Get to know 10 of the best islands in the world

Canary islands Spain

In this article, we will learn about 10 of the best islands in the world for vacations, based on their beaches and other tourist attractions.

It is very difficult to classify which are “the best islands in the world” among the millions on the planet, since the criteria for choosing them are very broad, and no one can boast of knowing more than just a handful of them.

For some, the best islands in the world are those with the best beaches and resorts, such as those in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, while for others they are the most inaccessible and best preserve their traditional cultures, such as Papua or many of them from Oceania.

To choose these islands, I based myself exclusively on which ones are the best for a vacation, taking into account their beaches, accessibility, infrastructure, and other activities that can be done apart from lying on the sand. In any case, it is clear that it is not a complete list but 10 of the best islands in the world.

Some are not single islands but archipelagos, which I chose to put together since they can be visited as part of the same trip.

How to visit the best islands in the world cheaply

For logistical reasons or because they are very popular destinations, many islands are more expensive than other places, but there is a way to save a lot during a trip.

Being part of a volunteer will allow you to travel without paying for accommodation, in addition to meeting many people, especially locals who will bring you closer to their culture and other travelers like you.

As a volunteer, you will help in different projects around the world, exchanging a few hours of work a day for lodging and, often, food and other benefits such as free tours and discounts on activities.

On the Worldpackers platform, there are many volunteer vacancies around the world. Throughout the article, I will share opportunities on the islands that we will see.

10 of the best islands in the world to vacation

Puerto Rico

The “island of charm” is paradisiacal beaches and reggaeton, but there is much more to explore (and dance to) on this Caribbean island.

Snorkeling and diving are first class, as are the waves to surf in certain parts; Added to these experiences in the water are the bays with bioluminescent plankton, which lights up the sea at night, creating a magical effect.

It also has a large number of historical sites and legacies from its past as a Spanish colony. This typical culture of the Latin Caribbean is mixed with its present as a territory of the United States, giving a very interesting fusion, which you will quickly notice in the speech of the Boricuas.

At Worldpackers there are several options for volunteering in Puerto Rico, whether it’s helping out at a boutique hostel in San Juan or at a sustainable farm located in the interior jungle. 

Puerto Rico

Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Although these two islands in the Gulf of Mexico are not that close, I put them together since you can visit both on your trip to the Riviera Maya. 

Cozumel is accessed from Playa del Carmen, while Isla Mujeres is from Cancun. Just by hearing these names, you can imagine that we are talking about some of the best beach destinations in the world, but also about Mayan culture, counting the area with several of the most emblematic places in Mexico. 

Both islands are surrounded by the Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. This means that they are not only destinations to enjoy their warm and crystal clear water on the surface, but also to dive in to explore their magical underwater world.

Spend some time getting to know these islands in depth as part of volunteering in Cozumel and volunteering on Isla Mujeres. 

Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Majorca, Spain

The largest island of the Balearic Islands is one of the most popular destinations in Europe as it combines 550 km of coastline with postcard beaches, trails through the mountainous interior, spectacular views from its cliffs, excellent Mediterranean food, nightlife, picturesque towns in the hills and great cultural wealth, with Roman, Byzantine and Moorish vestiges distributed throughout the territory.

In addition, it is very accessible with direct flights from many European cities and boats from other tourist destinations in Spain such as Barcelona and Valencia. 

A characteristic of Majorca is its coves, inlets of the sea on the island that through erosion formed small bays with beaches with calm waters. Many of them fill up with tourists, but there are still several hidden ones due to their difficulty to access.

Palma de Mallorca is one of the most visited cities in Spain and has some of the most beautiful beaches in Spain. This means that accommodation is not cheap, but there are volunteer opportunities, such as helping in this guest house in the interior of Mallorca. There are also volunteers in other Balearic Islands.

Majorca, Spain

Canary islands Spain

Its location off the coast of Morocco, and more than 1,300 kilometers from continental Europe, make the Canary Islands a unique place in Spain.

Traveling to the Canaries is like feeling like you are on a Caribbean island, not only because of its tropical climate, beaches, and palm trees but especially because of its people: the close relationship between these islands and those of the Caribbean since Columbus’ first voyage to America created a syncretism between these cultures that you will notice from the accent of the canaries to their way of being.

Tenerife is the largest, most populated, and most tourists of this archipelago made up of 8 inhabited islands and several islets. In it are the Teide, the highest peak in Spain and the third highest volcano in the world with 3718 meters, which on clear days can be seen from all the islands.

Gran Canaria is the second most visited island by tourism. In addition to the beaches that you can imagine, it has an enormous network of trails that go from the coast to the highest peaks, passing through pre-Hispanic archaeological zones and beautiful inland towns.

