Tropical Escape: Nail Art Inspired By Exotic Destinations

Tropical getaways have an allure that draws people from all over the world. Palm trees, turquoise water, and white sandy beaches are the epitome of paradise. It’s no wonder beach vacations are so popular. Nail art has become increasingly popular as well in recent years. Combining these two passions, many nail artists and beauty lovers create destination-themed nail designs inspired by tropical locations. The popularity of travel nail art shows no signs of slowing down.


The island paradise of Hawaii is known for its lush green landscapes, beautiful beaches, and colorful culture. These elements can be incorporated into fun and vibrant nail art designs.

Florals are a must for any Hawaiian-inspired manicure. Think bright hibiscus flowers, plumeria, orchids, anthurium and tropical leaves in shades of red, pink, orange and yellow. Abstract floral patterns painted across the nails look beautiful. For more literal designs, have each nail represent a different type of Hawaiian flower.

No Hawaii-themed manicure would be complete without at least one surfboard nail. Paint a mini surfboard on an accent nail, or have a white-tipped turquoise wave crashing over the nails. Outline surfboards with hibiscus flowers on either side.

Ocean-inspired accents like seashells, sea turtles, palm trees, and ocean waves work well for Hawaiian nail art. Keep it nautical with shades of deep blue, turquoise and teal. Add beach elements like sand and seashells for a seaside look.


The tropical Indonesian island of Bali is known for its lush jungles, terraced rice paddies, and sacred Hindu temples. These exotic elements can inspire ornate Bali-themed nail art designs.

Try incorporating intricate mandala patterns, paisley prints, and motifs of frangipani flowers, which are native to Bali. Accent nails with metallic gold leaf for an opulent touch. Creating layered 3D floral designs can mimic Balinese offerings left at temples. Use deep emerald greens, fuchsia pinks, and sunny yellows reminiscent of Balinese textiles.

As referenced in the article “Escape to Bali with Nail Designs Inspired by the Indonesian Island” on, nail technician Tracy Tran @nailsofnorbury suggests using Orly Tropics polish to capture Bali’s tropical vibes in a bright creamy orange hue.

Channel the tranquil serenity of lush jungles and spiritual retreats with your own Bali-inspired nail art.


When thinking of Jamaica, bright colors like red, yellow and green immediately come to mind. These colors are popularly featured on the Jamaican flag and are known as the Rasta colors. Show your love for Jamaica with fun tropical nail art using bright shades of red, yellow, green and black.

Palm trees are one of the main symbols of Jamaica and can be incorporated into nail designs in a variety of creative ways. Try painting single palm trees on accent nails or adding clusters of palm trees against a background of blue water. Coconuts are another popular Jamaican symbol that pair perfectly with palm trees. Paint mini coconuts or incorporate coconut shapes into your Jamaican-themed manicure.

coconuts and palm trees are symbols of jamaica

No Jamaican-inspired nail art would be complete without paying homage to reggae music legend Bob Marley. Add his face into your design or paint lyrics from his iconic songs. Reggae music is the heartbeat of Jamaica, so don’t be afraid to get creative with musical notes, record players and headphones.

For style inspiration, check out the nail designs on Pinterest.


Fiji is known for its beautiful light turquoise waters and white sand beaches. These serene colors and landscapes can be brought to life through nail art.

Some ideas for incorporating Fiji’s natural beauty into nail designs include:

  • Painting light blue or seafoam green base colors to capture the tropical waters
  • Adding delicate white details like seashells, sand dollars, starfish, or sand textures
  • Drawing palm trees, hibiscus flowers, or beach landscape scenes
  • Painting tropical fish like clownfish, angelfish, or butterflyfish

For example, you could paint a light turquoise base color on each nail to represent the Fijian sea. On the accent nails, add painted palm trees, seashells, and a sun setting over the ocean to capture the island’s tranquil vibes. Delicate gold foil or shimmer could be used as accents as well to mimic the glistening sun.

Fiji’s natural beauty makes it a great source of inspiration for refreshing, tropical nail art designs. The light, airy colors and beach motifs transport you right to the Fijian islands.


The Maldives is a tropical paradise known for its underwater beauty and sparkling turquoise ocean. Its coral reefs are home to an abundance of sea life including whale sharks, manta rays, sea turtles and colorful tropical fish. The white sandy beaches and overwater bungalows provide stunning ocean views. To capture the essence of the Maldives in nail art, focus on ocean themes.

