Tropical Island Getaways from Tropical Island Getaways
Tropical Island Getaways
Punta Cana, whose name translates to “tip of the White Cane Palms,” sits in the easternmost province of the Dominican Republic. Famous for its 62 miles of breezy oceanfront coast, Punta Cana is also home to some of the best, most beautiful tropical golf courses in the world, designed by professionals like Tom Fazio and P.B. Dye. If golf isn’t your game, you could try ziplining or check out the lagoons of the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park.
Antigua & Barbuda
Translated as Ancient and Bearded, this twin island nation lies between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Because of the shape of the islands, it feels like there are beaches everywhere. With bright white sand, and clear blue waters, having too many beaches can never be a bad thing on Antigua and Barbuda. Meanwhile, make some friends with the large population of colorful birds on the islands. And stay in some of the Caribbean's most exclusive resorts, and look out for Oprah’s winter home.
According to Fodor’s blogger Jimmy Inn, what was once a little known island off the Pacific coast of Mexico,is now gaining steam as a dream vacation destination for many travelers around the world. Riviera Nayarit visitors can expect to find themselves immersed in a
truly tropical setting. With activities like golf and zip lining to ATV adventures and whale watching, you’ll enjoy a fun-filled trip while surrounded by lush mountains, stunning skies and more miles of beautiful beaches than imaginable.
Oahu, the most populated island in the Hawaiian islands is known as a surfer’s paradise. According to TripAdvisor, the Hawaiian islands swelling waves reach incredible heights and Oahu holds one of the world’s premier surfing competitions, the Triple Crown. But, the beaches attract non-surfers too, especially Honolulu’s famous beach, Waikiki. Not to mention, Oahu’s dramatic jungle and waterfalls have been backdrops to many favorite TV shows and movies including Jurassic Park.
St. Maarten- St. Martin
St. Martin landed the number five spot on this year’s list of best islands by U.S. News and World Report, and the main consensus among many reviewers is that the destination’s best feature is the chance to experience two exciting cultures in one vacation. The land is governed by both France and the Netherlands making for a diverse and exciting excursion that includes the chance to explore rainforests, white sand beaches, caves and even lively urban settings.
Aruba is a sun soaked chunk of heaven in the southern Caribbean Sea. Located below the hurricane belt, Aruba enjoys 82-degree days year round, unbelievably refreshing trade winds, low humidity and the most sunny days of any island in the area—no wonder it’s been called “one happy island.”
The mountainous, subtropical Spanish archipelago known as the Canaries brings in over 12 million visitors a year. A popular attraction, the World Heritage Site of Mount Teide in Tenerife is the third tallest volcano in the world. Of the seven Canary Islands, Tenerife is the largest, but each holds their own unique attractive qualities. Whether you want to windsurf in Fuerteventura or walk the Magic Isle in La Gomera, there is an activity for everyone in the Canaries.
Hawaii’s second largest island boasts a lush landscape littered with wondrous waterfalls, bamboo forests and of course, sandy shores lined with palm trees, making it the ideal destination for nature lovers of all kinds. According to TripAdvisor, the best places to visit here include Kihei (home of the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary), Lahaina (for a traditional Hawaiian experience, luaus and all) and Wailea (where you can experience the island’s more luxurious side with activities like golf, shopping and spa sessions.)
Stunning white sand beaches give way to clear sea water and coral reefs in fantastic condition, Gaya Island has everything one would expect from a tropical destination. For the land-lovers, there are ridges to climb and there is a protected tropical forest to explore, complete with more than 12 miles of established hiking trails.
Off the Southern coast of Queensland, Australia lies the forested island of Fraser. The island, filled with rain forests, mangrove forests, eucalyptus woodland, sand dunes and coastal heaths is incredibly diverse experience. Sand, accumulating for over 750,000 years has made this island the largest sand island in the world. It is a jaw-dropping spot for beach fishing, and the bright turquoise waters are filled with a frenzy of sea life.
Bright blue waters and white sand beaches are the norm for Australia’s Whitsunday Islands. The area, located amidst the Great Barrier Reef, is made up of 74 individual islands (eight of which offer resort accommodations) that TripAdvisor describes as “mini paradises.” Whether you’re after a romantic getaway or an action-packed adventure, with a wide variety of activities and amenities to choose from a Whitsunday vacation is open to endless possibilities.
Unlike many of the built-up tourist meccas on this list, Tavewa Island is a low-key backpacker’s paradise. The island isn’t commercialized or highly developed, which means travelers get a glimpse into the daily life of locals on the Fijian and Pacific Islands. There are no “roads” on the island—only paths, very few phone lines mean marine radio is a popular way to communicate with the mainland and there is no electrify, only generators and campfires.
This flat island of is especially beautiful for its stunning and ecologically important coral reefs. It continues to be a quieter island in the Caribbean, with many older charms. The lack of development gives Anguilla a peaceful feel allowing visitors to vacation as they please. Enjoy laid-back activities like dancing to calypso music at the annual summer festival or sunbathing the day away at Rendezvous beach.
