Known as the Cradle of Polynesia, Samoa is notable for its Fa’a Samoa way of life — a 3,000-year-old social code that prizes family, tradition and the environment. Happily, the landscape is as lovely as the local culture. On the main island of Upolu, a plunge into the To Sua Ocean Trench swimming grotto is a must. On Savaii, Samoa’s largest island, visit caves, waterfalls, blowholes and the Saleaula lava field, formed by a 1905 volcanic eruption that buried five villages.
Possibly the location of the storied island of Atlantis, Santorini is the stuff of screensavers and wall calendars. Red-, black- and white-sand beaches rim its caldera lake — one of the largest in the world — while iconic whitewashed buildings stair-step up the hillside overlooking the Aegean Sea. Photo ops abound, from centuries-old windmills and ancient ruins to blue-domed churches and colorful wooden fishing boats. Stay in a boutique cave hotel for the full experience.
Possibly the location of the storied island of Atlantis, Santorini is the stuff of screensavers and wall calendars. Red-, black- and white-sand beaches rim its caldera lake — one of the largest in the world — while iconic whitewashed buildings stair-step up the hillside overlooking the Aegean Sea. Photo ops abound, from centuries-old windmills and ancient ruins to blue-domed churches and colorful wooden fishing boats. Stay in a boutique cave hotel for the full experience.
El Cortez Hotel and Casino $38+ the D Las Vegas $41+ Oasis at Gold Spike $46+ Plaza Hotel & Casino $48+ Palace Station Hotel And Casino $50+ Circus Circus Hotel & Casino $55+ Hooters Casino Hotel $59+ Downtown Grand Las Vegas $59+ Stratosphere Hotel, Casino & Tower, BW Premier Collection $60+ Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino $62+ Tuscany Suites & Casino $66+ Alexis Park All Suite Resort $67+ Excalibur Hotel and Casino $71+ Lucky Dragon Las Vegas $74+ Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino $74+ Luxor Hotel and Casino $79+ The LINQ Hotel & Casino $79+ Golden Nugget Las Vegas Hotel & Casino $79+ Harrah's Las Vegas Hotel & Casino $79+ Flamingo Las Vegas - Hotel & Casino $80+ Tropicana Las Vegas a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Resort $83+ The Orleans Hotel & Casino $83+ SLS Las Vegas $84+ TI - Treasure Island Hotel and Casino $87+ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino $91+ Bally's Las Vegas - Hotel & Casino $95+ South Point Hotel, Casino, And Spa $95+ New York-New York Hotel & Casino $105+ Palms Casino Resort $113+ Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino $120+
These are the outriders of England, a clutch of tiny islands off Land's End, Cornwall, awash in the Atlantic and in a world of their own. Five are sparsely inhabited, and hundreds more islets, skerries, and rocks stretch out to the Bishop Rock Lighthouse. The next stop is America.Balmy Atlantic air supports the spring flower industry. Part of the Duchy of Cornwall, the isles are owned by Prince Charles.
Nicknamed “The Helen of the West” (an allusion to the beauty of Helen of Troy), St. Lucia stuns with its signature feature: the UNESCO-listed twin Pitons. Reaching heights of about 2,500 feet, the voluptuous volcanic spires complement the island’s other attractions, including verdant jungles, sparkling silver-sand beaches, haunting sugar-estate ruins, and a mineral-rich natural mud bath. Meanwhile, the island’s most famous resort, Jade Mountain, is an architectural gem in its own right.
Described as the Philippines’ last frontier, Palawan boasts not one but two UNESCO World Heritage sites: Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (don your dive gear), and the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park (climb in a canoe for a guided tour). Striking limestone formations like Ugong Rock and Karst Mountain Elephant Cave rise starkly from the rice fields of the interior. You can even find overwater bungalows on outlying islands, courtesy of El Nido Resorts.
The Seychelles’ towering beach boulders are a mainstay on computer desktops, but they’re more than merely aesthetic — they also fascinate geologists, who have identified the Seychelles as the only mid-ocean islands formed of granite. Other superlatives: The archipelago is the oldest on the planet, and it has the cleanest air. Naturally, celebrities flock here; if you want to vacation a la British royalty, stay on North Island, where Prince William and Kate Middleton spent their 2011 honeymoon.

El Cortez Hotel and Casino $38+ the D Las Vegas $41+ Oasis at Gold Spike $46+ Plaza Hotel & Casino $48+ Palace Station Hotel And Casino $50+ Circus Circus Hotel & Casino $55+ Hooters Casino Hotel $59+ Downtown Grand Las Vegas $59+ Stratosphere Hotel, Casino & Tower, BW Premier Collection $60+ Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino $62+ Tuscany Suites & Casino $66+ Alexis Park All Suite Resort $67+ Excalibur Hotel and Casino $71+ Lucky Dragon Las Vegas $74+ Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino $74+ Luxor Hotel and Casino $79+ The LINQ Hotel & Casino $79+ Golden Nugget Las Vegas Hotel & Casino $79+ Harrah's Las Vegas Hotel & Casino $79+ Flamingo Las Vegas - Hotel & Casino $80+ Tropicana Las Vegas a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Resort $83+ The Orleans Hotel & Casino $83+ SLS Las Vegas $84+ TI - Treasure Island Hotel and Casino $87+ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino $91+ Bally's Las Vegas - Hotel & Casino $95+ South Point Hotel, Casino, And Spa $95+ New York-New York Hotel & Casino $105+ Palms Casino Resort $113+ Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino $120+
Holding the largest number of overwater bungalow resorts in the world (more than 75 and counting), the Maldives understands its best asset is the gin-clear, abundant waters of the Indian Ocean. When you’re not snorkeling, diving, or gazing at the rich marine life through the floor windows of your water-top villa, continue enjoying the underwater display while dining at 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, or even while getting pampered in Huvafen Fushi’s submerged spa.

