We’re taking you all around the world with this one, from Florida to Malaysia. Read on for help planning your tropical escape, whether you’re after rest and relaxation or action-packed adventure.
Tropical getaways are what vacation dreams are made of. Swaying palms, powder-fine sands, and clear blue waters—what’s not to like? Well, stop dreaming and listen up! “Tropical” doesn’t have to mean prohibitively expensive: booking a rental home can make that tropical daydream a reality without blowing your lodging budget. With a rental property from Holiday Lettings, you’ll have the advantage of more space, added privacy, and maybe even your own backyard or beachfront! Cocktail under a palm tree, anyone?
The best tropical vacation destinations stand out for their natural beauty and also for the range of activities to help visitors make the most of their getaway. Our round-up includes locations particularly recommended for activities like deep-sea fishing, scuba-diving, rainforest hikes, city tours, and gentle cruises.
These 21 breathtaking places are among the best tropical vacations in the world. How many have you visited? Warning: Your wanderlust wish list may get a little longer after reading this round-up…
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
First on our list of best tropical places is this peaceful little island known for its picture-perfect honeymooning reputation, and its quaint sun-splashed homes picturesquely perched over the water. If you’re here to relax, try a sunset catamaran sail or daytime catamaran experience, including snorkelling and swimming among eagle rays. For a different kind of adventure, book a four-wheel-drive tour, including lunch and a cruise.
Port Douglas, Australia
Visitors come to this tropical corner of Queensland for the beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, and the rainforest of Daintree National Park. There are various tours to choose from, including this Great Barrier Reef cruise and this combined helicopter tour and/or cruise, showing you the best of both reef and rainforest. You can also get a thrilling bird’s-eye view over the forest on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.
Capital city Nassau is a lively affair, abuzz with cruise ship passengers and locals enjoying the local dining and nightlife. Seafood fans should try classic Bahamian dishes such as conch fritters. While you’re here, you can choose to simply park your sun lounger on the white sands, or you can scuba dive among shipwrecks, snorkel through coral reefs, or get to know your surroundings by scooter. You could also try a 90-minute scavenger hunt, ticking off local landmarks as you go.
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
When you base yourself in Tamarindo, there’s plenty on your doorstep: activities, shops, and an extended stretch of white sandy beach, popular with swimmers and beginner surfers. Head to the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge to kayak along the canals and see crocodiles, water birds, and howler monkeys. For a faster-paced vacation, try this high-octane zipline experience at Pura Aventura Park. There’s also this tempting snorkel and sunset trip, including a leisurely cruise, lunch, and time to play in the water, arriving back in time to catch a spectacular sunset.
The island paradise of Kauai is considered one of the best tropical destinations going, rich in waterfalls, rainforest, coconut palms, and beaches—and the Na Pali Coast is particularly impressive. Check it out on this Na Pali Coast tour, where you can snorkel, hike, and picnic with a local guide. Finish the day with a sunset dinner cruise or try this spectacular air tour over Kauai. Keen hikers should seek out the trails through Koke’e State Park.
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Another great choice for a tropical vacation is Ambergris Caye, with its stunning beaches and gorgeous sunsets. There are plenty of ways to enjoy this beautiful destination. Acquaint yourself with the area’s colorful marine life on a SNUBA adventure tour, including a trip to Ambergris Caye’s Secret Beach for fishing, snorkeling, and delicious BBQ lunch. Or this cave rafting and zipline tour will guide you around sacred caves on an inflatable raft and take you high up into the jungle canopy, experiencing Belize from above and below.
The Seychelles, East Africa
The Seychelles is another postcard-perfect tropical getaway, where you can bathe, fish, scuba dive, and stroll along white sands hunting for Coco De Mer seeds. This romantic collection of islands is understandably loved by honeymooners, but it’s just as great a choice for other types of travelers. Visit the charming little island art galleries, shops, and nature reserves at your leisure. If it’s your first visit, you might enjoy this tour of the capital, Victoria, to get to know its key sights.
The Cook Islands, South Pacific
The Cook Islands are ideal for total relaxation or energetic exploration—whatever you want out of your tropical vacation. You’ll also find fantastic food here, a friendly welcome, and some of the best snorkeling views you could hope for. Try this lagoon cruise in a glass-bottomed boat and this cultural village tour, including performances of local music and dance in Rarotonga.
St. Kitts and Nevis, The Caribbean
The double-island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis offers historic plantation homes, fantastic views, fresh seafood dishes, and welcoming drinking holes stocked with local rums. To get the best out of your visit, pre-book an island tour of St. Kitts, including a shopping stop and a visit to Brimstone Hill fortress. You might also like this three-hour scenic railway tour.
