“Oh the weather outside is frightful,” but the island life is so delightful. This Winter, escape to an island getaway where a forecast of sunny days, white sandy beaches, and crystal clear waters await you. After a relaxing vacation at any one of my eight recommendations, I guarantee you’ll be signing a new tune while simultaneously rocking a new tan, so, “Don’t worry, be happy.”
In the archipelago of the Hawaiian Islands, Maui is the perfect destination for those craving a way back to nature without straying too far from the beaten path. Described by locals as a perfect blend of Oahu and the Big Island, Maui is known for its posh fast-paced neighborhoods, like Wailea, as well as it’s lush, quiet, natural wonders —road to Hana anyone? A quick dip at Wailea beach is bound to inspire child-like wonder as turquoise blue waves engulf a stunning display of colorful corals surrounded by Honu (sea turtle), vibrant reef fish, octopus, manta rays, and even humpback whales, when in season. To relax you just have to close your eyes, listen to the wails of the whales, and say Mahalo to the amazing natural wonder that is Maui.
The island of Grenada, pronounced “Green-ay-dah,” can be found between neighboring islands St. Vincent, St. Lucia, and Barbados. Known as “the spice island” for its abundance of native crops, this exotic island is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, sailing, and friendly locals. At the Sandals Grenada, for example, you’ll find white sand beaches just steps away from your room where soaking tubs on the terrace make for the best viewing points for a spectacular Caribbean sunset. Although, you’d be hard-pressed to beat the 360 views on the ocean sailing with Saavy Sailing Adventures on a traditional Caribbean wooden sloop whose history dates as far back as the early 1800s. Captain Danny will take you on the cultural excursion of a lifetime, touring the island’s first underwater sculpture park, Grand Anse beach, and, finally, finishing with a sunset cruise sipping on what might be the Caribbean’s strongest rum punch.
If you’ve always wondered what it’s like to vacation on a deserted island than the Philippines is the vacation for you! With over 8,000 islands to choose from, you can’t go wrong with the beautiful island of Palawan. Settling into the Cadlao resort in El Nido, you can relax in a beautiful infinity pool overlooking a seemingly endless array of islands and paraws, double outrigger sailboats. For a closer encounter, we’d suggest sailing away on an island hopping tour or renting a kayak, as you paddle your way through breathtaking limestone formations, hidden caves, and vibrant coral reefs. Not to mention, the world’s best destination for pink and purple sunsets.
Bob Marley once sang, “Let’s go to Jamaica and feel all right.” Truer words have never been more well-spoken as the beautiful island of Jamaica offers everything from white sandy beaches, laid back reggae music, and the best jerk chicken in all the Caribbean. Attributed to the island’s rich cultural history, visitors are welcomed with open arms to experience firsthand how companies like Chukka Caribbean Adventures are honoring generations of tradition reimagined for today’s century. From horseback riding through the ocean to secret waterfalls and ATV rides through a former sugar plantation at the Good Hope Estate, Jamaica is anything but just another pretty beach.
Portugal’s best-kept secret, the island of Madeira, located off the West African coast, has aptly been dubbed, “The Hawaii of Europe.” Resembling the Hawaiian island of Oahu, Madeira is rich in volcanic beaches, awe-inspiring mountains, and the island’s crowning jewel, Madeira wine. Madeira is quite the culinary crusader when it comes to farm to table cuisine, as the island’s sub-tropical climate makes it ideal for growing an array of tropical fruits. You can find Madeiran influences at some of the island’s best restaurants such as Il Gallo D’Oro, featuring cuisine by two-star Michelin chef Benoit Sinthon, Terreiro Concept or the dining room at Quinta da Casa Branca. Of course, it wouldn’t be the Madeira way without a tasting of Blandy’s Madeiran wine which will inevitably lead you to an enjoyable hike, the following day, as you wander through any one of the islands infamous levada hikes in preparation for your next delicious meal —bon appetit!
Discover Puerto Rico’s history and heritage in Old San Juan as you wander through cobblestone streets past vibrant buildings where you’ll instantly be greeted by warm and welcoming locals. ¡Salud! to new amigos at Casa Bacardi, the Bacardi Rum distillery, where you can tour and taste the island’s rum after enjoying some traditional Monfongo de Camarones at rooftop Punto de Vista. Once the rum kicks in you’ll want to visit the Caribe Hilton for live music and salsa at the Caribar, which boasts the world’s first Pina Colada. The Pina colada is rich, full of flavor, and unforgettable, as is the insatiable island of Puerto Rico.
The Galapagos Islands
As Charles Darwin once said, “If everyone were cast in the same mold, there would be no such thing as beauty.” When it comes to the Galapagos, it’s no doubt that the islands are cast in a mold entirely of their own. In fact, the islands are home to a large variety of rare endemic species that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the world. As no two islands are alike, you could spend months cruising around these islands contemplating the reality of a parallel universe whose depths are perfectly reflected in the bright Milky Way that paves the sky come nightfall –Charles Darwin sure did. It also happens to be the most sustainable way to tour one of the world’s most eco-friendly destinations in the world.
Nestled between St. Kitts and Guadeloupe, the islands of Antigua and Barbuda are a little slice of paradise far from the maddening crowd of over-tourism. Here you’ll be able to kick back and relax amongst the world’s most pristine beaches, coves, and rainforest. At the Carlisle Bay Antigua, guests can enjoy a peaceful escape with stunning ocean view rooms that walk right onto a private cove beach. It’s here you can reconnect with nature while you work on getting back into the best shape of your life with sunrise pilates, sunset yoga, and private tennis lessons. The hotel can even arrange for a hike through the rainforest to some of the island’s best panoramic views or a pristine secluded beach where it’s practically summertime, and the livings easy.