It is not uncommon to feel a certain melancholy in the grip of the winter months. Morning frost clinging to car windscreens, perpetual colds and fleeting hours of sunshine have many of us dreaming of bright white sands and turquoise waters. What better time to decide upon the perfect island getaway? TravelLocal has put together their ultimate recommendations to help you choose your next destination. Get off the beaten track and discover your own slice of paradise – a dream island escape could be just around the corner…
Nestled around twenty kilometres off the coast of Mozambique are the stunning islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago. To visit these islands is to enjoy more than pleasant weather and picturesque beaches, although you will find both in abundance. Ibo island offers an opportunity to explore the unique human history of Mozambique, with many of its settlements dating back centuries. The clear waters around the islands are teeming with marine life and are one of the finest diving spots off the western coast of Africa.
When deciding upon an island to while away the day, you will be spoilt for choice in Indonesia. There are more famous choices like Borneo, Bali and Sumatra that offer verdant scenery and impressive biodiversity, but why not stray from the beaten path and visit a hidden gem? The Gili Islands.
Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air are the three islands found to the north of Lombok. Each island has its own distinctive character and all are blessed with white sand and clear waters. Trawangan is the largest and most visited of the three islands. It has a vibrant, cosmopolitan feel, full of lively bars and restaurants. Gili Meno is the smallest and least developed of the three islands while Gili Air sits between the two and offers the ultimate romantic getaway.
During the dying hours of the day, the sky above Burma comes alive. Ablaze with a hundred shades of red, orange and yellow, there aren’t many better sunset spots than the islands of the Mergui Archipelago.
The crystal clear waters around the islands are some of the best in the world for divers, home to a wide array of marine wildlife including Dugongs and Manta Rays. The islands of the archipelago are perhaps the best in this article if you are looking to truly escape the hustle and bustle. Tourism to the area is very much in its infancy and many islands remain uninhabited. It is likely that when relaxing upon an island shoreline the Mokens are the only people you’ll see. They are the archipelago’s indigenous inhabitants who live a nomadic life almost entirely on water.
The Caribbean sea is well famed around the world for quintessential island getaways. This is with good reason, the sunshine is consistent and its seven thousand islands offer resplendent scenery. But if you are willing to look further than Antigua, the Caymans and Saint Martin, there are a variety of island treasures waiting to be discovered.
A truly fantastic example of these hidden gems are a pair of islands found off the coast of Nicaragua, the Corn Islands. The larger of the two, Great Corn island, is dotted with brightly coloured houses which house its indigenous Creole population. When visiting this island be sure to sample the fresh and delicious produce that acts as the island’s largest industry, Lobster!
The smaller island, Little Corn, has no roads or major urban development and is where you will want to head if you’re seeking to escape the stresses of modern life. Our recommendation is to head to Goat beach, a small cove hidden away on the north side of the island. It gets fewer visitors than Little Corn’s other beaches and is utterly picturesque.
The South-East Asian nation of Laos boasts its own set of charming island twins: Don Khon and Don Det. These islands are not found in the ocean like other recommendations in this article, they are two of four thousand islands nestled in the Mekong River. This makes the islands incredibly easy to access, a mainland bus ticket will often include a boat transfer, making Don Khon and Don Det the perfect pit stop for those exploring the length and breadth of Laos.
Don Det is livelier than its smaller sibling, with an array of bars and beach side resorts. Don Khon offers a more relaxed pace of life, with an array of breathtaking waterfalls and secluded beaches to visit. There is also opportunity around the islands to spot Irrawaddy Dolphins so, if you have a love of wildlife, be sure to keep your eyes peeled when relaxing on the beaches!
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