The Most Beautiful Tropical Islands in the World

Written By: The Planet D

Dreaming of tropical islands? When I look at these photos, I can feel the ocean breeze and hear the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. So let us take you around the world to the most beautiful islands on earth. We’ve had the privilege to visit many a beautiful tropical island paradise so we’ve rounded up our favorite to inspire wanderlust in you!

Best Tropical Islands to Visit

When I think of our times on tropical locations, nothing but perfection springs to mind. All the complications of life completely melt away in the tropical heat as I dream of beautiful white sand beaches.

So let’s take you away, far far away to some of the most stunning tropical islands on earth.

1. Maldives is a Tropical Paradise

islands to vacation | maldives
We may not have been to Bora Bora but we have been to Maldives

The famous over the water bungalows of the Maldives offer those quintessential images of what a luxury escape is all about. When staying in the Maldives, you can’t help but feel that you have found paradise.

Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is the is the most stunning island we’ve ever stayed at. The velvety white stand beach was perfect for walking barefoot on, and the glistening gin blue waters were so warm and inviting. Imagine swinging in a hammock under palm trees as you take in the ocean breeze.

There is excellent diving and coral reefs to explore in the Maldives. It’s famous for its abundance of sea turtles and we can attest, we saw many during our snorkeling trip. There is culture too! So get yourself to the islands of the Maldives.

We stayed at: the Cinnamon Donveli and loved our time at this exclusive resort of all over the water bungalows. We also stayed at the Cinnamon Hakkua Hura – It was more of a family resort, but still excellent with surfing, over the water bungalow, and a beautiful sand beach.

2. St. Lucia

st lucia is the most beautiful of all tropical islands in the world

We only recently visited St. Lucia, but it immediately zoomed right up to the top of our top choice for the most beautiful tropical island in the world. With it’s grand and petit pitons jutting out from the Caribbean Sea, this lush island in the West Indies will take you breath away.

In fact, the woman in front of me on my flight gasped when she looked out the window spotting the pitons of St. Lucia for the first time. Saint Lucia is a small island, but it packs a huge punch with a diverse landscape.

St. Lucia is located in the Eastern Caribbean with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other. With luxury villa retreats sitting on hTropiigh rocky slopes on one side of the island and sandy beach resorts on the other, it has something for everyone. Not only does St. Lucia have gorgeous white sand beaches, but St. Lucia is a volcanic island that creates those black sand beaches that are oh so rare on islands around the world.

3. Exuma Cays

Exuma Cays Bahamas | best tropical islands in the world
Exuma Cays from Above – a tropical paradise just a short flight from the US mainland

The Exumas of the Bahamas were probably the very first islands that took our breath away. When looking out the windows of our twin otter plane, we were stunned by the beauty of these 365 atolls in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.

To me, this photograph captures that dreamy tropical island scene that we all want to escape to. The turquoise waters and white sand beaches make the Exurmas the perfect escape. I don’t think we had ever seen such pristine and smooth white sand on completely secluded beaches until our trip to the Exumas.

We stayed at the lovely family-run Embrace Resort on Staniel Cay it is a small island in the Exumas. Run by locals, it is a fantastic experience in the heart of the Exuma’s 360 islands. Explore more hotels in the Exumas at Booking.com

4. Fiji

south pacific island of Fiji | Tropical islands on earth

When thinking of the island Fiji, you can’t help but picture absolute paradise. It is one of those places that doesn’t disappoint. It has yet to reach the levels of development in the Caribbean and you can still find a quiet, secluded beach in this mother of all tropical islands.

There are 330 islands in Fiji situated in the middle of the South Pacific. And the beaches are downright perfect. Long stretches of white sand reach into the deep blue waters of the South Pacific. A boat trip from the main island of Vitu Levu, a stay at a private luxury resort or a stop on a cruise will give you the chance to witness these incredible beaches.