The four islands that make up this Spanish archipelago each offer very different vibes. While Mallorca will provide tourists with a more relaxing environment including scenic mountain and sea landscapes, Ibiza is said to be home to a fast-paced party scene. The other two islands, Menorca and Formentera are described as “havens of tranquility” where tourists can lose themselves amidst secluded coves and historic monuments all summer long.
St. Lucia has it all, from the picturesque Piton mountaintops to natural waterfalls and the stellar coast. Make your way through dense unspoiled rainforest to see active volcanoes or simply relax on some of the finest sand in the Caribbean, either way it’ll be an unforgettable trip.
Wax your surfboard and get ready for some of the legendary waves on the east coast of this Caribbean island. The island attracts over half a million people every year, and it’s not just for it’s gorgeous beaches and gnarly waves, Central Barbados is full of rolling terrain and scenery from its fascinating colonial past.
British Virgin Islands
Situated in the Caribbean just east of Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands continue to rank as a top getaway pick for many travelers in search of a truly relaxing escape. One of the most popular of the islands is the Virgin Gorda; a land mass that resembles the likes of a large reclining woman and where the laid-back pace will wash all your worries away.
The unique and soulful island of Jamaica has an entirely different vibe than it’s sister Caribbean islands. Though it offers the same sunshine and soft sands, the culture and history make it a whole other world. With a strong connection to it’s African traditions, exploring the island is a fascinating experience. Though there are many opportunities to enjoy a resort vacation, Lonely Planet suggests you try other activities such as off beat bush-medicine hiking tours or take a peek at the wetlands full of endangered crocodiles and manatees.
Nevis (along with St. Kitts) was named the number three best island in the world by U.S. News and World Report this year. They say it isn’t very well-known but that it’s luxurious enough to attract the likes of A-list celebrities like Britney Spears and even Oprah. A true tropical oasis, this Caribbean getaway will leave you feeling more relaxed than ever thanks to its unique charm and the “the easy-going genuineness of its people.”
Known as the Caribbean's island playground for the rich and famous, St. Barts (or Saint Barthélemy) has 22 stunning beaches, roughly 25 hotels (most with fewer than 20 rooms) and plenty of world class bars and restaurants. If you’re looking for a major party this holiday season, take a yacht to St. Barts for New Year’s Eve to party with some of the most rich and famous people on the planet.
Bermuda is a quick and easy getaway, as only a short flight from most U.S. East Coast cities. But, the short trip brings you to a whole new world filled with pink-sandy beaches, beautiful gardens, perfect climate, and excellent shopping. The romantic tranquility of the island attracts many honeymoon goers, but the lack of sales tax makes this island a shopping paradise.
St. Vincent & The Grenadines
St. Vincent is well known for its lush green landscape, which offers visitors the opportunity to embark on exciting eco-adventures like bird watching, hiking and tropical garden viewing. On the other end of the spectrum, The Grenadines (a chain of smaller islands nearby) are home to exquisite beaches, coral reefs and bright blue lagoons—a perfect setting for scuba diving, boat excursions and everyone’s favorite vacation pastime, relaxation.
Turks & Caicos
Turks & Caicos has everything you could want in an island getaway--unspoiled world class beaches, indigo waters broken up by coral reefs and plenty of fine restaurants and hotels. All that and the islands are just a short plane ride from the East Coast of the U.S.
Perfect for a family-friendly vacation, the Cayman Islands offers a number of adventures. From swimming with stingrays, to Bloody Bay Wall, considered the world’s best wall dive, there is something fun for every nature lover. Also, the islands clear waters have made it a very popular destination for divers of all levels.
For about $1,700 per night, you can book an all-inclusive stay on the ultra-exclusive, private Tahitian island of Motu Teta. Despite the fact that this sounds more like the ultimate getaway for a romantic honeymoon, it’s also touted as an excellent destination for a family vacation, as it offers adventurous activities and the stress-free advantage of all-inclusive amenities.
Tahiti is a beautiful vacation spot with its mountainous landscape accompanied by deep valleys, luminous streams and waterfalls. The coast is rife with vibrant tropical flowers and if the scenery itself isn’t enough of a draw, guests can also feed sharks, attend snorkeling and diving tours and enjoy Polynesian spas.
Grand Bahama Island
The closest major island to the U.S., Grand Bahama lies about 55 miles off the coast of Florida and is also the northernmost island of all the Bahamas islands, making it a convenient tropical getaway for many east-coast dwellers. Here you’ll find a variety of resorts to choose from and fun in the form of everything from exhilarating cultural experiences and jeep safaris to bike tours and dolphin swimming.
Bay Islands Honduras
The Bay Islands are made up of the islands of Utila, Roatan and Guanaja, which are considered among the best in the Caribbean. Home to a massive barrier reef, the Bay Islands are a world class scuba diving site. For those who don’t dive, there are other options like swimming with dolphins and zip-lining through the jungle.
