Abstract Both similarities and differences were observed when comparing scenic beauty evaluations of rural landscapes made by persons from different cultures. Differences seem due to the westernized tourists' misinterpretation or ignorance of the meaning associated with certain landscape features by the Balinese. This implies scenic beauty is dependent upon meanings assigned to landscape features, which in turn implies that scenic beauty is, to some extent, learned. Similarities between tourists' and Balinese' scenic evaluations are significant and correspond to consistencies found in other landscape preference studies (i.e. natural, verdant, or open landscapes are usually preferred over urban, dry, or enclosed landscapes). Multiple methods were used, including participant photography, rating scales, and a variety of statistical analyses. A review of the literature reveals evidence and theory which suggests both similarities and differences are to be expected when comparing scenic evaluations made by persons of different cultures. This review also suggests three methodological concerns which should be addressed in landscape studies: a concern for the participant's purpose for evaluating a landscape; a concern for the participant's familiarity with a landscape; and a concern for the criterion's appropriateness to all participants. Research designs which ignore these concerns may mask true cultural differences.