Where will you be for Valentine’s Day? Soaking up the sun with your loved one on a beautiful beach? Or sharing the experience of an adventure somewhere exotic?
There’s no end of romantic destinations to explore with your beloved, whether you want to escape the winter chill in the balmy Caribbean, feel the wind in your hair as you race across the desert of the Baja Peninsula on an ATV, or chase adventure at the very tip of South America.
Here are some of the most romantic Valentine’s Day getaways in the world.
Sparkling seas, white sand beaches, and rainbow-hued coral reefs make sun-drenched Cozumel the perfect Valentine’s Day destination.
Take a boat trip to El Cielo, one of the most beautiful beaches in Cozumel, and swim over the reefs together on the lookout for sea turtles.
Or take an off-road tour to Punta Sur Eco Beach Park, where you’ll see everything from jungly landscapes to a lagoon inhabited by crocodiles, with a stop for snorkeling among shoals of dazzling fish.
Explore the Mayan ruins of San Gervasio, dating back to 100 BC and originally a shrine dedicated to the fertility goddess Ixchel. Or take an excursion to the mainland to visit Tulum, one of the most famous Mayan sites, and swim in the cool depths of the Casa Tortuga cenote.
Explore Mexico’s rich culinary scene together in a margarita-making workshop, where you can create specialties to impress friends back home. Better still, join a chocolate-making class to learn about the Mayan and Aztec chocolate-making techniques. Who can resist a chocolate martini?
Pretty Barbados is a dream to explore, with multiple opportunities to conjure up romance. The island is encircled by more than 80 beaches. Head for the soft, golden sands and limpid Caribbean waters of the Platinum Coast, where your swim may be accompanied by sea turtles.
Marvel at the raw power of the Atlantic on the eastern shore, pounded by rollers. Just strolling along the beach in Barbados is romantic in itself.
Learn more about the island’s past on the St. Nicholas Abbey Heritage Railway, a traditional steam locomotive that trundles past the historic St. Nicholas Abbey Great House and through mahogany woodlands.
From Cherry Tree Hill, you’ll have sweeping views of the wild east coast. Or visit the lush Tropical Gardens and admire six acres of dazzling flowers set amid the rippling sugar cane, with marked “bus stops” that show you the best spots for taking selfies.
Finally, don’t miss a chance to sample Bajan cuisine together, which blends influences from Europe, Africa, and the West Indies. Fried flying fish with cou-cou—a polenta-like dish made from cornmeal and okra, with a spicy sauce—is the national dish. And with all that rum produced on the island, sampling a spicy, fruity rum punch is a must.
Dreamy St. Thomas is all about the beaches. Splash around in the crystalline waters of Magen’s Bay, or kayak off Sapphire Beach together, rewarding yourselves with a picnic lunch from the beach bar in the shade of the sea grape trees.
One of the best things to do in St. Thomas is to explore the underwater world on a boat trip to Buck Island, a marine sanctuary where you can snorkel among shimmering shoals of fish, looking out for sea turtles drifting through the clear turquoise water.
Food-loving couples could join a culinary tour of Charlotte Amalie, the island’s historic capital. Sample all the flavors that make up the local cuisine, including curried chicken, rice with peas, and banana rum flambé. There’s a session on crafting the perfect Caribbean rum cocktail, too.
Or head for Villa Botanica, a fragrant tropical garden on the site of a former sugar plantation. It’s the perfect setting for romantic photos. You’ll have a lesson in bush medicine and healing with herbs on this visit, too.
Vietnam’s capital is an intoxicating mix of Asian energy and French heritage; coffee-lovers will adore the coffee shops and patisseries here.
Wander through the bustling Old Quarter, with artisans at work on every street and French colonial architecture to admire, or take a cyclo tour so you can soak up the views. Sample Vietnam’s fresh cuisine, and marvel at the skill of the puppeteers at the Hanoi Water Puppet Theater.
Perhaps the most thrilling and romantic element of a visit to Hanoi is exquisite Ha Long Bay, a fairytale landscape of more than 2,000 sheer limestone karsts rising out of an emerald-green sea.
Take a cruise on a traditional junk boat, or paddle a kayak around some of the islands. Visit a traditional fishing village, and explore the mysterious Dark and Bright caves, festooned with dramatic stalactites and stalagmites.
Share the excitement of a small aircraft flight over the bay, giving you a bird’s-eye perspective of this extraordinary landscape.
Beautiful St. Lucia is the perfect setting for romance, defined by the twin volcanic peaks of the Pitons as well as glorious beaches, hot springs, and lush rainforest.
One of the best things to do in St. Lucia for active couples is to climb Gros Piton, the taller of the two peaks, for the shared sense of achievement and for the breathtaking views from the top.
If you love horseback riding, or even if you have only a little experience, why not join a beach ride to Cas en Bas? Swimming in the sea with your horse is a wonderful bonding experience.
St. Lucia is spectacular from the water, too. You could learn to sail a 40-foot racing yacht from Rodney Bay, or simply relax on a catamaran, cruising the magnificent coastline, rum punch in hand.
