Is your computer screensaver a photo of a beautiful island? If it is, you’re not alone. No one knows exactly how many islands there are. But ocean islands are about 2,000 of the world’s islands.
When it comes to vacationing, tourists love island destinations. Not everyone agrees about which is the best. And narrowing it down to 10 is a tough order.
But are you ready to ditch the snow and cold in favor of an exotic vacation? These 10 island destinations, in no particular order, are sure to please.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands are home to an amazing array of fish and animal life. There are four main islands of which you can read more about on this blog. The islands are on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites.
It was on these famous islands that Darwin developed his theory of natural selection. There are 13 major islands in the Galapagos. But there are over 100 other smaller islands.
On the islands, you’ll see dome-shaped tortoises and fearless sea lions. Check out Tortuga Bay on Santa Cruz Island and La Loberia on San Cristobal Island.
If you haven’t been living under a rock, then you’re familiar with the Hawaiian Islands. Kaui is the “Garden Island,” and the fourth most-visited island in Hawaii. If you’re looking for pristine beaches, you’ll find them here.
If you visit Hawaii, don’t miss Waimea Canyon. It’s the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. If you like a challenging hike, you’ll find it here. The canyon was created by erosion from the Waimea River, and it’s almost 10 miles long.
The views from the top are awe-inspiring as you gaze down 3,000 feet and deeper. If you’ve got money to spend, take a bike tour or even a helicopter tour of the canyon.
Head off to Indonesia and check out Bali. If you’re a lazy traveler only looking for sunny beaches, Bali won’t disappoint. Stay in a luxurious oceanfront resort and indulge in spa treatments.
But there’s plenty for the adventurer here as well. There are many island temples. Or visit the volcano Kintamani. Do you like late night parties? Check out the town of Kuta.
From parasailing to snorkeling and everything between, Bali won’t disappoint you.
The largest of the Cayman Islands is Grand Cayman.
Ready to swim with stingrays? Check out Stingray City. It’s the island’s most popular attraction for good reason.
You’ll walk in chest-high water while petting and feeding the stingrays! You can’t swim to Stingray City because it’s more than a mile from the shore.
Charter a private boat or join a tour. The Southern Stingrays found on Grand Cayman are passive. But pay attention to your guide’s directions for interacting with the stingrays.
Singapore is one of the most pristine cities in the world. It’s a bustling metropolis and former British colony. But amidst the skyscrapers are islands of wetland preserves.
Don’t miss the 60-acre Singapore Botanic Gardens. Admission is free, and it’s open until midnight every day.
Stroll around the famous Marina Bay. There are museums, shops, and the Singapore Flyer Ferris Wheel. Don’t miss the Marina Bay Sands resort!
If you’ve got patience and cash, visit the Maldives. You’ll find this island nation 500 miles southwest of Sri Lanka. But you can’t get a direct flight. The Maldives consists of over 1,000 islands.
They’re also 100 percent Islamic. If you’re not staying on a resort island, then booze, bikinis, and revealing clothing are off limits.
It’s daunting but worth it. The white-sand beaches and azure-blue water take your breath away.
When you think of Greece, does Santorini spring to mind? It’s a beautiful island, but also an often crowded tourist destination. Why not try Crete? It’s a diverse island with modern cities and ancient structures.
If you’re outdoorsy and looking for beautiful beaches, try Rethymnon or Agios Nikolaos. If you’re looking for nightlife, stay in the northern coast in Heraklion or Chania.
The Republic of Mauritius is an island nation. It’s about 1,200 miles from the southeast coast of the continent of Africa. Hike the mountainous interior or scuba dive and snorkel offshore.
Don’t miss the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Le Morne Brabant. If you’re a rock climber with equipment, ascend the true summit. Or hire a guide and climb the minor summit. Be ready for a slippery, steep hike!
Bora Bora is a beautiful tropical getaway with warm and sunny beaches. There’s a dormant volcano rising up in the center of the small island. This South Pacific island is only a couple of miles wide and about 6 miles long.
The resorts are luxurious, and the people are friendly. But only plan a visit to Bora Bora if you’ve got money burning a hole in your pocket. This is an expensive little island.
If you love French food but you’re hankering for an island destination, Tahiti’s your place. This is the French Polynesian archipelago at its best. Tahiti is one of the 118 islands that make up French Polynesia.
The northern section of Tahiti is home to the island’s capital, Papeete. The smaller part of the island, joined by a land bridge, is Tahiti Iti. If it’s secluded beaches you’re after, choose Tahiti Iti.
But no matter where you stay in Tahiti, you’re in for warm blue water and luxurious resorts. Tahiti will set you back, though visitors agree it’s worth it! Not sure where you want to stay? Try a cruise to Tahiti.
Beautiful Island Destinations
If an island destination is on your short list, you can’t go wrong with any of these 10 islands. You’ll see beautiful beaches and lush greenery.
All these island destinations have snorkeling, swimming, and gorgeous lush beaches. Many island destinations are UNESCO World Heritage sites. From Hawaii to Bali, there’s something for everyone’s taste.
Be a polite traveler and learn your host island’s rules of etiquette before you go. Then put on your swimsuit and get to the beach!
If you’re looking for other great travel advice, you’ll find it here.