Your 20s are a wonderful time to travel. Since you likely don’t have a lot of responsibilities, traveling in your 20s means that you can enjoy a lot of freedom and see the world. I loved to travel when I was younger and I still do so I know some of the top places that you will want to check out when you have some vacation days and a little extra money in your bank account.
20 Tropical Vacation Hot Spots
There’s really nothing quite the same as the Maldives and once you have been there, you will see what I mean. There are 26 atolls that are strung along across the ocean and almost too beautiful to be true. The bright blue waters that surround these atolls seem too bright to exist in real life.
If you want to spend your days swimming in warm water that is shockingly clear, then this is the place where you will be able to do it. I love swimming with whale sharks and manta rays but you can also go deep-sea fishing if you like.
2. Port Douglas, Australia
This is an incredible location on Australia and is known for being one of the most tropical and beautiful in the country. It boasts not only the Great Barrier Reef but also impeccable beaches and stunning rainforests.
Make sure that you take a helicopter tour or a cruise when you first get there so that you can take in all of the incredible sights and really see the rainforest from above. For a slightly different perspective from above, check out the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.
3. Bora Bora, Tahiti
Tahiti is known for being beautiful and it definitely lives up to the hype. This gorgeous island is ringed by an incredible lagoon and rises to a sharp peak that is easy to spot. On the beach, you’ll enjoy walking underneath clumps of coconut palms or sunning yourself by the incredible water.
What I really love about Bora Bora are the luxury bungalows. They actually are built over the water so if you want an interesting view in the morning, make sure to get one with glass floor panels. This lets you look through your floor down into the sea underneath you.
4. Nassau, The Bahamas
Most people don’t think of a capital city as being a great spot to visit when you want to visit a tropical destination but Nassau isn’t the same as any other capital city. You can enjoy incredible conch fritters, lounge on white sands, and take a scooter when heading into town.
I recommend that you make sure to take time to scuba dive as you can check out some incredible shipwrecks. This is sure to give you a whole new appreciation for this gorgeous area.
5. Montego Bay, Jamaica
Everyone knows that Jamaica has incredible beaches that are famous for their white sands but there is a lot more than the sand to love about this great spot. I think that this is not only an ideal vacation spot for families but also for young adults traveling on their own as it is so safe.
The vibrant culture of Jamaica will likely make you feel right at home and the relaxed attitudes and friendly faces that surround you everywhere you go will make you comfortable. Make sure that you check out local restaurants to get a real feel for this spot.
6. Los Cabos, Mexico
Mexico is packed with great places to check out and to love and I think that Los Cabos should be at the top of the list. They recently experienced a boom in tourism, which is understandable because of all the fun things that you can do and the incredible scenery that you can enjoy.
After spending the day perfecting your tan or swimming in the gorgeous ocean, try picking up some fresh fish and fruit for your dinner. You’re sure to love the way that perfectly charred fresh seafood tastes after a long day in the sun.
7. Riviera Maya, Mexico
If you do choose to come to this incredible spot in Mexico, then I strongly recommend that you skip the resorts and book either a yoga retreat or a boutique hotel. Doing so will allow you to really enjoy everything that Riviera Maya has to offer without feeling tied to certain meal times or where you need to sleep.
Make sure to spend plenty of time in the clear water swimming, snorkeling, and hanging out with dolphins. I also recommend that you set aside some time to visit Tulum, where you can explore ancient ruins and look down over the gorgeous Caribbean Sea.
8. Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Everyone knows that Costa Rica is a great tropical vacation spot but not everyone has heard of Tamarindo. There’s plenty for you to do when you book your trip here, which means that you won’t ever be bored. If you don’t want to surf, then take time to go ziplining or book a snorkeling trip at sunset.
Check out the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge, where you can kayak through the area and see howler monkeys and even crocodiles that are watching you when you pass. Not only is the area beautiful but the people here are incredibly friendly.
9. Phuket, Thailand
This tropical destination is the perfect choice for any traveler who is interested in a laid-back location where he or she can really relax and get away from the pressures of everyday life. I love everything about Phuket, including the friendly people.
Thanks to the great beach atmosphere, affordable hotels, and other activities, Phuket is a wonderful location for anyone who wants to spend the majority of his or her trip outdoors.
10. Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Anyone who has ever dreamed of being a castaway and spending uninterrupted days on the beach will love Aitutaki. The beaches here are packed with gorgeous palms and the incredible aqua lagoon appears to be something out of a painting.
