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Romantic Weddings South Of The Border

Eleanor S. Morris

What could be more romantic than having both your wedding and your honeymoon at a beautiful destination? And getting married south of the Border is easily done, as you will see.
Here are Mexico's special places for a wonderful wedding and honeymoon, beginning with two unusual places, one on the East Coast and one on the West,
followed by other very popular wedding and honeymoon destinations.

HOTEL WEDDING PACKAGES


Here are some choices with a variety of price range:

* Las Hadas offers two packages attractive to Honeymooners. Mexico's Holiday Breeze offers a Deluxe Room, welcome cocktail, flowers and a bottle of domestic wine in your room, a daily breakfast buffet, and a 20% discount on tennis or greens fee, all for $170 (plus 17% tax) per night.

A second option for Honeymooners includes the Brisas Beach club with a full view of the bay and a private pool on the terrace, a welcome cocktail, flowers and a bottle of domestic wine in your room, a daily continental breakfast, a cocktail hour with hors d'oeuvres daily, deluxe amenities, a 20% discount on tennis or greens fee, and a special touch: a flower heart on the bed upon arrival. The rate for all this is $320 (plus 17% tax) per night. ( 01152 314 331 0101)

* The Acapulco Princess offers a 3-night Royal Romance Package of Room upgrade, American breakfast, champagne, fruit basket and T-shirts for $261-457 per person. (800-223-1818.)

* Camino Real Hotels offer 3 to 7 nights Honeymoon Package in deluxe room, daily breakfast buffet, champagne/gift, one dinner with wine for $404-1443 per room. (800-7 CAMINO)

* Fiesta American Hotels (15 hotels in 12 locations) offer Fiesta for Two, 1 night deluxe room with daily breakfast, champagne/flowers, dinner for $199 a night. (800-FIESTA 1)

* La Joya Mismaloya offers a Honeymoon of 3 nights deluxe accommodations, champagne, daily breakfast in bed, sunset cruise, one dinner at $717 per couple. (Extra night $162.) (800-322-2344, ext. 2343)

* Marriott Casa Magna, Cancun, has an Ecape to Romance, 3 nights deluxe room, champagne, one dinner, daily breakfast, 15% discount at gift shop, at $175 per night. (800-223-6388)

* Melia Hotels (5 hotels in 3 locations) offers a Honeymoon Package of 1-7 nights ocean view room, champagne, daily breakfast, one dinner, 1 hour massage/spa, 15% golf discount on tours, 25% car rental discount, for $1,165-2,258 per couple. (800-336-3542)

* Presidente Inter-Continental (5 locations) has a Sunnymoon Package of 2 nights at beach locations, a deluxe room, flowers/champagne, dinner, daily breakfast, one round of golf, honeymoon gift. (800-327-0200)

* Sheraton Buganvillas, Vallarta offers the Perfect Romance, 3 nights deluxe room, daily breakfast, champagne, one dinner, at $356-446 per couple. (800-433-5451)

* Westin Las Brisas has three locations with Honeymoon Packages. Acapulco's Honeymoon Package includes 3-7 nights deluxe accommodations, flowers/domestic wine, daily breakfast, gift, one dinner, comp. tennis/water sports, Disco Extravaganza, and a pink and white jeep rental for $338-358 per night.

* Ixtapa's Honeymoon Package offers 2-7 night deluxe room, daily breakfast, one dinner, flowers/domestic wine/fruit basket gift, tennis, and 20% discount on golf at $964-$3022 per couple.

* The Los Cabos Honeymoon Package includes 3 nights deluxe room, daily breakfast, one dinner, champagne, lunch basket, healthclub access for $963 per couple. (All three: 800-228- 3000).

THE ROYAL HIDEAWAY ON THE MEXICAN RIVIERA

The royal treatment begins when you drive through the elegant porte-cochere of this Caribbean all-inclusive resort on the glamorous Mayan Riviera. Greeted by a smiling staff with refreshing scented towels after your drive down from Cancun to the beautiful suburb of Playa del Carmen's Playacar, you'll further relax with champagne while sinking into a soft chair to check in. The Royal Hideaway offers 192 rooms, 6 Junior Suites, and 2 Presidential Suites in villas offering either views of powdery-white sand beaches on the azure Caribbean or of exquisitely landscaped gardens.

You'll enter your villa through a courtyard with gardens and fountain, and you'll be met by your villa's own concierge, who insures that every guest's need is met. Each room opens onto a private balcony or terrace and is equipped with every amenity, including satellite TV, stereo with CD player and VCR, robes and slippers. Large bathrooms feature a separate shower and a hydromassage bathtub.

