You might fall in love with Indonesia's massive ironwood trees that tumble to empty bone-white beaches, but it's the smiles of the villagers that'll truly steal your heart. That's what happened to Claude and Petra Graves, who founded a Nihiwatu resort on the west coast of Sumba Island. Their passion for this impoverished island begat the Sumba Foundation, which has raised more than $2 million (a third contributed by resort guests) toward health and education initiatives. The catalyst that converts vacationers to philanthropists? You'll know when you join a six-person village tour in the highlands and dine on sweet potatoes while an elderly woman teaches you how to create a colorful and highly prized ikat weaving. Her betel-nut smile - as red as a valentine - will be the giveaway. Rates from $390. nihiwatu.com
At Isla Secas Resort, it's just you and 13 other guests (if that) on a 16-island archipelago. Here, your getaway can be as adventurous and secluded as you want, but luxury touches (like dinner waiting for you in your private yurt suite) make it the best of both worlds. Islands photographer Jon Whittle experienced it all first-hand — here's how you can do it too.
Take a look at the most comprehensive dive program in the Caribbean from Sandals Resorts. (There are more than 510 dive sites to choose from!)
No fish tales here. Islands' editor Eddy Patricelli goes fishing in Mentawai with a local.