Tropical escapes and lush rain forests, Savannah’s teeming with wildlife, fertile farmlands, and a diverse population of mammalian and plant life. Sound good? If so, a tropical vacation might be perfect for you. The tropics are irresistible to vacationers who like to go to the beach, but also want a little something extra, be it hiking, zip-lining, or snorkeling. We’ve rounded up 10 of the world’s best tropical destinations, both near and far. Read on to start dreaming about (and planning) your own tropical escape.
Want Caribbean relaxation with a strong sense of social responsibility? If so, head to Bonaire, an island dedicated to becoming carbon neutral and fully sustainable over the next two years. Part of the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao), Bonaire lies outside the hurricane belt and can be enjoyed any time of year without a major threat of big storms. Once you’re here, you could just relax on the beach, but then you’d be missing some of the fun. Famous for diving, Bonaire also has outstanding snorkeling, kayaking, bird-watching, hiking, and horseback riding opportunities. And with an average annual temperature in the 80s and 12 hours of sunlight each day, Bonaire’s best attractions and activities are easy to enjoy.
Arunachal Pradesh, India
India’s only surviving rain forest can be found in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, a region with rich wildlife and culture. As the country’s least-populated area, with just 13 people (on average) per square kilometer, it’s the best place in India to escape from the crowds. While people may be few and far between, other species are plentiful. Spend your vacation scouting the 500-plus types of birds, touring wildlife sanctuaries (tigers and leopards abound), or seeing hundreds of orchid varieties in their natural habitat. Lastly, if you want to get your heart rate up, you’ll have your pick of adventurous diversions, including trekking, rafting, and boating.
Unlike other tropical locales, you can get a mix of cosmopolitan entertainments and out-of-the-way adventures with a vacation in Singapore. After you’ve had your fill of urban nightlife, fine dining, and souvenir shopping, take a self-guided hike through the rain forest on the MacRitchie Nature Trail, or get a bird’s-eye view of the tropics by spending an afternoon on the HSBC TreeTop Walk.
The world-famous Singapore Botanic Gardens offer sumptuous treats for the senses, as does Orchidville, where you can see delicate beauties in abundance. While the city offers plenty of creature comforts, the outskirts hold a treasure trove of wetland preserves, parks, farms, and wildlife sanctuaries. If you have trouble deciding between a city-focused or outdoorsy vacation, you really won’t have to choose here, as Singapore offers the best of both worlds.
Active volcanoes. Black-sand beaches. Coffee plantations. Four national parks. Hawaii’s Big Island is a boon for nature lovers who want a tropical vacation beyond sun and surf (although there’s plenty of that, too). Visit between December and May for humpback whale watching, or any time of year to dive with friendly manta rays. Get your thrills at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, which is both a UNESCO World Biosphere and World Heritage site, and offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to tour the area around Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Want beauty that’s a bit more genteel? Botanical gardens, hiking trails, and countless waterfalls also await you.