  • Recommended Hotels – The Fiji Outrigger was very popular for families but we really enjoyed the Luxurious Pearl Fiji. It was easy to book day trips to everywhere on the main island here. 
  • See more photos at our time on a Dream Trip to Fiji

5. Southern Thailand’s Islands

tropical islands to visit | southern thailand islands
Famous long-tail boats of Thailand in Krabi Province

Thailand has some of the most beautiful islands and beaches in the world. I could do an entire best beaches article or photo story from its offshore getaways alone!

Koh Lipe is one of our favorite islands, but Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Koh Samui, and Koh Tao are all beautiful. And don’t forget the incredible state of Krabi filled with Kharst formations and white sand beaches. That is why we can’t just include one tropical island from Thailand on this list. They are all beautiful!

Located right on the Malaysian border, the trip out to Koh Lipe is worth it. Longtail boats line every beach in Southern Thailand making for the picture-perfect setting for anyone traveling to the tropics. And let’s not forget the many undeveloped islands of Thailand. If you book a kayaking tour with John Gray, you can camp on a secluded beach.

6. Bali

things to do in bali surfer watching waves
Bali is one of the best tropical islands for surfers of all experience

Bali is really the island of dreams. Located in Indonesia, it offers the tourist an island experience with deep cultural roots. Temples line the coastline like the one above.With a mix of endless white-sand beaches, Bali also has volcanic black sand beaches Lovina Beach being the most famous.

Tana Lot is one of its most sacred temples and you can’t help but feel peaceful when visiting it or any of the great monuments on the island of Bali. Bali is not only about the beaches, this island has a rich Hindu culture, beautiful rice terraces in Ubud, temples, monkeys and awesome adventures like climbing the active volcano of Gunung Batur.

7. Grand Cayman Island

ocean starfish clear blue waters of grand cayman tropical islands
Loved Starfish Point in Grand Cayman – beautiful tropical paradise of Cayman Islands

The blue waters of Grand Cayman Island are a tropical paradise making Grand Cayman one of the best tropical islands to visit in the world. Grand Cayman has crystal clear waters making it a scuba diving mecca.

There are a lot of things to do on the island like hiking to the Crystal Caves, frolicking with stingrays at Stingray City and this island has some of the best dining and cuisine in the Caribbean. The place to stay is on 7-mile beach where resorts line the soft white sand and any watersport that you can dream of take places off its shores.

8. Jamaica

island resort of montego bay
Montego Bay – tropical island of Jamaica

Jamaica is one of our favorite islands located in the West Indies is the ultimate tropical vacation destination for the package tours. But head out from behind the gates of your resort and you will discover a country filled with rich culture, fun activities and friendly and inviting people. And yes, the beaches are absolutely beautiful. Jamaica is such a huge Caribbean Island, that we’ve been four times and still have a lot more to see!

We have stayed at several different accommodations around Jamaica and have never been disappointed. Browse TripAdvisor for reviews and bookings that suit your needs.

9. Galapagos Islands

ecuador galapagos travel guide
The best deserted tropical islands in the world are in the the Galapagos

Even though most people go to the Galapagos Islands to see wildlife and take boat tours, they are indeed a tropical destination. Located on the Equator, you can expect hot weather year-round.

Some of the best beaches we’ve ever been to are on the Galapagos and you can stay on islands there and have a proper beach vacation. Not only does the Galapagos have the whitest of sand beaches, you’ll also find yellow, red and black sand beaches. So, it may not be your typical island vacation, but The Galapagos totally deserves to be in our list of best tropical vacation destinations.

10. Bermuda

best tropical vacations | island of bermuda
Pink Sand Beaches of Bermuda

Before going to Bermuda, all I knew was the old tales I hear about the Bermuda Triangle as a kid. But those days are long gone and Bermuda is a top island destination full of Colonial heritage buildings and fantastic beaches.

It has a shorter season than the Caribbean Islands, but there is plenty to do, so hop on a motorbike and check out the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, pink beaches, dive sites and lovely towns.

