Exploring lesser-known islands and off-the-beaten-path villages are some of the most exciting moments you'll have on a cruise. There's nothing better than a beautiful coastal town with quiet streets and untouched beaches.

Here are 10 of the best off-the-beaten-path destinations for your next tropical cruise.


Vanuatu is an archipelago of around 80 islands in the South Pacific Ocean, known for its rugged landscapes, active volcanoes, and large indigenous population. These islands are perfect for adventure enthusiasts, with tons of hiking, volcano trekking, and exploring waterfalls and caves. While you're here, you can also experience traditional Melanesian culture through village visits, cultural performances, and local markets.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Cruise Destinations - The Wise Traveller - Vanuatu


Comprising 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles is known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush tropical landscapes. There's no shortage of snorkeling, diving, sailing, and wildlife spotting, including giant tortoises and rare bird species.

On Mahe, the largest island in Seychelles, you can explore the Creole architecture of the capital, Victoria, in addition to lounging on pristine beaches with white sand and bright blue water.


Dominica, located in the Caribbean, is known for its lush rainforests and volcanic landscapes. This island has plenty of opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, river tubing, and exploring waterfalls, hot springs, and volcanic sites. Visit Morne Trois Pitons National Park, home to the volcanically heated, steam-covered Boiling Lake. While this lake is a great photo op, it's definitely not for swimming!


Grenada is a Caribbean island country nicknamed the "Spice Island" for its production of nutmeg, cinnamon, and other spices. With pristine beaches, lush rainforests, and historic sites, including colonial-era forts and plantations, there is no shortage of things to do here – including snorkeling, diving, sailing, and hiking, as well as exploring local markets and sampling Grenadian cuisine.

St. Kitts and Nevis

From beach relaxation to hiking, zip-lining, and exploring historic towns and plantations, this Caribbean island has something for everyone. While you're here, visit Brimstone Hill Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site – this is a well-preserved example of 17th and 18th-century military architecture.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Cruise Destinations - The Wise Traveller - Bonaire


Located off the coast of Venezuela, this Dutch Caribbean island is one of the top diving locations in the world. Around this island, you'll find coral reefs, marine parks, and diverse aquatic life, making it perfect for those who love diving and snorkeling. This destination is also ideal for those who love nature – you can explore salt flats, mangrove forests, and flamingo sanctuaries.


With only about 13 square kilometers of land, this small Caribbean island is known for its dramatic landscapes, including towering cliffs, lush rainforests, and volcanic peaks. Hiking, diving, and birdwatching abound here, with protected marine parks and coral reefs teeming with aquatic life. If you're willing to put up with a strenuous hike through the rainforest, you can even enjoy breathtaking views from the island's highest point, Mount Scenery.

St. Eustatius

St. Eustatius, often referred to as Statia, is a Dutch Caribbean island with plenty of diving, snorkeling, underwater wrecks, and coral reefs. If you love history, you can explore sites like Fort Oranje, dating back to the 1600s. Or, if you'd rather connect with nature, hike to the Quill volcano, towering over 600 meters above sea level.

Cook Islands

The Cook Islands are a group of 15 islands in the South Pacific Ocean, known for their turquoise lagoons, white sandy beaches, and coral reefs. While these islands are incredibly remote, those who make this journey will be rewarded with spectacular snorkeling, diving, fishing, and gorgeous beaches. You can also get a taste of Polynesian culture at one of the many cultural villages like Highland Paradise or Te Vara Nui.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Cruise Destinations - The Wise Traveller - Papua

Papua New Guinea

Located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, Papua New Guinea boasts remote landscapes, tribal cultures, and biodiversity. In fact, this island is home to 5% of the world's biodiversity, even though it only covers 1% of the earth's land area. With 20,000 plant species, 600 fish species, and 750 bird species, this island is a paradise for nature lovers.

Final thoughts

With fewer crowds, stunning scenery, and quaint villages, you'll want to check out these hidden gems on your next cruise. Bon voyage!