El Cortez Hotel and Casino $38+ the D Las Vegas $41+ Oasis at Gold Spike $46+ Plaza Hotel & Casino $48+ Palace Station Hotel And Casino $50+ Circus Circus Hotel & Casino $55+ Hooters Casino Hotel $59+ Downtown Grand Las Vegas $59+ Stratosphere Hotel, Casino & Tower, BW Premier Collection $60+ Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino $62+ Tuscany Suites & Casino $66+ Alexis Park All Suite Resort $67+ Excalibur Hotel and Casino $71+ Lucky Dragon Las Vegas $74+ Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino $74+ Luxor Hotel and Casino $79+ The LINQ Hotel & Casino $79+ Golden Nugget Las Vegas Hotel & Casino $79+ Harrah's Las Vegas Hotel & Casino $79+ Flamingo Las Vegas - Hotel & Casino $80+ Tropicana Las Vegas a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Resort $83+ The Orleans Hotel & Casino $83+ SLS Las Vegas $84+ TI - Treasure Island Hotel and Casino $87+ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino $91+ Bally's Las Vegas - Hotel & Casino $95+ South Point Hotel, Casino, And Spa $95+ New York-New York Hotel & Casino $105+ Palms Casino Resort $113+ Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino $120+

The joy is to watch how these islands are transformed by changing distances, by sunlight, by clouds. On some, there is a sliver of beach, just enough from which to swim; others are edged with little villages built on boards, the houses tied together. All are tropical paradises: Koh Phi Phi, Koh He, Koh Racha, Koh Surin, Koh Dok Mai, to name some of the favorites. Koh Phuket serves as a good jumping-off point. After being devastated by the 2004 tsunami, these islands have made a comeback.
Take everything you want Greece to be — olive groves and tavernas, fishermen and bakers leading quiet village lives, stone villas and cypress trees and brilliant bougainvillea — and put it on a tiny, Ionian island only reachable by boat: That’s Paxos. On the western coast, sheer cliffs, rock arches and 40 sea caves put on a stunning show. Daytrip to the neighboring island of Antipaxos for powder sand and water so aqua, it rivals the Caribbean Sea.
The joy is to watch how these islands are transformed by changing distances, by sunlight, by clouds. On some, there is a sliver of beach, just enough from which to swim; others are edged with little villages built on boards, the houses tied together. All are tropical paradises: Koh Phi Phi, Koh He, Koh Racha, Koh Surin, Koh Dok Mai, to name some of the favorites. Koh Phuket serves as a good jumping-off point. After being devastated by the 2004 tsunami, these islands have made a comeback.
Drop-dead gorgeous Fiji is a filmmaker’s dream. Spy its Mamanuca island chain in Cast Away and Survivor; ogle its Yasawa archipelago in the 1980 version of Blue Lagoon. A dizzying amount of natural beauty — from mountains and mangroves to rivers and reefs — swathes Fiji’s 333 islands, and awe-inspiring wildlife (whales, sea turtles, dolphins, parrots) is the icing on the cake. For scenery with a side of luxury and exclusivity, reserve a bure (villa) at one of Fiji’s numerous private-island resorts.
Flight Detroit - Orlando (DTW - MCO) $61+ Flight Denver - Orlando (DEN - MCO) $68+ Flight Houston - Orlando (HOU - MCO) $77+ Flight Houston - Orlando (IAH - MCO) $77+ Flight Washington - Orlando (BWI - MCO) $78+ Flight Philadelphia - Orlando (PHL - MCO) $83+ Flight Chicago - Orlando (ORD - MCO) $85+ Flight Providence - Orlando (PVD - MCO) $97+ Flight Washington - Orlando (DCA - MCO) $97+
Flight New York - Washington (JFK - DCA) $117+ Flight Orlando - Washington (MCO - DCA) $117+ Flight Minneapolis - Washington (MSP - DCA) $123+ Flight New York - Washington (LGA - DCA) $137+ Flight Boston - Washington (BOS - DCA) $155+ Flight Boston - Washington (BOS - IAD) $161+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - Washington (FLL - DCA) $168+ Flight Chicago - Washington (ORD - DCA) $174+ Flight San José - Washington (SJC - IAD) $175+ Flight Denver - Washington (DEN - DCA) $179+ Flight Atlanta - Washington (ATL - DCA) $187+ Flight Miami - Washington (MIA - DCA) $191+ Flight Dallas - Washington (DFW - DCA) $196+ Flight Houston - Washington (HOU - IAD) $200+

The joy is to watch how these islands are transformed by changing distances, by sunlight, by clouds. On some, there is a sliver of beach, just enough from which to swim; others are edged with little villages built on boards, the houses tied together. All are tropical paradises: Koh Phi Phi, Koh He, Koh Racha, Koh Surin, Koh Dok Mai, to name some of the favorites. Koh Phuket serves as a good jumping-off point. After being devastated by the 2004 tsunami, these islands have made a comeback.

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