The beaches of Bermuda are beautiful. Don’t miss the Pink Sand Beach at Horseshoe bay leading out to clear waters in a turquoise hue.

11. Zanzibar

 best islands to visit zanzibar africa
Did you know Africa has incredible tropical islands?

The tropical paradise of Zanzibar is located off the coast of Tanzania. Known as the spice island, Zanzibar is located on the Indian Ocean and has some of the most spectacular beaches in the world.

The old Stone Town is filled with history from the spice trade. Zanzibar was known as the spice island. And cool fact, Freddie Mercery of the rock band queen was born here!

Zanzibar’s turquoise waters are like nothing I’ve ever seen and when the tide goes out, there isn’t a more beautiful coastline on earth. Make your way to Nungwi and spend time chillaxin’ on the beach. Read: Best Beaches in Zanzibar.

We loved chilling in Zanzibar after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. 

12. Florida Keys

best tropical vacations | Key West

Hanging out in Key West feels more like the Caribbean than being in the United States. It’s a great road trip to drive to the Florida Keys and getting to Key West feels like you’ve made it to the end of the world.

Chill out at one of the many bars on the strip, take in a festival or visit the Southernmost Point in the continental US. But make sure you take a boat trip to Dry Tortugas National Park. It is located 70 miles from the coast of Key West housing a pristine fort, great beaches, and excellent snorkeling. It’s also the most remote national park in the US outside of Alaska.

It is when you get out of the tourist strip that you see the beauty of the Florida Keys. We really took in the sights when parasailing and seeing the bridges connecting each island.

13. Fraser Island

Fraser Island the Worlds Largest Sand Island Australia
The secluded tropical paradise of Fraser Island, Australia

Fraser Island in Australia isn’t on another list of tropical islands that I’ve seen, but it should be. The beaches are gorgeous! It’s a grand adventure to four-wheel it down the 75-mile beach of Fraser Island, but it is also a great tropical vacation. Resorts have swimming pools, you can swim inland on freshwater beaches with pure white sand, there are champagne pools to relax in and there are plenty of spots to unwind.

Fraser Island feels completely off the beaten path as walk dingoes walk the beaches and single track trails go through the interior jungle to secluded lakes. See all about it here on our Fraser Island Tour

14. Maui

Half Way to Hana - best island to visit in Hawaii | maui sunset

Maui is one of the most beautiful islands in the world and has that fantastic laid back vibe of the tropics. While the Big Island has the nightlife and skyscrapers, Maui has stayed low keyed and relaxed.

We have gone back to Maui a couple of times and on each trip we find something amazing to do. Be it learning to surf, stand up paddleboard, driving the Hana Highway or learning to make Poke.

With world class surf breaks, white and black sand beaches, volcanic hikes, and jungle waterfalls, when it comes to visiting the island of Maui, you will never want to leave!

Where to stay in Maui: We stayed at all of these hotels and each one had a very different and unique experience. We can confidently recommend each one.

15. Oahu

islands vacation | Oahu North Shore
Stunning North Shore of Oahu

We had the opportunity to take a helicopter flight over the island of Oahu to really take in the beauty of its beaches. Seeing the break on the North Shore was scary from the sky! I can’t imagine surfing those waves.

This island has so much history and beauty. Pearl Harbour can be visited to pay respects to the fallen heroes of World War II, incredible surf can be seen on the North Shore and it has a huge infrastructure for shopping and dining. This is an amazing island to visit!

It’s an excellent choice when planning a trip to Hawaii. You really can’t go wrong when you visit any of the Hawaiian Islands. From the Big Island of Hawai’i to Lanai or Molokai, get yourself to Hawaii!

16. Kangaroo Island

kangaroo island | tourist attractions and beaches
Beautiful South Australian Beach

Who knew Australia has so many islands? Another off the beaten path island in Australia is Fraser Island. Not too many tourists make it to South Australia compared to the more popular New South Whales and Queensland, but this is a special island.

