As the height of summer bathes us in its blissful warmth, it’s only natural to wish the vibrant, sun-kissed days could last forever. One way to keep the dream alive is by planning a sun-soaked island vacation for December – and now’s the time to do it if you’d like to take advantage of some exciting early bird specials.

Swap the winter chill for gentle sea breezes – here are our top picks for island getaways that dreams are made of.

The Maldives: The Crown Jewel of the Indian Ocean

Who will love it: The Maldives is a haven for luxury-seekers, couples looking for the perfect romantic retreat, and scuba diving enthusiasts.

What makes it special: Receiving the accolade as the #1 Indian Ocean Island in the Readers’ Choice Awards 2022, the Maldives is a paradise unparalleled. This unique destination is a constellation of 26 coral atolls, each offering a canvas of crystal-clear lagoons, coral reefs (literally) swimming with marine life, and some of the most picturesque beaches in the world.

Leading attraction: If you can pry away from the beach for a few hours, head to Majeedhee Magu – a 1.2-mile street and local shopping hub in the capital city of Malé. It has numerous shops, boutiques, and businesses offering various goodies and souvenirs.

Top tip: Staying in an overwater bungalow is quintessential to the Maldives experience. Imagine waking up to the sight of the infinite ocean and having the privilege of jumping straight into the sparkling waters from your doorstep. I recommend booking at least six months in advance to secure your dream bungalow at a great price.

Mauritius: Discover a Kaleidoscope of Cultures in a Tropical Paradise

Who will love it: Culture vultures flock to Mauritius – but it’s also a haven for foodies, a paradise for golf enthusiasts, and an adventure-packed playground for families.

What makes it special: Its diverse blend of cultures is simply magical. You’ll see Indian, African, European, and Chinese influences everywhere, from the bustling local festivals to the island’s many architectural wonders. You’ll especially notice this unique cultural fusion in your lip-smacking food, from spicy Mauritian biryani to Bol Renversé (‘magic bowl,’ inspired by Chinese chop suey).

Leading attraction: The Seven Coloured Earths of Chamarel is the ultimate must-see in Mauritius. It’s a natural phenomenon resulting in dunes of seven distinct colors –gorgeous and an eye-catching backdrop for an Instagram selfie!

Top tip: Make the most of the island’s multi-faceted cuisine by visiting the colorful local markets. Here, you can savor authentic street food, discover artisanal crafts, and even haggle for souvenirs like a local.

Mozambique: Embark on an Off-the-Beaten-Track Adventure

Who will love it: Mozambique is a treasure trove for explorers seeking an off-the-beaten-track adventure. It’s celebrated for its water sports, drawing in plenty of adrenaline junkies. It’s also an excellent choice for a combo beach & bush getaway.

What makes it special: With its captivating Portuguese colonial architecture and Portuguese-inspired cuisine, fascinating African traditions, untamed landscapes, diverse wildlife, and pristine beaches, Mozambique has it all.

Leading attraction: Gorongosa National Park, a thriving bio-diverse hotspot, offers a thrilling safari experience. Meanwhile, the Bazaruto Archipelago is a tropical haven waiting to be explored, both above and below the water.

Top tip: Make an effort to learn a few Portuguese phrases before your trip. The locals appreciate it, and it will deepen your connections and enhance your travel experience.

Zanzibar: A Spicy Soulful Escape for the Senses

Who will love it: Zanzibar is a delight for history buffs, sun-seekers, foodies, and those looking to immerse themselves in a brand-new culture.

What makes it special: Known as the ‘Spice Island,’ Zanzibar teems with historical heritage, palm-fringed beaches, and a rich tapestry of African, Arabian, and Indian cultures. It’s also just off the coast of Tanzania (home to the iconic Great Migration), making it easy for travelers to enjoy a classic safari vacation before or after hitting the beach. Zanzibar is just a short plane or ferry ride from Dar es Salaam.

Leading attraction: Stroll through the narrow, winding alleys of Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site that tells the tales of the island’s enthralling past.

Top tip: Don’t miss out on a traditional spice tour. These educational tours will take you to the heart of the island’s spice plantations, where you can learn about, smell, and taste the exotic spices that put Zanzibar on the map.

Mahé, Seychelles: Tropical Forests and Sapphire Seas

Who will love it: Mahé is the perfect getaway for nature lovers, birdwatchers, and anyone outdoorsy. Of course, it isn’t short on sunshine either.

What makes it special: As the largest island in Seychelles, Mahé boasts lush rainforests, rare endemic species, and over 60 idyllic beaches. Its Creole cuisine is always the cherry on top.

Leading attraction: Explore Morne Seychellois National Park, a verdant paradise offering scenic hiking trails, stunning viewpoints, and the chance to explore the island’s biodiversity.

Top tip: Renting a car to explore at your own pace is a brilliant idea in Mahé. The island is not very big, and having your own transportation allows you to find hidden gems and secluded beaches off the typical tourist track.

As you can see, an endless summer is within reach. Each island offers unique charm, escape, and a welcome refuge from the winter blues.

Be sure to book your island getaway through GILTEDGE for a streamlined, stress-free experience before you even arrive on those sandy, sun-kissed shores. Contact us today, and we’ll help you plan your vacation down to every last detail.