Despite growing research on tourists' information search for destination choices, there is a comparative paucity in islands tourism research on tourist information search in Instagram. This mixed-method study used 87 surveys and netnographic data (comprised of ten Hainan-related Instagram accounts and nine hashtags) to explore the self-reported impacts of Instagram on tourists' choices on Hainan Island. Findings reveal that Hainan's Instagram content is mainly provided by tourists who come to the island to see attractions and Instagram about them. Five themes include 1) scenic spots, 2) beaches and activities, 3) accommodation and food, 4) personal recommendations and impressions, and 5) news. These key themes highlighted that Hainan's tourists rely on the visual content on Instagram from fellow tourists as travel content from official sources is scant. Furthermore, we propose recommendations for regional government, destination management organisations and marketers to co-create a Hainan tourism marketing strategy on Instagram. Finally, we provide a virtual mind map of Hainan's Instagram presence, recommendations for policymakers and outline future research areas.