Get out of the wild ways of nearby Ibiza to escape to this serene island filled with sensational natural beauty. It’s no wonder that artists such as Bob Dylan escaped to this small, slow-paced island. The island is also home to numerous nude sunbathing beaches that have gone untouched and remain magnificently clean and beautiful.
Situated just 22 miles south-southwest of Los Angeles, Catalina is a convenient West Coast escape that offers adventures like kayaking, parasailing, hiking and scuba diving as well as more luxurious amenities like romantic lodging options and a diverse selection of places to dine. “It’s a place where you can paddle through crystal clear waters in the crisp morning air, followed by Mai Tais and sun soaked massages on the beach in the afternoon,” says the Island’s website.
Stroll the Byzantinean paths that lead you through island villages and its history or enjoy a wonder of nature—the immaculately clear water off the coast. However you choose to see one of Greece’s most popular tourist spots, you’re sure to enjoy the view. Be sure to check out Náoussa, a village at that sits at the highest point on the island and offers breathtaking views. Another great way to see the island and the surrounding water is by kayak.
A cool, salty breeze covers the island of Madeira. As you travel up the cliffs and hills that dominate the landscape, you can see blue oceans surrounding you from every angle. Voted the number one island in Europe by the World Travel Awards, this natural wonderland is filled with sensational hiking, natural lava pools, incredible food, and a booming wine port.
Home to breathtaking beaches, adventurous mountain trails and championship golf courses, Cyprus provides visitors with an array of activities to choose from as well as the chance to experience a diverse mix of many different cultures. The island sits in the waters of the European Mediterranean, but faces the coasts of Syria, Turkey and Lebanon. Despite its many different cultural influences, visitors say the island has its own unique and exciting character.
Malta is known for astonishing architecture and a rich history possibly dating all the way back to the stone age. The picturesque architecture features colors that beautifully contrast the deep blue Mediterranean Sea. The island’s historical significance can be traced back to its prime location, many battles were fought there and control of the island changed at least nine times. Malta is currently home to several historical monuments, some of the oldest standing structures in the world and nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Enjoy the mouthwatering foods of Italy among the turquoise sea and white sandy beaches of the tropics. As the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sardinia has much to offer. Hike through the forested mountain peaks or visit the medieval towns such as Bosa. Explore through history and natural elegance in this picturesque island.
East of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean sits the lovely French Reunion Island, an exotic escape incomparable to any other. Lonely Planet says that Reunion might feel like a visit to France at first; but after a second appraisal you’ll find its cultural influences go far beyond the French. Plus, it’s noted that the island’s ever-changing landscape will instantly take your breath away; transitioning from lava fields to forests and mountainous terrain to sprawling coastal cities with just an hour or two of travel.
Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island, Maldives
Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island is a 13,000 square foot private island that allows a maximum of 12 visitors at a time. The restriction on the number of visitors makes for a more intimate experience. Activities available for guests include: deep-sea fishing, scuba diving and spa visits for even more relaxation. If visitors decide they want a taste of nightlife, they are only a short boat ride away from Coco Bodu Hithi, another high profile resort with bars and restaurants.
A three-island archipelago off the northwest coast of Indonesia, the Gili Islands offer a truly remote island getaway experience. Small resorts feature picturesque huts for lodging and the simple way of life followed by locals (cars are prohibited) makes for a relaxing and serene atmosphere. Lonely Planet says that each of the three islands features its own unique personality, but the one thing they share in common is “they are all hard to leave.”
San Andres Island
The water surrounding San Andres Island is known as the “sea of seven colors,” due to its vibrant coral and sea-life which is perfect for scuba diving. Of the many beautiful beaches on the island, Johnny Cay is the most popular—a great place to walk along the shore while stopping in at the many restaurants and bars that line the coast.
This volcanic islet located in the Galapagos Islands is home to the most beautiful landscapes in all the islands. The extinct volcano left the island in many colors of red, green, orange, and black formations. You can climb the volcanic cone or check out the famous Pinnacle Rock. And while at Pinnacle Rock be sure to keep a look out for the Galapagos penguins, who live in a small cave behind the rock.
Easter Island, Chile
This island isn’t the easiest destination to reach; it sits 2,000 miles off the coast of Chile. But for those willing to endure the long flight, the rewards are likely worth it. TripAdvisor calls Easter Island one of the most mysterious places on earth. It’s isolated location has helped to conserve the areas 1,500-year-old volcanic rock structures—the attraction that draws the most visitors. The island is also said to feature uncrowded beaches, making it the perfect place to combine adventure and relaxation in one unforgettable vacation.
Trinidad and Tobago
This pair of islands located off the coast of South America has a lot to offer both naturally and culturally. The smaller of the two islands, Tobago is home to the hemisphere’s oldest protected rainforest and stunning coral reefs. Trinidad, the larger and more populated island celebrates it’s storied culture with a major Carnival festival, frequent musical celebrations and lively nightlife.