World travel

Top Tropical Island Vacations Around the World

Sugar white sand, turquoise blue waters and endless sunshine – these are the ingredients for perfect tropical island vacations. Located in far-flung corners of the globe, the world’s top tropical islands offer exquisite shorelines made for leisure-filled days snorkelling, island hopping and sunset cruises. Or, for enjoying the scenery with a tropical drink and your toes in the sand. You’re on island time, after all.

girl floating in fresh clean turquoise water, Tropical Island Vacations
Photo| Woman floating in fresh clean turquoise water| GETTYIMAGES – CARACTERDESIGN

With over 400 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve compiled a list of the best tropical island vacations around the world. From a family-friendly resort in the Caribbean to a 5-star getaway in the Maldives, we’ve featured options to suit all types of travellers, whether your idea of paradise is an over-the-water bungalow in Bora Bora or an eco-adventure in Bali.

Bora Bora, Tahiti

Bora Bora volcano and lagoon, tropical island vacation
Photo| Bora Bora volcano and lagoon| GETTYIMAGES – DANA NEIBERT
Dream Vacations Luxury Hotel Resort, tropical island vacations
Photo| Luxury Hotel Resort in Bora Bora| GETTYIMAGES – MLENNY
Woman snorkeling with a stingray in the clear waters, tropical island vacations
Photo| Woman snorkeling with a stingray in the clear waters| GETTYIMAGES – EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHY

Noted for its remote location and immaculate beaches, Bora Bora is a popular choice for honeymooners who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With its aquamarine lagoons and lush jungle landscapes, this small South Pacific island boasts iconic overwater bungalows sitting on stilts about the water. It’s easily one of the most desirable tropical island vacations on the planet. Feeling adventurous? Hike the scenic trails at Mt Ohue and Mt Pahia, take a helicopter flight or a bird’s eye view of the tiny islands or head over to Anau to see manta rays.

InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
Photo| InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa| Provided by LEONARDO
InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
Photo| InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa| Provided by LEONARDO

While Bora Bora is full of luxury overwater resorts, InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa stands out from the crowd with its beautiful lagoon. A bucket list experience for many, here you can step off the deck of your overwater villa right into the crystal-clear waters. Traditional Polynesian materials are showcased in spacious living areas, while king-size beds, private terraces and inviting bathtubs feature lagoon views.

While it might be tough to peel yourself away from your luxury villa, on-site activities include scuba diving and sunset cruises, while the white-sand beach and award-winning spa invite you to relax. You can enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner beneath swaying palm trees or visit Le Corail Restaurant for a gourmet dining experience.

Why You Should Stay Here

  • The spa’s thalassotherapy (seawater therapy) and ancient Polynesian healing rituals.
  • Tasty mai-tais, mojitos and smoothies at the beachfront South Beach Bar.
  • Daily stingray feedings at the resort’s Lagoonarium, a protected habitat and coral nursery.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 743 – USD 4,854
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: Motu Piti Aau, Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Cook Islands

woman on One Foot Island, Aitutaki, tropical island vacations
Photo| Woman at the beach of Tapuaetai| GETTYIMAGES – MATTEO COLOMBO
A hammock hangs in the shade of Coconut Palms, tropical island vacations
Photo| A hammock hangs in the shade of Coconut Palms| GETTYIMAGES – OVERSNAP

Often called the Pacific Ocean’s best-kept secret, the Cook Islands embodies the essence of tropical island vacations. Located between New Zealand and Hawaii in the South Pacific, these small islands boast turquoise lagoons, sandy islets and palm-fringed beaches perfect for swimming and snorkelling. For access to translucent waters and coconut palm backdrops, join an island-hopping cruise to Aitutaki’s lagoon, “One Foot Island” or visit Muri Beach. Adventurous travellers will find plenty of opportunities for fishing, kayaking, snorkelling and diving, while its capital Avarua is the cultural centre of the islands.

Pacific Resort Aitutaki

Pacific Resort Aitutaki
Photo| Pacific Resort Aitutaki| Provided by LEONARDO

A five-minute drive from Aitutaki Airport, Pacific Resort Aitutaki is a 5-star luxury resort set amongst the turquoise waters of the Aitutaki lagoon. With only 29 bungalows and villas, you can enjoy a tranquil atmosphere in your private enclave, which come equipped with private outdoor showers and private decks with lagoon views.

Take a dip in the infinity pool or get active with kayaking and snorkelling excursions, then enjoy cocktails at Black Rock or international cuisines and panoramic lagoon views at Rapea Bay restaurant. Book a massage in the peaceful Polynesian setting of Tiare Spa, which is perched over the water.

