Tropical Island Hopping

sun setting behind palm trees

Tropical islands deserve a page of their own. Hardly anyone can feel indifferent about images of palm-fringed beaches and turquoise waters. I visited most of these places while traveling in Asia , Africa, Latin America and Oceania. Below are my favorite tropical island escapes.

Dominican Republic

At the height of Covid restrictions, Dominican Republic was one of the few countries that still welcomed tourists. I was going to spend the whole winter there, but after Colombia opened in December of 2020, I decided to spend the rest of the winter there. During one month that I was in Dominican Republic, I got to explore most of this country's beautiful beaches.

colorful boars on a tropical beach

Fishing boats in Las Terrenas.

bright yellow drink on a table on a tropical beach

Freshly prepared passion fruit juice.

a thatched roof hut on a tropical beach with stormy clouds behind

A beach in the SW, near the border with Haiti.

crystal clear waters and white sand beach

Bahia de Los Aguilas.

fisherman in his boat at sunset

Fisherman about to go out to the sea.

crystal clear water and tropical tree behind

Virgin river in southern Dominican Republic.

twisted palm trees on a white sand beach

Las Galeras, Samana, Dominican Republic.

a horse next to palm trees and ocean behind

Dominicanos love their horses.

waves crashing against rocks with palm trees behind

Surf pounding rocks of Samana peninsula.

a person swimming in a pond at the base of a waterfall

Cooling off at Limon waterfal.

selfie with a leaning palm tree and blue sea behind

A leaning palm tree on one of many deserted beaches of Dominican Republic.

South Pacific

There are many beautiful tropical islands all over the world. South Pacific is blessed with some of the most famous tropical islands. It offers everything a beach-lover could dream of - pristine water, white-sand beaches, solitude and great seafood. When I came across a great deal on airfares to Tahiti, I couldn't miss the opportunity. Air Tahiti was selling passes for inter-island flights, often cheaper than ferries. They were God-sent and in one month of island-hopping, I used ferry only once. Flying also offers best views of the numerous atolls. Besides breathtaking beaches and clear waters, what I found unique about this place was a complete lack of other tourists. On only a few islands did I come across other travelers. Most of the time, I had beaches and accommodation all to myself.

on a small boat crossing shallow crystal-clear lagoon

Crossing crystal-clear inner lagoon of Maupiti island. Maupiti was the first island of the itinerary and it remained my favorite even after visiting many others, including Bora Bora.

sitting in a shade next to a blue lagoon

No internet, no phone, no people - just the way a tropical paradise island is supposed to be.

leaning against a palm tree on a white sand beach

A true island paradise.

airplane circling a tropical island

About to land at Bora Bora.

swimming in blue water

Enjoying clear water off Bora Bora.

standing ona nearly horzontal palm tree next to the ocean

Waiting for the sunset.

hanging off a lone palm tree on an empty beach

Fakarava atol with no tourists at all.

standing on a wooden pier with green-blue sea behind

The pier from tourist brochures.

posing with friends

With new friends after watching Polynesian dance.

On my first trip to Australia I made a stopover in Fiji. The main island wasn't particularly interesting, which is typical of any archipelago. To really appreciate the country, one has to go on a sailing trip and visit smaller, more remote islands. I did a one-day trip so nearby islands, just to wet my appetite. Maybe one day I get a chance to do a more extensive sailing trip around Fiji.

Resting in a hammock with white sand beach behind

Hammock time on Fiji.

Southeast Asia

While riding and backpacking around SE Asia, I got to visit a number of beautiful islands. With Philippines' 7,000+ and Indonesia's 17,000+ islands one could spend a lifetime exploring these islands and still not scratch the surface. Add an amazing mixture of cultures, cuisines and religions to the picture and it can easily be the most interesting part of the world to explore.

Jumping into the green water of a lagoon

Koh Phi-Phi in southern Thailand - paradise on earth, but destroyed by the mass tourism.

on a boat with numerous islands behind

Ha-long bay - an amazing place to visit but destroyed by the mass tourism.

swimming in a deep blue water with white sand beach behind

Similan islands in Andaman sea.

swimming in crystal-clear water with limestone rock behind

Island hopping in an archipelago off Palawan, Philippines.

standing in shallow, crystal-clear water with steep rock face behind

A small, picture-perfect island off the coast of Palawan.

swimming in a pool at the base of a waterfall

Cooling off in a jungle in Borneo's highlands.

resting on a hammock with ocean behind

Romblon - Not as pretty as Boracay but no crowds.

sipping a drink in hammock with setting sun behind

Sunset drink on Negros island, Philippines.

white catamarans anchored in shallow crystal-clear waters

Crystal clear waters of Malapascua island (near Cebu).

laying in a hammock strung between palm trees

Malapascua island - another quiet paradise.

sweeping white sand, palm fringed, beach with no people

The other side of Malapascua island - I shared more than 1 km of white sand beach with just one other couple.

posing on a white-sand beach

Koh Larn island, Thailand.

close up of a traditional fishing boat on a white sand beach and deep blue sky behind

Pulau Pisang or Banana island, off the coast of Sumatra.

posing on a white-sand beach with new acquintances

Hangign out with the locals on Pulau Pisang.

Zanzibar and Pemba - White sand heaven

During my backpacking trip through Africa, I got a chance to visit a few beautiful islands off the east coast of Africa. Zanzibar is the most famous, but there are other islands just as beautiful and even more deserted. Unless you are on an organized tour it may be a hassle to get to these islands. But the effort is well-rewarded.

a scooter parked on white sand bach

Dazzling white sand beach of Pemba.

a small sail boat in the distance

Traditional east African sail boat.

sitting in shallow water of a reef-protected beach

The knee deep water of this reef-protected beach extended for at least 1 km.