Lombok is a great alternative to its more touristed neighbor, Bali. There’s more room to spread out on the beaches here and plenty of top-notch surfing to be had. You also have the Gili Islands within easy reach. You can learn about Sasak culture and enjoy the beautiful beaches of Kuta and Tanjung Aan Beach on this day tour. Or this mountain biking and waterfall excursion is a good option combining a workout with views to die for.
Ko Samui, Thailand
This Thai island is one of the best tropical destinations according to many travelers, and is welcoming to all budgets. The huge gold Big Buddha statue at Wat Phra Yai Temple, just offshore, is one of the most famous local landmarks and definitely worth a visit. While you’re here, get the local lowdown on an island sightseeing trip or try this specialized photography tour and create your own souvenirs to keep forever.
Mayan ruins and wonderful beaches await you in this Yucatán Peninsula destination. You can tick off three of Tulum’s top attractions, including the Tulum Ruins, in one exciting three-part excursion. The Tulum Insider’s Bike Tour is another great option, showing you the best of Tulum on two wheels, led by an expert guide.
Turquoise waters, lush jungle, coconut palms, and soft, soft sands are the marks of a Langkawi vacation. This place is considered by many as one of the best tropical vacation spots due to its excellent diving, mangrove swamps, tasty seafood and cheap beer. There are some great tours available to try during your visit: check out this cable car and Oriental Village tour and this mangrove forest and cave exploring tour.
This pretty, sun-baked location is known for its golf courses, colonial buildings, signature pink sands, great fishing, and super-friendly community. Once you’ve gotten a lay for the land and settled into island life, it’s a good idea to join a tour, such as this five-hour island coach tour, which takes in the Royal Naval Dockyard and Horseshoe Bay. Or, if you can’t wait to get out on the water, try out this Catamaran sail and snorkel tour.
This Floridian village comprises six islands of the Florida Keys and is something of a fishing mecca. The Theater of the Sea marine mammal park is home to alligators, dolphins, and sea turtles, and much more. You can explore the neighboring islands and coral reef on this fun eco adventure and snorkelling cruise. If you’re seeking a “tropical” getaway in the States, Islamorada can’t be beat.
Nadi is the gateway to the South Pacific island paradise of Fiji, and one of the world’s best tropical vacation spots no matter what type of trip you’re seeking. Enjoy coral diving, cruising, and making long-lasting memories. You can see the Garden of the Sleeping Giant and the mud baths of the Sabeto Valley on this four-hour guided tour. If you’re seeking an adrenaline-packed adventure, you can book a tandem skydive for one of the most thrilling experiences (and unforgettable views) Fiji has to offer.
Hawaii’s Big Island is a great spot for your tropical escape. Indulge in a bit of coastal kayaking on this small-group tour and seek out the local spinner dolphins. Try a fantastic Big Island van tour, taking in Pu’ukohola National Historic Site, Rainbow Falls Waterfall, and more. Or see coral, tropical fish, and sea turtles on a glass-bottom boat cruise.
The cosmopolitan city of Darwin has a truly special feel. It’s close to Kakadu National Park, the biggest national park in Australia, housing Aboriginal rock paintings, thousands of plant species, and plenty of fascinating wildlife. You can see the key sights of Darwin on a five-hour coach tour or book onto an eight-hour turtle-watching experience on Bare Sand Island. In the evenings, prepare yourself for some great food and some of the most wonderful sunsets in the world.
Key West, Florida
There’s always something going on in Key West, whether it’s live music and late-night entertainment or dolphin swims and magical sailing experiences. You can set out night or day with Gulfstream Fishing on a deep-sea fishing trip, or go kayaking and paddle boarding on an eco tour, perfect for exploring the mangroves and sighting wildlife.
One of the world’s most renowned and beautiful islands, Bali can’t be beaten for a tropical getaway. Dotted with temples and soaring peaks, this place is perfect for surfing party breaks or spiritual retreats, and offers some fantastic affordable eating. Get your day passes to Waterbom Bali water park or book a private tour, comprising a heavenly hot spring soak and a meeting with the macaques in the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.
Durban, South Africa
Offering relaxing beach stays as well as action-packed adventures, Durban (although, strictly speaking, subtropical) is another fabulous destination we just had to add to our list. There’s plenty to do here: battlefield tours, diving, hiking, and much more. Start off with this guided city sightseeing tour, or, if you’re here to see wildlife, hop on a combined safari and wild cat-spotting experience.
This post was originally published on the TripAdvisor blog. Holiday Lettings is a TripAdvisor company.
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