Kangaroo Island houses what was voted Australia’s most beautiful beach. Vivonne Beach was voted the best beach in Australia because it is pristine, clear waters and you won’t find any crowds! So our travel guide of the best islands around the world would not be complete without including it! Kangaroo Island is not only beautiful, but there are also so many things to see and do. Especially for wildlife lovers. Kangaroos, Koalas, Seals and don’t forget about a place so remarkable, it is actually called, the Remarkables!

  • Where to Stay on Kangaroo Island – We stayed at Seascape Lodge, for more Kangaroo Island Accommodations explore TripAdvisor
  • Read all about our time on Kangaroo Island Check it out here!

17. Cay Caulker

best tropical islands on earth belize

Cay Caulker of Belize is a little slice of paradise. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the island and it’s a fantastic place to chill out and relax. The coral reef and crystal clear waters off the coast is an amazing place for scuba diving and snorkelling and you must take a trip out to Shark Ray Alley to swim with the nurse sharks.

We found a great place to stay called Deb and Dave’s Last Resort. It is run by a fantastic couple with fantastic names!

18. Seychelles

tropical island paradise - seychelles

Located off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles is a dream destination for many people. The three main islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue can be easily explored by the Inter-Island Ferry Services.

Explore crystal clear waters, sandy secluded beaches, and gorgeous waterfalls. Seychelles is a must-visit for island lovers.

19. Whitsundays

amazing tropical islands whitsundays in Australia

The Whitsundays are a group of 75 islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia that are famous for the white sandbars creating gorgeous formations under crystal clear water. Beautiful white sand beaches, swirl effortlessly with the turquoise water. Oh, did we mention it is located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef? The best way to explore the coral reefs fully is to book a liveaboard cruise to spend time in the islands.

The largest and most famous of all the islands, Whitehaven Beach is a good choice to stay. Located in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef with crystal clear waters, it is difficult to compete for a better coral reef than that surrounding the Whitsundays. If you want to do diving and snorkeling, this is a great place to stay. For a luxury tropical vacation in Australia, this is the place to be.

20. Dominican Republic

tropical places | dominican republic
Over-the-water-bungalows of the Dominican

Dave and I honeymooned in the Dominican Republic so it has a very special place in our hearts. The Dominican is a part of the second largest island in the Caribbean and it is one of the most popular destinations in the area.

But this one from Puerto Plata captures that postcard view of what a tropical island vacation should look like. Beautiful skies, over the water bungalows and a cruise ship off in the distance. What could be better than that?

21. Tahiti

tropical islands tahiti

It is the dream destination for honeymooners and the original over the water bungalow destination. Immerse in French Polynesia and pure luxury in Tahiti.  It is one of the most sought after honeymoon destinations on earth and with good reason. Tahiti has really figured out how to turn tropical island vacations into luxury island vacations. Book a stay on a private island resort and spend a week doing nothing but relaxing with the one you love.

22. Santorini

beautiful places in europe santorini greece
The best island vacations happen in Greece

I was debating whether or not to put Santorini in this post or not. Is it considered tropical? Well, when we visited it was hot hot hot and definitely felt tropical. It is more of a Mediterranean climate but for the most part, it is mild year-round. It is also one of the most beautiful islands we’ve ever visited. Most people think of Santorini’s blue domes, but there are plenty of beaches to hang out including the Black Beach, Red Beach, and Amoudi Bay.

23. Curacao

best tropical islands to visit | Curacao
Picturesques waterfront of Curacao

Dave and I haven’t visited every island in the Caribbean, but we have seen quite a few and they are all so beautiful. Curacao stands out not only because of its beautiful beaches, but it’s colorful colonial buildings of Willemstad.

Curacao is part of the ABC islands of the Lesser Antilles that are territory islands of the Netherlands – Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Curacao feels like a little slice of Europe in the middle of the Caribbean.

Being just outside the hurricane area, Curacao is a good option to visit year-round.

