  

PAN-EUROPE
Who: Dean, 31, animator, and Vishaka Robinson, 31, journalist
What: Two weeks in August 2009 on $5,000 to $10,000
How: “We got a first-class sixteen-day rail pass ($805; interrailnet.com); the trains were clean, comfortable, and on time. We had culture in Venice, pizza in Naples, great views along the Amalfi coast, galleries and gardens in Paris, and everything else in Amsterdam.”
Highlights: “When you stay on overnight trains, you get breakfast brought to your cabin by the conductor. We loved drinking coffee in bed while the landscape whizzed by. The view from the pool at the Hotel Caruso Belvedere (from $640; hotelcaruso.com), which overlooks the Amalfi coastline, was another highlight; it’s gobsmackingly beautiful and looks even better when you order a Bellini made with freshly crushed peaches.”
Take their advice: “Check out seat61.com. It makes the whole idea of train travel much less daunting, and it’s packed with tips, like how to label your luggage properly.”

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