What makes island getaways so dreamy and perfect? Well, sprawling beaches, untouched pockets of wilderness, and rolling waves, all add to the charm of the dreamworld that islands conjure. On an island, you can relax under the rustling palm trees and enjoy the blue sea waters, while exploring the stunning marine life. That said, not all islands are the same. While some islands attract tourists with their crystalline waters and captivating coral ecosystems, there are others, which feature sublime beaches, or exotic cultures, and stunning topographies. Without further ado, here are some of the most popular island destinations that you can explore in 2018.
If you desire to spend time in the sunny outdoors, Maui is the place to choose. With unexplored stretches of tropical forests, winding hiking trails, and crystalline waters surrounding the beaches – Maui offers a myriad of options to explore. If you love adventure, you can barrel through the high-rising waves, skim across the Whitecaps, and even explore the fish-filled corals and reefs. Among other iconic adventures that you can indulge in here include taking a road trip to Hana, watching the sunrise from the peak of Haleakalā, and kayaking in Makena Bay (you can even sight humpback whales here.)
Amidst the bustling shoreline of the East Coast, you can find the perfect lonely island getaway at Cumberland Island. The island is absolutely untouched by the modern world eccentricities. Rather, this pristine barrier island is home to some of the most lively and untouched oak forests, sandy beaches, and salt marshes. That said, you can also view some of the most exotic wildlife species such as water birds and sea turtles. Don’t forget to gaze at the stars on a clear night, while camping here.
Raja Ampat Islands
Just off Sorong in West Papua, you have the sparsely populated archipelago of Raja Ampat Islands. This collection of more than 1500 islands, is home to some of the most sublime landscapes of steep jungle-covered islands, hidden lagoons, white-sand beaches, dark caves, pellucid turquoise waters, and exotic mushroom-shaped islets. That said, these beautiful islands aren’t only famous for their unadulterated beauty. Tourists are drawn this popular island destination because of the abundance of wildlife, diverse marine life and vast expanses of coral reef systems.
Located in the far southwest of Japan, the Yaeyama Islands feature some of the best snorkeling and diving spots in the entire region. Likewise, these islands also boast of excellent beaches and quickly-waning subtropical jungles. Therefore, it is only natural that tourists take ample time off to explore the dense mangrove swamps and coral reefs of Iriomote-Jima, and go on hikes in the main island of Ishigaki-Jima. It is also common for visitors to immerse themselves in the local culture on Taketomi-Jima and Ryūkyū islands. Overall, the Yaeyama Islands definitely rank among the most pristine, yet easily accessible tourist destinations in the world.
While a majority of tourists favor the much-hyped islands of Mallorca or Ibiza, the island of Menorca is in no way, inferior to its two siblings. Rather, this easternmost Balearic island has its own, distinctive mellow beat. With its twinset of sea-adorned cities – Anglo-Spanish Maó in the east and maze-like Ciutadella in the west, the island of Menorca is delightfully low-key. That said, the distinctive, golden-white sand bays along the expansive coastline is one of the loveliest in the entire Mediterranean region. Likewise, the rolling hills, white-washed villages, and dry-stone walls donning the fields – all contribute to the overall soothing atmosphere here.
(All photographs are courtesy of the original owners unless otherwise indicated)