The shiny sun, the breezy winds, and opportunities to spend time in the lap of nature are some reasons to plan tropical vacations. The serene beauty of pristine palm-fringed beaches framed by the azure water is what comes to mind when you start contemplating tropical vacation spots. Water sports and wildlife are some other major draws at these popular holiday destinations.
Offering you an idyllic escape from your daily life and routine, these locations epitomize the ultimate vacation! It’s an opportunity to detox and de-stress, along with a generous dose of adrenaline. Check out this compilation of the top tropical destinations from around the world.
Best Places for a Tropical Vacation
Famed around the world for its marine life and coral islands, the Maldivian archipelago is made up of thousands of islands. A must-visit destination for water babies, scuba diving and snorkeling top the list of activities here. Sunset cruises, dolphin-watching expeditions, and island-hopping offer more opportunities for fun. With a thriving resort culture at the heart of the nation’s economy, there are plenty of options to suit all budgets. From plush overwater villas with plunge pools and Jacuzzis to eco-friendly accommodations along the beaches, there is something for everyone. Make sure you fit in soothing massages on the beach and signature spa treatments to top off your vacation!
- Montego Bay, Jamaica
The multi-cultural history of Montego Bay ensures that you still see ample examples of British and Spanish colonialism in the city. Set along the northern coast of Jamaica, this city has some low mountains making for a picturesque backdrop. Besides the many historical landmarks, check out the wildlife at Rocklands Bird Sanctuary. Snorkel and dive to your heart’s content at Montego Bay Marine Park and enjoy the beauty of the region with some horseback riding. Soak in the sun on the many secluded beaches and take our pick of watersports. The diversity of the city’s population can be experienced through its vibrant culinary scene that significantly influences it being a choice for tropical vacations. A port of call for cruise liners, Montego Bay also has an amusement park should you desire some urban fun!
- Tortuga, Costa Rica
With its turquoise waters and shimmering sand, the island of Tortuga invites you to simply lounge and relax. Fresh fruits and drinks of your choice complete the picture of languid tranquility. The crystal clear waters beckon avid divers and snorkeling enthusiasts who want to get up close with the exotic marine species. When in the mood for some exploration, head out on hikes across the lush trails on the island. If you want to get your blood pumping, then sign up for a zip line canopy tour. Whiz across the treetops and enjoy splendid aerial views of the island. You could also set off on glass-bottom boat tours or kayak your way around the crystal clear water to make this the most memorable of your tropical vacations.
- Ambergris Caye, Belize
The largest island in Belize, Ambergris Caye is home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world. English is the primary language here, making communication a breeze. From snorkeling and skydiving at Hol Chan Marine Reserve to exploring ancient Mayan ruins, there’s plenty in store for you. The main town of San Pedro has its share of premium accommodations and classy restaurants serving up East Indian, Garifuna, Mestizo, Maya, Mennonites, and Creole specialties. A happening nightlife scene is the icing on the cake! Be sure to include this fun destination on our list of tropical places to visit.
- Bali, Indonesia
Spectacular beaches, a rich cultural heritage, and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes come together to make up Bali, one of the best tropical vacation destinations in the world. The cliffside Uluwatu temple with the ocean as a backdrop is a fine example of Balinese culture and architecture. The colorful reefs are conducive to snorkeling and scuba-diving. You can also take in the sight of active volcanoes, such as Lombok.
Lush, wild, natural settings makes Bali a favorite with yoga and meditation enthusiasts. For surfing, Kuta or Seminyak will be your destination. The availability of personal chefs and drivers at pocket-friendly prices adds to the allure of Bali. Visiting the bustling local markets, the scenic rice terraces of Tegalalang, and hikes along Campuhan Ridge are some other fun activities here.
- Pedasi, Panama
Rural living is at the heart of the island experience at Pedasi. Located about five hours away from the heart of Panama City, this sleepy little fishing village has picture-perfect beaches and turquoise waters. Pleasant and breezy evenings more than make up for the essentially dry climate of the region. Pedasi is a clean town, painted in bright colors. Exceptional waves make it a surfing destination and give it the associated laidback lifestyle. The region is home to many expatriates and retirees seeking tranquility, sunshine, and relaxation. The Isla Iguana Wildlife Reserve, with its frigates, hermit crabs, and colorful iguanas, is ideal for communing with nature. All these and more make Pedasi one of the popular tropical vacation spots in the region.
- Port Douglas, Australia
Port Douglas is an excellent example of the adventurous spirit synonymous with Australia. This town offers a comfortable base to explore the unique ecosystems of the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. The chic air and its easygoing vibe make the town suitable for travelers of all ages. Tours and day trips help you make the most of the region, while pristine beaches spell ultimate relaxation.
