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32 Tropical Island Getaways

By The Editors of The ActiveTimes
1/7/2014 10:39:07 AM

It totally depends on where you live, but for most of us "mainlanders," the weather in our neck of the woods this time of year is far from tropical, and maybe even quite frightful.

‘Tis the season to dream by the fire, but we're not just dreaming any old holiday dreams. We're talking visions of aqua-blue ocean waters, palm trees waving in the briny breeze, grass-skirted hula dancers, and footprints in the sand.

We know, doesn't that sound delightful? You're totally picturing yourself basking on the beach, and your currently frozen toes are begging to feel the warm water lapping at your feet. We're not ones to confine our getaway fantasies to the realm of your typical tropical trip, though. We dream big. You can only spend so much time just lounging around, right?

Our imaginations are much more adventurous. Why not envision yourself kiteboarding and windsurfing off the coast of Sal in Cape Verde? Or exploring ancient Mayan caves deep in the jungle of Ambergris Caye in Belize? Ever dreamed of hiking the Piton Mountains in Saint Lucia or kayaking through the mangroves in Quilalea?

Action-packed tropical island getaway opportunities like these are just about unlimited, and our list of 32 highlights some of the most exotic and exhilarating vacations across all seven continents.

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Credit: Flickr/Bo47

Sumba, Indonesia

Sumba, in eastern Indonesia, is small, isolated and insular. Natives here even have their own dialect. But the surfing when the swell hits the southwest coast is often described as incredible, which makes the remote location totally worth the stay.

-Heather Hansman

Credit: Flickr/David Buck)

Mabul, Malaysia

Located off the coast of Malysia, Mabul has only really been popular as a tourist destination since the ‘90s. But since the introduction of scuba diving on the reef off-shore, where there's a high density of tropical fish, it's recently become a more frequented tropical getaway. It's also where the term "muck diving" was coined, because divers can find a ton of life in the muddy substrate at the bottom.

-Heather Hansman

Credit: Flickr/DuncanRawlinson

Tahiti

Tahiti is beautiful and lush, and it's home to one of the heaviest waves in the world, Teahupoo. There are other highly aesthetic and powerful surf breaks here, too. And if you're not up for towering barrels, plan your visit between April and September when waves tend to be slightly mellower.

-Heather Hansman

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