Best Tropical Vacations: 25 Places to Add to your Bucket List
Cold weather has its place, but it’s hard to beat a sunny, tropical location. In this list of the best tropical vacations, we detail 25 spectacular tropical locations from around the world. Be warned, though; some are so stunning that you will have a hard time choosing just one to visit.
And, since most of these tropical locations are also surrounded by water as well. You will be able to have your fill of water sports, beach lounging, and everything else that tropical waters offer.
If you can’t get enough of the tropics and island life, be sure to also check out our list of the best Greek islands and our list of the best Caribbean islands. And, for help getting to one of these great destinations, make sure to visit our list of the best travel sites.
Top 25 Tropical Vacations:
Highlights: Crystal clear water highlighted by underwater sea life, top-notch resorts, cuisine, and nightlife.
About Tropical Vacation: Comprised of 26 natural atolls, the Indian Ocean island nation of the Maldives is a stunning tropical paradise. Lagoons surround the islands and provide the islands with crystal-clear water. All of this crystal clear water allows for spectacular views of underwater life.
A variety of water sports activities are also available on the islands as well. And, outside of the water, island visitors have access to top-notch resorts, cuisine, and nightlife.
Highlights: Consists of 115 islands, access to rare wildlife and nature reserves, stunning beaches, and a large range of accommodations.
About Tropical Vacation: An Indian Ocean archipelago of 115 islands, the tropical nation of Seychelles is a nature lover’s dream. On the islands of Seychelles, you will get access to rare wildlife, nature reserves, and stunning beaches. And, with accommodations ranging from upscale resorts to homey guest cottages, Seychelles is a tropical vacation that is perfect for everyone.
Highlights: Thousands of islands to choose from, choose between bustling cities, easily accessible beaches, or a little bit of both.
About Tropical Vacation: With thousands of islands to choose from, the island nation of the Philippines is a diverse and tropical vacation paradise. If teeming, bustling city life is your thing, check out Manilla. If you want gorgeous, easily accessible beaches, Cebu might be your best option. The Philippines is going to offer something for everyone.
Highlights: Offers a large selection of nature-inspired activities and excellent local cuisine.
About Tropical Vacation: Situated on the Pacific Ocean, Tamarindo is an affordable beach town with stunning views. In Tamarindo, you will get access to a plethora of nature-inspired activities. From diving to surfing to horseback riding, there are activities for all ages and fitness levels. While in Tamarindo, be sure to also sample some of the delicious local food.
Highlights: Voted one of the best islands in the world, excellent outdoor activities for sports enthusiasts, and world-class spas.
About Tropical Vacation: Conde Nast readers have consistently voted Maui as one of the best islands in the world. And, no wonder this Hawaiian island is a true tropical paradise. With diverse geography, this tropical island is a haven for outdoor sports enthusiasts of every kind. Don’t worry, though, if you are in search of rest and relaxation, Maui also offers a number of top-notch spas, resorts, and good, old beach lounging as well.
Highlights: Offers budget options and luxury lodgings, and the perfect mix of relaxation and nightlife available.
About Tropical Vacation: Perfect for both budget and luxury travelers, the island of Samui is a tropical paradise. White sandy beaches abound here, with a healthy mix of nightlife and serenity. Parks and waterfalls also abound here, making it easy to enjoy the beautiful natural wonders of Thailand.
Highlights: Known for having both surfing and calmer beaches, dolphin and humpback whale watching, and plenty of quality lodgings and resorts.
About Tropical Vacation: Backed by the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains, the beautiful seaside village of Sayulita rests on Mexico’s Pacific coast. The area is known for it’s surfing, but there are also calmer, sheltered beaches, providing the best of both worlds. A variety of wildlife is also nearby, including humpback whales and dolphins.
Highlights: Lush island that is full of nature and wildlife, access to a number of pristine beaches, and the waters boast one of the brightest bioluminescent bays in the world.
About Tropical Vacation: The small, lush island of Vieques off of Puerto Rico is a haven for nature lovers and those looking to getaway. With most of the land being a national nature refuge, visitors will be able to fully appreciate the wildlife on the island.
