1. Share sustainable farming practices
If the simple life sounds appealing, head to Belize in Central America where you can get your hands dirty while volunteering with Sustainable Harvest International, which provides local farmers with training in sustainable agricultural techniques. You will get the opportunity to assist the local community with seasonal farming projects like tree planting, making compost and preparing and cleaning school gardens. Who knows, these newly learned gardening skills might even come in handy in the future.
While you are there, Elevate Destinations will arrange for you to stay at the Belcampo Lodge, an upscale jungle lodge with an onsite farm that supplies many fresh ingredients for your daily meals. Gourmands will love the chocolate-making class, where you can create your own confections with local cacao beans and ingredients.
After the farming stint, head to Turtle Inn, an eco-chic luxury resort where you can snorkel in crystal clear waters and enjoy romantic strolls with your darling on a pristine white sand beach.
2. Indulge your inner science geek
If you and your other half have always wanted to contribute to scientific research, why not honeymoon in Antarctica? Sending researchers on data collecting missions to this remote region is logistically challenging and also a huge strain on the environment. Hence, scientific agencies and animal conservation groups often crowdsource from volunteer citizen scientists.
For instance, voyagers may contribute data on cloud conditions to NASA, which scientists use to study climate change; while animal lovers can send in photographs and reports of humpback whale, sea leopard and penguin sightings to help monitor their population sizes and behaviour and even identify individual animals.
Bespoke travel agency A2A Journeys can customise itineraries to Antarctica, such as a luxury expedition cruise on board the exceptional Hebridean Sky. A team of experts ranging from historians to geologists and marine mammal specialists will accompany citizen scientists on their voyage, which includes camping and kayaking adventures, to ensure that valuable findings and sightings are collected and recorded appropriately.
3. Help rehabilitate fluffy pandas
Cute animal alert! Do your part to save the giant panda at the Dujiangyan Research Center of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, which cares for rescued pandas as well as those needing medical care and rehabilitation. Volunteers help to clean the panda enclosures, prepare their food and even feed them. Apart from the priceless interactions with these cuddly creatures, you’ll also get to learn more about China’s national animals and know that you have assisted the keepers in caring for and rehabilitating the pandas.
Quotient Travel Planner recommends combining this volunteer experience with a stay at the nearby Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain Resort, located within a Unesco World Heritage Site. The suites and villas are inspired by traditional Chinese architectural influences and built using sustainable methods offer a peaceful respite from city living. While you are there, take tai chi lessons from a disciple of a grandmaster or pick your own vegetables from the organic garden, which the chef will prepare to your exact specifications.
4. Build walls to save lives
Couples whose idea of a great date involves sweating it out at an intense gym session will find this volunteer holiday to the southern Kunene region of Namibia right up their alley. On this trip organised by Hands Up Holidays, honeymooners will contribute to reducing elephant-human conflict among communities in this area by constructing protection walls around human water points or digging new water sources away from human settlements in the desert. It is hard, manual work, but volunteers work in teams and will only contribute as much as they are capable of doing. Not only is it rewarding to see the fruits of a few days’ labour but you’ll also know that you’ve helped to reduce potentially life-threatening encounters between man and elephant.
The trip also includes a private tour of Namibia’s impressive Sossusvlei sand dunes, environmentally friendly quad biking and of course, luxury safari trips through the country’s diverse landscape ranging from deserts and dunes to river valleys and waterfalls.
5. Give the gift of education
Make a honeymoon to the awe inspiring Machu Picchu in Peru even more meaningful by volunteering at a local school. Elevate Destinations can arrange for couples to spend several days at the non-profit Chicuchas Wasi school for marginalised girls from rural communities in Cusco. During these four to five hour days, you could be working with students on art projects, homework or conversational English practice. It is also a valuable opportunity to gain insights into their way of life.
While you are in Cusco, do take the opportunity to dine at some of the city’s highly rated fine dining restaurants and enjoy biking excursions to the Sacred Valley, which offers stunning views of the Andes mountain range. Be sure to budget some time for some well-deserved R&R at the Hotel Palacio Nazarenas, one of Peru’s premier hotels.
Of course, it is only fitting to cap off your trip to Peru with an expedition to the impressive Machu Picchu Sanctuary where you can trek to the Sun Gate for a bird’s eye view of this ancient site.