Ever wondered where you could go to truly get away from it all? Not the glossy commercial ads you see every day, but somewhere a little more exotic, untamed, off the beaten path?
We’ve got 5 islands you’ve likely never heard of, but will want to visit immediately.
Commencing 30 miles off the coast of Panama City, a love match between jungle and sea dazzles across the archipelago of the 200-plus sparsely inhabited Pearl Islands. Due to limited infrastructure, it’s only possible to visit a handful of these natural treasures, including the 17-square-mile Isla San José, and neighboring Isla Pedro González, which has been rechristened as Pearl Island and is the site of an in-progress luxury resort community and a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.
In the heart of the Indian Ocean, Silhouette Island is one of 115 islands that comprise Seychelles, Africa’s smallest nation. About 98 percent of this high-rising boulder-strewn granitic island (population: 135) is a nature reserve, which features a single resort, the Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa. Though just 45 minutes by speedboat from the capital island of Mahé, Silhouette feels oceans away from modern civilization.
A 20-minute flight from Antigua’s international airport, the sleepy Caribbean island of Montserrat has made a huge comeback since its devastating volcanic eruption in 1997. Turning tragedy into triumph, the Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) is in the process of rebuilding the capital city on the island’s northwest coast, luring investors to return to this lush, mountainous island formerly frequented by the rich and famous.
Belize’s largest island may be off the grid for most, but it’s no secret to divers in the know. This laid-back, palm-laced paradise, a mere 15-minute flight or 45-minute speedboat ride from Belize City, serves as the principal gateway to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, with proximate access to renowned dive sites such as the Great Blue Hole and Shark Ray Alley.
About a 45-minute ferry ride off the northern tip of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Holbox Island hosts the world’s largest known congregation of whale sharks in the summer months and thriving populations of native pink flamingos year-round.
Beyond nature, the island—completely void of cars and most other reminders of globalization—has little else than a small boho-chic downtown, a few beachfront clusters of whitewashed, thatched-roof hotels and off-the-beaten-path types reveling in the beauty of this global biosphere reserve.