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.
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.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Where better to celebrate the patron saint of love than Playa del Amor, or Lovers Beach? One of the best beaches in Cabo San Lucas, this beautiful spot is perfect for lounging and swimming against a setting of towering rock formations.
Hop on a water taxi from across the bay. If you’re feeling adventurous (and are the kind of couple who can paddle a kayak without arguing), you can even kayak to the beach when the water is calm.
Take a mask and snorkel to explore the underwater world close to the beach, where you could spot graceful angelfish, parrotfish in shimmering colors, and pufferfish.
It’s probably best to stay away from nearby Divorce Beach if you’re at all superstitious, but if you take a boat tour to Lovers Beach, you’ll go past El Arco, the craggy granite rock arch for which Cabo San Lucas is so famous.
It’s a spectacular sight—and you may spot sea lions basking on the rocks or bobbing in the water, too.
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.
There really is a sense of being at the end of the world in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Perched at the very tip of Argentina, it’s surrounded by the mountains and the scattered islands of Tierra del Fuego. This is certainly one of the more unusual Valentine’s Day getaways you could experience.
While Ushuaia unromantically started out as a penal colony, today it has a buzzing, frontier feel as adventurers come for hiking, visits to wind-blown Cape Horn, and boat trips out into the Beagle Channel to spot seals.
For something different, and for a taste of wild beauty when you visit Patagonia, take a ride into the wilderness of the Tierra del Fuego National Park on the Tren del Fin del Mundo—the “train at the end of the world”.
Vintage steam engines pull the carriages up into the hills, following the route through the forest cut by the early convicts who were tasked with providing construction materials for the town.
You’ll pass rushing waterfalls, glassy blue mountain lakes, and the mysterious, lichen-draped lenga forest that spreads all over Patagonia—all against a backdrop of jagged, often snow-capped mountains.
Tiny Aruba in the Southern Caribbean is fringed with white sand beaches. The archetypal image of the island, where the sea is the most iridescent shade of turquoise imaginable and fofoti trees have been twisted by the wind into unearthly shapes, is Eagle Beach.
This is one of the most photographed spots in the whole Caribbean and is regularly voted one of the finest beaches in the world. Where better, then, to spend Valentine’s Day?
The beach itself, the widest on the island, is completely unspoiled, with only low-rise development and stylish, thatched sun umbrellas and cabanas.
Watersports are available from various outlets. The soft sand here is also a popular turtle nesting ground, so you may see turtles making their way up the sand to lay their eggs.
Dominica is one of the wildest, most lush, and most mountainous islands in the Caribbean. Roseau, the sleepy capital, is the gateway to all this natural beauty. It’s the perfect spot for adventurous couples and one of the best places to go on Valentine’s Day.
One of the best things to do in Dominica is to visit the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, sprawling over the slopes of the 4,400-foot volcano of the same name. There are lakes, hot springs, and fumaroles all over the mountain, making it a great place for a romantic hike.
Cool off in the beautiful Emerald Pool, a rock pool fed by a 40-foot waterfall. The pool gets its name from the emerald green shade of the water, intensified by dappled sunlight filtering through the rainforest.
If you want to admire an even more dramatic cascade, head for the twin waterfalls at Trafalgar Falls, some 20 minutes’ drive from Roseau, the capital, and accessed by an easy trail. This is also part of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park.
The waterfalls, 125 feet (“Father”) and 75 feet (“Mother”) respectively, tumble over volcanic cliffs, plunging into the verdant rainforest. There’s a swimming hole at the base of the smaller “Mother” fall.
Tasmania’s buzzing little capital, Hobart, is fast gaining a reputation for its culinary and art scene. It’s also a gateway to the mountains and forests of the island.
Spending a day here can be a wonderfully romantic experience, browsing the Art Mob Aboriginal Fine Art Gallery and perhaps shopping together for an exquisite Aboriginal dot painting of your own to take home.
Wander along the old waterfront and check out some of Hobart’s pubs; both the Customs House Hotel and the Shipwright Arms date back to the 1840s.
Or embrace Australia’s passionate coffee scene; Hobart is famed for its coffee shops. You could try Yellow Bernard, or Villino, which has its own roastery.
If you’re more of an outdoorsy couple, Tasmania is rich in opportunity. Hiking the trails at the top of Mount Wellington is one of the best things to do in Hobart, where you can take in the magnificent views of the city and the River Derwent below.
Or try the famous Mount Wellington Descent, a mountain bike tour that takes you from the top of the hill to sea level along a guided route of 13 miles, with viewpoints and even an off-road section along the way.
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.
The islands of the Bahamas, like swirls of green and white against vivid aquamarine in an impressionist painting, have to be up there as one of the most romantic destinations in the world. This is one of the most perfect—and easy—Valentine’s Day getaways.
Take a boat trip to one of the best beaches around Nassau, the dreamy Blue Lagoon island. Swim in the limpid waters of the lagoon, then lie back in a hammock, gazing at the blue sky through fronds of waving coconut palms.
Snorkel together over Rainbow Reef for a glimpse into the dazzling underwater world of the islands, vibrant with coral and teeming tropical fish. Browse the Straw Market in Nassau for hand-crafted souvenirs, and perhaps end your day with a rum tasting.
For something different, blend your own wine at Bahama Barrels at Graycliff, housed in an old church. While grapes aren’t grown on the islands, this venture teaches you about viticulture and blending, with your own bottle to take home as a shared memory.
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.
Read: Best Beaches in the Dominican Republic
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.