A group of 27 coral islands that form two atolls in the Indian Ocean, the Cocos Keeling Islands were virtually unheard of until beach activists Brad Farmer and Andrew Short named Cocos Keeling’s Cossies Beach as the best in Australia for 2017. Called the continent’s last unspoiled paradise, the remote destination is as special for what’s not there (high-rise resorts, chain restaurants, crowds, traffic) as what is — pristine white sand and a turquoise lagoon that’s home to 30,000 sea turtles. 

Flight Dallas - Las Vegas (DFW - LAS) $57+ Flight Oakland - Las Vegas (OAK - LAS) $57+ Flight Denver - Las Vegas (DEN - LAS) $71+ Flight Houston - Las Vegas (HOU - LAS) $72+ Flight Houston - Las Vegas (IAH - LAS) $72+ Flight Los Angeles - Las Vegas (LAX - LAS) $79+ Flight Seattle - Las Vegas (SEA - LAS) $86+ Flight San Francisco - Las Vegas (SFO - LAS) $87+ Flight San José - Las Vegas (SJC - LAS) $97+ Flight Philadelphia - Las Vegas (PHL - LAS) $123+ Flight Chicago - Las Vegas (ORD - LAS) $125+ Flight Minneapolis - Las Vegas (MSP - LAS) $127+ Flight Cleveland - Las Vegas (CLE - LAS) $134+ Flight Atlanta - Las Vegas (ATL - LAS) $155+ Flight Washington - Las Vegas (BWI - LAS) $156+ Flight Orlando - Las Vegas (MCO - LAS) $158+ Flight Newark - Las Vegas (EWR - LAS) $163+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - Las Vegas (FLL - LAS) $165+ Flight Boston - Las Vegas (BOS - LAS) $167+ Flight Washington - Las Vegas (DCA - LAS) $176+ Flight Detroit - Las Vegas (DTW - LAS) $183+ Flight New York - Las Vegas (LGA - LAS) $183+ Flight Chicago - Las Vegas (MDW - LAS) $205+ Flight New York - Las Vegas (JFK - LAS) $219+
Every imaginable shade of blue manifests in the lagoon of Bora Bora, aka, the Jewel of the South Seas. Coral motus ring the main island like a sandy sash, and beneath the surface, dolphins, rays, sharks, turtles and colorful fish throng. Presiding over it all is the moss-green volcanic peak of Mount Otemanu, where god descended to the island on a rainbow, according to local lore. Timeless grass-skirted dancers and exotic overwater bungalows round out the sublime scene.
This unique history of formation and isolation has given rise to breathtaking and extraordinary wonders. Perfect white sand beaches, abundant reefs, towering waterfalls, lush valleys, snow-capped mountains and fiery hot volcanic cauldrons captivate the hearts of those who visit as well as those who call this beautiful place home. A special culture has evolved from the unique natural environment of these islands. Native Hawaiians are the host culture here, and the values of Aloha have laid the foundation for the Hawaii we have today. Since the 1700s, peoples of various cultures have been arriving on these shores, bringing their foods, their music and their ways of life.
Dubbed the Isle of Flowers and crowned by 4,583-foot Mount Pelee, Martinique may just be the Caribbean’s best-kept secret. Some exploration is required to uncover the island’s treasures, like the Balata Gardens’ Treetop Trail of suspension bridges, Saint-Pierre’s 18th-century theater ruins, and the poignant Anse Cafard Slave Memorial. This overseas region of France is also considered the rum capital of the world; follow the Route des Rhums to tour esteemed distilleries like Clement and Rhum JM.
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. 

Glass-bottom boats with thatched canopies ply shimmering lagoons. Tanned locals in pareus (sarongs) play ukuleles. Ridged velvet-green mountains punctuate the skyline. Palm trees reach higher than any roof. This is reality in the Cook Islands, a 15-isle archipelago marooned in the South Pacific. Go on a mountain safari on the main island of Rarotonga, or head to Aitutaki to stay in an overwater bungalow and motu-hop to deserted sugar beaches that beg to be Instagrammed.
Flight Dallas - Las Vegas (DFW - LAS) $57+ Flight Oakland - Las Vegas (OAK - LAS) $57+ Flight Denver - Las Vegas (DEN - LAS) $71+ Flight Houston - Las Vegas (HOU - LAS) $72+ Flight Houston - Las Vegas (IAH - LAS) $72+ Flight Los Angeles - Las Vegas (LAX - LAS) $79+ Flight Seattle - Las Vegas (SEA - LAS) $86+ Flight San Francisco - Las Vegas (SFO - LAS) $87+ Flight San José - Las Vegas (SJC - LAS) $97+ Flight Philadelphia - Las Vegas (PHL - LAS) $123+ Flight Chicago - Las Vegas (ORD - LAS) $125+ Flight Minneapolis - Las Vegas (MSP - LAS) $127+ Flight Cleveland - Las Vegas (CLE - LAS) $134+ Flight Atlanta - Las Vegas (ATL - LAS) $155+ Flight Washington - Las Vegas (BWI - LAS) $156+ Flight Orlando - Las Vegas (MCO - LAS) $158+ Flight Newark - Las Vegas (EWR - LAS) $163+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - Las Vegas (FLL - LAS) $165+ Flight Boston - Las Vegas (BOS - LAS) $167+ Flight Washington - Las Vegas (DCA - LAS) $176+ Flight Detroit - Las Vegas (DTW - LAS) $183+ Flight New York - Las Vegas (LGA - LAS) $183+ Flight Chicago - Las Vegas (MDW - LAS) $205+ Flight New York - Las Vegas (JFK - LAS) $219+

