Best Tropical Vacations in the World
Nothing can top a blissful, sunny tropical getaway. With dreamy beaches, silky warm seas, and lush scenery, it’s no wonder so many people lust after this type of vacation.
If you love a good tropical vacation, we’ve got the perfect destinations for you. From pristine beaches to lush jungles, these destinations are the best spots to soak up the sun and recharge.
But which islands deliver the best vacation experiences? Take a look at our list of the top tropical destinations in the world.
With dreamy turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and private villas on the water, the Maldives is the perfect place to unplug from your everyday life. It’s also a great destination for couples who want to spend some quality time together.
The climate in the Maldives is characterized by two dominant seasons: a dry season with little rain and lower humidity, and a wet season with a higher risk of tropical storms and stronger winds. It’s a good idea to visit during the dry season when there’s less precipitation and warmer temperatures.
The best time to visit the Maldives is between November and April, when the weather is pleasantly warm. This is also a great time to enjoy activities like diving and snorkeling, as visibility is often excellent during these months.
Bora Bora, Tahiti
The dreamy beaches, pristine lagoons and ethereal scenery of the South Pacific offer a breathtaking backdrop to any adventure. Whether you’re looking to unwind and soak up the sun or explore tropical landscapes with rich history and culture, the best tropical vacations in the world leave you with an unforgettable experience.
Considered the most romantic island in the world, Bora Bora is surrounded by iridescent blue waters and dramatic mountain peaks. This South Seas paradise is a favorite destination for honeymooners and anyone who seeks pure bliss.
There are several resorts and hotels on the island, but the most popular accommodations are overwater bungalows. Those staying in an overwater bungalow enjoy the luxury of having their own private pool and stunning views of the lagoon.
Riviera Maya, Mexico
The Riviera Maya is a popular Caribbean destination that boasts sand-dune-filled beaches and an endless supply of sunshine. But beyond the beach, it’s a holiday hot-spot for unique cultural experiences, adventure activities and more.
The region is known for its large number of all-inclusive resorts, such as those found in the towns of Playa del Carmen and Tulum. It’s also home to the world’s second-largest reef system, which attracts divers and snorkelers from around the globe.
With a mix of all-inclusive resorts and exclusive boutique hotels, the Riviera Maya is rich in both history and culture. It’s also a great spot to explore the tropical jungle.
Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Less than an hour from Rarotonga, the paradise island of Aitutaki is where you want to be if you’re looking for a place that offers you pure relaxation. Here you’ll find no nightclubs, no shopping centres and hardly any people around.
Aitutaki is home to a triangular coral reef that encloses an enormous sapphire-blue lagoon. The pristine waters are teeming with shoals of tropical fish, dolphins and turtles.
You’ll get plenty of opportunities to enjoy this stunning natural wonder on day-long cruises or kayaking trips, with picnic lunches served at tiny uninhabited islands (motu) near Aitutaki.
Aitutaki’s cultural heritage can be explored on a hiking trail up Maunga Pu hill or by visiting the One-Foot Island. You may even have the chance to watch a traditional drum dance show with ukeleles and guitars played by skilled local drummers!
Kaua’i, also known as the “Garden Isle,” is home to lush rainforests, waterfalls and pristine beaches that will have you coming back for more. It’s also less developed than other Hawaiian islands, which makes it a great choice for families looking for a laid-back getaway.
The east side of the island is known for its pristine beaches, crystal clear waters and white sand. It’s a perfect place for swimming, snorkeling and if you’re up for a bit of adventure, kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding.
You’ll be able to see monk seals, sea turtles and humpback whales on beaches around the island. You may even spot a shark or two while snorkeling!
The Mamanuca Islands, Fiji
If you dream of pristine beaches, shimmering water and uninterrupted time to disconnect and recharge, the Fijian Mamanuca Islands are just your kind of tropical paradise. Situated west of Nadi, these volcanic islands are a must-visit when in Fiji.
The perfect place for a tropical holiday, the Mamanuca Islands feature some of Fiji’s best beach resorts and are also home to an incredible range of activities. From island hopping and snorkelling to hiking, swimming and visiting villages, there’s something for everyone!
The islands are also known for their fiery sunsets, which you can watch from the comfort of your resort. It’s a stunning way to end your day, but be sure to bring plenty of cash with you as ATMs aren’t available on the smaller islands.