Four gourmet restaurants present a varied cuisine: Spices serves Mediterrean-Caribbean, Palazzo Italian, Ventanas Continental and Azia Pan-Asian. There's room service 24-hours a day, and the bistro-type Beach Club serves snacks and drinks all day. High tea? Every afternoon at 4 pm at the Allegra Lounge in the lobby, and there's even the Cigar Lounge, a quiet sanctuary for cigar smokers. The Royal Hideaway Spa is a first for this hemisphere, offering Thalassotherapy, designed by Thalgo, Europe's leading Spa company. Thalassotherapy is the use of marine products to promote health and well-being in a seaside environment. Treatments include many types of body wraps, massages, facials, and more, with two rooms designed for couples who would like a massage and hot tub together. A fitness trainer is available at the fitness center; there are even Yoga lessons and Tai Chi on offer. And of course there are swimming pools--six of them, not to mention the Caribbean just a step away. Water sports include snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing, Hobie Cat sailing, kayaking, water polo, aqua arobics and boogie boards.

Royal Hideaway Land sports include two tennis courts (with free tennis lessons), bicycling, shuffleboard, basketball, beach volleyball, horseshoes, table tennis, outdoor chess--and anything else you can think of! As for golfers, the Playacar Golf Course is just across the road But--you won't want to be in the Yucatan and miss the nearby Mayan Archaeological Site of Tulum, the only walled city the Maya even built on the Caribbean coast. Built during the Post-Classic period (1000-1500 AD) Tulum was once one of the most important commercial centers of this ancient civilization. More than sixty well-preserved buildings lie within three massive walls surrounding the site. One of the most important is the Castle, crowned by a two-room temple with serpent columns. The Temple of Kulkulcan and the Temple of the Descending God are hanging on a high cliff just over the second largest barrier reef in the world. If you're sure- footed, you can walk behind the temples and take a look at the lovely beach far below.

Also nearby is beautiful Xcaret Eco-archaeological Park where you can swim in an underwater river or at the beach, feed and pet dolphins, visit a museum and an aviary, see the famous Papantla Flyers and many other attractions for a close encounter with wonderful animals and the most exotic ecosystem. The park was created to promote the respectful enjoyment of the visitor with the nature and cultural heritage of the Maya world: to show how we can benefit from nature without subduing it.

Water plays a starring role, forming beaches, inlets, and natural rivers that open a path through dense jungle and provide a home for numerous aquatic species. You'll get to explore the mysterious and marvelous past of the Maya, one of antiquities most advanced culture.

There's more romance to be had over on Mexico's West Coast, at Las Hadas Resort.

LAS HADAS, AN ARABIAN NIGHTS DREAM

Here's a fairy-tale world right out of the Arabian Nights, gleaming white Arabian tents and arches, curved domes and winding pathways, sumptuous suites and balconies, wonderful food and gracious service. This all-inclusive resort in Manzanillo, Mexico, on a beautiful blue bay, is named Las Hadas, the Fairies, from a long-ago mystery experienced by sailors during a full moon.

Entering this important port, early sailors were entranced by what they called the "fairies" dancing around their ships under a full moon. Although the mystery was eventually solved, the "fairies" being phosphorescence, the magical charm has remained to this day.

Las Hadas offers a choice of 233 spacious rooms and suites, each with its own private terrace or balcony with a wide view of the bay. Of the 45 luxurious suites, 14 have a private pool, while they all have a marble bath with an oversized bathtub. Decor is light and airy, with arched windows to view astonishing sunsets, to feel refreshing ocean breezes blowing bugambillia petals across the way.

Tennis, anyone? Ten lighted courts are just a few minutes away, with complimentary shuttle, equipment rental and tennis clinics. Golf? Las Hadas Gold Course & Country Club is rated by Golf Digest as one of the best 100 courses in the world. The 18-hole par 71 course was designed by Pete and Roy Dye, and there is a Pro Shop as well as golf clinics.

There's plenty of adventure, too, including a 70-slip marina, water skiing, kayaking, paddle boats, scuba diving and snorkeling, beach volleyball, swimming pools, and more than a quarter of a mile of private beach for strolling along the waves.

If you hanker to be pampered, the full service beauty salon is the place. The Health Club offers massages, shiatsu and reflexology, as well as personal training, cardiovascular equipment, stairsteps, fixed position bicycles, and weights.

