Romantic Travel is better than chocolate

4 surprising romantic destinations pin
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It’s Valentine’s Day, romance is in the air and the pressure is on to spoil your loved ones! While chocolates, flowers, candy, and cards are all very nice, the most romantic choice is something you can cherish forever: an experience. Romantic travel isn’t just sunsets and champagne. It’s not only for anniversaries and honeymoons. You can infuse romance into all of your travels. Sharing breath-taking landscapes, unique cultures, quiet strolls, or wild adventures will bring you closer than ever to the one you love!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’ve put together four surprisingly romantic places to take your lover’s breath away.


a seaside city in Croatia set into the mountains
[Photo Credit: Conor Rees via Unsplash]
a winding street in Croatia
Get lost with your love in the romantic winding streets of Croatia [Photo Credit: Dario Veronesi via Unsplash]

From beautiful Venice-like winding stone streets to wide tree-lined “lover’s lane” promenades, Croatia is the perfect place for a romantic stroll. You can enjoy the lush citrus gardens and turquoise sea or sip wine while exploring the ancient vineyards, orchards, and olive groves of Hvar Island.

To really amp up the romance, consider taking a private boat trip to a secluded island for a special dinner or going on a fairy-tale day trip to Montenegro.


infinity pool Bali

Bali is the perfect place to restore your mind, body, and soul. With a wide choice of beautiful private villas, Bali is a romantic, intimate setting to rejuvenate and refresh.

Stroll along stunning beaches, swim under waterfalls, relax by your private plunge pool or trek to the top of Mt. Bator to watch the sunrise together. In the afternoon, you can experience the meditative nature of the many temples that adorn these islands. You can even take part in a Balinese commitment ceremony to celebrate the love you share.

couple at a temple in Bali
Honeymooners Alicia & Jay visit Bali read about their honeymoon here! [Photo Credit: Alicia via Shared Adventures]

New Zealand

New Zealand mountains shrouded in clouds
New Zealand landscapes will take your breath away [Photo Credit: Peter Hammer via Unsplash]
the night sky with purple nebula in New Zealand
The wonders of the night sky in New Zealand [Photo Credit: Hamish Dowson via Unsplash]

New Zealand is a trip full of adventure, adrenaline, and bucket list experiences. The sheer natural beauty of the country makes it the perfect destination for a heart-pounding, breath-taking romantic “escape”.

From Zip-lining above the canopy to Heli-hiking along the Franz Josef Glacier, your options are boundless. You can spend your days cave-rafting under glow-worms, hot-air ballooning over the stunning countryside or wandering through the gentle hiking trails with a private picnic. End your evenings snuggled up with your loved one and wonder at the universe in one of New Zealand’s dark sky sanctuaries.


Argentina is so in love with romance they take an entire week to celebrate Valentine’s Day! “Sweetness” week started out as a gimmick from the candy companies, but it’s a tradition this romantic country has really embraced. For a way to extend the romance of Valentine’s Day, consider traveling during sweetness week from July 13th-20th.

Teatro Colon in Argentina
Teatro Colón [Photo Credit: Annie via Shared Adventures]
wine tasting in Mendoza
Wine tasting in Mendoza [Photo Credit: Annie via Shared Adventures]

The core of Argentinean romance is in its culture. See an opera in the stunning architecture of the Teatro Colón, sip wines in Mendoza, or dance the sensual tango till you drop.

Iguassu falls with a rainbown

With an extra touch of unexpected, you can go on a ‘Glaciers Gourmet’ cruise, where you can enjoy a view of the huge glaciers of the southern hemisphere and a gourmet luxury lunch. Or visit Iguazu Falls and pause for a smooch under a rainbow

You don’t even need to be a romance expert to come up with the perfect getaway — you have us! The possibilities are boundless and with some careful planning, we can make infusing romance into your travels a breeze. So this Valentine’s Day, over dinner, start chatting with your love about where you want to go next!

A bucket list trip to Argentina

The “silver lining” of sending my 20-year-old daughter off to study in Argentina for a semester was that I got to go and visit her when her program finished up last month. From the moment that I dropped her at Logan airport in August, until I stepped off that plane in Buenos Aires in December, I was counting the days!  The pre-trip anticipation was mostly about seeing my daughter, but I have to say that, once I got there, the country really took me by surprise. I absolutely LOVED it!

