10 Best Summer Destinations for 2017

Written and curated by Sunology's favorite travel blogger, Alyssa Ramos, of My Life's A Movie blog and @mylifesatravelmovie. 

It’s almost summer, and as an LA girl-turned-world traveler with over 60 countries stamped in my passport, I can officially say I have the perfect list of best summer destinations for 2017! But this isn’t just any list of exotic, tropical locations; this list includes places with some of the most pristine, vibrant waters, some of which are so special that you can only swim in them if you’re wearing mineral sunscreen, like Sunology!

From pink sand beaches to natural World Wonders, you can’t go wrong with any of these destinations for summer this year! Just be sure to pack your favorite wide-brimmed hat, some snorkeling gear, and mineral sunscreen!

1. Komodo Island, Indonesia

One of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, Komodo Islands in Indonesia is a summer destination that would be beyond epic to experience. Not only is Komodo Island the only location on Earth where Komodo Dragons exist, but the islands and underwater life surrounding it are nothing short of incredible. In fact, on my way to a pink sand beach by boat, we randomly spotted Manta Rays and jumped in the water to swim with them!

Luckily I was wearing Sunology mineral sunscreen though, otherwise the chemicals in regular sunscreen could have been harmful to the majestic gliding animals!

2. El Nido, Philippines

Some of the clearest ocean water you’ll ever see is in El Nido; the northernmost part of the island of Palawan in the Philippines. Aside from it’s drool-worthy exotic landscape, El Nido is also a favorite summer destination for 2017 because of how insanely cheap it is to travel there! It’s also located on the same island as another New 7 World Wonders of Nature: The Underground River in Puerto Princesa, where you’re not allowed to enter the water with regular oxybenzone sunscreen on!

3. Exuma, Bahamas

Being a Florida-native myself, and again, a girl who has traveled quite a bit of this world already, I can honestly say that I appreciate the Bahamas now more than ever. It’s not just their close proximity to mainland, and affordable travel options, but they are also seriously some of the most beautiful islands I’ve ever seen before in my life! In particular is the cluster of islands known as the Exumas… which you may recognize from the uber popular photos of pigs swimming around in azure waters.

Yes, the swimming pigs of Exuma exist, and yes, they are awesome. Just be sure to only feed them healthy food approved by locals, and to not contaminate their waters by making sure to only wear mineral sunscreen when swimming!

4. St. Thomas, USVR

Just a short flight from mainland U.S. is this spectacular tropical island, that’s actually also part of the U.S.! That means it’s easy to get to, and affordable! Best of all, the landscape and culture in St. Thomas is so much different than what you’re used to seeing in the U.S., that it’ll make you feel like you’re whisked away on a foreign exotic island!

Warm sunny beaches are plentiful, as are popular catamaran cruises! They even have glass-bottom paddleboards, and SUP yoga! Be sure to bring your mineral sunscreen for all of that fun in the sun!

5. Vieques, Puerto Rico

I have two words for you. Bioluminescent Bays. The first word may have you a bit baffled, so to translate, it means there’s natural neon glowing bays in Puerto Rico. In fact, a photo of the bioluminescent bays in the Maldives went viral a couple years ago, BUT! The largest, and brightest one actually exists right in Vieques, Puerto Rico!

Swimming in the Bio Bays is actually close to becoming banned due to the toxins on our clothes and skin that can kill the little glowing microorganisms, which is why it's important to only wear sunscreen that's mineral based and biodegradable like Sunology! Puerto Rico has been one of my favorite islands not just because of these mind-blowing glowing waters, but because it’s also insanely cheap, has a ton of beautiful beaches, as well as lush jungle waterfalls!

6. Rovinj, Croatia

Most people automatically think of Split or Dubrovnik when they think of Croatia, but there’s actually a ton of other little coastal towns that are perfect summer destinations for 2017 as well! Rovinj is an example of one of them, and it’s actually known for having one of the most Instagramable locations in Croatia!

The Adriatic Sea water there is so crystal clear, that anything besides mineral sunscreen would murky it up with an oily film! Spend your days relaxing on the smooth pebble beaches, then head in town for some fun, summer white wines, and seafood!

7. Rasdhoo Island, Maldives

Just to let you know, the Maldives is totally do-able on a budget! You can thank me later for that one. But seriously, if you’ve always dreamt of spending your summer vacation in a destination like the Maldives, you’re in luck, because Rasdhoo Island is where it’s all at…besides your entire savings account. Rasdhoo Island is one of the closest islands to Male, where you fly into, and can be accessed by a $4 ferry! Once you arrive, you’ll immediately be greeted with the Maldives’ infamous clear waters and white coral landscapes.

Coral reefs are especially important in the Maldives, because that’s what the islands are made out of! Broken, dried, sun-bleached coral piles up at the tops of reefs until the islands are formed, and below the surface is a flourishing fauna of colorful ocean life that you can see by diving or snorkeling. It’s especially crucial to help protect the coral reefs, so please make sure to only wear mineral sunscreen in the water if you go there!

8. Varadero, Cuba

While most people immediately think of old 1950’s cars, and traveling to a place that’s said to be “stuck in time”, let’s not forget that Cuba is a massive Caribbean island! What do Caribbean islands have? Glorious beaches, fun atmospheres, and endless sunny days apart from the occasional tropical shower. Cuba has several beautiful coastal areas, but the most popular beach town is Varadero, where you’ll find that it’s hardly “stuck in time” at all.

In fact, Varadero’s sunny beaches have been attracting travelers from all over the world the whole time the U.S. embargo ban was in place! Now that it has lifted and travel to Cuba from the U.S. is allowed, numerous airlines and cruises have picked up routes to the giant island, making it super accessible, and affordable to go there! Definitely check out other surrounding beach towns as well!

9. Hurghada, Egypt

Most people think only of pyramids and ancient ruins when it comes to Egypt, but did you know that there’s a beautiful coastal area as well? In a city called Hurghada you can find the (ironically) clear waters of the Red Sea, which lap up against beach shores and play home to some incredible sea life! In fact, I saw my first whale shark in Hurghada while en route to go scuba diving! It was just a baby, but it still came right up to the boat, which means it’s especially important to keep the waters clear of toxins for them!

10. Riviera Maya, Mexico

Mexico may be an obvious summer destination go-to, but Riviera Maya is an area that’s more than just crazy parties and boozing. In fact, this part of Mexico has a lot of incredible natural and historical landmarks, one of which is even one of the New 7 World Wonders: Chichen Itza! There’s the notorious ruins of Tulum that still stand strong on the coastline, and most  stunning of all, the translucent waters of the cenotes!

Cenotes are essentially underwater caves, but the water comes from the ground, which means it’s highly filtered, and thus, extremely clear! That means wearing any sort of sunscreen that would make the water murky is a big no-no! There’s even signs advising against wearing regular sunscreen at some of the cenotes!

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