24. Aruba

tropical destinations aruba boat in blue water

Known to have the least amount of rainfall in the Caribbean Islands, Aruba is a great year-round destination. The trade winds keep it temperate with a balmy average temperature of 82 degrees.

It’s another tropical island located outside the hurricane belt making for a great choice in the stormy months of June to November.

Did you enjoy our round up of the best tropical Islands? Pin this post to Pinterest for Future Reference

Most Beautiful Tropical Islands in the World

And there you have it, our choices for the best tropical islands to visit in the world. Do you have a favorite tropical vacation destination? What did we miss?

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

75 thoughts on “The Most Beautiful Tropical Islands in the World”

  1. Amazing pictures. Especially Maldives is like a heaven. I can’t wait to go there!!! Thank you for pictures =)))

    Reply
  2. Tropical islands are that peaceful escape where the days drift by, the problems of the world melt away, and time slows down. They are a sanctuary. I spent a month living on an island in Thailand and it remains one of the best months of my entire life. I’m an avid beach lover. The sun and I get along quite well and there’s nothing I’d rather do than live on a tropical island someday. Having grown up in Boston and spent many years living in New York City, one of the main purposes of my travels is to avoid winter.

    Reply
  3. Thank you for sharing this information with us “23 of the best tropical islands in the world” It seems you have gone to all these islands on vacation. Right after the lockdown to fly like a free bird.

    Thanks again

    Reply
  4. Tropical islands offers the perfect setting for relaxing and recharge in a beautiful setting with palm trees and colorful sunsets. Great list. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  5. How do you choose one among these amazing islands? Still, I love the Bahamas. Thank you guys for sharing this beautiful and aesthetically pleasing blog.

    Reply
  6. I have really started envying you after reading this post. What an amazing fate you’re born with! You literally got to drink the proverb “live life to the fullest” in its true sense. And it’s your courtesy and generosity to bring such fantastic details about the tropical islands the world is blessed with to the people who crave for an offbeat escape and in whom the DNA of travel is stuffed to the brim. Loved every bit of your post and the photos are bewitching and inspiring

    Reply
  7. Bravo, nice article! It is dreaming to see pictures of these paradise islands. There are so many that interest me, that to choose just one, I would not be what. Thank you for making me discover new ones.

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  8. WOW,
    I LOVE TO VISIT FIJI, CANMAY…
    AND ALL OTHER IMAGES ARE FABULOUS…ALL THESE ARE BEAUTIFUL ISLAND…
    LOOKING AT THESE FEELS LIKE VISIT THERE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE…

    Reply
  9. Love the photos! We had the privilege of visiting St. Kitts several months ago and loved staying at Ottley’s Plantation. Your pics are inspiring me to want to add the other islands to our dream list.

    Reply
  10. Wow- seriously, guys… these are amazing. Love the attitude I get from these and you are totally right, I am dreaming of a beach vacation now!

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    • Thanks Jade. Ah, with the snow coming down outside and the temperature reaching -18 the other day, I am totally dreaming of an island vacation too.

      Reply
  11. Beautiful island!!! I love islands, I used to live in Isla Margarita in Venezuela and now that I am living in Costa Rica I dream of going to Cocos Island!!!

    Reply
    • I have heard great things about Margarita Islands. We haven’t been there yet or Costa Rica! There are so many great things to see in this world, our list just keeps getting longer and longer.

      Reply
  12. very very beautiful style.. i like u soo much .. thanks for sharings friends …
    ………………………………………………..

    Reply
  13. wow i like u style .. very very beautiful .. thanks for sharing
    We will have to put it on our list as one of the next tropical islands we visit…

    Reply
  14. Beautiful photos! Being a Caribbean travel blogger I can appreciate the island magic. You’re very right about St. Kitts, is old school Caribbean deserves some love. cheers!