 Opera selfie

The overnight flight from Boston to Buenos Aires is a long one, but I was lucky enough to snag an inexpensive upgrade to Business Class, so I enjoyed a nice meal and a lay-flat bed, and arrived rested and ready on a sunny Monday morning. The international airport is about 40 minutes outside the sprawling city, and I was met by a driver/guide for the private transfer to my hotel (the only way to go when you’re arriving in a foreign city after an overnight flight!).

Mine hotel

The Mine Boutique Hotel is an adorable little 20-room design hotel in the chic Palermo neighborhood, within walking distance of shops, boutiques, restaurants, bars and more. Despite my early arrival, they welcomed me with a cool drink and got me right into my room to freshen up. The staff (throughout my stay) was amazingly friendly and helpful, and they all spoke perfect English (which may be why the other guests seemed to all be Brits/Aussies/ Americans). Our “classic” room, their entry-level offering, was cozy but cute, with a cheerful color scheme, comfortable twin beds, and lots of natural wood/stone accents. It was perfect for the two of us, and the other hotel amenities (daily breakfast, an outdoor pool, and rental bicycles) just added to the appeal. I would stay there again in a minute!

Once Mary arrived to meet me, we headed out to explore the city. She had an ambitious plan for our three days in Buenos Aires, but she was already well-versed in how to get around, so I got to enjoy the local buses (“colectivos”), in addition to some hair-raising cab rides (B.A. cabbies are even more fearless than their NYC counterparts!) NOTE: A typical tourist would probably not use the buses (they require a special fare card, called a SUBE, and they can be confusing to figure out), but the city is easily explored on foot and by cab, neighborhood by neighborhood.

Recoleta in Argentina

That first afternoon was spent exploring MALBA (the museum of Latin American art) and wandering through the Recoleta Cemetery (where we saw Evita Peron’s grave). We popped into Mary’s favorite bookstore – El Ateneo Grand, a former theater – and then enjoyed a relaxing dinner at her host mom’s house, where she had been living all semester. After dinner, we stopped for a glass of wine at Aldo’s Vinoteca, and then went back to the hotel to crash! NOTE: Mary had prepared me for the fact that Argentines dine late (and by “late”, I mean 10 pm or later), so I knew to pace myself and rest/snack in the afternoons, but it did take some getting used to!

Wine bar

On Tuesday morning we walked from our hotel to the nearby Botanical Garden, and then met some of her friends for a relaxing vegetarian brunch at Yerba Buena in San Telmo (an artsy neighborhood of the city). Sitting in the park with Mary’s friends, I had my first introduction to “mate” (an herbal/grassy tea shared out of a communal cup) and then – fortified by caffeine – we headed off to see Casa Rosada, the Plaza de Mayo, and the Cathedral where Pope Francis was baptized, followed by an afternoon coffee at a famous local café (Café Tortoni). That evening we enjoyed a fantastic Italian dinner at La Locanda, and a nightcap at one of Buenos Aires’ popular “secret bars”. This one – called Floreria Atlantico – is in a basement accessed through the walk-in cooler at a florist shop!

Casa Rosada selfie

Cathedral in Buenos Aires

Our last day in Buenos Aires started with brunch in Palermo, at Oui Oui, followed by a morning of Rembrants, Van Goghs, Picassos and Rodins at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (fine arts museum). We had a late lunch at Croque Madame, the adorable outdoor café at the Museum of Decorative Arts, and then made the mistake of taking a long, sweaty walk across town to the Planetarium….and promptly falling asleep in the show! After a nap and a shower, we headed back out for a special evening at Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires’ historic opera house). Neither of us is an opera fan, but we had purchased tickets for a performance of Wagner’s Parsifal so that we could see the theater and enjoy the overall experience. Our “obstructed view” seats were actually “NO” view seats, but I enjoyed hearing the music and seeing the gorgeous building 🙂 We snuck out at intermission and enjoyed some milanesa and beers at the Club de Milanesa, and then stopped by Mary’s favorite local bar (La Hormiga) for a drink and some live music before calling it a night.


Opera theatre in Buenos Aires

On Thursday, we checked out and enjoyed a private transfer to the smaller domestic airport (about 20 minutes away) for our quick flight north to Iguazu. LAN Airlines unfortunately lost Mary’s bag, but she handled it like a trooper and quickly sorted it out with the airport staff (speaking Spanish helps!) so that we could hop in the car with our driver/guide and make our way to our hotel to check in.

