Do you want to travel to a beautiful tropical destination but don’t want to deal with annoying tourists and crowded beaches? Then any one of the following 10 places might just be the perfect getaway for you.
Imagine this: you’re relaxing on an empty beach in a tropical paradise, lying on a towel atop soft white sands, bright blue skies floating above you, and crystal clear waters stretching out in front of you as far as the eye can see. The beach is so empty and serene that you can finally finish that book you bought at the airport last week. Perhaps you’ll have a delicious seafood dinner later that evening at a restaurant you didn’t need to make a reservation for 6 months in advance. You’ll return home well-rested and relaxed, with memories and souvenirs that will make you wish you could turn around and fly right back.
This is what I imagine the ideal vacation to be like. To be able to spend a couple of weeks away from it all, away from traffic, responsibilities, and annoying coworkers. So if this kind of vacation resonates with you at all, then I’m sure you’re now wondering where you can travel to that has all of the bells and whistles a tropical paradise should have – but without the crowd of tourists. Places like Bali, the Bahamas, or perhaps even Fiji are horrible places to travel to if you’re looking to just relax. These picture-perfect destinations are stunning, don’t get me wrong…. but there are millions of people dreaming about traveling to these same places. This means overpriced rooms, crowded beaches, and worse, agitated locals.
Perhaps you’re even considering going in an “off-season.” Well, Bali doesn’t really have an off-season, it’s crowded all year long, and the Bahamas experiences temperamental weather in the winter (lots of rain and thunderstorms). Meh…
This is why I set out to find some alternatives. Destinations that have incredible beaches, great food, and decent hotels. The problem with some destinations that do not get too much tourist traffic is that when you go, the only accommodations available is some rickety hut by the beach. I wanted to find destinations that have a variety of accommodations. So you can stay in the beach hut if you like that sort of stuff, or if you like to pamper yourself, you can splurge on a room in a 5-star resort that has every amenity you can imagine.
Sure, it can require some more skill and planning to go off the beaten path, but trust me, it is definitely worth it in the end. So if you’re traveling to a tropical destination sometime soon, consider going to one of these underrated alternatives to overcrowded beach destinations.
Where to book the cheapest rooms: I use either Agoda.com or Booking.com to find nice hotel rooms while on the go.
Where to find a cheap hostel to stay in: I usually use HostelWorld to find cheap accommodations while traveling abroad. Hostels can be sketchy at times, so while planning where I’m going to stay, I’ll check out the user-submitted pictures of the place before I book to see if the place is as advertised.
Best site to find cheap flights: I use Skyscanner. The website’s algorithm will compare prices for flights from all of the major airlines. In the past, I would try to hunt around for the cheapest flights on a ton of different websites but would almost always end up booking through Skyscanner.
Make sure to follow my Pinterest if you’re into more travel-related content:
La Digue, Seychelles
Renowned for its unspoiled beaches, craggy shoreline, and exotic wildlife, La Digue’s gorgeous powdery pink-sand beach, has served as the backdrop for movies like Castaway and Robinson Crusoe and is said to be the most photographed stretch of sand in the world. Getting to the Island is pretty easy, once you land on the neighboring island of Praslin, La Digue is only an hour-long boat ride away. Once on Ladigue, you will be completely submerged in nature, as the island remains unspoiled by the tourism industry. Your tastebuds will be in heaven as there are a couple of notable restaurants on the island – Tarosa Takeaway, a buzzy eatery with Creole fare; and L’Union Estate, the largest vanilla plantation left in Seychelles (both restaurants have stellar reviews). Check-in at the historic La Digue Island Lodge, which has thatched-roof bungalows and a 19th-century colonial.
Also, if you’d like to go really off the grid, the neighboring island of Felicite is breathtaking and if you also just so happen to be able to fork over $1k a night for a room, then check out Six Senses Zil Pasyon. In terms of architecture, the place is truly one of a kind.
Formentera is the smallest of Spain’s Balearic islands in the Mediterranean Sea. It’s reachable by a 35 min ferry from its more crowded, better-known island neighbor, Ibiza, and makes for a popular day-trip destination in the summertime. This island exemplifies what’s like to live life along the Mediterranian, simple, beautiful, and of course, there’s GREAT food.
So technically food isn’t considered a love language but to me, it is. I am an absolute food snob and I will go to great lengths to find the best restaurant. So if you’re more of a food snob then you will love Formentera. In fact, you’ll probably spot yachts pulling up from Ibiza just to dine at the swanky eateries Juan y Andrea, Es Moli de Sal, and Beso Beach.
There’s also a calmer side of hidden beaches and local watering holes. Hike to the secluded cove of Calo des Mort, where you can dive into crystal clear turquoise water, followed by squid-ink paella and sangria at Can Forn.
