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If you're looking for an exotic place to spend an unforgettable holiday, the islands of the Indian Ocean should be at the top of your list. Although they're often overlooked in favour of the islands of the Caribbean, places like the Seychelles, Zanzibar and Sri Lanka have a lot to offer. You can take your pick from thousands of sun-kissed islands that are ringed by beaches of brilliant white sand. In some places, entire islands have been turned into resorts. In others, you'll find islands that have remained virtually untouched by humans. Somewhere in between, you're sure to find paradise.
Few parts of the world offer the alluring combination of adventure and luxury that is found in the Indian Ocean. In this part of the planet, many different cultures and peoples have come together to create a melting pot of stunning vacation destinations. In every conceivable way, places like Madagascar, Mauritius and the Maldives are unforgettable destinations for holidaymakers from all walks of life. Regardless of your budget or interests, you're sure to find a corner of the Indian Ocean that's perfect for you. Whether you spend your time luxuriating or playing hard, you'll come away with memories that will last a lifetime.
The Indian Ocean spans across a huge part of the globe, but it's actually the third-largest ocean. Still, it's spangled by stunning little islands and larger island nations that offer incredible sightseeing opportunities.
When it comes to exotic locales, it's tough to beat Zanzibar. The country's East Beaches are among its most prized, and it's easy to see why. The sand couldn't be whiter, and it contrasts gorgeously with the bright, teal hue of the warm, sparkling waters that surround it. These beaches are perfect for sun worshipers, but they're just as suitable for those who are keen on enjoying water sports. For an unforgettable experience, be sure to ride in a dhow, which is a type of local wooden boat, while you are there.
Over in the Seychelles, those who aren't afraid of doing a little hiking can scout out incredibly isolated, secluded beaches and have them all to themselves. With a hike from Beau Vallon to Anse Major, you can easily find a beach that will epitomize the best of what the Indian Ocean has to offer. Be sure not to miss Aldabra Atoll, which is the largest coral atoll in the world. Its tidal lagoon is unlike anything you'll ever see elsewhere.
Some of the finest resort islands in the world can be found in the Maldives. Some cater to very well-to-do travellers while others are perfect for families with tighter budgets. They all share a few things in common, including gorgeous beaches and wonderful accommodations. Diving, snorkelling and surfing are the most popular activities in the Maldives, and there are plenty of places to enjoy them.
Sri Lanka has emerged as one of the most popular destinations in the Indian Ocean. In addition to offering exceptional beaches and tropical locales, it is studded with intriguing attractions like Sigiriya Rock, which offers incredible views from its summit. Head over to Kalpitiya or Mirissa to engage in some of the best whale- and dolphin-watching in the world.
Best Time To Visit:
High season in the Indian Ocean tends to run from November through April. Some of the islands are quite far-flung, however, and the rainy season may vary from place to place. However, the entire region has a warm, humid climate that's nicely tempered by trade winds. When you go will probably depend on your budget, as it's much more affordable to go during the off-season.