10 Best Tropical Islands You've Barely Heard Of

  • Barbuda, Antigua and Barbuda
  • Gili Tranwangan
  • Bonaire, ABC Islands
  • Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas
  • Koh Lipe, Thailand
  • Saba, Dutch Caribbean
  • Bohol, Philippines
  • Phu Quoc, Vietnam
  • Tioman, Malaysia
  • Sunest in Bequia

    Bequia, Grenadines

    Bequia, the northernmost island in the Grenadines archipelago, manages to be remote, affordable, easily accessible and comfortably developed at once. Even though it's only 7 square miles, it's still the largest of the Grenadines islands, and you'll find plenty of beaches to soak up some Vitamin D and local bars to pass away a night under the stars.

    Photo courtesy of Cowbell Solo

  • Deserted beach

    Barbuda, Antigua and Barbuda

    If your idea of paradise involves a desert island scenario without another soul in sight, then Barbuda – Antiqua's oft-ignored neighbor – is for you. If fact, it's one of the least-visited islands in the Eastern Caribbean, so you'll have to take a private boat to get there, but once you arrive, you won't have to share the sand with anyone.

    Photo courtesy of wemissedthebus

  • Gili sunset

    Gili Tranwangan

    Bali gets the lion's share of Indonesia's beach glory, but the serene beaches and clear waters of the three tiny Gili Islands, just off the coast of nearby Lombok, are more deserving of attention. Gili Trawangan is the largest of the three and yet has only 600 residents. Cars aren't allowed, so you can take a horse-drawn carriage tour between snorkeling, scuba diving or island-hopping excursions.

    Photo courtesy of ((brian))

  • Bonaire rental truck

    Bonaire, ABC Islands

    For diving and snorkeling, it doesn't get much better than the reefs off the coast of Bonaire, a small island just north of Venezuela. A majority of the island's 80 dive sites are accessible directly from shore, and if you rent a car in the capital of Kralendijk, it will probably come equipped with diving equipment.

    Photo courtesy of Chika Watanabe

  • Ferry terminal for Green Turtle Cay

    Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas

    Named for the green turtles who inhabit the warm waters just off the shore, Green Turtle Cay sits 3 miles off the coast of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas. Aside from the awesome spectacle of sea life on the reefs surrounding the island, you'll be treated to long stretches of beach, secluded inlets and some mighty fine shelling.

    Photo courtesy of Tommy Miles

  • Picture perfect beach

    Koh Lipe, Thailand

    Leonardo DiCaprio stormed the beaches of Koh Phi Phi in The Beach and plenty of backpackers have partied the night away on Koh Phangan, but have you ever heard of Koh Lipe? The small island is home to about 500 sea gypsies who have managed to keep major development to a minimum. Of all the Thai islands, Koh Lipe is one of the best for snorkeling and diving.

    Photo courtesy of miserychick

  • Saba from above

    Saba, Dutch Caribbean

    Saba, another Dutch island, is actually at the top of a mountain jutting out of the Caribbean Sea. It feels like you're stepping back in time as you wander through the small villages clinging to verdant hillsides, and the hiking and diving here are delightfully unspoilt – the dive sights rank as some of the best in the world.

    Photo courtesy of Richie Diesterheft

  • Bohol's Chocolate Hills

    Bohol, Philippines

    Many of the islands of the Philippines manage to fly under the radar, even though they're some of the most beautiful in Southeast Asia. One of the most underrated is Bohol, where white sand beaches compete for attention with coral stone colonial churches, inland jungles, fascinating wildlife and the surreal Chocolate Hills.

    Photo courtesy of Dahon

  • Quiet Phu Quoc beach

    Phu Quoc, Vietnam

    On the largely undeveloped island of Phu Quoc, budget travelers can easily bag a beachfront bungalow and dine on freshly caught lobster every night without breaking the bank. The warm, tranquil waters are perfect for swimming, and the diving here is both cheap and interesting.

    Photo courtesy of Zoe Shuttleworth

  • The beach of Tioman Island

    Tioman, Malaysia

    Just off the coast of Malaysia in the South China Sea sits Tioman, a large turtle-shaped island that served as the filming location for mythical Bali Hai in the movie South Pacific. While the island teems with Asian tourists during the high season in late summer, it's nearly deserted during the winter months, even though it many not rain for days or weeks at a time.

    Photo courtesy of Le Journal de Maman


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