It’s a big world out there filled with islands just waiting for you. We’ve handpicked the best tropical islands — some familiar and some not — Whether you prefer a quiet sliver of sand a few time zones from home, or a more accessible and bustling local scene, you’ll find inspiration among these islands. The biggest challenge will be choosing your favorite. Which one will you discover first?
1. Turks And Caicos
The Turks and Caicos is a small archipelago nation found south of the Bahamas. There’s much to do and discover in this paradise. Pristine beaches, crystal clear and warm ocean water, abundant marine life and beautiful tropical wetlands. Quite simply, we’re the best of the Caribbean. The beaches are consistently rated the best in the world, and the weather’s in the 80f to 90f (27c to 32c) range all year round.
2. Bora Bora
Turquoise lagoons, soft white sands, and deep tangerine sunsets set the scene for romance on the island so nice they named it twice. Mingle with tropical fish as you flutter around Coral Gardens or Tupitipiti Point, or relax in a self-driving tour as you take in beautiful views of the once-volcanic Mount Otemanu. At the Lagoonarium you can watch shark feedings and swim with turtles. Cap it all off with a succulent meal at one of the island’s fine French restaurants, then sip a tropical cocktail under the stars.
Mauritius is arguably Africa’s wealthiest destination, a tropical paradise with tons to do. Mark Twain once wrote that ‘Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius’. For the most part, it’s true: Mauritius is rightly famed for its sapphire waters, powder-white beaches and luxury resorts. But there’s so much more to Mauritius than the beach when it comes to attractions. There’s bird-watching and hiking in the forested and mountainous interior or world-class diving and snorkelling. There are boat trips to near-perfect islets and excursions to fabulous botanical gardens and colonial plantation houses. Either way, the possibilities can seem endless.
Paradise awaits you… If your idea of paradise is a pristine tropical island with swaying palm trees and pure white beaches surrounded by crystalline lagoons of varying shades of blue – then the Maldives Islands will definitely fit the bill. The Republic of the Maldives is a chain of around 1200 islands stretching 750km across the Indian Ocean. The beauty of Maldives is indeed addictive. Once you sample the heady mixture of secluded serenity, thrilling water sports activities, soothing spas, relaxing beaches all wrapped in the luxurious comfort of modern amenities – you are bound to want the experience again. No matter what time of the year you decide to visit the Maldives – islands that are truly heaven on Earth.
5. Koh Tao, Thailand
Golden sandy beaches, secluded bays, and a scuba diving paradise, Koh Tao is one of Southern Thailand’s true tropical island escapes. The palm-fringed island of Ko Tao takes its name from the abundant sea turtles that reside on its shores. White sand beaches sheltered by steep hills – some only accessible with four-wheel drive vehicles – and 300 days of sun per year invite long afternoons of lounging. For such a small island, Ko Tao has a lot to offer. Diverse diving right off its shores, cavort with sharks and rays in a playground of tangled neon coral, toast the day with sunset cocktails on a white beach then get up and do it all over again the next day.
6. Roatan, Honduras
Roatán is the largest and most developed of the Bay Islands. Long and thin, the island is a real diving and snorkeling mecca – virtually its entire coastline is fringed by an astonishingly diverse coral reef teeming with tropical fish. On land, exquisite white-sand beaches , a mountainous interior of pine-forested hills and the remote wild east of the island beg to be explored. From zip-lining to deep-sea fishing to exploring the military-protected archipelago of Cayos Cochinos, the Honduran island is a playground for lovers of water sports and ecotourism. Unsurprisingly, this natural beauty hasn’t been ignored by property developers and tour operators: a slew of resort hotels, a shopping mall and a cruise-ship terminal have opened in recent years.
7. Palawan, Philippines
Nothing defines Palawan more than the water around it. With seascapes the equal of any in Southeast Asia, and wildlife terrestrial and aquatic, the Philippines’ most sparsely populated region is also the most beguiling. Because of its silhouette – a long sliver stretching 650km all the way to Borneo – there’s a certain liberating logic to travel here.The majority of travellers go north to El Nido or Coron town, base camps for island-hopping, snorkelling and diving adventures. In the south it’s possible to explore jungle-clad mountains though facilities are decidedly rustic. The island is half desert, so still undeveloped. You can enjoy the jungle, mountains, and white beaches.
Close your eyes. And just imagine. You’re lazing on a talcum-powder beach lapped by topaz waters and backed by lush hills and big glacis boulders. Brochure material? No, just routine in the Seychelles. With such a dreamlike setting, the Seychelles is unsurprisingly a choice place for newlyweds. But for those looking for more than a suntan or romance, this archipelago offers a number of high-energy distractions. There are jungle and coastal walks, boat excursions, and diving and snorkelling to keep you buzzing. Ecotourism is big – there are marine parks and natural reserves filled with endemic species that are easy to approach.
The Seychelles is more affordable than you think. On top of ultra-luxurious options, the country has plenty of self-catering facilities and family-run guesthouses that offer local colour. So if you are suffering from visions of tropical paradise, here is your medicine.
The unique and ubiquitous island of Tahiti is world-renowned for its Polynesian charm, colorful culture and romantic ambiance. The grass-skirted hip shaking of Tahitian dance is sure to get your toes tapping and heart thumping—let the celebratory vibe of this magical locale rejuvenate and excite you to the core. Warm-water lagoons and crystalline ocean tides are host to a rainbow’s worth of colorful marine life, and the food, drink, spas and dramatic nightlife provide an experience to stimulate all the senses.
Bali is a living postcard, an Indonesian paradise that feels like a fantasy. Soak up the sun on a stretch of fine white sand, or commune with the tropical creatures as you dive along coral ridges or the colorful wreck of a WWII war ship. On shore, the lush jungle shelters stone temples and mischievous monkeys. The “artistic capital” of Ubud is the perfect place to see a cultural dance performance, take a batik or silver-smithing workshop, or invigorate your mind and body in a yoga class. Bali blends spectacular mountain scenery and beautiful beaches with warm and friendly people, a vibrant culture and out of this world resorts.