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.
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.
As I had a boat, my next design was to make a cruise round the island; for as I had been on the other side in one place, crossing, as I have already described it, over the land, so the discoveries I made in that little journey made me very eager to see other parts of the coast; and now I had a boat, I thought of nothing but sailing round the island.

Flight Chicago - New York (ORD - LGA) $57+ Flight Atlanta - Newark (ATL - EWR) $99+ Flight Orlando - Newark (MCO - EWR) $105+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - Newark (FLL - EWR) $114+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - New York (FLL - LGA) $127+ Flight Atlanta - New York (ATL - LGA) $137+ Flight Houston - Newark (HOU - EWR) $138+ Flight Houston - Newark (IAH - EWR) $138+ Flight Chicago - New York (ORD - JFK) $140+ Flight Los Angeles - New York (LAX - LGA) $144+ Flight Dallas - New York (DFW - LGA) $147+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - New York (FLL - JFK) $157+ Flight Atlanta - New York (ATL - JFK) $182+ Flight Los Angeles - Newark (LAX - EWR) $183+ Flight Detroit - Newark (DTW - EWR) $197+ Flight Houston - New York (HOU - LGA) $201+ Flight San Francisco - New York (SFO - LGA) $210+ Flight Seattle - New York (SEA - JFK) $217+ Flight Dallas - Newark (DFW - EWR) $222+ Flight Los Angeles - New York (LAX - JFK) $231+ Flight San Francisco - New York (SFO - JFK) $231+ Flight San Francisco - Newark (SFO - EWR) $231+ Flight Ontario - New York (ONT - JFK) $237+ Flight San José - New York (SJC - JFK) $237+
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.
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.

Flight San Francisco - Los Angeles (SFO - LAX) $85+ Flight San José - Los Angeles (SJC - LAX) $91+ Flight Oakland - Los Angeles (OAK - LAX) $92+ Flight Austin - Los Angeles (AUS - LAX) $95+ Flight Denver - Los Angeles (DEN - LAX) $105+ Flight Houston - Los Angeles (HOU - LAX) $105+ Flight Dallas - Los Angeles (DFW - LAX) $112+ Flight Chicago - Los Angeles (ORD - LAX) $113+ Flight Seattle - Los Angeles (SEA - LAX) $129+ Flight Cleveland - Los Angeles (CLE - LAX) $133+ Flight New York - Los Angeles (LGA - LAX) $140+ Flight Minneapolis - Los Angeles (MSP - LAX) $159+ Flight Atlanta - Los Angeles (ATL - LAX) $161+ Flight Orlando - Los Angeles (MCO - LAX) $165+ Flight Detroit - Los Angeles (DTW - LAX) $166+ Flight Washington - Los Angeles (BWI - LAX) $169+ Flight Newark - Los Angeles (EWR - LAX) $180+ Flight Philadelphia - Los Angeles (PHL - LAX) $187+ Flight Boston - Los Angeles (BOS - LAX) $195+ Flight Fort Lauderdale - Los Angeles (FLL - LAX) $199+ Flight Washington - Los Angeles (DCA - LAX) $204+ Flight Washington - Los Angeles (IAD - LAX) $204+
The delicate Great Barrier Reef is the earth’s most extensive coral-reef system, supporting more than 1,600 species of fish, along with whales, rays, octopuses, dolphins and more. Nestled in the heart of this world wonder are the 74 Whitsunday Islands, all but four of which are protected national parklands. Bask in luxury at a high-end resort like Hamilton Island, and book a seaplane or helicopter flight to admire sights like Heart Reef and the swirling silica sands of Whitehaven Beach’s Hill Inlet. 

Who hasn’t been spellbound by images of Capri’s electric Blue Grotto? This glowing sea cave impresses even veteran globetrotters — and it’s only the beginning of the island’s marvels. Ash-white limestone cliffs, hidden slivers of beach, a towering natural arch: It’s no wonder Capri has been a tourist hub since ancient Roman times. Tip: Climb up to the ruins of Emperor Tiberius’ Villa Jovis, circa A.D. 27, for a heart-stopping vista.
As I had a boat, my next design was to make a cruise round the island; for as I had been on the other side in one place, crossing, as I have already described it, over the land, so the discoveries I made in that little journey made me very eager to see other parts of the coast; and now I had a boat, I thought of nothing but sailing round the island.

Lord Howe is way out in the middle of the Tasman Sea, a two-and-a-half-hour plane ride from Sydney. It takes days by boat. However you get there, the journey is worth it.Named after a British admiral, Lord Howe is the world’s most southerly coral island. About 350 people call it home, many descended from families who settled there in the 18th century.


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+
×