Why You Should Stay Here

  • Award-winning restaurants and luxury bungalows and villas with Aitutaki lagoon views.
  • Themed island nights celebrating South Pacific culture with live performances and a buffet dinner.
  • Romantic private dining available in a Bedouin-style tent on the beach.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 391 – USD 1,116
Guest Rating: 9.8
Address: Amuri, Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Fiji

 Kuata Island from Vatuvula Volcano on Wayaseva Island, tropical island vacations
Photo| View of Kuata Island| SHUTTERSTOCK – DON MAMMOSER
boat floating in Malakati, tropical island vacations
Photo| Boat floating on water in Malakati| GETTYIMAGES – PAN CRYSTALICE – EYEEM

Fiji offers one of the world’s best tropical island vacations, offering access to idyllic white-sand beaches, colourful underwater marvels and majestic natural wonders. Famed for its 333 sun-drenched islands, this slice of paradise offers postcard-worthy views in every direction. Part of its charm is its remote location, more than 2,000 kilometres from New Zealand’s North Island. Escape from reality at this far-flung destination, where you can peer underwater on a snorkelling adventure at Castaway Island, go island hopping to the Mamanuca Islands or experience local traditions such as kava drinks and fire shows. “Bula!” to paradise, as locals would say.

Six Senses Fiji

Six Senses Fiji
Photo| Six Senses Fiji| Provided by LEONARDO
Six Senses Fiji
Photo| Six Senses Fiji| Provided by LEONARDO

Located on the sublime Malolo Island, Six Senses Fiji is only 25 kilometres from Nadi International Airport. It will feel as if you’re a world away from civilization though, surrounded by crystal clear waters and white sand beaches in one of the resort’s spacious pool villas or residences with two to five bedrooms that feature private pools, large outdoor decks with sunbeds and some with direct beach access.

Set in lush jungle landscapes, the opulent Six Senses Spa Fiji offers personalized spa treatments in private treatment bures. After a day of paddle boarding, sailing and kayaking, retreat to Tovolea restaurant for tantalising dishes such as coconut cream ceviche and stunning sunset views. Stay cool with a sweet treat from the in-house Ice Creamery.

Why You Should Stay Here

  • Luxury villas with private pools, decks and showers as well as direct beach views and ocean access.
  • The spa’s private treatment cures, herbal sauna, steam room and hot and cold plunge pools.
  • Cultural experiences such as cooking classes, Fijian Speaking classes and local village visits available.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 836 – USD 3,719
Guest Rating: No Rating
Address: Vunabaka, Malolo Island Nadi, Malolo Island, Fiji

Seychelles

boulders and a dramatic sunset at Anse Source d'Argent beach, La Digue island, tropical island vacations
Photo| Sea and rock formation in Victoria| IGOR TICHONOW – EYEEM
corals and island view, tropical island vacations
Photo| Tropical island paradise| GETTYIMAGES – ALXPIN

Located amidst the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles is one of the most renowned tropical island vacations. Beloved for its untouched beaches, vibrant coral reefs and UNESCO-listed nature reserves, it’s coralline islets provide a dreamy atmosphere for snorkelling and other water-based activities. Head to the northern island of Praslin for a backdrop of snow-white sand and swaying coconut palms, where you can dig your toes in the sand while enjoying the striking natural beauty of Anse Lazio beach. Want to see giant tortoises? Head to the national park in Curieuse Island.

Constance Ephelia

Constance Ephelia
Photo| Constance Ephelia| Provided by LEONARDO
Constance Ephelia
Photo| Constance Ephelia| Provided by LEONARDO

Overlooking the marine national park of Port Launay, Constance Ephelia is set on two of the most beautiful beaches on the island of Mahe. Junior Suites are just steps from the beach and offer a furnished terrace, while the villas feature extra bedrooms, private swimming pools and, in the Presidential Villa, a private gym, spa and butler services.

Enjoy the international buffet selection at Corossol restaurant, South East Asia dishes at Adam & Eve or sushi bar at Cyann. Located right on Port Launay beach, families will love Kabana with its cocktails and tropical slashes as well as bocci ball, beach volleyball and kids playground. Head to the spa for head-to-toe pampering with its menu of massages, facials and body treatments.

Why You Should Stay Here

  • The spa’s dry heat sauna, steam room, thermal pool, Jacuzzi and Yoga Pavilion.
  • Easy access to paddle boarding, cycling, kayaking and zip lining adventures.
  • Themed programs, cooking classes and outdoor activities at Constance Kids Club.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 420 – USD 2,905
Guest Rating: 9
Address: Port Launay, N.Y.S. Village, Port Glaud, Seychelles

The Maldives

Water villas in lagoon, Maldives resort island, tropical island vacations
Photo| Water villas in lagoon in Maldives| SHUTTERSTOCK – JAG CZ
Maldives tropical islands and corals, tropical island vacations
Photo| Maldives tropical paradise| GETTYIMAGES – BY JBFOTOBLOG

The Maldives conjures up images of tropical island vacations, offering the ideal combination of dreamy weather, idyllic white-sand beaches and colourful ocean life. This gorgeous chain of islands in the Indian Ocean will lure you in with its secluded shorelines dotted with lavish villas suspended over bright blue waters. The landscapes above and below the water are equally as spectacular, as its vibrant coral reefs and marine life are a treat for snorkelers and divers alike. See the islands from a new perspective on a sunset cruise, and don’t miss exploring the capital, Male, with its colourful pastel buildings and local restaurants.

