How do you fit five of the best vacation destinations into a five-day romantic getaway? Easy: when your couple’s vacation is for a Caribbean cruise getaway. Island hop from one Eastern Caribbean island to the next over a handful of days, and have memories and photos of an incredible adventure without having to spend weeks traveling. Your trip starts in one of the most popular destinations for couples in the Eastern Caribbean: San Juan, Puerto Rico.
While traveling on your romantic Caribbean getaway plan a visit to the dream location of San Juan. Home to a robust art scene that includes the famous Museo de las Américas, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, to name a few. These museums showcase local artists, feature special exhibits and some are even home to world-class restaurants. And since you're already in this romantic metropolis, make sure to visit Old San Juan to saunter the cobblestone streets, order a piragua (flavored ice) from a street cart vendor, enjoy it under an ancient tree, and then dance the night away to salsa beats in one of the many lively plazas.
Old San Juan is a small town you can get to know intimately in just one day while feeling like you spent weeks there. Walk around, and get a feel for the local life. Stop by the many stores like Valija Gitana for Bohemian fashions, The Poets Passage for books and coffee, Blue Lotus for malas, and Ole Puerto Rico for Panama hats, alpargata shoes and antiques. When hunger strikes, make sure to visit El Jibarito, Stuffed Avocado, and Café El Punto for authentic local cuisine at affordable prices, or splurge and celebrate something special at cozy restaurants Marmalade, La Lanterna, or La Cucina di Ivo.
After taking in the old city charm, reach Condado for a taste of beach luxury. Stop by Santaella restaurant for the warm and intimate ambiance, sharing a meal of local staples and favorites like pork belly, escargot and fried rice, with a sandía mojito. After dinner, a sunset stroll on the beach will round out the perfect evening. You can stop by the VC Lounge inside the Vanderbilt Hotel for live piano music and creative craft cocktails made by chatty and caring bartenders.
After enjoying La Isla del Encanto, it's time to ramp up the Caribbean immersion and sail to St. Thomas. As the busiest U.S. Virgin Island, St. Thomas offers you countless attractions to enjoy in one day, all on foot. Charlotte Amalie will be your entryway to the island and your first stop must be the Pirates Treasure Museum. Here you'll enjoy a hands-on experience learning about old pirate tales and the treasures they left behind at the bottom of the ocean. Deep-ocean explorations have produced many shipwreck coins and artifacts that are on display, some for sale. It's an unexpected souvenir you can take with you, and they make great gifts to bring home for your kids or friends.
Another awesome stop is 99 Steps, a street used daily by residents, featuring steps made from the ballast bricks of European ships that came to the island. Interesting fact: It's actually 103 steps, not 99 — I counted them. When you visit, count for yourself and see what you find.
When you're ready to slow down and take in the breathtaking views of St. Thomas' rugged north coast, Magens Bay is the answer. It's a favorite among both locals and visitors because of good parking, lifeguards, clean bathrooms and showers, and several eateries. Make sure to get there early to find a spot under the shade. The beach is shallow and clear so you can just float by the shore or sit for a while enjoying the calm waters. The sand is so bright and soft that it massages your feet as you walk. If you want to do some dancing on the sand, find a spot by the beach bar and jam to the reggae beats with a fruity drink in hand.
For even more Virgin Islands immersion, your cruise now takes you to St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Once you arrive in this slice of paradise, go straight to the East End for a scenic drive to Point Udall and take in some of the most stunning panoramic views in all of the Caribbean. And if you feel a little adventurous, trek down the nearby trail that'll take you straight to several gorgeous beaches perfect for snorkeling, sunbathing or just some time alone in the sand. Look for the human-made wooden abode on the beach where visitors leave positive messages and knickknacks from their travels and add your own.
On your drive back from the East End, you'll come across Christiansted, the largest town in St. Croix and home to cozy restaurants like Hamilton's and Savant, and shops like Asha World Designs and Adorn. And make sure to visit Sonya Ltd, the best place to find the famous St. Croix hook bracelet, an ideal gift to celebrate your relationship, as it represents unity and love. And while you're in Christiansted, don't forget to take a step back in time with a walk along the shore of Fort Christiansvaern. This citadel, built in 1749 by the Danish, features cannons, dungeons and impressive sea views — adding a little historical twist to your tropical getaway.
