With the summer heating up, chances are that you’re daydreaming of white-sand beaches, ocean breezes, and cool dips in crystal seas. If so, you certainly aren’t alone. In fact, the months of June through August see a huge spike in tourism to exotic island retreats. From family getaways in the Florida Keys to romantic honeymoons in Hawaii or Fiji, there’s something about summer that makes us want to jet away to island time. So, to help you plan your next relaxing getaway, we have compiled a list of some of the world’s top island escapes. After all, you deserve a holiday in the sun!
Fiji and Tonga
Perhaps the most iconic island escapes, Fiji and Tonga are dreamy destinations that evoke images of breathtaking sunsets, pristine beaches, and long walks on the shoreline with that special someone.
Covering about 1.3 million square miles in the South Pacific Ocean, Fiji is actually an archipelago made up of over 300 islands, all of them famed for their palm-lined beaches, coral reefs, and crystal lagoons. Some of the most popular islands to visit in Fiji include the Mamanuca Islands, which are splendid for both diving and snorkeling, along with the more remote Yasawa Islands and Vanua Levu, both of which are popular with nature lovers and hikers.
Meanwhile, Tonga, a Polynesian kingdom made up of over 170 South Pacific islands, is just a short flight from Fiji and is well known for its limestone cliffs, tropical rainforest, and, of course, white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. Known as the “Friendly Islands,” Tonga makes for a perfect island adventure, full of beautiful beaches and hikes.
For an extra special treat, be sure to venture to these dreamy island in the summertime: it’s the time of year when you can swim with humpback whales in the wild! The whales migrate to Fiji and Tonga in early July, reaching peak migration in August. Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
You simply cannot talk about island getaways without mentioning the famous Greek Islands. Consisting of over 6,000 islands and islets that are scattered throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas, Greece is full of sprawling coastlines, sheltered coves, sandy beaches with large dunes, pebble beaches, and coastal caves. Greece provides all kinds of entertainment and adventure: from island-hopping via ferries or sailboats, to scuba diving and snorkeling, to some of the most delicious food that the Mediterranean has to offer.
Venture to Santorini or Mykonos for exciting nightlife, bustling restaurants, and fast-paced culture; or, for a more relaxed experience, head to the remote islands of Naxos or Hydra. From gorgeous Mediterranean architecture of white-washed buildings and blue rooftops, to stunning crystal seas, Greece is an unforgettable island escape.
The Galapagos Islands
When you hear the word “Galapagos,” you likely think of Charles Darwin, giant tortoises, flightless cormorants, and marine iguanas. And you’d be right: after all, this unique volcanic archipelago, which is located in the Pacific Ocean about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, is unlike anywhere else on Earth! Made up of 19 large islands, the Galapagos were formed roughly five million years ago through intense volcanic activity, then remained virtually untouched for millions of years. It was this isolation that ultimately allowed for the development of the unusual animal and plant life that have made this archipelago so popular among tourists throughout the years.
Today, the Galapagos Islands have become a world icon. With over 400 species of fish and an abundance of unique marine and land wildlife, there is plenty to experience in this beautiful place! Hike through famous national parks and take boat tours among beautiful islands to view flora and fauna that exist nowhere else in the world!
A sovereign island country in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is not your average island escape. The country’s unique landscape ranges from breathtaking fjords and sounds to towering mountains and beautiful sandy beaches. The entire country, full of friendly locals and eco-friendly accommodations, elicits the adventurer within us all. Spend your vacation hiking through the famous national parks and luscious green landscapes of Middle Earth (the areas where “The Lord of the Rings” filmed many of its famous scenes), visiting powerful waterfalls, diving into the refreshing sea (and observing the seals doing the same thing!), and touring the bustling, cosmopolitan cities of Auckland and Queenstown.
With so much to do and see, New Zealand offers an incredible adventure for the entire family!
Named Lonely Planet’s “Best Place to Visit in 2019,” Sri Lanka is a South Asian island country in the Indian Ocean. Though Sri Lanka may not be the first destination that comes to mind when you think of “island escapes,” this fascinating country is anything but ordinary. Sri Lanka is a timeless island nation filled with endless beautiful beaches, fascinating ruins, tons of elephants, and amazing food and local culture. From the stunning coastlines in Tangalla in Southeast Sri Lanka, to the ancient ruins of Anuradhapura, to the beautiful mountainside views and the abundant wildlife, Sri Lanka is the adventure of a lifetime — and one you should not miss!
Located approximately 15 miles (25 kilometers) off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa, Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous region that consists of several small islands and two large ones, Pemba and Unguja. Although it has traditionally been a spot to unwind after an exciting safari or a strenuous trek up Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar is a fantastic getaway in and of itself. While the white-sand beaches and clear waters certainly make for a perfect romantic getaway, Zanzibar offers a variety of diverse experiences, from scuba diving among stunning coral reefs, to visiting traditional African villages and spice plantations, to basking in the culture of the historic Stone Town.
Unbeknownst to many, Zanzibar is also home to several endangered species, notably the red Columbus monkey, the famed giant green turtle, and the once-thought-extinct coelacanth! With its vivid history and culture, spectacular beaches, and delicious culinary traditions, Zanzibar is a perfect island getaway.
Dreaming of one of these island getaways? Book a trip with Acanela, so you can set your watch to island time starting now! We offer trips to Tonga, the Greek Isles, the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka — and we’re always planning new expeditions to the world’s top island escapes.