10 Most Romantic Islands in the World
Yes, you CAN afford gorgeous beaches, secluded lodgings, and bragging rights to one of the top 10 hot-and-heavy island getaways on the planet.
1. ST. LUCIA
To give you an idea of how verdant St. Lucia's tropical vegetation is, in the film Superman II, Christopher Reeve flew all the way to the Caribbean island's Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens to pick two bird of paradise flowers for Lois Lane. Frequent sun showers (the locals call them "liquid sunshine") sparkle and descend over abundant waterfalls and crystal-clear bays, all under the watchful eyes of the island's two iconic volcanic landforms, Petit Piton and Gros Piton.
The eco-friendly resort Fond Doux Resort & Plantation, in the town of Soufrière, is nestled among fruit and vegetable trees including breadfruit, pawpaws, and mangoes (fonddouxestate.com, from $230 per night). Another option: Staying at Stonefield Estate Resort is well worth the splurge, with its ultra-private villas, each equipped with its own swimming pool, outdoor garden shower, and porch hammock (stonefieldresort.com, from $225 per night). We're not telling you to go skinny-dipping in your private pool, but if you've never tried it before, now would be the time. The property's free made-to-order breakfast—which includes local juices like tamarind and passionfruit, and specialty dishes like scrambled eggs and bacon nestled in a fresh-baked baguette—are served at Stonefield's Mango Tree restaurant, overlooking Soufrière Bay with an impeccable view of Petit Piton.
Handsy lovebirds can head to the dormant volcano Sulphur Springs (billed as a "drive-in volcano") to rub handfuls of mud over each other's bodies, then submerge themselves in the Black Pool's legendary healing mineral waters (soufrierefoundation.org, $5). The benefit: baby-soft skin. Go on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, when foot traffic is light. The island is famous for its hardcore four-hour hike of Gros Piton, but the Tet Paul Nature Trail (called the "Stairway to Heaven" walk), with its panoramic island vistas as a reward, is doable even for non-athletes (soufrierefoundation.org, $5).
While you're near Soufrière's town square, pop into Alin's Fast Food for roti (curried chicken and potato wrapped in unleavened bread) and a cold Piton beer (across the street from the Church of the Assumption, $7). In the mood for a charming candlelit dinner? Try The Hummingbird restaurant, specifically the coconut curry shrimp or the fisherman's catch, both served with cooked breadfruit and root vegetables, and a fresh-lime daiquiri to wash it down—plus the decadent chocolate rum cake for dessert (hummingbirdbeachresort.com, entrees from $10 to $15). Pro tip: Spray yourself down with mosquito repellent before you go.
If getting away from it all—far, far away—with your main squeeze is your fantasy, flying to Fiji fits the bill. The collection of 333 islands boasts so much untouched natural beauty that the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away was filmed here. (Talk about secluded.) If that's not tempting enough, the Fiji tourism board claims there were 600 proposals in Fiji last year...and 600 yeses.
The rain-forest-rich island of Taveuni, with its coconut plantations and waterfalls, has much to offer lovers seeking beauty in nature. Every room at Garden Island Resort has an ocean view and outdoor space—plus you can take diving courses right on site (gardenislandresort.com, from $189 per night). Scuba-diving the colorful coral-blanketed Rainbow Reef—including the famous perpendicular Great White Wall of luminescent coral—for an up-close-and-personal peek at sea life, including barracuda and parrotfish, is a tradition for couples (taveunidive.com, from $114). If you venture off property for dinner, the menu at Vunibokoi Restaurant, part of the Tovu Tovu Resort, is chock-full of local eats like taro leaf and coconut cream soup and shelled mangrove crabs (tovutovu.com, entrees from $15 to $20).
For an aboveground excursion, take a leisurely nature walk on the wooden-planked boardwalk through one of the world's largest Asian orchid collections at the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, 10 miles north of the town of Nadi (gardenofsleepinggiant.com, $16). Tranquility is easy to come by via the garden's massive lily pond and lush Fijian rain forest. But back to Cast Away: If you want to explore the beach where Tom Hanks taught himself to spearfish, take a boat ride to uninhabited Monuriki island and join the other movie buffs basking in the sun.