There are more than 20 small islands in the lagoon so you will have plenty to explore. For a fully immersive experience, consider springing for a bungalow that is located over the water.
11. Pattaya, Thailand
While not as famous as Phuket, Pattaya has just as much in terms to offer. This is a great option for any traveler who is on a tighter budget but still wants to see the gorgeous land that comprises Thailand.
Jomtien Beach is my favorite place to go when you want to soak up some sun and you can easily rent water sports equipment so that you can spend your day playing in the ocean.
12. Kaua’i, Hawaii
This is considered to be one of the best tropical destinations in the world, making it a must-see for anyone who is in his or her 20s and loves to travel. It’s rich in beaches, coconut palms, and rainforests for you to explore.
Book a tour to make the most of your time here and enjoy snorkeling with a local guide. For a spectacular end to the day, consider a sunset dinner cruise so you can enjoy seeing this gorgeous area as the locals do.
13. Ambergris Caye, Belize
This is a great spot for anyone who wants to spend time on the beach but isn’t interested in being out on the sand all day long. While the beaches are stunning, there is a lot to do here that you won’t want to miss.
After sunning yourself for a while, you will want to go on a snorkeling or scuba diving tour. For a different view of the area, try a ziplining tour or go cave rafting with a local guide. This lets you experience the beauty that is Belize from up high and down low.
14. Zakynthos, Greece
Anyone looking for a tropical destination that not only features incredible sights and places to see but also a thriving nightlife will love Zakynthos. I find that the best way to enjoy this location is to spend the day out in the sun soaking it up and enjoying the beach and then heading into the city for some fun at night.
Not only are the hotels surprisingly affordable but the party scene at night is a lot of fun for people in their 20s, which means that you can relax all day and party at night if you want.
15. The Mananuca Islands, Fiji
These islands are easily accessible via a boat ride from Nadi and since there are 20 of them to explore, you’re sure to have lots of time to yourself enjoying this gorgeous area. Not only are the islands themselves beautiful but there are thriving coral reefs here as well.
You can choose your accommodations based on whether you want to stay in a traditional hut or are interested in a luxury resort, which means that you can easily personalize your trip.
16. St. Bart’s, The Caribbean
If you come during high season, then you can expect to pay a bit more at this popular location but you also increase your chances of seeing a movie star as this is a popular destination. All of the beaches are public so you can easily stay in a private villa during low season without breaking the bank.
17. The Seychelles, East Africa
This is the perfect getaway if you want to enjoy great backdrops for your pictures. I love that you can scuba dive and fish here or simply soak up some sun and feel completely relaxed. This is one of the most gorgeous areas in the world and worth a visit.
If you want to get off of the sand for a bit, then head in to town to visit some art galleries or the natural reserve. This is the perfect location for a great mix of culture, delicious food, and incredible sights.
18. The Abacos, The Bahamas
If you love to surf, boat, or sail and want to do it in a gorgeous location, then you will want to check out The Abacos. These are incredibly peaceful islands that are secluded and feel worlds away from Florida even though you are fairly close by.
Some of my favorite places to go here include Green Turtle Cay, which has a great three-mile stretch of beach, and Elbow Cay. Here you can check out the fun candy-striped lighthouse and walk around looking for gorgeous shells.
19. Denpasar, Indonesia
This location is known for being incredibly affordable for any visitor who wants to take in the beauty of Bali, which is why I think that it’s a great stop for people in their 20s. When you stay here, you’re perfectly situated to check out wildlife, volcanoes, and even snorkeling.
Make sure to take time to catch a sunset on the water as the colors are stunning and this sight is unlike anything else that you can see in the world. This makes it a great end to a long day exploring the natural beauty of the area.
20. The Andaman Coast, Thailand
This is a great home base for anyone who wants to spend time checking out the many islands that dot the Andaman Sea. Even though this is where Leonardo DiCaprio filmed his famous beach movie, I recommend skipping that touristy beach and looking for something a little more peaceful.
Check out Khao Sok National Park if you want to spend some time communing with elephants and relaxing away from the sun during the hot part of the day. I love the villa-style resorts but a much more affordable option are the beachfront bamboo shacks, where you’re sure to feel as if you’re local.
Not all of these locations will break the bank and they are all gorgeous and worth visiting. I think that travel is one of the most amazing gifts that we can give ourselves; if you are ready to see the world and want to start by visiting tropical destinations, then you will want to check out some of the great places on this list.
What's your favorite tropical travel destination? Let us know in the comments below!