And, since most of the island is undeveloped, visitors will be able to access a number of pristine beaches. The waters surrounding the island of Vieques also boast one of the brightest bioluminescent bays in the world. All of this is going to make Vieques a one-of-a-kind tropical paradise experience.
Highlights: Pristine beaches and clear waters, upscale resorts, and excellent activities in both the water and on land.
About Tropical Vacation: The island nation of the Dominican Republic is a true tropical getaway. On the island, you will get access to pristine beaches, delicious food, and a lively atmosphere. From upscale resorts and top-notch golf to authentic villages and eateries, the DR offers something for everyone.
Highlights: One of a kind exploring through tropical rainforests, cliffs, and canyons, and relaxing on the many different beaches.
About Tropical Vacation: Kauai is the oldest and fourth-largest of the Hawaiian islands. It is often referred to as the Garden Isle because of the lush tropical rainforests that cover much of the island. Dramatic cliffs and canyons also traverse the island, providing never-ending, jaw-dropping views. Visitors can kayak, snorkel, hike, zip line, or just relax on one of Kauai’s many spectacular beaches.
Highlights: Offers more than 700 islands to choose from, luxury accommodations, and plenty of water-related activities to choose from.
About Tropical Vacation: The Bahamas offers more than 700 islands to choose from. Each island is going to have its own unique appeal as well. With all of these options, the Bahamas is one of the best tropical vacations and is sure to have something for everyone. Grand Bahama and Paradise islands offer large-scale and luxe accommodations, while other islands provide a laid-back, remote feeling.
Scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, and water sports also reign supreme here. Nassau is one of the top spring break destinations as well. And, with nearly year-round good weather, the Bahamas is an ideal tropical vacation.
Highlights: Relaxed island vibe, excellent snorkeling, fishing, and other water activities to choose from.
About Tropical Vacation: The southernmost tip of the United States, Key West is a mere 90 miles from Cuba. This island is often visited by cruise ships, and for a good reason. Key West offers coral reefs, a happening nightlife, and picturesque conch-style houses. Add in its balmy, tropical weather, and it is easy to see why Key West is a fun year-round tropical destination.
Highlights: Six stunning islands to choose from, stunning beaches and towering rock formations, and plenty of exploring options.
About Tropical Vacation: Just a short speedboat trip from Phuket, Thailand, the Phi Phi Islands are a group of six stunning islands. These islands are highlighted by stunning beaches, towering rock formations, and turquoise waters.
Maya Bay, located on Phi Phi Leh, was the stunning backdrop for the film The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio. Outside of Maya Bay, there are also a host of other spectacular tropical bays and beaches to choose from as well.
Highlights: High-end accommodations and restaurants, Shell Beach, and exploring the capital of Gustavia.
About Tropical Vacation: Saint Barthelemy, otherwise known as St. Barts, is a French-speaking Caribbean island. High-end restaurants and hotels cater to the many yachts and boats that stop in the capital, Gustavia, while beautiful Shell Beach is a popular attraction no matter your budget. For a unique Caribbean experience, St. Barts is a must-see.
Highlights: Stunning coastlines, Mayan Ruins to explore, and plenty of outdoor activities to choose from.
About Tropical Vacation: Tulum is one of the best tropical vacations and is located just south of Cancun. It offers everything from ancient Mayan ruins to stunning coastlines to campsites and luxury cabanas.
The relaxed vibe of the area is perfect for those looking to kick back and relax. However, there are also options for those looking to be active as well. Tulum offers a variety of activities and excursions to choose from as well. Tulum is a safe bet year-round for a tropical vacation.
Highlights: Unique culture, variety of beaches to visit, plenty of nightlife, and entertainment to choose from.
About Tropical Vacation: Stretching along the west coast of India and flanked by the Arabian Sea, Goa is known for its variety of beaches. From relaxed fishing villages with quiet sandy beaches to beaches teeming with nightlife and entertainment, Goa has something for everyone. Add in the Portuguese influence from colonial times, and you have a unique and stunning tropical location.
Highlights: Access to the Great Barrier Reef, world-class bars and restaurants, and the Skyrail and Railway.