Flight New York - Chicago (LGA - ORD) $57+ Flight Tampa - Chicago (TPA - ORD) $71+ Flight Denver - Chicago (DEN - ORD) $81+ Flight Houston - Chicago (HOU - ORD) $85+ Flight Houston - Chicago (IAH - ORD) $85+ Flight Boston - Chicago (BOS - ORD) $96+ Flight Dallas - Chicago (DFW - ORD) $97+ Flight Minneapolis - Chicago (MSP - ORD) $97+ Flight Washington - Chicago (BWI - ORD) $101+
Flight Dallas - Las Vegas (DFW - LAS) $57+ Flight Oakland - Las Vegas (OAK - LAS) $57+ Flight Denver - Las Vegas (DEN - LAS) $71+ Flight Houston - Las Vegas (HOU - LAS) $72+ Flight Houston - Las Vegas (IAH - LAS) $72+ Flight Los Angeles - Las Vegas (LAX - LAS) $79+ Flight Seattle - Las Vegas (SEA - LAS) $86+ Flight San Francisco - Las Vegas (SFO - LAS) $87+ Flight San José - Las Vegas (SJC - LAS) $97+ Flight Philadelphia - Las Vegas (PHL - LAS) $123+ Flight Chicago - Las Vegas (ORD - LAS) $125+ Flight Minneapolis - Las Vegas (MSP - LAS) $127+ Flight Cleveland - Las Vegas (CLE - LAS) $134+ Flight Atlanta - Las Vegas (ATL - LAS) $155+ Flight Washington - Las Vegas (BWI - LAS) $156+ Flight Orlando - Las Vegas (MCO - LAS) $158+ Flight Newark - Las Vegas (EWR - LAS) $163+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - Las Vegas (FLL - LAS) $165+ Flight Boston - Las Vegas (BOS - LAS) $167+ Flight Washington - Las Vegas (DCA - LAS) $176+ Flight Detroit - Las Vegas (DTW - LAS) $183+ Flight New York - Las Vegas (LGA - LAS) $183+ Flight Chicago - Las Vegas (MDW - LAS) $205+ Flight New York - Las Vegas (JFK - LAS) $219+
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Word History: It may seem hard to believe, but Latin aqua, "water," is related to island, which originally meant "watery land." Aqua comes almost unchanged from Indo-European *akwā-, "water." *Akwā- became *ahwō- in Germanic by Grimm's Law and other sound changes. To this was built the adjective *ahwjō-, "watery." This then became *awwjō- or *auwi-, which in pre-English became *ēaj-, and finally ēg or īeg in Old English. Island, spelled iland, first appears in Old English in King Alfred's translation of Boethius about ad 888; the spellings igland and ealond appear in contemporary documents. The s in island is due to a mistaken etymology, confusing the etymologically correct English iland with French isle. Isle comes ultimately from Latin īnsula "island," a component of paenīnsula, "almost-island," whence our peninsula.
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.
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.
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.
With a history dating to the Stone Age, Hvar is as fascinating as it is beautiful. Thirteenth-century walls surround Hvar Town, with its red-tiled roofs, and the ancient stone ruins of Stari Grad Plain became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. A jaunt to the interior reveals rugged mountains, lush vineyards and fragrant lavender fields. Embark on a boat trip on the Adriatic to snorkel, swim in sea caves, and wander secret beaches and seaside hamlets.
Central Park West Hostel $53+ Broadway Hotel And Hostel $56+ Blue Moon Boutique Hotel $65+ Pod 51 $101+ Hotel Pennsylvania $104+ Club Quarters Hotel, Wall Street $112+ Holiday Inn Manhattan-Financial District $113+ The Watson Hotel $116+ DoubleTree by Hilton New York Times Square West $126+ Night Hotel Times Square $127+ The Gallivant Times Square $127+ DoubleTree by Hilton New York City - Financial District $128+ Row NYC $131+ The Manhattan At Times Square Hotel $131+ Hotel Edison $136+ Hudson New York, Central Park $140+ Paramount Hotel $143+ Empire Hotel $145+ MOXY NYC Times Square $152+ The Roosevelt Hotel $153+ YOTEL New York $156+ Dream Midtown $159+
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