Head to These Less-Traveled Islands If You Want a Tourist-Free Winter Vacation

When winter ramps up, many of us think about heading to warmer destinations, but the only problem is everyone else has the same idea. To avoid crowded beaches, you’ll need to search out cities and islands less traveled. Jetting off to these destinations in the winter pays off – literally, when you book your travels with Rakuten and earn Cash Back on everything from your flight to your hotel to your rental car. Below, we’ve rounded up a few of the best places to visit in winter where you can enjoy peace, quiet and relaxation.


When everyone else flocks to Honolulu or Kauai, you’ll be content exploring Hawaii’s smallest island, Lanai. It may be small, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do on this little gem. You can explore more than 18 miles of beaches, dive in underwater cathedrals, snorkel, hike, golf and even go horseback riding if that’s your thing. Lanai is best known as the pineapple island – once supplying roughly 75% of the world’s pineapple supply. Today, you’ll still find pineapples growing, but farming is nowhere near as large as it was in the past.

Key West

Key West is a fairly small city in the scheme of things, and it’s a city less traveled when you compare it to Miami or Tampa. You can participate in any number of activities including snorkeling, walking tours, shopping or relaxing on the beach. It’s a great drive down to Key West on the Overseas Highway, and you can stop at all the other keys as you make your way to the end.


Andros is the biggest island in the Bahamas, but it’s the least traveled of the bunch. That means lots of exploration for you. It’s largely a paradise for people who enjoy the outdoors, and there are miles of beaches waiting to be explored. One of the biggest attractions is snorkeling — specifically in blue holes (deep ocean sinkholes) surrounding the island.



Cancun, Cozumel and Riviera Maya are all popular destinations in Mexico, but they tend to be crowded and predictable. Tulum, however, is relatively less traveled, and it’s much easier for you to find your own piece of paradise there. Not to mention there are ancient Mayan ruins to explore if you grow tired of sinking your toes into the white, pristine sand. Tulum is also a big yoga city if you want to fit in a session or two during your visit.

Cook Islands

Tahiti is a dream destination for many, but you can enjoy the same type of island life just a short plane ride away on the Cook Islands. This small island chain is perfect for a winter trip in January, February or March. You can walk for miles along secluded beaches, snorkel with the local wildlife, enjoy premium dining experiences and more.


While everyone else crowds Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, you’ll be relaxing on Brazil’s less-traveled island, Ilhabela or “beautiful island.” With almost 25 miles of beaches to explore, hiking trails and waterfalls, you’ll never run out of things to do during your stay. Ilhabela is also known for its nightlife scene if you want a night on the town.

Remember that Rakuten also gives you Cash Back on your travels, so make sure you book your trip using one of our travel partners. If you’re not a member, it’s really easy to sign up. You’re also eligible to earn $25 for every friend you refer after you join, which will add up on your Big Fat Check.

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