Top 5 Islands to Explore in 2018
Refresh your tropical-island bucket list with these incredible isles. From the eastern shores of the US to the remote subtropical jungles of Japan, all of these locales have a worthy claim for a visit in 2018.
When we talk about outdoor recreation, no other destination comes even close to Maui. Whether it’s the zip-line launching into the lush green tropical canopy or mountain bikes hurtling down steep trails between pine and eucalyptus. That said, hikers to have it good here, with sinewy trails winding through bamboo forests and lava-rich soil. However, the best features of this exhilarating tropical paradise are its beaches and sparkling waters, wherein windboarders and surfers skim across whitecaps. Likewise, snorkelers take immense pleasure in gliding among coral and fish-filled reefs, while families enjoy the Valley Isle’s most iconic adventure, Road to Hana. To round up the list of mesmerizing vistas here, you have the calming sunrise visible from the Haleakalā summit, and the sights of humpback whales in Makena Bay.
While most tourists flock the busy shoreline of the East Coast, those who prefer a quiet vacation time, come to the Cumberland Island. This picturesque barrier island off the eastern shore of Georgia is an amazing escape. Despite having very little or no trace of the modern world, this pristine, lonely island offers a mesmerizing curation of wildlife, to those who seek to go beyond the usual touristy spots. The island is a restricted National Seashore and Wilderness Area, therefore, you will find some of the rarest occurrences such as live oak forests, smooth sandy beaches, and salt marshes. Likewise, you can find a wide range of wildlife, here on this island, which includes the elusive species of water birds and sea turtles.
Raja Ampat Islands
Lying just off Sorong in West Papua, this sparsely populated archipelago of more than 1500 islands is a sight to behold. Why do we say that? First, you can find some of the most sublime sceneries of pristine white-sand beaches, steep jungle-covered islands, spooky caves, hidden lagoons, unique islets shaped like a mushroom, and pellucid turquoise waters. Together, all these features make Raja Ampat one of the most endearingly beautiful island chains in Southeast Asia. Second, if unadulterated natural beauty inspires you, you will definitely love to experience the abundance of wildlife,
with a couple of species of birds of paradise dancing in the trees and a diversity of marine life and coral reef systems that are a diver’s dream come true (and fantastic for snorkelers, too). Foreign visitors to this biological hotspot contribute to maintaining its natural beauty, too, with fees for mandatory tourist tags going toward conservation efforts.
Croatia’s sunniest and most glamorous beach destination, the beautiful island of Hvar is celebrating 150 years as a tourist destination in 2018 with a special program of exhibitions, concerts, and celebrations. Visitors have been coming to the island since 1868 for its excellent climate and stunning scenery. Nowadays the swanky hotels, elegant restaurants and lively nightlife of Hvar Town contrast with the abandoned ancient hamlets, craggy peaks, vineyards and lavender fields of the island’s sleepy interior. The island is also growing as a destination for active tourism, with annual trail running and swim-run competitions held on the island.
Crete is, quite simply, a highlights reel of Greece. Seek out the vestiges of the four-millennia-old Minoan civilization at the Palace of Knossos, whose unparalleled riches are guarded at the splendid Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Traverse the wildflower-dotted trails through Europe’s longest gorge or hike to Dikteon Cave, the mythic birthplace of Zeus. Sample the local bounty in rustic tavernas, from the freshest seafood and tender roasted lamb to cheese and honey flavored by mountain herbs, and taste the sophisticated tipple produced from indigenous grapes in Iraklio Wine Country. Then sidestep the sun-seeking crowds by boat-hopping between the southern coast’s laid-back villages and secluded beaches.