In the summertime, the feeling is high to escape to an island in the sun with white pearl sand beaches and glistening turquoise oceans. But when you can’t deal with the overcrowded beaches spoiled by mass tourism and the high prices of all-inclusive resorts, this wish seems less than possible.
In the treasure hunt for those secret locations of secluded and undiscovered island paradises, there are hidden gems to be found around the globe. From the Atlantic to the Pacific and seas near and far away, here’s where you should go for your next remote island getaway.
Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
The volcanic archipelago of Fernando de Noronha consists of 21 islands off the coast of Brazil. Its warm turquoise waters are teeming with the world’s highest concentration of dolphins. With plenty more marine life to see beneath the waterside cliffs and caves, the islands are a prime location for divers and snorkelers, as well as those who dare to go swimming with the sharks. Only 500 tourists are permitted to visit in a day, so be sure to plan your visit in advance.
Caye Caulker, Belize
Considered ‘the Jewel of the Caribbean’, Caye Caulker in Belize is notable for its narrow channel that splits the island in two, cultivating pristinely crystal-clear waters for swimming. In Caye Caulker’s rainbow-coloured village, the sole settlement on the island, you will be welcomed into the community of friendly locals with their laid-back lifestyle, reggae music, and barbecued seafood. As their carefree philosophy ‘no shirt, no shoes, no problem’ goes, these island vibes are as breezy as swaying palm trees.
When planning a beach holiday in Europe, northern Germany has a surprising wealth of options with its North Frisian Islands. Sylt, known as ‘the Queen of the North Sea’, is known for its distinctively shaped shoreline of long beach strips. With the world’s largest system of tidal flats in the Wadden Sea, Sylt provides a base of ideal conditions for surfing, sailing, and other water sports. On the land, the island’s pastoral scenery of meadows and thatched roof cottages provide the Bavarian charm.
In the far east of the Mediterranean, about 30 miles off the Turkish coast in the Aegean Sea, lies Ikaria. Ikaria is one of over 200 inhabited Greek islands within the network of other 6,000 islands. What sets this mythologically-rich island in Greece apart is that it is the home of some of the longest-living people on Earth. The secrets to the longeivity of this secret island’s residents include a perfect mix of fresh and clean air, organic produce, and a love of dance.
Koh Yao Islands, Thailand
A boat ride away from Thailand’s Phuket, the sister islands of Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi in Phang Nga Bay provide a reprieve from the hecticness of Thailand’s islands. As development accelerates in Koh Yao Noi, Koh Yao Yai remains one of the last untouched islands in the Andaman Sea, making it the perfect destination for white sand beaches (including Son Bay and Ao Muang) and waters rich in coral and dive sites. Rubber and coconut plantations, fishing villages, and lush hiking terrains are other defining features of Koh Yao Yai.
Northeast of New Zealand and westernmost of the Cook Islands, Niue is a small island country (260 square kilometers with a population of under 2,000 people) in the South Pacific Ocean. Called ‘the Rock of Polynesia’, the elevated nation of Niue is known for its impressive underwater visibility, creating perfect conditions for underwater explorers to view the colourful coral reefs and marine life, and for the sightings of humpback whales during their migration.
Christmas Island, Australia
In this Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, found north west of Perth and south of Java, almost two-thirds of Christmas Island is covered in rainforest, with the rest of the tropical island offering a coveted cornucopia for diving with its unique wildlife and reefs. It’s on Christmas Island where 60 million red crab make their migration along the beautiful coastline. As the island’s slogan touts, there’s nowhere in the world like the eco-paradise of Christmas Island.
Whether you’re looking for great adventure or for R&R time to unwind and relax on the beach, set sail for one (or more) of these destinations and claim your piece of peaceful paradise.