Velassaru Maldives

Velassaru Maldives
Photo|Velassaru Maldives| Provided by LEONARDO
Velassaru Maldives
Photo|Velassaru Maldives| Provided by LEONARDO

One of the top all-inclusive resorts in the Maldives, Velassaru Maldives is the epitome of tropical island bliss. Offering complete serenity, the lavish over-water villas feature floor-to-ceiling windows, a personal wine chiller and bathtub with lagoon views, with some featuring infinity plunge pools. If you prefer direct access to the beach, stay in the Beach Villa with a private pool.

HotelsCombined visitors highly praise the resort’s beautiful stretch of beach, as well as the on-spa offering overwater treatment rooms and a hydrofoil over the lagoon. Wine and dine at five restaurants and two bars, then swim past colourful ocean life on an underwater adventure or stay above water in a glass-bottom kayak.

Why You Should Stay Here

  • Complimentary guided snorkeling tours, cruises in the morning and sunset yoga classes.
  • Sushi, sashimi and other innovative Japanese dishes at Teppanyaki, which is set over the lagoon.
  • Luxury beachfront and overwater villas only 25 minutes by speedboat to Velana International Airport.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 344 – USD 3,076
Guest Rating: 9.6
Address: Velassaru Island, Velassaru, Maldives

Bali, Indonesia

Diamond beach in Bali, tropical island vacations
Photo| Diamond beach in Bali| GETTYIMAGES – NORA CAROL PHOTOGRAPHY
a man lies on a sandy beach on a tropical island, vacations
Photo| A man lies on a sandy beach on a tropical island| GETTYIMAGES – ANTON PETRUS

Bali is nicknamed the “Islands of the Gods”, so it’s only fitting that this paradise makes our list as one of the top tropical island vacations. Rich in culture and natural beauty, travellers can explore the island’s ancient temples, verdant rice fields and picturesque beaches, which range from sheltered coves to surfing hotspots. Catering to both luxury and budget-savvy travellers, Bali offers a unique balance of relaxation and adventure, while locals here are some of the friendliest in the world. Ready to explore more? Nearby Lembongan Island and the Gili Islands boast secluded beaches and crystal-clear snorkelling spots.

Padma Resort Legian

Padma Resort Legian
Photo| Padma Resort Legian| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Only a 20-minute drive from Ngurah Rai International Airport, Padma Resort Legian is a 5-star resort with luxury amenities, including five pools, multiple gourmet restaurants and a kids club. Enjoy an indulgent body scrub or cleansing facial at the spa, which also features soothing spa rituals for kids, steam room and sauna. When hunger strikes, choose from traditional Japanese at Tenkai and to-go snacks and sweets at The Deli.

Set around the sweeping Lagoon Pool, Deluxe Lagoon View rooms feature a furnished outdoor balcony and king-size bed. Lagoon Access Rooms offer direct access via private steps, while one and two-bedroom Balcony Suites add separate living rooms and free-standing tubs. For a service kitchen, private pool and terrace and on-call butler services, stay in the Presidential Suite.

Why You Should Stay Here

  • Live entertainment, an infinity pool and eclectic menu with a signature -2 Degrees beer and Giant Martini at S.K.A.I. Beach Club.
  • A beachfront Infinity Pool, Lagoon Pool with swim-up bars and Family Pool with water slides for little ones.
  • Near top attractions, only a 40-minute drive to Tanah Lot Temple and 15 minutes to Waterbom Bali Indonesia.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 157 – USD 435
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: Jl. Padma No. 1, Legian, Indonesia

Kauai, Hawaii

Kalalau Beach on rugged Na Pali Coast on north shore of Kauai, tropical island vacations
Photo| Kalalau Beach on rugged Na Pali Coast| GETTYIMAGES – M SWIET PRODUCTIONS
a surfer walking into the water with his surf board, tropical island vacations
Photo| Surfer walking into the water with his surf board| GETTYIMAGES – JHORROCKS

Few places in the world rival the sublime beauty of Kauai, and best of all, its unspoilt landscapes with secluded beaches can be enjoyed any time of year. Also known as the “Garden Island”, Kauai is considered one of the best Hawaii islands to visit if you’re a nature lover (or looking for surf), with its striking coastline offers an excellent setting for snorkelling, hiking and road-tripping. For the best views, take an epic journey along Kaui’s North Shore or splurge on a helicopter ride to see Kauai’s dramatic scenery from above, while hiking enthusiasts can also explore on foot along the Kalalau Trail or to the cascading waters of Wailua Falls.