Paint a base coat in shades of blue, turquoise or teal to represent the Indian Ocean surrounding the islands. Add accents like coral branches, sea turtles, tropical fish, starfish and seashells. Metallic glitter polish in ocean colors can mimic the way sunlight sparkles on the water. For a beach look, paint on white sandy beach scenes with palm trees. Consider water marble or jelly designs to capture the wavy ocean currents. A top coat with a crushed seashells appearance provides texture. No Maldives-inspired mani is complete without at least one palm tree!

To reflect the natural beauty of the Maldives, stick to ocean life and beach motifs in blues, greens, whites and metallics. Focus on smooth gradients, waves and splashes so your nails transport you right to the shores of this island paradise.


The Bahamas is famous for its stunning pink sand beaches, which get their rosy hue from pulverized red coral and shells mixed with the white sand. Capture the beauty of these beaches in your nail art with light pink and peach shades dusted over a clean French tip or blended into an ombre design. Accent with tiny hand-painted conch shells near the cuticles or light strokes of pink branching out from the tips like abstract starfish.

The conch shell is one of the national symbols of the Bahamas and can be found in craft markets across the islands. These large spiraling shells range in color from orange to pink, making them perfect inspiration for nail art. Try painting a simple conch outline on an accent nail in a shimmery mother-of-pearl shade. Or go bold with 3D conch shell charms glued near the cuticle for a fun tropical look.

The clear waters surrounding the Bahamas are teeming with starfish, seahorses, and other exotic sealife. Use glitter polishes and appliques to capture their whimsical beauty on your nails. Paint a single accent nail in a bright turquoise hue with delicate metallic gold starfish decals. Or top off your beach-inspired mani with miniature 3D seahorse charms dangling from tiny chains on your ring fingers.

Puerto Rico

The vibrant colors and textures of Puerto Rico are perfect for inspiration. Think citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes paired with aqua blues reminiscent of the Caribbean Sea. Cobblestone streets in Old San Juan offer a pop of color against the pastel buildings. The unique textures of the stucco walls also lend themselves beautifully to nail art designs.

Try an abstract design with bold orange and yellow shapes over a sky blue base. Add some green accents to represent palm trees. Or go for a more literal approach with lime green nail art against a background of blue and grey swirls to depict the sea and streets. Stamp on some subtle texture with a matte topcoat for a stucco effect. There are so many ways to capture the essence of Puerto Rico through fun and artsy nail looks.


Cuba is known for its vintage American cars from the 1950s, driving down colorful streets against a backdrop of lively Latin music and salsa dancers. The classic cars harken back to pre-revolutionary Cuba and are a nostalgic symbol of the island. Cuban culture is also defined by things like hand-rolled cigars with their distinctive tobacco leaves, rum-based cocktails like the Mojito and Daiquiri, and the sounds of son and rumba music echoing through the streets

The bright facades and colonial architecture of Old Havana provide a glimpse into Cuba’s history. While poverty is still prevalent, the Cuban people radiate joy and hospitality. The beaches of Varadero are stunning with white sand and turquoise waters. Overall, Cuba is a vibrant island where the past and present mesh in a truly unique way.

When envisioning Cuba through nail art, think classic cars, salsa dancers, rum drinks, and tobacco leaves as core motifs. Rich colors like red, green, and gold paired with neutrals effectively capture the Cuban spirit. Chevron, polka dot, and striped patterns add movement. Embellishments like studs or rhinestone accents further bring the Cuban flair to life on the nail.


We’ve explored some of the most popular tropical destinations and the vibrant nail art they can inspire. From the lush palm trees and floral prints of Hawaii, to the ocean blues and beach scenes of the Bahamas, nail art is a creative way to bring your favorite tropical getaway with you wherever you go. The bright sunset colors of Bali, tropical drink-inspired designs of Jamaica, and seashells and mermaids of Fiji offer endless inspiration for your next manicure.

As you plan your next tropical vacation, consider using your nail art as a way to get excited for the trip. The beaches, drinks, and island vibes of destinations like Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Maldives translate beautifully into miniature works of art on your nails. Let the relaxing atmosphere and vivid scenery of the tropics spark your creativity. Trying destination-themed nails is a fun way to bring back memories of a past trip, or build anticipation for an upcoming one. Wherever your travels take you, don’t be afraid to take the spirit of the islands with you in a stylish manicure you can wear with pride.

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