The World’s 12 Best Island Vacations

Aerial view of Bora Bora (Wikipedia)
Aerial view of Bora Bora (Wikipedia)

A Dozen Dazzling Destinations That Will Give You a Different Perspective on Life

When you’re looking for that great escape, few areas in the world seem to do the trick better than an island far from the hustle and bustle of large population centers. Maybe it’s the great sense of insulation you feel when so much water separates you from the rest of the world. Maybe it’s the serenity that comes with hearing the waves wash up on the beach with rhythmic, roaring regularity or watch an ocean sunset in all its blood orange glory. In any case, there is something very special about these places.

In a tip of the hat to the globe’s most alluring offshore getaways, U.S. News Travel recently ranked the world’s top 12 island destinations. And, it’s really pretty hard to argue with any of the choices. Here they are:

  1. Bora Bora. Relaxing is what this small, exquisite South Pacific island is all about. And who wouldn’t relish the opportunity to see the world from the deck of your overwater bungalow on Bora Bora’s brilliant sunlit lagoon?
  2. Maldives. If seclusion is what you crave, these islands in the Indian Ocean might be just the place for you. Activities range from snorkeling among dramatic coral reefs to visiting the National Museum in the capital city of Mali, to just lounging on the fine white sand of the islands’ gorgeous beaches.
  3. Santorini. Red sand is a feature of the beaches on Santorini, a romantic Mediterranean isle that’s become a favorite of honeymooners, among many others. And, when you’re ready to eat, the island’s various culinary establishments offer a range of delicious Mediterranean-style dishes.
  4. St. Kitts and Nevis. In recent years, these stunning twin islands in the southern Caribbean have become a hideaway for celebrities and others who want to escape the crowds. And the reasons are obvious: wonderful beaches, sightseeing opportunities, relative seclusion, and great food.
  5. Maui. With its varied beaches and plush resorts, this popular Hawaiian island remains a favorite for mainlanders. Highlights include the road to Hana, a small town that harkens to Hawaii’s intriguing past, and Haleakala National Park with its spectacular volcano crater.
  6. Fiji. An increasingly popular winter destination, these South Seas islands offer glorious white sand beaches, dramatic volcanic mountains to hike through, fascinating places to browse and shop in Suva (Fiji’s capital and largest city), and even some of the world’s best bottled water.
  7. Seychelles. Known for their amazing scenery, these islands along the eastern coast of Africa offer a wide range of experiences from massive rock formations to giant tortoises.
  8. Cayman Islands. Located northwest of Jamaica, these three islands offer you a full getaway experience from scuba diving in alluring reefs to walking the popular Mastic Trail, which takes you through environs ranging from a mangrove swamp to a two-million-year-old woodland area.
  9. St. Martin – St. Maarten. Half French and half Dutch, this jointly governed Caribbean island is a very happening place to be. The streets of towns such as Philipsburg and Marigot offer everything from thrilling music to delicious local eating. And then there are the breathtaking shorelines and mountains!
  10. Galapagos Islands. Have you ever seen a blue-footed booby? It’s just one of the odd, exotic bird and animal species that populate these remote islands off the west coast of South America. Governed by Equador, the Galapagos are a true world treasure.
  11. U.S. Virgin Islands. An underwater nature trail that guides snorkelers through colorful coral reefs? This is a special experience you can have in this Caribbean getaway, a place that also features wonderful beaches, food, hiking experiences, and resorts.
  12. Mykonos. This Greek island is just the spot for high-spirited partiers, and it’s a perfect place for those who want a laid-back experience too. In fact, it’s a great choice for people who like to mix rest and revelry on their vacation—from calm beaches to pulsating nightlife.

Are there any favorite island getaways of yours that didn’t find their way onto this list? If so, feel free to send us a comment, mentioning the island and why you think it’s special.

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