Island Vacations – Part 1: How to Pick an Island

Beach-front, beach-view, garden-front, over-water bungalow, pool-side, all-inclusive, adults-only, private-pool, bed and breakfast, full-board, half-board – these are daunting terms you will come across while deciding on an island vacation.

We traveled to Costa Rica and Seychelles and spent a considerable amount of time in trying to select a resort and an island. It is time to share some of this knowledge to help you make a decision when booking your next island/ resort vacation! We are talking about the tropical island resorts spread across the world. This is a post in two parts.


Part 1: How to pick an island?

Seychelles HammockThis is not an age for resting but its the age to get up an go on those long road-trips, trekking across any mountain you can lay your feet on, backpacking across some of the world’s oldest cities and gorging on some of the street food delights of the world’s food capitals. But every once in a while we all need to dial down a bit and take that much needed resort vacation and immerse ourselves in a book while lying on a hammock and hearing waves crash against the seashore. And if you are like us and love to go through the ritual of planning a holiday on your own, you will certainly have some of these questions.

  • Here I am with the map of the world, which island or beach destination shall I pick?
  • How long is the flight?
  • How do I get to the island after landing at the airport?
  • Is it just a nice beach and a strip of sand or are there other activities?
  • At what time of the year should I go here?

There is no magic or a wizard then can help you pick out a place, but there are a series of things to consider while deciding on a place. Some of the pointers below will aid your decision:

  • Some of the best and most beautiful islands/ resorts are found in North and Central America (Hawaii, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Caribbean islands), Off the coast of East Africa (Zanzibar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar), Asia (Maldives, Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Andaman & Nicobar Islands), The Pacific Islands (Fiji, Bora Bora Islands, Tahiti)
  • When you are heading on a 5-7 day vacation to relax, you usually wouldn’t want to spend 18-24 hours on long haul flights. So, while it would be exotic to think that you traveled to Bora Bora from India, it would be less desirable to spend $3,000 on transportation, 2 days to get there and a change of 3 flight segments
  • Not all islands have airports and many use the nearest large airport to bring tourists in. It is important to know the last mile transportation to your island. This could be via a ferry or sea-plane or sometimes even an over-water bridge. An additional cost of this leg of the transportation should be factored in – many times this cost is actually available only when you book the resort since the transportation is exclusively provided by the resort – more on this in Part 2: How to pick a resort
  • There are some islands where the only activity is inside the resort and outside, there is just the beach – for example, some islands in Maldives are very exclusive and have beautiful resorts, but you may not have a little trek that can kick-start your day or those rain-forests with local flora and fauna. This is probably the reason why Seychelles won us over during our comparison with Maldives
  • The weather in most of the tropical islands remains pleasant throughout the year and as a thumb-rule you can visit whenever you want. However, various activities might remain open for only a certain part of the year. For example, if you want to snorkel or dive in Maldives, May to September is the best time whereas, if you want to windsurf in Seychelles, May to September is generally the best time of the year.

The next step is to pick a resort. Stay tuned for our next part on decoding the resort jargon!

Next Up: Part 2: How to pick a resort?

For the 
Lazy bumMaldives (There is no trekking to be done here!)
Budget travelerMost islands in Asia (includes Andamans, Thailand, Philippines and Maldives)
Adventure seeker
  • Costa Rica - it has got everything from Zip Lining over tropical forests to volcano treks in addition to all the usual watersports

  • Hawaiian islands - Beautiful volcano treks and hikes through lush green rainforests and waterfalls)
  • Party addictIbiza - see no further!
    Much in loveSeychelles - for years this was the most exclusive honeymoon destination before other islands caught up. As they say old wine is the best and true to that Seychelles still holds its own.
    Luxury travelerIslands in the Caribbean and French Polynesia - if you want luxury and something exclusive, look no further than these. Getting to these islands is very expensive making them exclusive and attractive to the discerning traveler

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