Or perhaps you’d rather just sink back into a comfortable beach chair and listen to the gentle breaking of the waves. Take the occasional break to swim in the warm waters off golden Reduit Beach, one of St. Lucia’s best beaches, with your loved one.
Celebrate your romance amid the energy of the Big Easy. Explore the historic bars and moody jazz clubs of Bourbon Street and browse the French Market, the perfect place to pick up handicrafts and souvenirs.
You could even explore the French Quarter on a horse-drawn carriage. Check out the galleries and antique stores of Royal Street, and taste fluffy beignets with your coffee at the iconic Café du Monde.
Wander through the serene green spaces of Louis Armstrong Park. It’s here that slaves would gather in Congo Square to sing and play the drums on their days “off”, back in the dark days of slavery. Today, it’s a peaceful place in which to take a break from the buzz of the city.
You can admire New Orleans from the water on a jazz cruise on the Mississippi aboard the Natchez paddle steamer.
Couples with an interest in the supernatural can bond over the hair-raising experience of a New Orleans ghost tour after dark. Delve into the world of haunted mansions and gruesome history, and learn about voodoo and the occult during a visit to the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum.
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
If your travels bring you to the British Virgin Islands on Valentine’s Day, there’s only one place to go for true romantics: The Baths on Virgin Gorda, a short hop from Tortola.
Here, giant granite boulders are tumbled along a stretch of white, sandy beach and sea that’s an impossible shade of aquamarine.
You start at one end of the trail and pick your way following guide ropes and ladders under, over, and through the rocks, sometimes knee-deep in water, and at others, emerging in front of an exquisite, sheltered bay.
There’s a real sense of adventure here, and if you have a robust, waterproof camera, you’ll be able to snap real “castaway” photos of the two of you. Snorkeling here is also one of the best things to do in Tortola.
Reward your efforts with a rum punch at Poor Man’s Bar, a shack on the beach at the end of the trail.
Only couples with a sense of irony might want to boast that they’ve been to Hell on Valentine’s Day—but in Grand Cayman, it’s possible.
This slightly sinister field of jagged limestone shards does indeed have a “hellish” aura, but it’s fun to visit—and you can mail a postcard home with a stamp from “Hell”, should you wish.
More romantically, unwind on gorgeous Seven Mile Beach, a blissful and seemingly endless stretch of sand, fringed by swaying coconut palms and casuarina pine trees. The sand is white, the sea turquoise, and romance is in the air.
When you’ve had enough time on the sand, one of the best things to do in Grand Cayman is to take a tour to Stingray City, a shallow sandbar where gentle stingrays gather, lured by the promise of food.
Feeding the rays and feeling them brush past your legs is a wonderful experience to share.
The Galapagos Islands
If you love wildlife, there’s no more thrilling place to spend Valentine’s Day with your loved one than the volcanic Galapagos Islands, scattered across the ocean off the coast of Ecuador.
A visit to the islands is a life-changing experience that you’ll never forget. Hike rocky trails on the lookout for blue-footed boobies and colorful, spiny land iguanas.
Stroll along Galapagos beaches in shades of white, ocher, rust-red, and olive-green, being careful to step around the many sea lions and their pups that bask there.
The Galapagos belongs to the wildlife, which is completely unconcerned about humans, and you’ll have opportunities to photograph animals and birds like nowhere else.
There’s shared adventure to be had under the water, too, with thrilling snorkeling opportunities either from the beach or from a boat.
You’re likely to see black-tipped sharks, graceful sea turtles, shoals of angelfish, and Galapagos penguins, which are inclined to pop up next to you in the water when you least expect it.
Hispanic culture meets the Great Outdoors on the island of the Dominican Republic, a wonderful place to explore with your partner.
The Dominican Republic is known for its coffee, so you could visit a coffee plantation together, and learn all about the coffee-making process from picking to roasting.
Tour the rugged countryside in an off-road buggy, or head to Damajagua Waterfall for a day of splashing around in the different layers of the falls, sliding from one to the other down smooth rocks—if you dare.
Paddle through tranquil mangrove forests in search of gentle manatees and tropical birds, or take a catamaran cruise, wind in your hair, to Cayo Arena, a tiny sandpit fringed by coral reefs.
The water here is crystal clear, and you’ll see electric blue surgeonfish, jauntily striped sergeant majors, angel fish, snappers, and damselfish.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
The colorful streets of Old San Juan are wonderfully romantic. Narrow cobblestone lanes are lined with old houses in brilliant colors, from shocking pink to scarlet and sunshine yellow.
Browse galleries and quirky shops for Puerto Rican souvenirs, stopping for coffee and snacks. Try pinchos, small kebabs of fresh-grilled, spiced meat, or empanadas filled with shrimp.
There’s always music in the air here, from salsa to bomba, and the sense of joie de vivre of the locals will inspire you to join the party.
One of the best things to do in San Juan for history buffs includes exploring the chunky El Morro fortress, which has stood here in one form or another since 1539.
Visit the impressive Castillo San Cristobal, the largest fortress ever built in the Americas and remarkably intact today. Don’t forget to check out the vast underground water cisterns and the eerie dungeon.
Are you inspired to plan a Valentine’s Day getaway for you and your beloved? Browse our Valentine’s Day cruises and plan your romantic escape.