Cruises that offer exotic wildlife encounters up close, and indigenous cultural experiences, make this a wholesome vacation destination. Keep your camera ready, for at every turn you will encounter spectacular photo opportunities! Set off on long drives if you want to make optimal use of all your photography gear!
- Florida Keys, USA
Located off the coast of the sunshine state, the Florida Keys are one of the best tropical destinations for someone not wanting to go too far from home. This coral cay archipelago lies south of the trendy Miami Beach and offers activities galore along with the beach vibe. Choose to make your vacation as laidback or as active as you wish. Soak in history at the museums and prominent landmarks that dot the charming streets, including Ernest Hemingway’s home.
Follow it up with a leisurely picnic in Bahia Honda State Park, which is also known for its old railroad bridge that offers splendid photo moments. The reef here is home to over 600 species of fish. Wrap up our evenings at the Mallory Square with its carnival-like ambiance. Find interesting performances including fire jugglers and sword swallowing here.
- The Canary Islands
Though located on the west coast of Africa, these seven islands are owned by Spain. You could have your visit coincide with one of the many festivals held year long. For instance, Tenerife Island hosts the world’s largest carnival every February. Doing so could give you the opportunity to mingle with locals and get a firsthand look at their culture and traditions. Attending a Lucha Canaria event, a form of wrestling, makes for an immersive experience. The unusual black and white sand beaches lead to secluded coves where you can sunbathe in peace without fear of being disturbed. Garajonay National Park, is one of the most visited places on the Canary Islands. It is also famous for its vineyards, cultivated on non- irrigated land.
- Algarve, Portugal
If fishing at sandy beaches is on your mind, then Algarve is your go-to location. You can enjoy the nightlife, and the visits to the water parks. Though Algarve is located in Portugal, English is the most spoken language and it is one of the least expensive locations for visitors in the whole of Europe. Now you know one reason it’s in the list of top tropical destinations.
This is one of the best tropical vacation spots that offer just as many opportunities for golfing as for fun in the surf and sand. Scenic fishing villages rub shoulders with resort towns, such as Albuferia, which are celebrated for their clubbing and partying culture. Vilamoura is famous for its golfing center and yachts, while Praia de Rocha is for the culturally inclined. Lagos adds a historical touch and is considered a family destination. Tavira and Faro are some other places to visit in Algarve.
- Los Cabos, Mexico
Located at the end of Mexico’s state of Baja California Sur are the sweltering beaches that cover twenty miles of the coastline from the town of Cabo San Lucas to San Jose Del Cabo. From the eye of the iconic Arch of Cabo San Lucas, the cool waters run past scenic beaches that promise adventures such as rock climbing. Enjoy the sight of sea lions and hop into a water taxi to reach Lover’s Beach. Cabo Pulmo’s National Park is home to three of the oldest coral reefs, which are unusually beautiful, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a Ramsar wetland. This stretch assures you of sandy toes, iced margaritas and, for those who prefer it, an assortment of brewed beers.
- Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Standing tall within the archipelago of Leeward Islands of French Polynesia, this luxury island is a destination of a lifetime. Mounted on stilts are a row of chalets, perched over crystal clear waters. A destination that goes beyond the reach of the common man, this island offers you boat cruises or and yacht charters to explore. Apart from the usual watersports, you can enjoy feeding the sharks and rays in the coral garden! Never be there alone, given that the fish swim beside you, even in the shallow waters of the aqua safari. To top it all, enjoy the taste of fresh seafood accompanied by signature cocktails.
- The Mamanuca Islands, Fiji
Unwind on the islands of the Pacific Ocean that served as the site for the filming of the television series, “Survivor.” A preferred holiday destination for family getaways, there are plenty of choices if you wish to go island-hopping. Set off along rural roads and ride the rapids in lagoons that are home to numerous varieties of sea life. Snorkeling and kayaking let you discover the unique ecosystems of the region, including the natural springs and deep rainforests.
- Zakynthos, Greece
Located in the Ionian Sea, this island is popularly known as Smuggler’s Cave. It is ensconced within the hills that surround the shipwreck at Navagio Beach. The tour to the wreckage is one of the island’s main attractions. Besides, deep-sea diving, shopping and neon lit parties, add to the fun. Horseback riding, go-karting and archery make for a well-rounded vacation you cannot miss!