There are many reasons why you should visit St. Lucia. The small island, located in the eastern Caribbean, is filled with natural attractions, historical sites, exotic wildlife, and lush greenery, making it a wonderful place for both relaxation and adventure. If you enjoy trekking through exotic rainforest this Island might just be your cup of tea. The island is home to the Piton Mountains which cradles many of the beaches in St. Lucia providing spectacular scenery, especially at sunrise and sunset. The island is home to several one-of-a-kind hotels like the Ladera hotel, Jade Mountain Resort, & Villa Beach Cottages
US News and World Report ranked Anguilla — a British overseas territory — as the Caribbean island with the best beaches. With an embargo on cruise ships, casinos, and even high-rise hotels, Anguilla is a departure from your typical tourist trap. Accessible by a short boat ride from St. Maarten, Anguilla offers a distinct culture and landscape. Enjoy the island’s peaceful and laid-back energy while enjoying the beautiful clear turquoise waters that stretch out as far as the eye can see.
I once spent an afternoon once in Anguilla, and I got the chance to visit Shoal Bay. The beach is, in my opinion (and I’ve been to PLENTY of beaches) the MOST beautiful beach that I’ve ever laid my eyes on.
As for lodging, Malliouhana, an Auberge Resort is a top-rated resort on the island, with a former Michelin-starred chef, an award-winning wine cellar and access to a private beach.
Samoa is still one of the best-kept secrets in the entire South Pacific. Okay, it’s not totally a secret—but compared to countries like Fiji, it is still much more relaxed with fewer crowds. What makes the specific island of Upolu so great? Well, it is truly perfect for the adventurous traveler. According to Samoa Travel, on Upolu, you can go swimming in caves, go surfing, trek through the rainforest, and swim under waterfalls. It sounds like a paradise for anyone with a sense of adventure looking to experience something truly unique!
Obviously, Indonesia is a super popular tourist destination for travelers from all over the world—this group of islands is so beautiful that people are willing to fly for days to get there just to spend a week or two in paradise. The crowds on Sumba are much smaller than the neighboring islands Bali, so you can experience the authentic Indonesian culture. Home to some of the world’s best resorts, and the beaches are simply amazing.
Want to enjoy the natural beauty that Hawaii has to offer without dealing with all of the tourists? I mean what even is Honolulu these days, It feels just like Disneyland but with a beach and no rides. Smart vacationers head straight to Lanai, a small island just a short 25-minute flight from Honolulu. Lanai is much less populated than many of the other islands, which makes it a great spot for a more relaxing getaway. According to Go Hawaii, it’s the perfect place to explore rugged natural areas where most tourists don’t venture! But friendly locals will no doubt show the best places to seek out. Looking for something romantic? Check out the island’s beachfront campsites and Four Seasons properties.
Santorini. Mykonos. Crete. Greece is home to 227 inhabited islands across the Aegean and Ionian Seas, yet these three steal the spotlight every time. Skip the crowds for Skopelos, just an hour ferry ride from Skiathos, where you’ll find unspoiled coastline, charming blue-roofed tavernas, and Byzantine-era monasteries. Rent a private villa with terraces overlooking the cerulean Aegean at Adrina Resort & Spa (trust me, you’ll never want to leave). Skopelos Town’s terracotta-tiled buildings house romantic garden restaurants like Perivoli and joints like Antolia, where locals come to listen to live rebetika music. On the northwest tip of the island, the quaint village of Glossa offers the best vistas, especially at Agnanti, whose cliffside deck serves Greek classics of kleftiko (leg of lamb) and stifado (beef stew).
Vanuatu is a Pacific island adventure far beyond any notions of cruise-ship ports and flashy resorts. Deserted beaches, an ancient culture, remote and rugged islands and world-class diving are just a small part of the magnetism of this scattered 80-plus island archipelago. Check out the Iririki Island Resort or the Angelfish Villas and tell me that you don’t just want to spend the rest of your life there!!
I saved the best for last. The Cook Islands is another destination in the south pacific islands that you definitely should put on your radar. If you’re looking for an exotic getaway – it doesn’t get much more remote or more beautiful then this — home to perfect beaches, deep jungles and expansive coral lagoons. Each of the 15 islands seems more breathtaking than the last. The Cooks have the sun and sand and aqua waters you’ve always associated with the South Pacific, as do Tahiti and Fiji. But there are several ways the Cooks stand out from those other destinations.
First, it’s the cheapest to reach by air. Air New Zealand flies here every Saturday on a Boeing 777, a 9- or 10-hour non-stop flight from Los Angeles, and frequently offers airfares around $899 round-trip, or even less with their occasional $400 off coupon codes, which bring the price down to a ridiculous $499-$598 round-trip.
The one notable remark that many tourists come back from the Cook Islands is that “the people are so friendly.” Not to mention there are a ton of activities – snorkeling and diving are very popular here. Fish and other seafood are delicious – what you eat in the restaurants is what was caught that day.
When to go – July through October because it’s “whale season” during which cavorting whales and their offspring are visible from the shore. Another fun fact: The country will most likely reach 100% renewable energy ahead of any other on Earth.
Remote, friendly, and insanely gorgeous, the Cooks Islands will not disappoint!
Have you been to any of these destinations? Leave a comment below and let us know your favorite!