I had chosen the Hotel Panoramic, in Puerto Iguazu, because I wanted to be in town, within walking distance of restaurants, and I wanted a river view. Our river view room was great, and the hotel was certainly convenient to town, but it had a really strange vibe. The 90-room property seemed like a sleek, modern business hotel (complete with meeting rooms, bars/restaurants, and a casino)…but it’s in a sleepy tropical town in the rainforest, and was half-empty. Undaunted, we treated ourselves to some very inexpensive massages at the onsite spa, and a room service dinner, and rested up for our day at the falls.

The next day was an absolute highlight of the trip. We were picked up early in the morning, along with a handful of English-speaking guests from other local hotels, and taken into the national park for a guided tour of Iguazu Falls. The falls straddle the border between Argentina and Brazil, and can be viewed/visited from both sides. Because we had not obtained visas for Brazil, we were only doing the Argentinean side, but several of the others in our group were planning to come back the next day and see the Brazilian side. NOTE Per our guide, Junior, the view is better from Brazil, because you get a full 360 degree panorama, but the falls are better experienced from Argentina, because you can get so much closer on the various trails that travel over, under and alongside the cataracts. We did not feel that we missed anything by not going to Brazil.

River Boat near Igazu Falls Argentina

During our very full day in the park, we hiked miles of (easy) trails, rode an open-air train, and took a speedboat tour through the base of the falls (which soaked us to the skin!) We saw monkeys, coatis, all sorts of tropical butterflies, and even a toucan, and we were lucky enough to be there under ideal conditions (not too hot/steamy, and it had recently rained, so the falls were thundering along at a very high water level.)

Wet Mary

I’ve been fortunate enough to see some gorgeous natural wonders in my life, but Iguazu Falls put Niagara to shame, and is right up there in my top two or three all-time most beautiful places, along with Alaska and Iceland.

a rainbow over Iguazu Falls in Argentina

the huge rush of brown water over Iguazu waterfalls in Argentina

We dined in town that night, and rushed back home in a tropical downpour, while lightning made the power flicker on and off in the hotel. Very atmospheric, and a perfect farewell to the rainforest!

The next morning we hopped back on a plane to Mendoza, in the western part of Argentina, in the foothills of the Andes near the Chilean border. We came to Mendoza for one thing – wine! – but I was very pleasantly surprised by the city itself. Our hotel, the Park Hyatt Mendoza, was in a beautiful historic building facing a park (the Plaza Independencia) and the surrounding streets were shady and walkable. We arrived during the afternoon siesta, which they take very seriously in this part of the country, so we enjoyed a late lunch on the hotel terrace and then strolled around the neighborhood for a bit.

Park Hyatt Mendoza

The hotel itself was another highlight of the trip. I always like to end on a high note, and had chosen this five-star property as a splurge. It did not disappoint! From the grand marble lobby, to the cozy wine bar, and the efficient/professional (American!) front desk staff, to the helpful laundry service that took care of our waterfall-soaked clothing, we could not find fault with a single thing. Our Andes-view room was spacious, modern and comfortable, and the (giant) bathroom was to die for.

The concierge recommended a nearby Italian restaurant (Francesco Barbera) for dinner, and we enjoyed fresh pasta and a bottle of local wine in a garden courtyard under the stars.

On Sunday morning we met our smiling guide in the lobby for a full-day private winetasting tour in Lujan de Cuyo (one of the famous wine regions outside of Mendoza). We were treated to some delicious wines, and a tour, at the Alta Vista winery, followed by the Achaval-Ferrer vineyard (where we couldn’t resist splurging on a couple of bottles to bring home). Afterwards, we enjoyed a special lunch at Dominio de Plata, with each delicious course paired with a Susanna Balbo wine.

Mendoza wine tasting collage of photos in Argentina

I’m not sure how we rallied that evening, but we did! I had made reservations at 1884, which is an exquisite Mendoza restaurant owned by famous Argentine chef Francis Mallman. The restaurant is set in an old winery on the outskirts of the city, and guests dine in the gardens, surrounded by twinkling lights and the open-air wood fireplace on which they roast all sorts of meats. Mary was adventurous, and tried her first taste of rabbit (which was delicious) and I could not resist an Argentine steak. We shared a bottle of malbec, and it was about as perfect a summer evening as you could imagine.