- Kauai, Hawaii
Also known as the Garden Island, Kauai is all about bright green valleys, mountains and grassy terrain. From snorkeling the teal blue beaches to hiking the winding trails, there’s plenty to choose from. You could also enjoy a bird’s eye view of the scenic landscape as you zoom along on a zip line across the lush green valleys. Feast on exquisite local cuisine with mild flavors and specialties such as mahi-mahi, wahoo, sea strawberries, and sea grapes. Other sought-after spots here are the night markets, with their mind-boggling displays of assorted wares.
- Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
Krabi Province calls out to the blue waters around the limestone cliffs of Ko Phi Phi Le. Longtail boats, shallow snorkeling and deep sea diving at varied points let you explore the coral reefs and gardens. Right from the Viking Caves to Phi Phi Viewpoint, the ferry has all the spots on its schedule. Shacks and beach umbrellas at the resorts beckon you to lounge a while and soak in the sun. With the glorious sunset, bustling nightspots come to life just steps from the beach. From exotic figurines to shorts and sarongs, there’s plenty to take home as souvenirs. These are just some reasons why these beautiful islands are often on the list of popular holiday destinations in Asia!
- Cook Islands, New Zealand
Soaking in the beauty of the South Pacific comes easy at the Cook Islands. From adults-only resorts to family-friendly accommodation, there is a wide range of choices available. Kayaking and beach-combing top the list of things to do here. The turquoise lagoons are prime spots to go scuba-diving, snorkeling, and enjoy stand-up paddling. Hop on a sea scooter for a rush of adrenaline, or sign up for leisurely lagoon cruises if a slower pace is more your style. Enjoy barbecues by the beach. You could also decide on an impromptu wedding at the aptly named Honeymoon Island. For a peek into the history of these beautiful island, stop by the Te Vara Nui Village. Waterfalls and trails offer you ample opportunities to explore.
- Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Nestled in the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of sunlit Cancun, is the island that spells relaxation with a capital R! Jump-start your escape with scuba-diving and water sports. The Underwater Museum, submerged deep in the ocean, preserves over 500 sculptures within the National Marine Park. If getting wet is not your cup of tea, you could also cruise along in a glass-bottom boat. Watch out for schools of colorful tropical fish and seahorses. At the end of every active day, settle down to feast on local delicacies, including fiery Mayan dishes such as Tik’n Xic, or fish marinated in spicy peppers and grilled on the barbecue.
- The Galapagos Islands
Tucked into the wilderness, unseen by the rest of the world, is this paradise known as the Columbus Archipelago. As he stumbled onto them, Christopher Columbus called them the Enchanted Islands. Now, deemed a UNESCO Heritage site, these islands let you get up close with exotic species of birds and animals. Cruises and tours headed by licensed guides are a great way of taking in the highlights of the islands. The breeding centers in the Southern and Central Islands harbor giant tortoises, penguins, marine iguanas and albatrosses. Groupies of Steve Irwin must have this on their bucket list!
Bathing in cascading natural waterfalls and swimming with the whales are just some charms of this Polynesian getaway. A year-round tropical climate makes it a favored all-time getaway. Sought after for its island festivals and sports competition, Tahiti is dotted with overwater bungalows and opulent villas with all the expected conveniences and amenities. Lounge in the shade of swaying coconut palms by the water, or rejuvenate your mind and body with spa treatments when you’re not out exploring. Enjoy leisurely picnics and romantic dinners surrounded by the beauty of nature while a gentle sea breeze caresses you.
- Be sure of soft blue skies: A tropical getaway calls for sunny days and golden sunsets. In the summer, different islands have their own festivals and events, making your choices easier. Other than the temperature, of course, your clues also lie in the frequency of air travel and let you make an informed decision.
- Beware of a hole in your pocket: Some of these islands have limited means of transportation, which means a fair chunk of your budget goes into the commute. Beyond accommodation and food, it does not make sense to spend too much on the means to get there if you have a limited budget. If not, the sky’s the limit!
- Whom should you go with: There are some islands more suitable for adventure with friends, while others are more about families with children. Some destinations are couple-centric with a range of romantic options, and some are best suited for solo travel.
- Don’t get too picky: Nearly all the best tropical vacation destinations have scuba-diving, snorkeling and hiking trails to give you an experience like never before. So just pack your bags and set off without thinking about it all too much.
- Travel light: Sarongs, swimwear, and sunscreen are all you need on a tropical getaway! Plus, you will need some space in our luggage to accommodate all the souvenirs and unique artifacts that you find at these beautiful tropical islands.
- Pack your medicines: If there are specific medications you need, take those along. Most of the islands are away from the mainland or have limited options when it comes to medical care and facilities.
Be mindful of local culture: The island folk have earthy ways of life that put city life to shame. So be prepared for your minds to be enriched with the sense of community and spirit. Read up on local etiquette and traditions before you head to your chosen destination.