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20 Breathtaking Tropical Destinations for Your Bucket List

As a travel blogger who’s explored my fair share of tropical destinations, I know how hard it is to pick just one island paradise for your next vacation. From luxurious overwater bungalows in French Polynesia to jungle eco-lodges of the Philippines, there are simply too many breathtaking locales to choose from!

That’s why I’ve put together this list of my top 20 tropical vacation spots that will leave you longing for turquoise waters, powdery sand beaches, and island adventures that you’ll never forget. I’ll take you on a tour through some of my personal favorite island getaways, from relaxed Caribbean vibes to exotic landscapes in Southeast Asia. Grab your flip flops and sunscreen, because paradise awaits!

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Situated 160 miles northwest of Tahiti, this South Pacific island gem boasts some of the most stunning scenery in the world. Spend your days sunbathing on pearly white sand beaches tucked between soaring volcanic peaks, snorkeling the vibrant coral reefs, and staying in overwater bungalow resorts with views for days. Don’t miss sunset vistas looking out at the iconic Mt. Otemanu.


Located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are made up of over 1,190 deserted coral islands with endless stretches of powdery sand lapped by turquoise waves. With some of the most luxurious beach resorts on the planet, relax in your oceanfront villa, dine on fresh seafood, and enjoy world-class snorkeling and diving. With water so electric blue you can see 100 feet down, it’s a true tropical bucket list destination.

Maui, Hawaii

From scenic road trips on the famous Hana Highway to epic surfing waves and volcanic landscapes, the Hawaiian island of Maui tops many tropical destination lists. Hike through lush valleys to towering waterfalls, relax on golden sand beaches like Wailea, and take in unforgettable sunsets from Haleakala Crater. The island exudes that laid-back Hawaiian vibe and will have you feeling the aloha spirit in no time.

The Seychelles

Located off the coast of East Africa, this archipelago nation is home to 115 islands brimming with flawless beaches, giant tortoises, and exotic rainforests. Stay in a luxury villa with a private beach, boat or hike to stunning granite boulders like Anse Source D’Argent, and observe rare wildlife like the Seychelles black parrot.

Palawan, Philippines

For a mix of jungle adventures and beach relaxation, head to the Philippine island of Palawan. Snorkel the sunken WWII shipwrecks, kayak through the dramatic limestone cliffs in Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, and stay in an overwater bungalow along the southern coast.

Bali, Indonesia

Known for its lush green interior, terraced rice paddies, and Hindu culture, Bali is a tropical paradise like no other. Relax at a pool villa, get your yoga on in Ubud, and watch the sunset at Tanah Lot, a temple perched on breathtaking sea cliffs.

Koh Lanta, Thailand

Looking to really get away from it all? Koh Lanta is an island off southern Thailand with few tourists but plenty of pristine beaches, coral reefs, and jungle landscapes to explore. For the ultimate in relaxation, book a pool villa and admire sunsets over the ocean.

Caye Caulker, Belize

Off the coast of Belize lies Caye Caulker, a relaxed island perfect for snorkeling the Belize Barrier Reef, tasting fresh seafood, and admiring pastel-colored Caribbean architecture. Don’t miss a trip to “The Split” where you can sunbathe or snorkel in the calm waters.

Rarotonga, Cook Islands

This South Pacific Island ringed by coral reef allows you to experience authentic Polynesian culture and natural attractions like the cross-island hiking trail. Stay in a stylish beachfront resort, learn to dance, feast on fresh fish, and scout for black pearls.

Langkawi, Malaysia

Resting off the Malaysian coast, Langkawi boasts jungle-shrouded peaks, hidden coves with clear waters, and luxury resorts. Explore mangrove forests, snorkel or dive around Pulau Payar Marine Park, and enjoy breathtaking sunsets like at Tanjung Rhu beach.


Located off the southeast coast of Africa, Mauritius impresses visitors with its beaches, lagoons, and mountainous interior. Hike through rainforests to waterfalls, observe rare wildlife, kitesurf at Le Morne Brabant, and stay at a chic beachfront hotel.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

This Caribbean hot spot off Cuba’s coast lures divers and beach lovers with its coral reefs, shipwrecks, Stingray City, luxury resorts and Seven Mile Beach, one of the Caribbean’s best. Don’t miss snorkeling or diving off Cemetery Reef.

The Grenadines

Scattered between Grenada and St. Vincent lie the Grenadines, an island chain with secluded beaches, charming towns, and fewer tourists. Sail between islands like Mustique and Palm Island, snorkel vibrant reefs, and stay at friendly guesthouses and resorts.

Moorea, French Polynesia

Just a short ferry from Tahiti brings you to Moorea with its peaks, pineapple plantations, and lagoons perfect for whale watching, snorkeling, and trying thrilling water sports. Stay in a overwater bungalow and watch the sunset from Belvedere Lookout.

Kauai, Hawaii

Known as the “Garden Isle,” Kauai exudes tropical beauty with its green cliffs, winding rivers, and stunning beaches along the Napali Coast like Hanalei Bay and Poipu. Don’t miss Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” for dramatic vistas.


Located in the southern Caribbean, Barbados impresses with its lush interior, rum distilleries, UNESCO-listed capital Bridgetown, epic surfing waves, and west coast beaches like Sandy Lane. For history, visit Harrison’s Cave and other British colonial attractions.

Bimini, Bahamas

Just 50 miles from Florida, Bimini offers a quick tropical escape with resorts, calm waters, and excellent fishing and diving. Relax on beaches facing the Gulf Stream, immerse in local culture, and try your hand at big game fishing.


This French Caribbean island appeals with its Creole culture, views of the active La Soufrière volcano, and gorgeous beaches like Grande Anse, Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, and the butterfly-shaped island of Les Saintes just offshore.

Réunion Island

Situated east of Madagascar, this French overseas territory boasts everything from tropical beaches to active volcano Piton de la Fournaise. Hike through the scenic interior, relax on beaches like L’Hermitage, and feast on a fusion of French, African and Indian cuisine.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s beaches, forests, wildlife, volcanoes, adventure opportunities, and eco-lodges make it an exceptional tropical vacation spot if you’re looking for more than just relaxation. The diversity of activities and landscapes let you experience the best of what the tropics offer.


From relaxed Caribbean vibes to the exotic South Pacific, with so many incredible tropical destinations across the world’s oceans and archipelagos, your island vacation possibilities are endless. Let me know in the comments which locale tops your bucket list! No matter where your tropical travels take you, prepare for paradise. I already can’t wait to set sail on my next island adventure.