Whether you’re planning your honeymoon or just want to get away with your significant other, deciding on where to go can be a stressful task. You may not know exactly what you want from the trip, pristine beaches or city sights, but you do know you want the place to be romantic. And before you say that anywhere is romantic as long as you’re together, be aware that a bad vacation can poorly affect your relationship, no matter how lovey-dovey the two of you are.
When taking a trip with your better half, it’s important to head somewhere that is welcoming to couples, a place that will allow you both to be comfortable enough to indulge in some good old-fashioned vacation PDA. So before deciding on a destination, check out this list of the 15 least romantic countries on Earth to find out which places you should avoid and where you should go instead for the same type of experience. You’re on vacation with the person that you think is the greatest in the world, it’s important to be vacationing in the greatest place in the world, too.
15 Machu Picchu, Peru
In theory, hiking Machu Picchu with your significant other seems like a dream vacation. In reality, the scenic mountains in Peru could not be any less romantic. It’s a four-day hike, with around a dozen strangers. Not to mention the obvious; people will be getting sick, complaining, and freaking out the entire time. Also, there won’t be any alone time. At all. It’s best to take in the views of Machu Picchu by helicopter, and leave the intense hike to the people that can handle it. Helicopter rides are more romantic than sweating with a bunch of tourists, anyways.
14 Guam, Tahiti
Guam, located in Tahiti, may seem like a tropical getaway, but it’s primarily known for its chain stores, like the largest Kmart on earth, and fast-food restaurants. And the most popular food consumed in Guam? Spam. Canned ham is definitely not something you look for when you’re booking a romantic vacation. Guam also has a typhoon season, from August to October, that tourists are not aware of. Bora-Bora, with its charming huts built above crystal clear water, seems like the far better option. It is also located in Tahiti, but has more of a romantic feel to it.
13 Kingston, Jamaica
Jamaica is notorious for gang violence and extreme poverty. Especially in cities like Kingston. It’s normal to see armed guards outside of resorts, which can be extremely unsettling and doesn’t really set the mood. It’s difficult to have a good time with devastation like that surrounding you. It may also be tough to find a resort with five-star accommodations. You’re best to look at places that are not located in the cities, like on the mountaintop or resorts that offer private beaches. It’s also important to not stray too far away from your hotel or villa, because of the high chances that you could run into trouble.
12 Mykonos, Greece
Obviously Greece is breathtaking, and it is a typical vacation spot for couples of any age. But your experience differs greatly depending on what time of year you decide to visit. During the spring and summer months, the streets of Mykonos are filled with rowdy college students, broken bottles, garbage, and huge speakers set up for makeshift concerts. It’s loud and messy and takes away the idealistic atmosphere you would be looking for on your trip. Visit Mykonos during the fall or winter months, not only is it more romantic and better suited for some one-on-one time, it’s also less expensive.
11 Cancun, Mexico
When deciding on a getaway, most couples choose to vacation in Mexico. But that’s only the beginning of your decisions, because there are so many cities and towns to visit in the country. One thing is for sure if you want a romantic vacation while visiting Mexico; try to steer clear of Cancun. Even when it’s not overcrowded with drunk spring breakers, the party atmosphere kills any sense of romance. Someplace like Tulum, also located in Mexico, with beautiful beaches and low-key resorts, would be a better fit for a couple seeking some R&R and some well-made mojitos.
10 Bangkok, Thailand
Thailand seems like the perfect sweet escape, but the large cities in Thailand, specifically Bangkok, can be a lot more sleazy than sweet. The sex industry is an ongoing issue in certain places, and the city also has extremely high crime rates. There’s no worse way to spend a honeymoon than finding yourself in a scary part of town with some shady characters. Make sure to do your research beforehand so that the resort you’re staying at is legitimate and is in a safe area of the city. Also, check out more remote areas of the country to be able to enjoy killer views and elephant rides.
9 Moscow, Russia
Sure there is spectacular architecture and beautiful cathedrals, but Moscow, Russia, does not have the elements of a good romantic getaway for two. Actually, quite the opposite with its terrible weather, scary traffic jams and accidents. Not to mention the intimidating and sleazy people you’ll run into in Russia, the nightlife is not something tourists should explore. Feeling welcome in Moscow is a rare thing to come by. St. Petersburg, also located in Russia, with its palaces and canals, seems to be a better place to spend with your loved one. And according to TripAdvisor, St.Petersburg is one of the top twenty tourist destinations in 2013.
