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.
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.
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.
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.
Situated on the Pacific Ocean, Tamarindo is an affordable beach town with stunning views. On Tamarindo, you will get acces 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.
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.
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.
Backed by the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains, the beautiful seaside village of Sayulita rests on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Known for its surfing, there are also calmer, sheltered beaches, providing the best of both worlds. A variety of wildlife is also nearby, including humpback whales and dolphins.
The small, lush island of Vieques off of Puerto Rico is a haven for nature lovers and those looking to get away. 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.
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.
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, draw dropping views. Visitors can kayak, snorkel, hike, zip line, or just relax on one of Kauai’s many spectacular beaches.
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 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. And, with nearly year-round good weather, the Bahamas is an ideal 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.
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 Di Caprio. Outside of Maya Bay, there are also a host of other spectacular tropical bays and beaches to choose from as well.
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.
Tulum is locatedjust 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.
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.
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 bars and restaurants 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.
One of the most popular spots in Rio de Janiero, 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.
Perhaps the most famous of the Indonesian islands, Bali is a once in a lifetime tropical vacation. 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 culture on the planet, Bali is a must.
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.
The islands of Turks and Caicos boasts superb scuba diving and is a tropical playground. Trip Advisor members have ranked the island 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.
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and is located off of 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.
The Society Island consists of six spread out islands. 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.
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.
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 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.
If you are not sure what you should bring on your trip, visit our list of the best travel accessories. You will be able to find everything that you need.
Have you been to one of these tropical destinations before? We would love to hear your feedback below.