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It seems like anything is possible with the family vacation in the tropics. Diving, sailing, trekking, and yoga are just a few of the adventure activities you can enjoy while in Trinidad. There’s nothing quite like laying on a tropical beach and breathing in the Sunkissed vibes.
How do you decide which of the many beautiful tropical places on the planet to visit next?
To ensure that everyone gets their fair share of vitamin sea, we scoured the globe to find the 15 best tropical islands! If you’re looking for adventure or want to practice your supine pose under the sun, one of these tropical island paradises is for you. First stop, the island of the gods.
- 1 The Tropical Islands of the Gods – Bali
- 2 Seychelles: Tropical Paradise at a Premium Price
- 3 It’s a no-brainer to visit Barbados – The Caribbean Islands!
- 4 Thailand’s Southern Region – Phuket – is gorgeous
- 5 South Asia’s Ritziest Destination – The Maldives
- 6 Two tropical places to visit for the price of one in the Perhentians!
- 7 Palawan Offers Some of The Philippines’ Best Diving
- 8 A Top Island Destination on People’s Radars: Fiji
- 9 Galapagos Islands – Exotic Islands Don’t Come Much More Exotic
- 10 The island of Niue isn’t technically a tropical island
- 11 Koh Rong – Thai Isle Feels More Chilled
- 12 For a tropical vacation off the beaten path, visit Raja Ampat
- 13 An overlooked gem of a tropical destination – Vanuatu.
- 14 Koh Lipe – Maldives but cheaper
- 15 The Gili Islands and Lombok – Lots of Islands, Lots of Vibes
The Tropical Islands of the Gods – Bali
Bali is that rare jewel that appeals to backpackers, honeymooners, and families alike! Bali is neither the cheapest nor the most expensive destination in Southeast Asia, so accommodation options run the gamut from fancy beachfront resorts to cozy guesthouses, chilled-out dorms, and wicked party hostels.
It’s easy to cram your days in Bali with activities and excursions. Hindu temples and yoga retreats abound on this spiritual island, with thousands of temples dotted around. You can relax with a tropical juice or a cold beer in the sun – Bali doesn’t judge.
You can make either party until sunrise or practice your warrior pose on the beach at the crack of dawn. Choose to eat alongside locals at warungs or order the floating breakfast buffet to your private pool. Anything goes when you’re in Bali.
Seychelles: Tropical Paradise at a Premium Price
The name itself is enough to relax your senses with its soft sand and warm ocean. An archipelago of 115 islands lies in the middle of the Indian Ocean, far from the east African coast.
There are a lot of places to stay in Seychelles. You can base yourself on Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue and spend your days exploring the smaller, uninhabited islands.
Due to its location and just how pristine Seychelles is, it is one of the most expensive tropical vacation destinations – especially in December and January. The best time to visit is between May and September when temperatures are the warmest and rain is the least.
You don’t want to spend all that money just sitting in the rain.
It’s a no-brainer to visit Barbados – The Caribbean Islands!
Barbados is one of the best Caribbean islands! The island offers a variety of activities for everyone, including a lively nightlife, unique local communities, botanical gardens, and other more sedate activities. It’s a top Caribbean destination without a doubt.
Many festivals appeal to young travelers throughout the year, from musical throwdowns to harvest festivals and even a fish festival.
Families will also have a blast! Swimming in family-friendly resorts and villas is a very safe activity in Barbados. It’s a favorite tropical vacation spot in the Caribbean for families with young children.
There are some great surfing spots on the eastern side of the island. On Barbados, every beach is open to the public so that you can choose from 80 tropical beaches. You can select from pricey restaurants or cheaper hangouts that locals prefer.
There is no shortage of activities to choose from if you have the cash, but Barbados is also one of the more affordable Caribbean islands. There are so many fabulous places to stay in Barbados – you’ll find mid-range hotels and hostels to suit every budget. Consider staying in a vacation rental in Barbados, which is usually someone’s home that they have rented out.
