6 Amazing Places like Hawaii

The Aloha state has won the title of paradise on fair ground. Between the awe-inspiring sunsets, a curvaceous coastline, and the convenience of vacationing here — it makes perfect sense why Hawaii has an almost unrivalled status. Yet, things are never black and white: even on an island that comes in rainbow shades. With vacation package prices raising and the controversy around visiting coming to a boiling point, you may be looking for some exceptional alternatives that look and feel heavenly.


Often nicknamed the ‘Hawaii of Europe’, this Portuguese archipelago is defined by its evergreen volcanoes and sky-blue crater lakes with hydrangeas to match. There’s nine islands to choose from, with each offering something unusual to the next. Whether your vacation ambition is non-stop hiking, nature spotting or swimming in hot springs, the Azores is an adventure-lover’s fantasy fulfilled.

Find out more about travelling around the Azores with our 5 road trips in Portugal itinerary here.

São Miguel, Azores.

Costa Rica

Prefer somewhere close to the United States? This rainforest destination may not be the “island paradise” you had in mind — but what it offers instead is much cooler. Here you’ll find over a dozen national parks ranging in theme from volcanic to jungle to wild beaches with a Caribbean flair.

If you’re into under-the-sea activities, good news: Costa Rica’s ocean is just as diverse as all its onshore attractions. From deep-sea diving to surfing some of the world’s best waves, your itinerary will undoubtedly be an unforgettable one.

Volcán Tenorio, Costa Rica.

French Polynesia

There’s a real sense of seclusion outside of the Bora Bora spotlight — if being away from people is what you’re into. Have your pick with a variety of island clusters, but you’ll find that Moorea and Tahiti strike a comfortable balance between accessibility and isolation.

You’ll still have the opportunity to stay in water bungalows that embody Polynesian luxury, but with a backdrop that feels all natural. Off the beaten track realistically means less activities to pick from — yet, the silver lining is that you can enjoy all this unspoilt scenery to yourself. It’s the next best thing to having your own private island.

Moorea, French Polynesia.


If there’s a destination more romantic than the Seychelles, we’ve yet to find it. Even the rocks that characterise this island nation are sensually smooth, not to mention the luscious fauna and glistening water. It’s no wonder that this ‘perpetual summer’ archipelago is revered by honeymooners and Hollywood stars.

It’s not the cheapest island on our list, but if you want to go all out on vacation, the Seychelles is worth the splurge. Almost all beaches in the Seychelles are actually free of charge, too. So long as you stock up on sunscreen, swimsuits and snorkelling gear beforehand — you might be able to cut a few corners when it comes to the little things.

Praslin, Seychelles.

St Lucia

St Lucia’s attitude is so laidback, it can be easy to forget for a second how remarkable the scenery is. From the twin Pitons that shoulder each side of Sugar Bay beach, to botanical gardens and Sulphur Springs, St Lucia has a surprising amount of natural variety — compared to the flatter terrain typically expected of a Caribbean island.

There’s enough activity to keep you entertained, but if you’d like nothing more than to spend hours lounging by the sea, there’s plenty of garden daybeds provided. Add some famous St Lucian chocolate into the mix as a finishing touch for the best lazy day ever.

The Pitons, St Lucia.


Island paradise on a budget? Try Mauritius. Although you’ll have to save a few thousand before visiting, it’s one of the most affordable options on this list. You can find luxury at every level without compromising on comfort or preferences like a vegetarian diet.

Waterfalls, craggy cliffs and emerald forestry paint a picture of Mauritius, but its best kept secret are the multicoloured hills. It’s hard to believe that Chamarel isn't photoshopped, but the “Seven Coloured Earth” is in fact the real deal. If there’s one thing cooler than seeing a rainbow in the sky, it has to be this.

Chamarel, Mauritius.
Header image is of the Azores, Portugal.
Starting from Skratch? Here are some links to help you get started:
Take the road less travelled with our Off the Beaten Track series.

Our Alternatives to Hawaii: A Quick Guide

⛰️ Azores: adventurous island hopping.

🏄 Costa Rica: nature spotting, surfing, and under the sea activities.

🌴 French Polynesia: for that private island feeling.

🌹 Seychelles: a swoon worthy getaway.

💎 St Lucia: hidden gem in the Caribbean.

🌈 Mauritius: a “budget friendly” island paradise.

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Hannah Douch
January 24, 2024

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