By Dana Perkiss
If you’re dreaming of a getaway that’s filled with picturesque beaches, constant sunshine, and opportunities for adventure – then you’re looking for a tropical vacation. Whether you want thrilling adventures, plenty of R&R, or a spiritual journey, here are some of the best tropical vacation destinations!
Known as one of the best tropical vacation destinations, Costa Rica is a must-visit for travelers looking for adrenaline-racing experiences and otherworldly ecosystems. There are numerous National Parks to be explored, fascinating wildlife to see, and endless thrilling activities to enjoy like cave tubing, zip lining, rafting, ATV tours, surfing – the adventure never ends!
Of all the things to do in Costa Rica, make sure that ziplining is at the top of your list. There are places to fly through the sky all over the country, but some of the best places to zipline in Costa Rica are Arenal Reserve, Monteverde, and La Fortuna. Adventurers will also love hiking the astounding Arenal Volcano, riding a tram over the rainforest, or going on a waterfall tour!
Iconic coffee, sizzling arepas, salsa dancing, rainbow rivers, Encanto… What isn’t Colombia known for? Dive into adventure here as you hike through the spectacular La Tatacoa Desert, discover archeological ruins in Tayrona National Park, and explore the salt mine-turned-church Zipaquira Salt Cathedral! Visitors can also visit the famous rainbow river featured in Disney’s Encanto, the Caño Cristales.
One of the best things to do in Colombia is to explore Cartagena’s Historic Old Town, where you can shop at local stores and feast on Colombian cuisine. Speaking of, food lover’s will love Colombia with its iconic dishes like arepas, chocolate con queso, and more – not to mention its world-famous coffee!
Head to the Land Down Under if you’re looking for endless beauty, natural wonders, and fascinating wildlife. You can explore the vast lands of the Outback, experience unrivaled snorkeling and scuba diving adventures in the Great Barrier Reef, or take an exhilarating safari to spot wild crocodiles!
If you’re looking for more relaxing things to do in Australia, you can sunbathe near cute Kangaroos on the white sand Lucky Bay, stroll around the colorful alleys of Melbourne, and explore the many attractions on Sydney Harbour.
Be honest – haven’t you always wanted to travel to Hawaii? Postcard-worthy beaches, phenomenal year-round weather, and the relaxed Aloha Spirit are just a few reasons why Hawaii is one of the top tropical destinations in the world. The Big Island, which is the largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, boasts the still active volcano, Kilauea, where visitors can hike across a crater floor and spot lava!
As for aquatic activities, there is no shortage in Hawaii. Anyone who is avid about surfing (or interested in learning) should definitely surf in Hawaii, particularly Oahu. There are also endless snorkeling, diving, dolphin/whale watching, ziplining, and fishing opportunities available. You can’t forget about the famous Hawaiian Luau, or of Hawaii’s incredible cuisine boasting traditional dishes like kalua pork, lomi lomi salmon, and of course – fresh fruit!
Oh, Puerto Rico – land of numerous beautiful beaches, interesting Spanish/Caribbean/American culture, and the renowned El Yunque National Forest, which is the only tropical forest in the entire U.S. National Forest Service! One of the most popular things to do in Puerto Rico is to hike around El Yunque National Forest, discovering its many waterfalls and natural pools.
You’ll also want to check out Vieques beach during the day to marvel at the blue glowing Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay, as well as visiting the “window cave” of Cueva Ventana. Stoll around Old San Juan to visit famous attractions like the fortress El Morro, and be sure to get a true taste of iconic Rum like Baracadi!
Brimming with stunning natural beauty, glittering beaches, and vibrant culture, Cape Town is a destination that should be on everyone’s bucket list! From paragliding over the forests to lazing back with decadent wine tastings, there’s all types of things to do in Cape Town!
To start off, Table Mountain is magical – towering tall above the city, visitors can take a cable car up to the top to be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of Cape Town. Then there’s the lively V&A Waterfront, a cultural hot-spot where you can stroll around to shop, eat, or ride the Ferris Wheel! Wine lovers will adore Constantia Winelands, which boasts some of the best wine in South Africa.
For those looking for more adventurous activities, there is no shortage here – you can go sand boarding, take a helicopter tour, hike up to Cape Point, do a safari, or even go shark-cage diving!
Peru should be on every traveler’s bucket list, and is by far one of the best tropical destinations. It’s here where you can visit the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu, and explore the vast Amazon Jungle and Andes. Adventure-seekers can also go dune hiking in the desert, zip line over Colca Canyon, and hike the mystical Rainbow Mountains.
Other exciting things to do in Peru include visiting the Nazca Lines, which are engraved markings rumored to have been carved by aliens! You can also wander around the city (and UNESCO World Heritage Site) of Cusco, marvel at the scenic Sacred Valley, and treat your tastebuds to delicious Peruvian food.
Famously known for being home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, Belize is a Caribbean utopia offering both beach and jungle adventures. Snorkeling with sea turtles at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve should be on your list of things to do when you travel to Belize, plus scuba diving at the stunning Great Blue Hole, which is in the Great Barrier Reef. There are also tons of caves worth exploring, including the Actun Tunichil Muknal.
There are also many Mayan ruins in Belize, including the ancient Altun Ha Ruins and Cahal Pech Mayan Ruins. You can also make some furry friends at the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve, go birdwatching at the Wildlife Sanctuary in Crooked Tree, and feast on succulent Belizean cuisine.
Bali is the perfect destination for those looking for a spiritual tropical vacation, as it's filled with diverse ecosystems and ancient Hindu temples. Known for its beautiful beaches, vast rainforests, and overall spirituality, there are tons of things to do in Bali for all types of travelers.
As for what to do in Bali, you can get wild with macaque monkeys in Sacred Monkey Forest, go surfing in Seminyak, or pamper yourself with Indonesian spa treatments. Interested in the incredible temples of Bali? Make sure to visit the magnificent seaside Uluwatu Temple, the "mother temple" of Besakih Temple, and the iconic Ulun Danu Beratan Temple.