Thailand’s Southern Region – Phuket – is gorgeous
Bangkok’s largest island is a top tropical vacation destination for various travel styles and budgets. Imagine pearl-white beaches fringed with palms, sparkling seas, and a swarm of tranquil temples – what could be better? Do your research before choosing where to stay in Phuket.
Central Phuket is popular with backpackers and party animals looking for the best nightlife in Thailand. Families and couples seeking a romantic getaway may prefer the north or south. A variety of accommodations are available, ranging from budget hostels and homestays to luxury resorts.
When visiting the Thai islands, don’t ignore the monsoon season (May-October). In exchange, you’ll share Phuket with fewer tourists and get cheaper accommodation. But don’t forget your raincoat! Phuket may not be the most tropical place in the world right now.
South Asia’s Ritziest Destination – The Maldives
The Maldives are known for their sapphire seas, white sand, and all-you-can-eat buffets. Around 100 of the 1,200 islands that form this tropical paradise are used for tourism. Most luxurious resorts are built across an entire atoll, providing visitors with a more private (and luxurious) stay.
The Maldives is synonymous with honeymooners and couples with deep pockets, a popular tropical destination for affluent travelers. Many Maldivian resorts are designed to attract families with kids’ clubs, water slides, and other fun activities. When choosing an alternative, make sure you research the target market, so you end up in the right place for your getaway.
A Maldivian bargain is more likely to be found between June and October – the monsoon season. ‘Bargain’ is relative: take it with a grain of salt.
Two tropical places to visit for the price of one in the Perhentians!
Two of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful tropical islands can be reached by boat from the Malaysian coast. Most people come to the Perhenthians for one of two reasons – to dive or snorkel in its crystal clear water or to lounge on the beach and do nothing at all. With some of Malaysia’s most beautiful tropical beaches, the Perhentian Islands are perfect for any travel style!
Perhentian Besar, a world-class resort with all the creature comforts, is waiting for you. Hotel accommodations range from mid-range to top-tier on this island, making it popular with honeymooners and families.
Follow the rest of the backpackers off the boat at Perhentian Kecil, a rustic and (slightly) rowdier destination. One of the most affordable places in Asia to get your open water diving certificate is here. Diving conditions are excellent too, so it’s worth the trip!
Palawan Offers Some of The Philippines’ Best Diving
It’s hard not to see why many say Palawan is the most beautiful tropical island in the Philippines: the beauty of this tropical paradise hits you right in the face! Kindly and lovingly.
Palawan is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Dive into the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park or take a canoe ride through the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
Like the rest of the Philippines, Palawan is an excellent tropical island for backpackers on a budget. Here you can stretch your money far because there is plenty of hostels and cheap food. Travelers flock to Palawan, so if you’re traveling alone, you’re sure to meet some new travel mates.
A Top Island Destination on People’s Radars: Fiji
Previously considered a honeymoon destination, Fiji’s popularity has soared in recent decades. In addition to the usual tropical vacation crowd, it now attracts solo backpackers and younger explorers. Part of the reason is that Fiji is not expensive!
The most developed Pacific Island is also the most popular destination for family vacations. Featuring more than 300 islands, Fiji has plenty of incredible places to stay. The western islands – particularly Viti Levu and Vanua Levu – are home to most tourism.
There is something for everyone in Fiji! In addition to diving and snorkeling, sailing and surfing, hiking, and whale watching, you can also embrace the tropical island lifestyle by swaying in a hammock for days on end. The temperature is mostly constant throughout the year, and cyclones occur between November and January.
Galapagos Islands – Exotic Islands Don’t Come Much More Exotic
The Galapagos Islands are a collection of 19 exotic islands that lie some 1,000 km off the coast of South America. The Galapagos Islands have an undisturbed ecosystem and an isolated location that allows wildlife to flourish. A trip to the Galapagos Islands is about early mornings and days spent exploring nature along the coast.
