7 Islands You Didn’t Know You Needed to VisitAugust 24, 2020 | By Leah Freeman-Haskin
Take your next vacation to a whole new level. From unspoiled, golden beaches to celebrated natural wonders, here are seven island destinations off the beaten path, serving you a slice of paradise and peaceful days with some of the most beautiful views in the world.
East of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean lies La Reunion, home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes and the Indian Ocean’s highest peak. Outdoor enthusiasts will love exploring the rugged landscape, unspoiled waterfalls, beautiful villages, and white, sandy beaches. Hikers should visit the Piton de la Fournaise, a breathtaking active volcano offering spectacular views of the island and encounters with wildlife. There is also the Trou de Fer, a canyon with remarkable waterfalls and Mafate, offering more trails through lush landscapes for experienced hikers.
Sao Tome & Principe
Sao Tome and Principe consist of two islands of volcanic origin and a number of smaller islets lying off the coast of Africa, west of Gabon in the Gulf of Guinea. Principe is home to just 7,000 people, leaving the landscape unspoiled and full of natural wonders. Escape the hustle of your everyday life by spending the afternoons on the beach, snorkeling off the coast, or exploring the lush mountain cover of forests, mangroves, swamps and savannah grasslands at Obo National Park. When it comes to food on this island, African and Portuguese cuisines blend together to create some memorable dishes. Calulu, is considered the national dish, which is made with smoked fish, palm oil and vegetables, along with peppers, for spice. Breadfruit and jackfruit are also very popular along with the many varieties of other fresh fruits and vegetables that grow on the island.
Roughly eight miles off the coast of Honduras sits Cayos Cochinos. This natural wonder is home to pristine coastlines and is one of the best-kept secrets in the Americas. Pristine beaches are optimal for all-day water activities from swimming to scuba diving through the surrounding reefs within the protected reserve. Every inch of this island offers Instagram-worthy shots, but Cayo Chachahuate is one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. With swaying palm trees dipping into crystal, clear water, you’ll think you landed in paradise.
The word on Bequia is slowly starting to reach the mainstream. As part of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Bequia is the second-largest island in the Grenadines, offering unique, magical charm that is hard to find in other areas of the Caribbean. Home to fewer than 6,000 people, this tiny island is known for friendly locals, stunning beaches, and true getaway vibes. There are two main ways to reach the island: fly into Barbados (BGI) and connect via a 45-minute puddle-jumper flight to Bequia’s tiny J.F. Mitchell Airport (BQU). Or land in St. Vincent’s Argyle International Airport (SVD), and grab a cab to the dock in Kingstown to then hop the ferry for an hour-long ride into Bequia’s Port Elizabeth. The Bequia Beach Hotel is the largest resort in the area where suites offer beachfront views of the sparkling Caribbean waters with luxury amenities.
Con Dao Vietnam
Con Dao Islands, also known as Con Dao National park, is an archipelago of 16 mostly uninhabited islets just off the southern coast of Vietnam. The main and only inhabited island, Con Son, boasts miles of coastal roads, hiking trails, and a wide range of outdoor activities. Dry season on the islands is November to February when you can spend all day on the beaches. Dam Trau Beach is one of the most popular, for its crystal waters and spectacular views.
“As one of the smallest and most remote nations in the world, this unspoiled corner of the Pacific offers a peaceful, and non-commercialized environment that is ideal for rest and relaxation,” says timelesstuvalu.com. Tuvalu is an island paradise located 620 miles north of Fiji in the central Pacific. Besides the beaches, Tuvalu offers a host of natural and cultural attractions to explore. Spend the afternoon at The Funafuti Conservation Area, a marine conservation area with reefs, lagoons, channels, and ocean. It is also home to many species of fish, corals, algae, and invertebrates.
Off the coast of Mozambique sits the Bazaruto Archipelago, a chain of five idyllic islands. Benguerra and Bazaruto are the two largest islands in the archipelago. Lined with golden beaches and blue waters, these islands offer the ideal escape for long days on sun-soaked beaches. If you are looking for something more active, visit the Bazaruto National Park, a two-mile reef that has become world-renowned for its scuba diving and snorkeling.
If you are looking for familiar beautiful beaches in unfamiliar places, you can’t go wrong with any of these idyllic, island escapes.