The World’s Most ‘Wow’ Tropical Island Escapes
You know you want to.
We’re finally out of winter, and we can’t shake the feeling that it might be time for a jaunt to a tropical island to shake the last of the winter blues. The idea is fairly straightforward, people: beach, sun, cocktails and a banana lounge – preferably amidst the sweet luxury of a tropical island escape.
Our advice: take leave (or quit your job), pack up shop and ship out – make like a tree and hit up this list of some of the world’s most desired, and dazzling, tropical island getaways.
This archipelago off the east-African coast has been wowing people for a long time, and for good reason – The Seychelles are indeed out of this world.
Main island, Mahé sets the tone with stunning white sands and crystal blue waters, criss-crossed with lush trekking trails and creole architecture. Most of the Seychelles’ 115 islands are uninhabited, and teeming with rare indigenous flora and fauna. Brush up on your ‘Seychellois’, and prepare to lose yourself in the most beautiful scenes on earth.
Volcanic, 21km² St Bart’s (short for Saint-Barthélemy) is one of the most unique and sought-after gems in the French Caribbean. Though its stunning waters and luscious sands have long propelled Grand Saline Beach to the world’s top coast lists, all 22 of St Bart’s postcard-perfect stretches will have you drooling like a bona fide castaway. Rich and glamorous, this is the adult sandbox you’ve been searching for: sun-drenched decadence par excellence.
While not your run-of-the-mill, infinity-pool kind of island trip, communist Cuba is a tropical escape like no other. Be sun-satiated by its sugar white beaches, and let its abundant cigars, rum, friendly people and world-class music take you to higher planes.
Get in while you can folks – after the recent lifting of US trade embargoes, the first Florida to Havana flight since 1961 took off this week; for better or worse, the 1950s time capsule is about to change, and fast.
As the second largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, Maui lures the budding tropical escapee with one of the most paradisiac havens on the planet. Long a refuge and pilgrimage point to the world’s surfing community, Maui’s verdant valleys, volcanic peaks, and miles and miles of epic beach make it a serious no-brainer for a ‘wow’ getaway.
The food is sensational, the culture diverse, the sun brighter, the days warmer, and the beaches, well…need we say it?
So much more than a tax haven, the Cayman Islands are an oft-overlooked choice for tropical Caribbean splendour. Grand Cayman is the big cheese here, home to the crescent-shaped natural wonder, Seven Mile Beach, a hub of unbridled relaxation, pleasure, sensational dining, azure waters, reefing and electric nightlife.
Once there, your duties are slim: be sure to drape on a fetching tropical shirt, locate the nearest wicker recliner, and mop that sweating brow like that Cayman Island guy from The Simpsons.
As the fourth largest island on earth, there’s nothing too “islandy” about Madagascar. Splitting off from the African mainland 88-million-years-ago, this huge chunk of sea-girt land is one of the most biologically diverse countries on earth.
Its unique wildlife, incredible landscapes and stunning beaches will take your breath away, while the clash of cultures in capital Antananarivo is sure to mesmerise the senses. If all that doesn’t sell you, they’ve got lemurs, man. LEMURS. (Don’t let the nation’s recently discovered ‘ghost snake’ put you off).
Lord Howe Island, Australia
Hanging out on its lovely lonesome 600 kilometres east of the NSW coast, Lord Howe is where Jurassic Park’s Isla Nublar meets Alex Garland’s The Beach. Thankfully, it’s real, it’s a part of Australia, and if you’re down with the four-hour flight to the middle of the Tasman Sea, then utopia is yours, friends.
Expect miraculous sunsets, incredible ocean skies, pure white beaches, teal blue reefs, and a tropical experience like no other. Lord Howe Island? More like ‘Lord Wow Island’*. (*I’ll see myself out).