The Seychelles is a 115-island archipelago that offers some of the world’s best tropical vacations. The archipelago is known for its expansive, palm-fringed beaches and crystal clear waters.
The country’s culture is an eclectic mix of French, British, African and Indian influences. The main religion is Roman Catholic, but many people also follow Chinese and Indian beliefs.
Aside from its secluded, white-sand beaches and abundant natural beauty, the Seychelles is home to a number of wildlife species including frogs, birds, turtles and sharks. The island of Curieuse is a nature reserve and the best place to see giant tortoises.
Another great place to explore the flora and fauna of the Seychelles is Vallee de Mai on Praslin. There, you can watch a variety of species of birds, including the endangered Seychelles bulbul and black parrot.
St. Barts, The Caribbean
The French-influenced island has long been a haven for celebrities, attracting vacationers to its chic beaches and fine restaurants. You’ll find many world-class resorts and private villas here, as well as a number of boutique hotels that offer guests the ultimate in luxury.
The island’s pristine beaches and rocky cliffs are fringed by sparkling waters perfect for sailing, scuba diving, and snorkeling. It also has plenty of inland trails for fabulous hikes and lively rum distillery tours.
The winter months (December to May) are the peak season, and this is when you’ll experience a lot of tourist activity. These are the driest months of the year, with little to no rain and warm temperatures.
The Abacos, The Bahamas
If you’re looking for a beach vacation with incredible seascapes, the Bahamas is your destination. This tropical archipelago consists of 700 islands and more than 2,000 small cays scattered across the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
With miles of pristine white beaches lapped by crystal-clear waters in shades of blue, there’s no end to the variety of activities and attractions available in this amazing tropical paradise. From fascinating historic tours and luxurious resorts for ultimate pampering, to world-class fishing, boating, diving, and snorkeling, the Bahamas is a truly wonderful place to visit for a genuine vacation experience.
With all the excitement and beauty of a tropical island, it’s not always easy to decide which one is best for you. The best way to determine which island is the right one for you is to take a look at your preferences and what you’re looking for during your stay.
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Ambergris Caye is one of Belize’s most popular islands, famous for its pristine Caribbean beaches and thriving reef. It is also famed for its high-end resorts, superb restaurants and a lively nightlife scene.
The island’s crystal-clear waters are home to a spectacular coral reef that is the perfect spot for snorkelling and diving. Explore the incredible marine life at Lighthouse Reef, Half Moon Cay and Mexico Rocks, or get up close and personal with a school of nurse sharks at Shark Ray Alley.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or an expert, you’ll find the island is an idyllic place to relax and unwind. It’s also the ideal spot to take a step out of your comfort zone and try new experiences.
The Dominican Republic is a tropical island in the Caribbean, renowned for its pristine beaches and lush rainforests. It also has a rich history and diverse population.
The most popular tourist destination in the country, Punta Cana, attracts sun seekers and families in droves to its dazzling white-sand beaches. With multiple activities to choose from, such as 4WD and ATV tours, zip lines, swimming with dolphins and stingrays, there is something for everyone here.
For those who love natural beauty, the remote and idyllic Playa Rincon in Las Galeras is a paradise. The undeveloped beach is dotted with large palm trees and glimmering aquamarine waves lap the shore. The beach has a protected cove that offers calm bay waters, perfect for snorkeling and swimming.
The Indonesian island of Bali is one of the best tropical vacations in the world. It’s home to a range of activities that can be enjoyed by all types of tourists, from those looking to relax on the beach to those who want to take part in adventure.
The island is famous for its beaches but it also has a number of other attractions to offer such as temples, waterfalls and markets. Its religious sites are particularly popular and there are a large number of yoga and meditation retreats.
If you’re a foodie then don’t miss the famous Babi Guling which is suckling pig that has been spit-roasted over coals. There are a number of restaurants in Ubud that specialise in this dish and there are also a few places outside of the city where you can sample it too.
Port Douglas, Australia
Port Douglas is a tropical paradise tucked away from the crowds and showcasing pristine beaches, easy access to two World Heritage listed sites (the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest), and a friendly coastal community.
With two distinct seasons, there’s a lot to see and do, especially if you want to connect with the region’s indigenous culture. You can do this by exploring Mossman Gorge on a dreamtime walk, or delving into the history of Aboriginal life through Kuranda and Mowbray National Park tours.