If you find romance in thrilling adventures together, make a stop in colorful Tortola for a tour around the island, exploring the picturesque Ridge Road in search of the beach. Then prepare yourself for off-road fun as you zoom across the rugged countryside with views of the offshore isles and harbor dotted with boats of all sizes. After the adrenaline rush, it's time to take it easy on a quiet beach with a cold drink as you relax and enjoy the views.
This destination is your dream come true for underwater exploration. Don't hesitate to go on a quick tour of the nearby Norman Island. This half-day snorkeling adventure takes you to the uninhabited tiny islet believed to have been the hiding place of pirates and buccaneers and the inspiration for the book "Treasure Island." You'll bond over this shared experience of exploring sunken galleons, surrounded by tropical fish, vibrant coral reefs, and mysterious caves. If this is your first snorkeling experience, don't worry, your guide will teach you the basics and get you in the water quickly and comfortably.
The west side of the Caribbean you will find that it is likewise packed with endless romantic getaways to choose from. Get ready for many day trips filled with exploring everything possible together on your week long vacation. Enjoy every beautiful place to visit on your romantic couple’s cruise as you island hop in the Western Caribbean. The island of Tulum for example was a favorite of ours to take a trip to in part to its history, pristine scenery, and ideal opportunities for rejuvenation and relaxation. This dreamy destination offers a gorgeous setting with ancient ruins that bathe in the clear ocean. Start your visit at the Zona Arqueológica de Tulum, where you'll find a pre-Columbian Mayan city by the sea — I recommend visiting early in the day to avoid crowds. This is a great spot for pictures, with the ruins framing an aquamarine sea. Then, head down the steps of the ruins toward Playa Ruinas for swimming in crystal clear water, lounging in the white sand, and even more pictures of your ridiculously romantic getaway.
At the end of a long day of outdoor escapades, there's nothing more romantic than some relaxation at the spa. Tulum is known the world over for this. Yaan Wellness is a beach spa that uses pre-ancestral Mayan rituals for its treatments, such as the copal ceremony, where your therapist cleanses your aura. There's always a yoga class going on out on the beach, so feel free to join in for some sun salutations, or dive in for some paddleboard yoga. Tulum Yoga School or Holistika also offer yoga classes for couples you can join.
When you want to add some excitement and spice to your relationship, head to Roatán. This Honduran island offers unconventional experiences you'll bond over for the rest of your lives. Take Arch's Iguana Farm, for example — home to over 3,000 iguanas, it's a place for iguana lovers and those curious to meet these creatures. Some are quite big and reach 1.5 meters long!
Another great stop is the Carambola Botanical Gardens, featuring 40 acres of protected forest with easy trails that take you to a summit for views of Utila Island. You'll have fun spotting parrots, iguanas, fruit trees, medicinal plants and orchids on your way up. This is a fantastic spot for photos surrounded by the charm of the jungle.
Next up on your couple’s Caribbean getaway cruise is Belize, home to several romantic destinations. Placencia sidewalk is perhaps one of the most photographed areas in town after being named the "narrowest street in the world" by the Guinness World Records. It was built over 30 years ago for wheelbarrowing fish over the sand. The street is now lined with charming little bars, coffee shops, hotels and residences. Placencia is also a great place to find unspoiled beaches and a mellow atmosphere, ideal for couples looking to disconnect from the world and connect with each other.
To check out some local music and dance the night away, try Garifuna in Hopkins. This vibrant fishing village, home to Garifuna culture, offers what is perhaps the best traditional dance scene in all of Belize. You'll meet Garifuna dancers, singers, and musicians, and learn their traditional dance by the beach. You both can also learn to play the drums at the Lebeha Drumming Center in the north part of the village. When you get home, you can share stories with your friends and family and show off your new dance moves.
After a whirlwind week of trying new things, exploring, and enjoying each other's company, it's time to sail home. The trip back will give you enough time to recover from the getaway and allow the two of you to recollect, reconnect and recuperate — a sort of vacation from the vacation. And this is yet another reason why a short romantic cruise getaway stands out from other types of travel. You move around a part of the world in comfort, without a care in the world, as long as you're together.