Ditch the crowds and zen out on these islands that you probably never heard of but need to visit. Forget "been there done that" these eight hidden gems deliver adventure, seclusion, wanderlust, and true relaxation.
1. Rangiroa, The Islands of Tahiti
The largest of the Tuamotu Atolls in the Islands of Tahiti, the intense hues of the ocean and sky are coined “Rangiroa Blue”. Spend sundrenched days cruising around a ring of islets exploring coral atolls and stunning sandbars that loop the lagoon. For aquatic adventure, dive the Tiputa Pass or wade through crystal clear water through a nursery of baby black tip sharks. After a spectacular sunset, the night sky lights up with rarely seen constellations. Bliss out as you check in at the Hotel Kia Ora with private bungalows and lounge by its infinity pool that blurs the line between lagoon and sky.
2. Vis, Croatia
The furthest island off the coast of Split in the Dalmatian Coast, Vis boasts dramatic coastlines, crystalline waters, and stunning beaches. A hidden gem, Stiniva Beach offers quite an adventure as you hike down a steep rocky path to arrive but are welcomed with magnificent ocean views. Charter a boat and sail around Vis. Pick a cove, anchor, and dive in. When not swimming in its azure blue waters, visit the sleepy fishing village of Komiza, discover the island's wineries or take an olive oil tour.
3. Little Cayman, The Cayman Islands
A quick island hop from the main island, Little Cayman lives up to its name at only 10 miles long with a population of only 200 inhabitants. Where islanders go to relax, feel your heart slow down as you relax into the island vibe. Zen out and sunbathe on empty pink-hued soft sand beaches. Ride a bike the length of the island or kayak around nearby Owen Island. Stay at the colorful Little Cayman Beach Resort. Popular with all levels of scuba divers, you walk out of the door and onto the boats just minutes away from world class wall dives.
4. Dominica, Caribbean
Known as the “nature island”, Dominica is dramatic, volcanic, and covered in lush tropical rainforests. One of the least crowded islands in the Caribbean, laze on black and white sand beaches or get up early and hike to natural hot springs and mudbaths in the jungle. Check into the remote cliffside Secret Bay Resort surrounded by secluded beaches. Or relax at the Jungle Bay Eco-Villas with oceanfront spa views.
5. Lanai, Hawaii
Relaxed and friendly, Lanai offers a true aloha-vibe. Just nine miles off the coast of Maui, its wild beaches and backroads deliver the promise of both adventure and leisure. Ride horses through a red rock landscape, stroll through blooming native ohia lehua trees, explore Hawaiian heritage sites and snorkel in the crystal blue waters of crescent-shaped Hulopoe Bay. Detour off the beaten path for a true tropical landscape.
6. The Channel Islands, California
An eleven-mile boat ride off of Ventura is a central coast archipelago named “the Galapagos of the Pacific”. Teeming with wildlife guests spot whales, sea lions, dolphins and sea birds. Sans amenities -it's "bring your own everything". But that's part of its charm, as the islands are inhabited with a limited number of daytrippers and campers. Hike along stunning cliffs with panoramic ocean views. If you're camping, watch the night light up with stars. Kayak or scuba dive to explore its numerous kelps beds and reefs. The Channel Islands are accessible by boat with family-owned Island Packers from the charming beach cities of Ventura and Oxnard.
7. Ischia, Italy
Prepare to be enchanted and revel in a taste of Italy’s La Dolce Vita. Although popular with Europeans, this volcanic island and its healing thermal waters are little known in the U.S. Here wellness rituals date back to Roman times and blend perfectly with chic Italian lifestyle. Sun-drenched days melt away and hours are counted by dips in the Bay of Naples. For centuries famous artists, painters, and poets frequent Ischia for inspiration, health, beauty. Stay at the Miramare Hotel and enjoy panoramic sea views a private thermal bath. Or visit the Thermal Park Aphrodite Apollon with eight pure thermal pools.
8. Holbox, Mexico
Isla Holbox (pronounced Hol-bosh) is both easy on the eyes and the wallet. A haven for nature lovers, wellness aficionados and those who seek a relaxed island vibe flock to its long stretches of white sand beaches. Conveniently located for days trips, quick boat ride takes you to Yalahau cenote or swim with the whale sharks from May to September. Stay at the oceanfront Las Nubes is a boutique hotel with thatched roofs. With your toes in the low tide sand banks, you'll feel one with this natural paradise.
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