Picture your idea of a remote island paradise. What does it look like?
Blessed with crystal clear turquoise water. Check.
Bordered with miles of sugar-white sandy beaches and meandering sandbars. Check.
Palms arched over secluded beaches. Check.
We went in search for some ‘off the grid’ islands and we found them – well at least 7 that we love.
What is your paradise? Pick your ideal island to perfect your own Robinson Crusoe impression from our collection.
1. Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Nested in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef on the Queensland coast, lies 74 island beauties. Most are uninhabited but a few take center stage; Daydream Island (home of Daydream resort and spa), Hamilton Island (the most popular with tourists), Hayman Island (home of private resort One&Only), Long Island, and of course Whitsunday Island.
Whitsunday’s, Whithaven beach, has recently been voted ‘Best Beach in Australia’ in the 2016 TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards. Untouched by development this 7 kilometer (4 mile) stretch of white silica sand and crystal clear water provides an unforgettable day at the beach.
2. Bonaire, Caribbean
Say goodbye to traffic lights and the hustle and bustle of life you call normal, as Bonaire delivers a reprieve from hectic. Beyond it’s unhurried pace, Bonaire’s appeal is its amazing reef-lined coast.
This tiny island, parked just north of Venezuela, continues to reign supreme as the dive destination in the Caribbean. For the past 23 years, the Readers’ Choice Awards in Scuba Diving magazine have designated Bonaire as the #1 shore diving destination for the region.
3. Boracay, Philippines
If you’ve missed all the hype about Boracay you’re not alone. Only recently has this tiny spec of an island ridden a global wave of media attention to become one of the world’s top island destinations.
It’s hard to imagine that Boracay, a mere 6 kilometers (4 miles) long, can pack so much vacation punch. At the centerpiece of Boracay, is glorious White Beach, lined from one end to the other with hotels, restaurants, bars and dive shops several blocks deep. It’s accessible by an hour-long flight from Manila to Caticlan, followed by a 10-minute ferry ride.
4. Navagio, Zakynthos, Greece
According to seasoned Mediterranean sailors, some of the most turquoise waters in the world can be found at the hidden beach of Navagio in the Ionian Islands. You may have recognized Smuggler’s Cove (as its nicknamed) as photos – complete with its wrecked smuggler’s ship – are popular on the net.
But, there’s always a downside to a beach this secluded. Navagio can only be accessed by boat; hop on a smaller vessel from Porto Vromi either in early morning or after 3 p.m. to avoid the busy tourist ships. If you find yourself tantalizingly close after happening upon the bay by road, you’ll have to be content with views of rock formations, glittering sea, and the odd splash of a dolphin far below.
5. Culebra, Puerto Rico
There are plenty of beaches in Puerto Rico (about 50) to choose from, satisfying most sun worshippers. Mary and I have visited Puerto Rico several times but to the usual (and most popular) locations.
However, the next time we catch a cruise out of San Juan, we’ve made a promise to each other that we’ll venture to something different and spend a few days on its much less popular island of Culebra.
Specifically Flamenco Beach. This tiny island is so beautiful that Puerto Rican locals will wait hours in line for a ferry ticket on weekends. We’ll catch the ferry from Fajardo and enjoy the day wandering along Flamenco’s one mile beach.
6. Tetiaroa, Tahiti
Best known as Marlon Brando’s private retreat. Tetiaroa, this small, secluded atoll is located 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Tahiti. Marlin Brando became enamored with French Polynesia when scouting the islands for his 1962 movie, Mutiny on the Bounty. In 1966, a 99-year lease granted him exclusive “ownership” of Tetiaroa. Now, more than a decade after Brando’s death, The Brando has been reinvented by a Tahitian hotel brand, into an ultra exclusive resort.
I know how mouth-watering this looks but I wouldn’t start packing too soon. This South Pacific paradise is private. Unless of course you’re prepared to foot the $4,000 (plus CDN) per night it will cost you to cuddle up in one of Brando’s luxury villas.
7. Rock Islands, Palau
It’s hard not to salivate as you admire images from this region. The Rock Islands are like nowhere else on earth. 445 Uninhabited unique island formations, some in the shape of mushrooms – limestone islets surrounded by crystalline waters – are scattered across a 32 kilometer (20 mile) stretch of turquoise ocean southwest of Koror in the Philippine Sea.
The surrounding waters contain some of the most abundant and varied marine life on the planet – small wonder it was added to the Unesco World Heritage List in 2012. It boasts a reef system with more than 385 species of coral – I guess it’s not surprising that Rock Islands offer world-class diving and snorkeling.
Back to you
What’s your perfect paradise? Have you been to any of these islands? Don’t be shy, we’d love to hear from you. If you can add to this list, please flip us a message in the comments section below and we’ll pass it on to our readers.