Well, it is Valentines day coming up so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and write a quick post about the day of love that most of us endure on the 14th February.
Last year on Valentines day I was in a taxi in Managua, Nicuragua. It’s not the first place you might think of if pondering upon romantic places to be. The driver was a maniac. Probably, the worst I had in all of my trip actually. He drove on the curb, raced through red lights and down dodgy alleyways that made my friend and I wonder if we would ever make it to our destination. Ah, our destination. A soulless airport hotel, with air conditioning and TV in our room; overpriced at $60 per head. It was chosen for it’s proximity to the airport because the following day, we were going to be heading to the Corn Islands. Now these islands could definitely be considered romantic. We stayed on Little Corn, which is more of a basic caribbean island experience, with no cars and the odd electricity blackout – but it is beautiful. Think Caribbean sea, palm trees and white-sanded empty beaches to relax on.
Anyway, I wasn’t there on Valentines day, I was still on the mainland and as previously mentioned, spending time in a crazy cab and grubby hotel. The streets we flew down in the car were consistently lined with pink items… roses, teddy bears, plastic love hearts, balloons – you name a cliche pink ‘romantic’ gift item and it will have been there somewhere. I’m going to confess though that I sort of liked the tackiness of this. The locals seemed to be getting so excited about the day of love that has become horribly over-commercialised in the UK and it was kind of nice to see. A lot of the Latinos I have met do seem to fit the stereotype of being an overly romantic type of person – serenading each other, dancing together spontaneously and displaying public affection (Is this romantic? I’m not actually sure). Anyway, from the hotel room we spent the evening listening to the sounds of a Valentines evening dance going on across the street – lots of bachata blaring out and I imagine lots of bum wiggling occurring on the dance floor. It may sound a bit depressing, but actually the music, coupled with the anticipation of the following day certainly made it one of the best valentines days I’ve ever had.
I’m not really one for Mr Saint V as you may have guessed. I’m more of a ‘lets love each other every day’ kind of person. But it is an excuse to write about some romantic places I’ve visited (with my own possibly slightly twisted view of romance). This was quite a long-winded introduction into it, but there we go… My top 5 places that I thought were pretty ‘romantic’ in SOUTH AMERICA:
5. Valparaiso, Chile
Valparaiso oozes romance. It’s full of arts, poetry, candlelit restaurants and views that will make your eyes melt. Wandering around the windy, occasionally cobbled streets here will make your heart smile and give you the urge to start serenading anyone looking out of one of their colourful windows.
4. Isla Del Sol, Bolivia
Walk to the other side of the island and find a place to stay. The walk is romantic in itself. We found hardly any people on the way – perfect for secret kisses while looking at incredible views. Plus knowing that you are hanging out on the worlds highest altitude lake is something to be continuously excited about. It can be quite cold too, so lots of excuses for snuggling.
I’ve included this island experience particularly after a day I spent with a boy (I know, shocking!) on a beach. The only life there that day was me, him and a couple of kittens and it was a beautiful day to sit in the sun. We completed our day eating fresh fish and watching the sunset from one of the very few restaurants on the walk back to town.
*warning: Don’t believe any local guy that tells you its warm enough to swim in the lake unless he gets in first! It is COLD!
3. Watching Stars in Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Being in one of the most incredible landscapes in the world, staying in hostels made of salt and waking up to hot geysers and springs in the morning are all things any romantic surely dreams of. OK so you are likely to be in a jeep with 5 other people, but for a solo traveller this can be a perfect scenario. For me it was.
My most romantic times were when the stars came out. Coming from London, we don’t see stars too much because of the light pollution. But in a place like this the skies are completely clear and no-one lives for miles around, so the starry nights are incredible. I lay on my back and gazed at them, dreaming of a beautiful future. For me this is what romance is made of.
2. Parque Tayrona, Colombia
Perfect white sand, palm trees, crystal clear blue sea and walks through the jungle all in one place. The caribbean coast in Colombia is beautiful, but this was by far my favourite spot. Is there anything more romantic than having a caribbean paradise all to yourself?*
* You may be joined by monkeys
1. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Sorry but The Galapagos Islands are probably going to win every ‘top’ list for me… top wildlife spot, top snorkelling experience, top camping on a beach, top place to do a wee in the sea if you need to, top place to see flowers, trees etc, top place to visit in your life ever. So, it is with no surprise that it wins the most romantic spot. I don’t see how cruising on a boat with incredible things literally all around you, filling your eyes with wonder couldn’t be romantic. Oh and did I mention the sunsets?
It was just a very peaceful and moving experience for me to be there. With beaches of all different colours to hang out on (red, black, white) and nature walks to do hand in hand, or camera in hand, I think this is the perfect spot to feel love.
Top romance. I liked it so much I got engaged to a sealion and had to break it to a turtle, who wanted to elope with me to Italy . Romance eh.
I just thought I’d mention that I had to narrow this post down to South America, because if I included Central America – well – lets just say it would be a very long post. Also – I haven’t actually been everywhere in South America yet – I’ve got quite a long way to go. Therefore if anyone has any other suggestions of romantic places, I’d love to hear them…?
What are the most romantic places you’ve visited, with or without a partner in tow?