There are numerous island destinations around the world known for their pristine beaches and crazy parties. Each of them differs slightly in terms of cost, accessibility, appeal and crowd but they all have one thing in common… beaches & parties. We’ve travelled to our fair share of party/beach islands over the last year and considering this is our favourite type of vacation we thought we should compile a list of our top choices!
Note: Our accommodation choices are based on that of a backpacker budget and close to all the action.
#1 Morro De Sao Paulo, Brazil
This island is a hidden gem and filled mainly with local Brazilians and vacationing Argentinians. We’re so glad a good friend of ours (from Brazil) told us about this island as it’s our favourite of them all! This paradise is just 2 hours from Salvador, via catamaran.
Morro de Sao Paulo has many Pousadas (hotels) for a range of prices, a really cool town to wander through and a handful of awesome nightlife venues including beach parties during the summer. The island is primarily made up of 5 beaches and is named #1-5 beach.
The 2nd beach is the most popular with a range of restaurants and bars along the front of the beach and where the beach parties take place. A must do is the Tiroleza (Ziplining) which gives you the best view of the 1st and 2nd beaches below.
#2 Ios, Greece
Ios is a small Greek island in the Cyclades. This party island is a definite favourite of the younger crowd and Australians! The main village of Ios, Chora, is a typical Greek village with the classic white and blue houses & small alleyways. During the day the town is quiet, but when evening comes, it is the main party zone for Ios. A variety of bars & clubs line the alleys and people crowd the streets. For an awesome sunset party, head to ‘Far Out Beach Club’ from 4 pm -12 am.
At one point during your time in Ios, you’ll notice a lot of people wearing a signature tank top from one of the many clubs. Why? Nothing like a bar promotion; if you buy 7 shots, you get a free tank top. Sure why not!
The beaches in Ios are downright perfect and are best seen if you rent a boat. This allows you to visit the ‘hidden’ beaches only accessible by boat.
Where to stay – Purple Pig Stars & Camping or Far Out Camping (both options have rooms as well as camping)
Favourite Bars – Circus, Lost Boys, No Name, Fun Pub, Sweet Irish Dreams
Favourite Beach – Mylopotas Beach
#3 Florianopolis, Brazil
Florianopolis has become one of the most popular destinations for visitors of Brazil and from all over the world. We hate to say it but the beaches in Brazil and especially in Florianopolis, give Australian beaches a run for their money! The island has 42 beaches and they all offer something different. Water sports are very popular in Floripa and it’s a surfer’s paradise. The party scene in Florianopolis can be found in Lagoa in the centre of the island and the more expensive clubs in Jurere, North of the Island. Summers here are full of party goers and we can see why!
Where to stay – Barra Beach Club
Favourite Bar – Black Swan, Club Malam & we’d wished we made it to the pool party at P12 (it was closed when we were there but have heard top things)
Favourite Beach – Mole Beach
Cost – $$
#4 Ibiza, Spain
Ah, Ibiza, Ibiza, Ibiza. One of the first Islands we visited on this trip and I think it ate all of our money. Ibiza is stunning, there is no question about it, however, the cost of partying in Ibiza is not light on the wallet. There are parties every day, all day in Ibiza. Thankfully Ibiza Spotlight, the official Ibiza website, will help you plan out your parties for the duration of your stay. The biggest name DJ’s will often play weekly at the biggest clubs and tickets can range between 40-100€. The beaches are the definition of perfect in Ibiza and there are many different ones to visit around the island although they are spread far apart.
Where to stay – Hotel Apartamentos Lux Mar was a very well priced hotel and located well. However there are countless choices but any hotel/apartment on or near Playa d’en Bossa, you can’t go wrong. For cheaper hostels, San Antonio on the other side of the island will have plenty of hostel options but is a little further away from a lot of the main clubs.
Favourite Bar/Club – Pacha, Amnesia (capacity of 5000 people!) and Ocean Beach Pool Party
Favourite Beach – Cala Conta. However, in saying that, it’s hard to choose only one so we highly recommend renting a scooter/ jeep and exploring the island, the beaches are nothing short of amazing. It’s hard to choose only one! Check out this list of beaches and see for yourself!
Cost – $$$$
#5 Mykonos, Greece
Another classic Greek Island with a nightlife scene that brings international DJ’s. Cavo Paradiso is ranked as one of the top clubs in the world in recent years. Through the summer months (June-September), the clubs have a range of DJ’s and nightly parties. However, the parties are in full swing from early afternoon on Paradise Beach at Tropicana Beach Club. In Mykonos town, you’ll find a variety of restaurants & smaller bars and we can’t forget about the classic whitewashed houses. Due to the international DJ’s, Mykonos is somewhat more expensive that Ios in terms of club entries & drinks.
Where to stay – Paradise Beach Resort
Favourite Bar – Tropicana Beach Club & Cavo Paradiso
Favourite Beach – Paradise Beach
Cost – $$
#6 Hvar, Croatia
Hvar is located off the Dalmatian coast and it lies between the islands of Brač, Vis and Korčula. This was by far the most expensive island in comparison to the other Croatian islands we visited and during the summer months, it was also the most crowded. A lot of yachts dock here during the summer. There was a very mixed crowd of people here so you could definitely tell that it is a popular holiday destination for everyone, especially Europeans. Hvar Town is where you want to be after sunset and all nightclubs attract large crowds.
Where to stay – We can’t comment on this as we visited here through our Sail Croatia week however you can find a range of accommodation through booking.com or hostelworld.com
Favourite Bar – Hula Hula Bar (go early), Nautica Bar
Favourite Beach – As we were on the yacht, we didn’t visit the beaches, we sailed right into the port however when visiting Hvar you should take the boat to the Pakleni Islands or visit the most popular beach, Dubovica (as shown above)
#7 Bocas Del Toro, Panama
Situated off the coast of Panama, this island is easily reachable by a short flight or an overnight bus from Panama City. Unfortunately, our time in Boccas Del Toro was ‘ruined’ by the weather. It rained 4 out of the 5 days we were there so it made for a slightly different experience. In saying that, we still thoroughly enjoyed our time on the island and especially at our hostel. The best thing about this island is the accessibility to many different beaches and surrounding islands. Taxi boats are readily available whenever you want to go somewhere. Head out onto one of the many piers and away you go.
Many of the parties happen during sunset at Bar Iguana and Saturday nights, take a short 1min boat ride to Aqua Lounge, a party on the water.
#8 Caye Caulker, Belize
Although not as party crazy as the other islands listed here, it’s still an awesome place to visit. You can walk from one end of the Island to the other in less than 30 minutes and it boasts an extremely chill vibe with occasional nightlife parties. The people are friendly super friendly and everywhere you look is “no shirt, no shoes, no problem”.
Where to stay – Yumas House Belize
Favourite Bar – The Lazy Lizard – especially during early afternoon/sunset.
Favourite Beach – You’re surrounded by water, just jump right in! There are no nice sand beaches here, however, there is plenty of swimming options surrounding the island.
Cost – $$
More Beach Party Destinations
Although these destinations aren’t classified as ‘Islands’, for more beach/party cities, you will find countless options in Barcelona in Spain, Lagos in Portugal, Hawaii in the USA, Rio & Salvador in Brazil, Cancun/Playa Del Carmen in Mexico, Miami in USA, Ko Samui and Phuket in Thailand (Jacob has been here before and they are on our must do list again when we hit South East Asia!)
We hope to add to this list over the next year but until then, do you have any favourite islands to add to this list? Share them with us!
Married days survived; 405