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A vacation to the Maldives is an unforgettable affair, but whether you want to try something new or with a different twist, these destinations are equally lust-worthy.
Beyond sun and sea, many of these places like the Maldives are rich in cultural heritage, luscious jungles and carefully preserved national parks. Sample fresh seafood and mingle with locals at beachfront bars.
This South Pacific archipelago chain sits east of Australia and features over 300 islands blessed with sandy beaches and thriving coral reefs. The temperature stays around 80°F to 90°F all year-round, with uninhibited views of the star-studded sky at night.
Only a short boat ride from Bali but a world away, these totally serene islands offer picture-perfect white-sand beaches, swaying palms and a view of Lombok’s majestic Mount Rinjani volcano. With no airport on the islands, you’ll fly to nearby Lombok and take a boat from there.
Regardless of where you stay, exploring all three islands is plenty feasible. Watch the sunset from a beachfront bar and snorkel through vibrant coral reefs.
In the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the 74 Whitsunday Islands have stunning beaches and secluded bays framed by aqua water and emerald forests. If you have to choose one, we recommend Whitehaven Beach — though Horseshoe Bay, Turtle Bay, Catseye Beach and Arlie Beach Lagoon are hard to beat. Don’t miss the Indigenous rock paintings and scenic coastal drives.
This scattering of about 80 islands over a span of 400 blue ocean miles — smack-dab between Australia and Fiji in the Coral Sea — are yours to explore. There’s hiking, snorkeling and sailing — plus some sites for WWII history buffs to explore, including the SS President Coolidge, which sank off the coast in October 1942.
Spot waterfalls at Mele Cascades and check out the mighty, active Mt Yasur volcano.
Thousands of inviting islands and famed Boracay beach parties await you in the Philippines. But don’t forget to take some time to explore the chiseled beauty of rice terraces and historical landmarks in Manila. Go swimming with whale sharks for the ultimate underwater experience.
We love that you can fly direct from the US to this chain of islands nestled between New Zealand and Hawaii with New Zealand Air, starting in L.A.
Relax and unwind on beautiful beaches without the pressure of high-energy nightlife. Its tagline? “No hotels taller than a coconut tree.”
A haven for scuba divers, the Perhentian Islands are less than hour boat ride from the east coast of Malaysia. Whether you tour the underwater wonderland, relax on the blindingly white sand beach or trek the lush jungles, it’s a budget-friendly path to a tropical escape.
Looking for a way to do a little good? If you have at least two weeks, check out the Perhentian Turtle Project, which works to protect and preserve the sea turtle population around the islands.
Geographically speaking this Indian island chain is part of the Maldives. But while tourism is booming in the Maldives, it’s purposely been stymied on Lakshadweep to help preserve its unrivaled beauty.
Out of 10 inhabited islands, only five are accessible to tourists. So if you make this trek, you’ll be part of a small group of outsiders that’ve ventured onto these emerald islands. Lakshadweep is for the adventurous traveler — you’ll have to get a permit in Kochi, India before arriving in Agatti on a toothpick-thin landing strip. But paradise awaits.
Looking every bit like the epitome of paradise, Mauritius is a small island nation in the Indian Ocean that’s packed with picturesque lagoons, towering waterfalls, and colorful reefs. It’s only a hop-skip-and-a-jump east of Madagascar — via boat.
Explore the national parks and set eyes on hundreds of unique, indigenous plant and animal species.
When you think of paradise, you think of Bora Bora. This picture-perfect spot in the South Pacific has lush, jungle-covered mountains, an unbelievably blue lagoon and pristine beaches. Indulge in an overwater bungalow for the ultimate luxe escape.
Belize will have you spoiled for choice with Caribbean shorelines to the east and Central American jungle to the west. Packed with adventure and culture, you can scuba dive the Great Blue Hole one day and explore excavated tombs of Mayan kings the next.
Curacao is one of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets, with hidden beaches tucked along its Western coast. Watch psychedelic sunsets at more than 35 captivating beaches while savoring the rich history dating back to the 16th century at its capital city, Willemstad.
Located on the east coast of Africa, directly east of Kenya, the Seychelles comprises 115 islands. You’ll find rare species of wildlife crawling along the beaches, such as the Aldabra tortoises, and gloriously picturesque rain forests at Morne Seychellois National Park.
We recommend staying in Mahé and taking day trips to the other islands.
All prices were quoted in January 2020, using dates in September 2020 as a guide.
If you’ve got a sense of adventure and a swimsuit that’s been dying for some stage time, these places like the Maldives will completely satisfy your cravings for an island escape. If you’re ready to book your trip, use our flight tool to compare rates from point A to paradise.
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