8 Havana, Cuba
Just recently, Havana, located on Cuba’s northern coast, has begun allowing tourists to visit. This air of mystery surrounding Havana may make it seem like the perfect place to visit with your special someone, but it’s a lot grimier and more underdeveloped than you would think. Much like other parts of Cuba, it’s trying to grow and expand while also focusing heavily on its history. It’s not a destination suited for two people in love. Instead, check out Cartegena, located on Colombia’s northern coast. There you’ll be able to find horse-drawn carriages and elegant hotels. Cartegena is much more suited for a couple of lovebirds.
7 Casablanca, Morocco
Morocco can be a total let down if you’re expecting a trip to an exotic paradise with the person you love. The city of Casablanca especially, not only because of the aggressive people but also due to the fact that there is a very limited amount of things to do. Not to mention Casablanca is a busy place, which can be an issue if you wanted to relax with your significant other and take it easy. Douar Samra, in the Atlas Mountains, is a more relaxing vacation spot, with cozy rooms that have fireplaces and panoramic views.
6 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In Rio de Janeiro, located in Brazil, being surrounded by scantily clad locals does not make for a romantic place. Something you don’t want to happen when on a trip with your better half is to find out they have a wandering eye. It’s also hard to concentrate on one another with all of that going on around you at the beaches. Not to mention the rising level of gang violence and the ongoing threat of dengue fever. Instead, head to more low-key neighborhoods, like Rio de Janeiro’s Santa Teresa, and stay at a bohemian bed-and breakfast or visit Rio’s rustic beach towns in the northeastern state of Alagoas.
5 Kuta Beach, Bali
Certain parts of Bali can be welcoming to tourists, while other parts of the country can be filled with scary scammers and young backpackers, which is what you find in places like Kuta Beach. Bali might boast some breathtaking sites, but there’s also a lot of crime. If you want to feel the romance without having to worry about being attacked or robbed, check out the antique wood villas found in the village of Canggu, just a short drive away from Kuta Beach. There you’ll find black-sand beaches, yoga classes, and temples. It’s a lot safer than other places in Bali.
4 Rotorua, New Zealand
When people think of New Zealand, countryside images come to mind. And while the country has some really beautiful sites, there’s also some places that are not as great as they seem. Rotorua, located in North Island, has hot springs that a lot of tourists flock to, only to find out that the springs smell like rotten eggs. Rotorua is deemed “Sulphur City” because of the unfortunate smells. Steer clear of the hot springs if you decide to visit New Zealand and instead take in the fresh ocean breezes in Whale Bay, two hours away from Rotorua.
3 San Juan, Puerto Rico
Most couples dream of retreating to an island to spend some quality time together, and Puerto Rico seems like the perfect place to do so. But beware of chain hotels and resorts that are infamous in towns like San Juan. You won’t feel like you’re getting a special experience, with so many other tourists visiting the same area as you are. You can’t really feel like you’re the only two people on Earth with so many other couples surrounding you. Instead, skip San Juan and explore more trustworthy and tranquil Puerto Rican towns, like Rincón or Vieques, just be aware that authenticity is hard to find in Puerto Rico.
2 Poconos, Pennsylvania, United States
There are a few romantic places in the United States, but there are also some extremely unromantic places as well, like the Poconos in Pennsylvania, for example. The birthplace of the heart-shaped tub, the Poconos has lost their credibility as a typical romantic getaway. What was once a typical honeymoon spot is now cheap and tacky. The out-of-date décor, think pink satin sheets, sounds more like a nightmare than a dream-come-true. If you want to vacation in the United States, there are far better and far more romantic options than a hotel with a heart-shaped tub.
1 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is a beautiful place, and it may seem like a beautiful place to spend some quality time with your loved one, but the country, especially downtown Dubai, actually frowns upon public displays of affection. The malls located throughout the country even have signs warning against it. Back in 2010, a British couple was actually arrested for kissing in public. Jail cells are definitely not a very romantic place to spend a vacation. But if your heart is set on a honeymoon in Dubai, it’s best to stick to the desert areas and resorts, outside of the city centers, where you and your significant other can enjoy some privacy.