Francis Mallman

On Monday, for our last day in Argentina, we decided last-minute to book another day of winetasting. Our driver took us back to Lujan de Cuyo, where we visited Bodega Dante Robino for a tour and tasting that included some really good sparkling wines. Afterwards, we spent several delightful hours sitting in the sunshine, overlooking Ruca Malen’s vineyards and enjoying a mind-blowing six-course tasting menu that paired fabulous wines with inventive local cuisine. It was a top-ten meal, and a top-ten day, and the perfect way to end our time in Mendoza!

Mendoza  wine tasting collage in Argentina

We rolled ourselves back into the car, and back to the airport, and boarded our flight back to Buenos Aires, where we caught our overnight flight back home to the US. All too soon, we found ourselves back at Logan Airport, where it had all begun…feeling like this was all just a fabulous dream 🙂

A winning itinerary

Honeymoon planning is a fascinating and intricate process, and I never really know where we’re going to end up…but I can always count on it being something memorable and unique.  Nothing illustrates that better than recent honeymooners Michael and Alicia, who first came to me with just a rough wish list that included “adventure”, “culture’, “history”, “wildlife”, and “interesting terrain”.

They wanted to explore somewhere totally foreign, and cross some items off their bucket list at the same time.  We talked about Ecuador (the Galapagos) and Peru (Machu Picchu, the Amazon), and then extended into neighboring countries like Chile and Argentina, and then inspiration struck. They found out that there was a marathon happening in Buenos Aires around their October dates, and we decided to build the whole honeymoon around the marathon! We put together a fantastic two-week itinerary that started in Buenos Aires and wound its way down the coast, across to wine country, and then up to the border near Brazil and Paraguay to see Iguazu Falls. The trip was totally customized to their interests and passions, and it’s an experience that they’ll remember forever.

Check out their trip report, and their smiles as they reached the finish line!


Here is a photo of us at the finish line!

MIchael and Alicia marathon

In Buenos Aires we were focused on the Marathon, and we focused our free time in Recoleta near our hotel. We did go to Tango Porteno which was a tango performance with included dinner. In hindsight, we should have taken a city bus tour on the double-decker bus on our first day. Then we should have visited the colorful part of town La Boca on Saturday. There is extensive street art and I had looked up a tour but we did not have free time to formally see this.

Puerto Madryn was excellent. The day excursion to Peninsula Valdes was fantastic in itself.  Our guide, Leandro, also took us to Punta Tumbo the following day to view a colony of Magellanic Penguins.  On the way back we also stopped at MEF in Trelew to see the recently discovered dinosaur bones (largest in the world). The guide helped to make this a memorable experience. The view of the water from our corner room was terrific.  The accommodations were spacious. It was difficult to capture any quality photos from the boat (optional tour that we added on) of the Southern Right Whales but this was a worthwhile experience.

Mendoza (also excellent – we would love to return and spend more time). The winery tour was fun but we should have booked an afternoon time instead of drinking wine at 9 am.We did add an excursion to see a futbol match (soccer) and this was a memorable experience! We also added  half day excursion to ride horses with included asado dinner on a ranch.

Iguazu Falls (worthwhile but one time is enough.) We enjoyed seeing the falls and the park.  We also added on a boat ride in the water that provided additional views of the falls. We would have liked to go to a reserve and see some of the local wildlife that we were not able to view when in the park.

Overall, I would recommend taking a language class prior to or upon arriving to Argentina to have a more immersive experience. We used the service to wire money directly from our US bank account and convert at a favorable exchange rate (cash pick-ups only in major cities). The private transfers were on time and very convenient!  The accompanying guides were helpful inside the airports.

We had similar breakfast offerings at all of the various hotels.  They included eggs, coffee and fresh fruit which suited our tastes. We did take a voltage converter and this came in handy, as only one hotel had a 110V outlet. Self-laundry was not an option (which is common in the USA) but we found laundry services near the hotels in Buenos Aires and Puerto Madryn.  Computers and WiFi were hit or miss at the more remote locations:  Puerto Madryn and Iguazu Falls. The services at the provided hotels were good to excellent.  We had positive experiences with room service and restaurant staff. The rooms were clean and in safe locations with nearby attractions.  In Mendoza, there was a separate tour desk inside the connected Casino but we found the information/ reservations to be unreliable.

We ran into two holidays while we were there:  Mother’s Day and Columbus Day which affected certain places being open or available. It took some getting used to the siesta hours and late dinner service times at restaurants!



You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)