Fuerteventura is less touristy, and the one with the best golden sand beaches. Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and Graciosa complete the archipelago.

Both in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and in Santa Cruz de Tenerife there are several projects that are looking for volunteers.

Canary islands Spain


Malta is a country that, thanks to its strategic location in the Mediterranean, connecting Italy and the rest of Europe with North Africa, has been part of great empires and civilizations.

Thanks to this, Malta has many attractions and very interesting anecdotes, ranging from megalithic structures built by ancient civilizations to the government of the famous Order of the Knights of Malta, as well as a stage as a British colony that made it play a relevant role. in World War II (it was one of the most bombed places during the war).

Its capital, Valletta, is a city of unique architecture, filled with buildings with colorful wooden porticoes and Baroque churches, and with stunning views of the surrounding bays.

Leaving the city, Malta’s beaches are the expression of the Mediterranean ideal: warm crystalline waters and fine sand favored by an excellent climate.

For all this, in addition to being a popular tourist destination, Malta is also one of the most chosen places to study English. 

Malta's beaches

Cyclades Islands, Greece

The archipelago of the Cyclades, in the Aegean Sea, is the stereotype of the Greek islands: buildings painted in pristine white, small churches with blue roofs, cliffs overlooking the sea, windmills, archaeological sites, beaches, and culinary delights.

Maybe the name Cyclades doesn’t sound like much to you, but if I tell you that its two most famous islands are Santorini and Mykonos, you probably already know what I’m talking about.

The great attraction of these two islands and other popular ones such as Ios and Paros means that for a large part of the year, especially in the high season of July-September, they get crowded and it is difficult to find spaces in which to be quiet, but the group is made up of more than two thousand islands, of which only 33 are inhabited.

Cyclades Islands, Greece

Bali, Indonesia

So famous is the name of Bali as a tourist destination in itself, that even many are unaware that it is one of the more than 17,000 islands that make up Indonesia, the largest archipelago in the world.

The world mecca for surfing not only lives on its coast since long before tourism arrived, but a unique culture was also already developing that is maintained today despite foreign influence. Its traditional dances, mythology, theater, architecture, and religion, which combine Hinduism with ancestral beliefs, are unique in the world. Add to this the photogenic terraced rice plantations, thousands of religious temples, volcanoes, and the nearby Gili Islands. 

And although in some areas it may feel that it is too crowded, it is enough to rent a motorbike and go out to find corners of that island that the world fell in love with from the first moment.

Would you like to spend some time living on the island? These are the possibilities of volunteering in Bali. 

Bali, Indonesia

Palawan, Philippines

Of the more than 50 countries through which I traveled, it was in the Philippines where I found the best beaches, not only because of its landscape but also because many of them were free from the hordes of tourists that invaded many of the most beautiful destinations in the world.

Palawan is one of those islands in the Philippines with exuberant beauty, ranging from the idyllic beaches that I mentioned to the Subterranean River that was chosen as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World.

These are the volunteers in the Philippines. If you want to know more about the exchanges, you can read this experience: ” Volunteer as a math teacher in the Philippines “.  

Palawan Island Philippines
Palawan Philippines: Best Summer Island Vacation in the World

Sri Lanka

Another of the islands that surprised me the most on my travels was Sri Lanka. 

The fantastic beaches of the south are only part of this natural and cultural paradise located in south India, because a trip to Sri Lanka will take you through the plantations where the world-famous Ceylon tea is extracted (this was the name of the island during the British colonial period), by national parks with populations of elephants, by impressive archaeological complexes such as the Sigiriya rock fortress  (photo), and by places of great religious importance for Buddhism and Hinduism. In addition, it is a very economical destination.

And to live and get to know the country in-depth, you can see the possibilities of volunteering in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka


The Maldives could not be missing from this list of the best islands in the world. Its perfect beaches are among the first to appear when we look for paradisiacal islands, with the classic image of bungalows over crystal clear water that are the dream of every person stressed by the chaos of the city.

This archipelago, made up of around 1,200 small islands scattered across the Indian Ocean south of Sri Lanka, receives more than a million tourists a year, focusing its economy on luxury tourism.

But this exclusivity has begun to change in recent years, since five-star resorts on private islands are no longer the only accommodation option, and the market has opened up for families to set up their own tourist ventures suitable for a much broader public.

This, added to the cheap inter-island ferry transportation, made backpackers also begin to enjoy the number 1 beach destination in the world, and that tourism does not take place only in a bubble of glamor totally removed from local life.

One of those possibilities is to volunteer in the Maldives, which will allow you to get to know how the locals live.


Also, read this xplorely Unique article!

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Written by Saif Ali

Saif Ali Tai. What's up, I'm Saif Ali Tai. I'm a software engineer living in India. . I am a fan of technology, entrepreneurship, and programming.

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