Take a pick of a total of eight restaurants and bars. Casual El Palmar offers a Mexican and continental menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Los Delfines is set in an outdoor "palapa" with a spectacular view of Las Hadas Bay. Specialties here are fish and seafood in a relaxed atmosphere. Delicious international cuisine can be enjoyed nightly on one of the three terraces of El Terral on the Bay, while Italian and Mediterranean fine gourmet dishes are served nightly at Legazpi. And there's always the Piano Lounge for a quiet music accompaniment with a cocktail. The Albina Bar, located in the center of the resort, is perfect for enjoying a romantic moonlit evening enhanced by pleasant music and your favorite drink. The Coco-Loco Swim-up Bar is handily located in the hotel's main pool and last but not least, the fanciful Oasis Bar is in a Bedouin tent next to the beach. Here you can indulge in light snacks and drinks while lounging in comfortable divans.

In addition to all the other activities, there are three theme parties to look forward to. Mexican Night is memorable with all the color and flavor of a Mexican fiesta, with delicious food, lively mariachi music, regional folk ballet, and bright decorations. On Italian Night you can enjoy a romantic candlelit evening of fine food and Italian songs; and Japanese Night there's plenty of sake to compliment the sushi, sashimi and tepanyaki.

In the Shopping Arcade you'll find boutiques and gift shop, as well as a car rental agency, travel agency, and Tour Desk.

Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd set the stage for romance in ACAPULCO when they got married there in the 1950s. Along the Costera, fabulous resort hotels stretch on the bay, gourmet restaurants cater to sophisticated palates, and in night clubs couples dance the night away. A special attraction is watching the famous divers of La Quebrada plunge from rocky cliffs into the Pacific far below.

CANCUN offers a beautiful long narrow strip of beaches lined with luxurious hotels and resorts, fine dining and exciting excursions into the jungle. There in a tropical setting you can explore the mystery of the Maya in the nearby ancient ruins of Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum.

Another world is ISLA COZUMEL, the island of the swallows in the ancient Mayan tongue. The island is renowned for its diving and coral reefs, underwater caverns, counted among the best in the world. You can snorkel and still see all the beauties of the deep off the white sand beaches. Here too, fine resorts and excellent restaurants.

On the West coast, the nine secluded bays of HUATULCO are famous for all the many shades of blue and for the clear transparency of the water. Find your own secluded spot, yet take boat excursions to the bays and coves, and enjoy all the watersports to be had on the beaches.

As for ahhh IXTAPA, and its twin ZIHUATENEJO, here are two romantic spots in one. A combination of fourteen unspoiled beaches, deluxe resorts, and village charm--luxurious resorts in Ixtapa and local color and shopping in Zihuatenejo--just can't be beat. For extra-special romantic atmosphere, "When A Man Loves A Woman" with Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia was filmed in Zihuatenejo.

LOS CABOS is well known for its striking desert-by-the-sea resorts. The only living coral reef on the western shore of North America is here too, a wonderful discovery for divers. Go out to sea here, too, on romantic expeditions to sight whales, both orcas and humpback, and sea lions. On the way to the whales, take a small excursion on your own to Lovers Beach, under the famous rock arch, Los Arcos.

MAZATLAN has both long beaches with golden sand and a Historical Downtown with excellent dining and fun nightlife--and of course, shopping as well. Calm waters here are great for practicing water sports--and you can go down to the port and watch the large cruise ships from San Diego and Los Angeles sink anchor.

As for "PV," as Puerto Vallarta is affectionately called by its aficionados, great restaurants, shops, and fun day trip excursions are to be found in this charming village. And--more romance blossomed here for Elizabeth Taylor. She and Richard Burton fell in love while filming "the Night of the Iguana" on location in this romantic tropical setting.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE MARRIED IN MEXICO?

Here's what you'll need:

  • Certified copy of you and your partner's birth certificates or valid passports.
  • A blood test taken within 15 days of the wedding date. Some cities require that the test be done in Mexico, or at least notarized by a Mexican doctor.
  • Copy of tourist card or visa.
  • Four witnesses. Check with city; some require Mexicans, with others U.S. citizens are fine.
  • Fulfilling these requirement takes 2 to 4 days to be complete.
  • If you are divorced or widowed, one full year must elapse from date of the following:
  • Divorced, final dissolution of marriage must be verified with a certified copy of the divorce decree.
  • Widowed, a certified copy of spouse's death certificate must be verified.

Just like in the US, regulations vary by state, and sometimes by city. Hiring a wedding consultant is a good idea, and a good source is Weddings on the Move, Inc. They take care of all legal documentation, wedding packages and destination. (4524 Dollar Dr., West Bend, WI 53095, USA, http://www.idoweddings.com).

Published or Updated on: January 1, 2003 by Eleanor S. Morris © 2008
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