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
Photo| Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa| Provided by GRAND HYATT KAUAI RESORT & SPA
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
Photo| Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa| Provided by GRAND HYATT KAUAI RESORT & SPA

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa is a top-rated Kauai hotel, offering a luxury oasis with lush gardens, multi-level pools and ocean-view dining. In addition to its championship golf course and relaxing spa, the resort features a famous Grand Hyatt Kauai Luau with ancestral dances and hula lessons. Float down the lava-rock lined lazy river past waterfalls, then recharge with traditional island fare served in thatched-roof bungalows at Tidepools.

Chic rooms feature private patios with garden, Pacific Ocean or mountainside views. Wake up to the sound of crashing waves in an Ocean View Suite, which boast a separate living room and private lanai/walkout patio. Pool Suites add a free-standing French tub, while Alii Suites have living and dining rooms, a full kitchen and floor-to-ceiling windows with ocean views.

Why You Should Stay Here

  • A water playground with multi-level pools, a saltwater lagoon, waterslide, adult-only pool area and private cabanas.
  • Sunset views and live entertainment at Seaview Terrace, which serves American cuisine with a twist and creative cocktails.
  • Makauwahi Cave Reserve, the largest limestone cave in Hawaii, is less than a 10-minute drive away.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 499 – USD 2,646
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: 1571 Poipu Road, Poipu, Hawaii, United States

St Barths

view of St. Barths,tropical island vacations
Photo| View of St. Barths| GETTYIMAGES – CDWHEATLEY
Saint Barthelemy skyline and harbor, tropical island vacations
Photo| St. Barths harbour| GETTYIMAGES – SEANPAVONEPHOTOGRAPHY

St Barths is the Caribbean’s most elite island, offering uncrowded white sand beaches and a yacht-filled harbour. There’s plenty to do and see on this tropical island, whether you prefer to walk hand-in-hand along the tranquil Baie des Flamands or rub shoulders with celebrities at the party-laden Nikki Beach. You can spend your days basking in the sunshine and snorkelling on the island’s 14 picturesque beaches, including top picks such as Baie de St-Jean and Saline Beach, or give your credit card a workout in Gustavia with its chic boutiques and designer shops.

Eden Rock – St Barths

Eden Rock – St Barths
Photo| Eden Rock – St Barths| Provided by EDEN ROCK – ST BARTHS
Eden Rock – St Barths
Photo| Eden Rock – St Barths| Provided by EDEN ROCK – ST BARTHS

For the ultimate tropical island vacation, look no further than Eden Rock – St Barths. Surrounded by pristine white sand beaches, it boasts a collection of luxury rooms, signature suites and ultra-luxe villas with beautiful sea views and direct beach access. Heavenly Beach Houses feature bi-level living and a terrace with Caribbean Sea views, while villas feature multiple bedrooms, full kitchens and swimming pools as well as a private chef and 24-hour butler services.

Browse the menu of gourmet cuisine at the hotel’s signature restaurant The Sand Bar, then relax on the tiered sundeck with a delicious cocktail in hand from the Beach Bar. Adults can get pampered with a hydra facial at the on-site spa, while families can enjoy water sports, sandcastle building and boat trips.

Why You Should Stay Here

  • A family-friendly resort with a wide variety of fun games and activities for little ones.
  • The wide range of stylish accommodation choices, dotted along the beach or set with the lush beachside gardens.
  • An inviting beach bar with a tiered sundeck set directly on the beach.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 900 – USD 4,984
Guest Rating: 10
Address: Baie De Saint Jean, Gustavia, Saint Barthelemy

Tick These Tropical Island Destinations Off Your Bucket List

Woman in lagoon waters of bora bora , tropical island vacations
Photo| Woman in lagoon waters of Bora Bora| GETTYIMAGES – M SWIET PRODUCTIONS

With spectacular scenery of swaying palm trees and white sand beaches, tropical island vacations are the ultimate escape for relaxation. Not all island getaways are made equal though, as these eight destinations are considered the creme-de-la-creme of tropical getaways with their mix of exotic customs, secluded locales and bucket list-worthy eco-adventures.

Which one of the tropical island vacations is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

Author: Charity De Souza

Born and raised in Orlando, Florida, I have been travelling with my battered backpack full-time for over a decade. My favourite travel memories include skydiving in Switzerland, wine tasting in Portugal, road tripping through Iceland, snorkelling in Indonesia and watching a sunset in the Sahara Desert.

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