It’s also worth visiting during the rainy season, which runs from late autumn through to mid-spring. The weather is a lot cooler, and the humidity is significantly reduced.
The Andaman Coast, Thailand
The Andaman Coast of Thailand is a tropical paradise with stunning beaches, lush ecosystems and geographical wonders. This beautiful area boasts sun-kissed climates that last all year round, making it a perfect choice for a tropical getaway.
The uniqueness of the marine biota in this region reflects the confluence of the Bay of Bengal gyre and the Indonesian through-flow via the Straits of Malacca. This fusion of two distinct oceans creates a natural zone of overlapping marine biota that is unmatched anywhere else on the planet.
The Andaman islands are home to many endangered species, including the Sunda pangolin and smooth otter. Other wildlife includes banded langur, fishing cat and white-handed gibbon.
The Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
The Nicoya Peninsula is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, and discover a laid-back surf culture. A favorite of travelers and celebrities, the peninsula has jaw-dropping beaches, pristine forests, and a small town surfing culture.
The best place to catch the waves in the area is Tamarindo, which has been a popular base for local and international surfers for years. Several nearby options also offer quality breaks.
Located on the southern tip of the peninsula, Cabo Blanco is home to a nature reserve, wildlife and stunning beaches. This quaint town is also one of the best places in Costa Rica for horseback riding.
Florida Keys, USA
If you’re looking to escape the world and connect with nature, the Florida Keys is where it’s at. These 126-mile-long islands are filled with gorgeous beaches, pristine snorkeling spots, and endless water sports.
Many people think of the Florida Keys as sandy, miles-long beaches. That’s not always the case, though.
While many of the islands have natural beaches, they are usually interrupted by offshore reefs. Coral protects the beaches from erosion and prevents sand from building up on the shore.
In contrast, many resort hotels build their own beaches by trucking in sand. These man-made beaches are typically attached to the resort and often have no privacy restrictions, so they’re a great place to relax and soak up some sun.
Sri Lanka is one of Asia’s best tropical destinations, renowned for its soft sands and crystal clear waters. The country has a surprisingly wide range of beaches to choose from, from crowded sand-dunes to quieter coves.
The south coast is a treasure trove of paradise beaches, colonial towns and superb wildlife parks. It’s also home to a slew of atmospheric colonial-era villas, and some of the island’s most beautiful places to stay.
In recent years, beach resorts in Sri Lanka have shifted from the package holiday crowd to independent boutique hideaways and villas, offering more choice than ever before. Our favourite is Weligama Bay, where a curtain of corkscrew palms screens a clutch of particularly inviting boutique hideaways.
Zanzibar is a popular destination for honeymooners and couples looking to get away from it all. Known for its pristine beaches, the African spice island also offers an abundance of activities to keep you busy.
While there are a wide range of beach hotels and lodges, it’s important to choose the right location for your stay. For a serene beach vacation, choose the north coast, where you’ll find some of the best luxury accommodations in Zanzibar.
Another option is the south coast, which is home to a smaller selection of hotels and lodges. It’s a little quieter and offers an intimate experience.
Mauritius is a stunning tropical island that punches above its weight in terms of its variety. It’s got beaches for every beachside whim: charming jumping-off points for surfing or dolphin-watching, tranquil secret coves, shallow lagoons where little ones can paddle in and lively resort towns bursting with nightlife.
The north and west have plenty of hotel amenities if you’re after a sight-seeing or active break, while the south coast is home to some of the most rugged scenery on the island. The best time to visit Mauritius is October and November when the weather is calmer and the hotels are less busy.
There are plenty of luxury resorts on Mauritius but there are also a number of good mid-range options. The key is to book well in advance to secure the room that suits your needs.
The Colombian Caribbean is a paradise of crystalline waters, swaying palm trees, and a plethora of activities. It is an idyllic vacation spot for those looking to get away from it all and relax by the sea.
With a teeming ecosystem, Colombia is a place of colour, happiness and history. This is why it has been voted one of the Best Tropical Vacations in the World.
Tayrona National Park, for example, is teeming with wildlife and gorgeous beaches that are ideal for exploring the region’s many activities. You can also try tubing (floating in an inner tube), a popular activity among locals and tourists alike.