There’s nothing better than having a tropical beach vacation to look forward to during these dreary winter days, especially as below 0 temperatures take over North America and Europe. It’s so easy to daydream about that moment – the one when you finally make it to your ocean side cabana and lay eyes on the sparkling sea while feeling the warm ocean breeze. When your shoulders relax and the corners of your mouth turn up and you think to yourself “why has it taken me this long to get here?”
A few days ago, Kayak released their 2018 Travel Hacker Guide which shares insights into travel trends on popular destinations, based on 1.5 billion Kayak user searches. My favorite part of the guide is, of course, dedicated to trending beach destinations. I’m always curious where the newest hot spots are and what better way to assess than to look at the places with the fastest growing interest.
From the Aloha spirit in Hawaii to the passionate Greek way of life, you can find the top ten results below of destinations with the highest increase in searches comparing 2017 to 2016. The number one trending destination actually had a 206% increase in searches, though I would be more than happy lounging at any of these beaches with my pink umbrella drink in hand. If you haven’t booked your escape for this winter, pack your swimsuits and consider one of these island getaways. All are guaranteed to be a good time.
Located in the South Pacific, Fiji is made up of over 300 islands, many of which are uninhabited. Fiji is the ultimate beach getaway as it offers a variety – in terms of landscape (including volcanic, lush, and beach settings) and activities galore. Snorkel in Yasawas, dive near Taveuni, or swim in clear blue lagoons.
Curaçao is the “C” in the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao), which are in the Caribbean and all part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Here, you can scuba in the famous Blue Bay, one of the nicest coral reefs in the world. You can also sail, snorkel, and swim with turtles.
- Saint Lucia
Luxury resorts line the island of Saint Lucia, where you can relax in infinity pools overlooking the vast ocean and the Pitons mountains. Visit Rodney Bay, Marigot Bay, Pigeon Island, and Anse Chastanet for epic beaches and opportunities to sail, snorkel, swim in waterfalls and lounge.
7. Bimini Islands, Bahamas
Bimini, situated on the western side of the Bahamas, is a chain of islands roughly 50 miles off of the coast of Florida. With plenty of beaches to escape to, you’ll find bright teal waters and great fishing, a place where Ernest Hemingway often found himself. Visit Alice Town, Gun Cay, Bailey Town, and the Cat Cays.
6. Paphos, Cyprus
In the eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus is an island divided into two countries with Turkey to the north and Cyprus to the south. In Paphos, you can visit historical sites including ruins of palaces and tombs and Petra tou Romiou – the birthplace of Aphrodite. Beach lovers will enjoy Cyprus for its gorgeous coast including Coral Bay where you can snorkel and relax.
5. Canary Islands
The Canary Islands, part of Spain, is roughly 60 miles west of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean. Known for white and black sand beaches, these islands have water sports, marine life, and plenty of coastal views. Visit Tenerife, the largest of the islands, or head to Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura.
4. Maui, Hawaii
Always a popular beach destination, Maui continues to trend up. Maui has 30 miles of white, red, and black sand beaches and has the most accessible beaches compared to any of the other Hawaiian Islands. Take the road to Hana and you’ll see waterfalls, pools, and views of the volcano Haleakala which is part of an extensive and scenic National Park.
- Crete, Greece
The largest island in Greece, Crete, is known for its fine-sand beaches and is also the birthplace of Zeus, according to Greek mythology. Accessible by walking through shallow waters, you can visit the island of Elafonisi, known for its pink sand beaches and protected nature reserve. .
2. Negril, Jamaica
A town on the west side of Jamaica, Negril is set on turquoise waters with miles and miles of white sand beaches. Head to Seven Mile Beach where you can bask in the sun all day and visit Long Bay for snorkeling or scuba diving. Nearby, you’ll find Mayfield Falls and Barney's Hummingbird Garden.
- Ocho Rios, Jamaica
With a significant increase in searches, Ocho Rios is the number one trending beach location with an increase of over 206% from 2016 to 2017. A port town on the north coast of Jamaica, Ocho Rios is home to beautiful beaches like James Bond, Turtle and Bamboo Beach. This beach town also has easy access to rainforests, rivers and waterfalls including Dunn’s River Falls and Dolphin Cove, where you can swim with dolphins and sharks.