    Reply
  15. hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii……..Wow – what a wonderful surprise. Selected as ‘best for luxury’ here’s what journalist Suzy

    Bennett has to say

    Reply
  16. Hi everyone, I live in Townsville, in Northern Australia, with our own tropical island – Magnetic Island – just off shore. It is hot here, I would guess about 35 degrees. While you are rugged up, I am in bathers with my hair up, sitting under a ceiling fan, dreaming of somewhere cooler! Most days here are hot with blue skies, we love it when it rains. Cheers. Jan
    PS Loving those Fantastic Photos.

    Reply
    • Thanks for letting us know about your tropical island. We will have to put it on our list as one of the next tropical islands we visit. Cheers

      Reply
  17. great ideas – I am so behind on my lists.. thanks for sharing friends.
    Oh yes,,,,,,, you will love visiting a Tropical Island. Life just seems better in the
    tropics……….

    Reply
    • Haha, I know. But yes, you are right, we woke up to a beautiful blanket of snow. The fire is on and we’re cozied up with our fluffy blankets drinking hot chocolate. Seriously!

      Reply
  18. Being from Minnesota, I almost think of myself as an honorary Canadian. I also think of myself as crazy for living here. That’s why I’m headed to Bali next week.

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    • Lucky You! Have a great time in Bali. Yes, you are crazy just like these two crazy Canucks for living in Minnesota. Why do we put ourselves through these brutal winters? :-)

      Reply
  19. Ah, beautiful islands! I think we must be on the same wavelength, wanting to think of warm places this time of year – I just did a post on Hawaii today!

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    • Ooh, We’ve never been to Hawaii. I have heard amazing things about it. The closest we got was Fiji last year, one of these days, Hawaii will make it on or itinerary. I’m going to check out what you did in Hawaii for inspiration!

      Reply
    • Thanks Daniel. We like to mix it up. If you look at our Portraits photo story there is no HDR. I use it when the feeling hits me but I would say that it is about 50-50 of the time.

      Reply
    • Ahhh, I agree. Don’t we all belong on a tropical island? I always wondered what made people decide to settle in cold climates. If I were an explorer I would have just kept on sailing to the Caribbean.

      Reply
  20. Oh, wow–such stunning photos! It’s a very cold night here in Austin, so these pictures made me long for a warm sunny day on the beach.

    Reply
  21. Hi Deb and Dave. What a stunning pictures. I love the zanzibar and the two traditional boat. I live in Bali so i know what a great sunset is and i would say that you manage to capture one of the best sunset scenery in Bali. If I’m not mistaken it is Tanah Lot right? I definitely have to learn photography for my blog. Cheers – Arief

    Reply
    • You are right Arief. I think I wrote Ulu Watu, had a little mind lapse, thanks for pointing out my mistake. Yes, Tana Lot it is. cheers.

      Reply
    • Oh no, I thought that we might be able to take you away for a bit, instead it just makes us all yearn for the tropics even more eh.

      Reply
  22. Gorgeous photos as always, guys! Love seeing these posts for you, because it always adds to our checklist of places we want to go!

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    • Excellent to hear that. I love inspiring people to go somewhere new. That’s how we find our next destination, from other travels.

      Reply
  23. i was in bora bora and cant figure out why no one ever include it in these surveys it is by far the most heavenly and beautiful places on earth

    Reply
    • If I had ever been to Bora Bora I would definitely include it. Unfortunately we have never been there. We always draw upon our own experiences when writing our post and use our own photos. We can’t really recommend a place that we haven’t been to. We are more than happy to have your write a guest post about Bora Bora Though if you are up for it!

      Reply
  24. Soo beautiful!! You know I’m a sucker for warm, tropical climes. It’s 70s and sunny where I am right now, and I’m too cold! (The two Canadians I’m with from Edmonton think I’m nuts.)

    Reply
    • ah, The Canadians from Edmonton are definitely used to the cold. They’re hearty people, it gets even more freezing than here in Toronto. We’ve already dug into our winter wardrobe and our friends have been laughing at us wearing our winter coats. We can’t help it, it’s our first winter in 3 years. And it’s only just beginning. Luckily we have a lot of trips lined up.

      Reply