The Galapagos used to be reserved for the rich and famous, but now you can have a tropical vacation on a budget. Book that liveaboard cruise if you have the cash to burn.
If not, however, you’ll find dorms, guesthouses, and inexpensive local food. Once you are on the ground in the Galapagos Islands, you can shop around for tours and excursions.
The island of Niue isn’t technically a tropical island
Niue is technically a coral atoll, not a tropical island. It is, in fact, one of the largest raised coral atolls on Earth (as well as one of the most beautiful low places on Earth).
The north has rock pools, and the southwest has rainforest, while secret tropical beaches connect the two. And it’s so tiny you can walk across it in about five hours!
Currently, Niue is only accessible from New Zealand, making it more difficult to reach. The island is most popular with vacationing Kiwis (not the feathery and cute kind), backpackers traveling to New Zealand, and other South Pacific islanders. It’s also way more relaxed than its neighboring South Pacific islands, making it one of the best tropical getaways in the vicinity.
Koh Rong – Thai Isle Feels More Chilled
Cambodia’s Koh Rong is comparable to Malaysia’s Perhentian Islands. There is a choice of two islands to visit, both easily accessible from Sihanoukville.
Koh Rong is the two more happenings, with regular raves and parties on Police Beach. It’s not entirely on par with Thailand’s full moon parties, but it’s getting pretty darn close.
Head to the sleepier Koh Rong Samloem and relax on untouched tropical beaches in humble bamboo huts for a more tranquil tropical escape. You can also take the 45-minute boat ride between the two islands whenever you want a change of pace!
Koh Rong is less expensive overall, but both islands are ideal for budget travelers. Most people frequent them are backpackers doing a circuit around Cambodia and long-term wanderers who haven’t yet left.
For a tropical vacation off the beaten path, visit Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is an archipelago in Indonesia’s distant West Papua province. Due to its remoteness, it’s not one of the most accessible tropical vacation spots. That being said, if you want to stay as off-grid as possible, Raja Ampat is your dream destination!
If you reach this cluster of jungle-covered islands, you can choose to go snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and more.
Protected areas have been established in Raja Ampat to preserve the marine environment. On the one hand, this means an unspoiled climate and thriving wildlife. However, it also results in Raja Ampat being a more expensive option for backpackers exploring Indonesia’s 17,508 islands.
An overlooked gem of a tropical destination – Vanuatu.
Vanuatu is one of the best tropical destinations in the South Pacific. Its accommodation options are more along the lines of independent boutique bungalows and hideaway retreats than mass tourism.
There are plenty of simmering volcanoes on this fiery island, as well as some beneath the surface of the water. Some of the best wreck diving in the South Pacific off the islands make Vanuatu, a top tropical vacation destination for adventure seekers.
Koh Lipe – Maldives but cheaper
Thailand is an excellent alternative to the Maldives if the prices are not appealing. You could almost believe you were sitting in the middle of the Indian Ocean with its turquoise bays and alabaster-white sand. Arriving on Koh Lipe is an adventure in and of itself, as there is no jetty!
Koh Lipe is one of Thailand’s best tropical islands for couples with romantic beachfront resorts. However, it also caters to backpackers on the Southeast Asia trail on a budget. Hostels and budget bungalows can be found here, and they aren’t as expensive as other Thai islands.
Koh Lipe is even connected by ferry to Langkawi, one of Malaysia’s top tropical vacation spots.
The Gili Islands and Lombok – Lots of Islands, Lots of Vibes
Lombok was severely damaged by the 2018 earthquake, which destroyed homes and halted tourism on the island. The island is now getting back on its feet, and tourists are a welcome sight. Lombok is even more laid-back and less commercialized than Bali.
Lombok is also a springboard to the Gili Islands, three of Southeast Asia’s most tropical destinations.