Best tropical vacation spots are found around the full circumference of the globe, in the area that extends from the Equator north to the Tropic of Cancer and south to the Tropic of Capricorn. This is a huge swath of the planet, and contains portions of every continent except Antarctica. Europe makes the list because of several island territories in the Tropics, such as the Netherlands Antilles off the coast of Venezuela and the Pitcairn Islands (UK) in the South Pacific. It contains portions of the United States and Mexico in North America, portions of all countries in South America except Uruguay, a large percentage of the continent of Africa, good portions of Asia, and the northern part of Australia.
Even though this vast section of the earth contains both alpine climate (like Mauna Kea in Hawaii and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania) and arid desert (like the Australia Outback and Sahara Desert), most people think of hot moist climates and the top tropical Island trips when they hear the word "tropical." And, it is generally true that the best island vacation destinations make up the largest percentage of visits to the Tropics.
The best island vacation destinations for American are often tied to budget and distance. Therefore, they will be found in the Caribbean and Hawaii. The places closest to home for Americans include the best Caribbean vacations and the best Hawaii vacations. Some of the best tropical vacation spots in these two areas include destination wedding venues and romantic honeymoon getaways, all inclusive resorts suitable for families with children or young people looking to party on the beach, and just about everything in between.
Further from home are more internationally famous island destinations. Near the top of the list of tropical Island trips for nature lovers are the fascinating Galapagos Islands that are part of the country of Ecuador and located 525 miles off the coast in the Pacific Ocean. Close to 200,000 tourists per year arrive at this UNESCO World Heritage Site to swim with dolphins and penguins, discover a plethora of marine birdlife, and view numerous unique species found nowhere else in the world.
Further from home, the majority of the top tropical Island trips can be found in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa, in the Indonesia and Malaysia regions of Asia, and in the South Pacific. The beautiful islands of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean offer some of the most romantic and luxurious accommodations to be found anywhere, and activities include hiking, fishing, and superb scuba diving. These kinds of accommodations and activities can also be found on the islands of Fiji, Bora Bora, Tahiti, and other names that conjure up images carefree days with palm trees waving in the balmy breezes against the backdrop of blue and turquoise colored ocean. These places are also some of the best island vacation destinations for weddings and honeymoons. Bali in Indonesia is a similar idyllic island that also offers a long history and rich culture. Or you might go trekking in the jungles of Borneo (the third largest island in the world) in search of orangutans in their natural habitat.
Other of the best tropical vacation spots can be found on mainland areas. Closest to the United States is Mexico, and the very popular coastal resorts like Cancun and Merida on the Yucatan Peninsula and the Pacific coast from Puerto Vallarta to Acapulco to are very accessible to American travelers. More exotic would be a wildlife safari in Kenya and Tanzania or a trek through the rainforest of the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda or Uganda to search for the rare and endangered mountain gorillas. Also exotic would be trips through the southern part of India, visiting the Bollywood capital of Mumbai and the beaches of Panaji Goa. The Southeast Asia countries of Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar (formerly Burma), and Vietnam have much to offer tourists, from lazy cruises on the Irrawaddy or Mekong River to the incredible ruins of Angkor Wat.