About Tropical Vacation: The main gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is a tropical city with a multitude of beaches and activities. A number of world-class restaurants and bars line Cairns Esplanade as well. And for activities on land, you have access to the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and Kuranda Scenic Railway. Both are going to provide sweeping, tropical views of everything that Cairns has to offer.
Highlights: Excellent beach vibes, plenty of restaurants, and nightlife to choose from.
About Tropical Vacation: One of the most popular spots in Rio de Janeiro, Ipanema routinely tops the list of best beaches in Brazil. A number of shops, restaurants, clubs, and art galleries line the beach. Famous Copacabana beach is just a stone’s throw away as well. Equally impressive day or night, Ipanema is a perfect tropical getaway.
Highlights: Access to a one-of-a-kind cultural experience, world-class beaches, and access to some of the best hotels in the world.
About Tropical Vacation: Perhaps the most famous of the Indonesian islands, Bali, is one of the best tropical vacations and a once-in-a-lifetime destination. From forests to mountains to rice paddies to beaches to entertainment, Bali has something for everyone. Bali is also an excellent destination for yoga and meditation retreats. So for everything relaxation, as well as some of the most unique views and cultures on the planet, Bali is a must.
Highlights: Quality beaches and plenty of water activities, mountains and deserts to explore and enjoy, and excellent resorts and nightlife.
About Tropical Vacation: Located on the southern tip of the Baja peninsula, Cabo San Lucas, or just Cabo, is world-renowned for its beaches, water activities, and nightlife. Stunning sea cliffs abound here, as well as deserts and mountains. All of this scenery is going to provide a nice contrast to the crystal clear water. For a resort-like tropical destination, Cabo is tough to beat.
Highlights: Highly-rated by Trip Advisor, activities to choose from in and out of the water, excellent resorts, and fine dining.
About Tropical Vacation: The islands of Turks and Caicos boasts superb scuba diving and is a tropical playground. Trip Advisor members have ranked the island as their number one island suggestion. With great dining, shopping, tropical weather, and outdoor activities, it is easy to see why. So for one of the highest-rated island destinations in the world, make sure you consider Turks and Caicos.
Highlights: Year-round sunny temperatures, excellent beaches, whale watching, and world-class golfing.
About Tropical Vacation: Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and is located off the West Coast of Africa. This tropical island boasts year-round sunny temperatures and dramatic colored sand beaches. Whale-watching, world heritage sites, and world-class golf courses round out Tenerife’s appeal.
Highlights: Six islands to choose from and a classic tropical paradise experience.
About Tropical Vacation: The Society Island consists of six spread-out islands and is easily one of the best tropical vacations in the world. The two most famous islands in the archipelago are Tahiti and Bora Bora. You really can’t go wrong with any of the six islands, though. If you want a classic overwater bungalow in a true tropical paradise, The Society Islands is a perfect fit.
Highlights: More than 300 islands, blue lagoons to explore, and excellent surfing.
About Tropical Vacation: Located in the South Pacific, the tropical nation of Fiji is an archipelago of more than 300 islands. It is world-renowned for its surfing and blue lagoons. Most of the country’s population resides on two islands, though. So whether you are looking for culture and city life or solitude on a beach, you will be able to find it.
Highlights: Amazing views and exploring options, authentic cultural experiences, and excellent dining.
About Tropical Vacation: Honduras offers a stunning range of topography. They offer a coastline on both the Caribbean and Pacific, jungles full of wildlife, and a massive barrier reef. All of this is going to allow for some amazing views and excellent exploring. Honduras also offers Mayan ruins, delicious cuisine, and authentic cultural experiences. All of this adds to the tropical appeal of Honduras.
Best Tropical Vacations Conclusion
We should’ve apologized in advance for how much this list of the best tropical vacations was going to make you want to travel. It is almost impossible, though, to look at some of these tropical destinations and not get an urge to be out in sunny weather.
Add in all of the views, wildlife, activities, and culture, and it is a lost cause. So just embrace it! Figure out which of these is going to be your next tropical vacation and then start planning your trip.
Have you been to one of these tropical destinations before? We would love to hear your feedback below.