Lounging on an empty beach floored by soft, white sand to find only your own footprints trailing behind you: that’s many travelers’ dream – but does that paradise really exist? This week we take a look at far-flung isles that might just make the cut to become some of my fantasy islands. We swing from Micronesia to Africa to find the world’s most secluded islands – their sheer isolation from the outside world have made them what they are today.
Rock Islands, Palau
Palau’s Rock Islands are a phenomenal series of 485 jutting limestone islets rising from the turquoise waters of Micronesia. Most of these Rock Islands have stunning sandy beaches that are completely secluded and make for some excellent lounging ground after a day of scuba diving. Besides the empty beaches, you can head inland to uncover mystical caves, rock arches, ancient rock paintings and lakes. The Jellyfish Lake – made famous by National Geographic- gives you the unique chance to swim with millions of tiny stingless jellyfish.
Mafia Islands, Tanzania
Most travelers head to Tanzania’s popular island Zanzibar for pristine beaches, seafood and full-moon parties. But few know of the charm of its quiet neighbor, Mafia Island. There are only a handful of resorts on the isles – so if you’re looking for complete tranquility, then this might just be your slice of heaven. Mafia’s protected deep-water anchorage at Chole Bay is studded with islands, sandbanks and beaches. Swim with whale sharks or free dive into its coral-carpeted sea bed or lounge on the white sandy shore of Utende Beach.
In the Seychelles archipelago, expect turquoise waters similar to that of the Caribbean Islands, without the flashy resorts and tourists. Grab your snorkel and wade through the shallow beaches of Mahe to find abundant marine life right by the coastline. The emerald beach of Beau Vallon is backed by the undulating slopes of the mountains that run down to the center of Mahe and then flattening out as it reaches the shoreline.
Christmas Island, Australia
What was once a refugee camp during the war is now a peaceful, quiet isle rich in endemic flora and fauna. Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, has had minimal human interference and therefore is home to some unique animal species that can only be found here. Come and catch the annual red crab migration, swim with whale shark or observe turtles nesting by night – it’s a wildlife lovers’ paradise.
A patchwork of secluded islands lie in the heart of the Pacific Ocean – many of which are either uninhabited or isolated. On the island of Vanuatu, the local way of life hasn’t changed much since centuries ago. Local tribes lead a primitive lifestyle, living in mudhouses and dancing along to the beats of drums, especially on special occassion. Besides empty beaches, the active volcano, Yasur, itself is worth visiting.
Andaman Islands, India
Stretching miles across mainland India is another group of islands so isolated from the world that the native tribal way of life is hardly influenced by the outside world. Their ancestors are thought to have arrived in the islands 60,000 years ago from coastal India in the initial expansion of humanity from Africa that began 100,000 years ago. To this day, these tribes still retain their ancestral practices and language.
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