- 35 Places to Take the Kids
- Favorite Sights in Tuscany and Umbria
- 10 Megashiips Worth the Hype
Our book 500 Extraordinary Islands takes readers on an irresistible tour of some of the most magnificent islands around the globe -- from tiny isles to island nations, and from the well-trod to the totally uninhabited.
Here are 10 highlights that will take you from the Atlantic waters off Rhode Island to the remote South Pacific and across the Indian Ocean to the east coast of Africa.
Imagine a lush and lovely tropical island (or two) with unspoiled beaches and vibrant coral reefs, a friendly, low-key paradise that's largely undiscovered by the globe-trotting hordes. A dreamy little place where there are no cruise ships, no malls, no celebs fleeing the paparazzi. For anyone who has a yen to live the laid-back lifestyle, this may be the spot for you.
The tiny, practically deserted island of Koh Tonsay, just south of the resort town of Kep, is Cambodia's best-kept secret for seaside relaxation among the natural splendor of the Gulf of Siam.
Many a visitor has landed on this wind-whipped glacial outcrop, 12 miles (19km) off the Rhode Island coast, and thought immediately of Ireland -- those dramatic clay cliffs, hundreds of sweet-water ponds nestling in the rolling green interior, dry-stone walls overgrown with moss, wild roses clambering over beach dunes.
Though it's separated from the well-groomed resorts of West Maui only by the 9-mile-wide (14km) Pailolo Channel, Molokai is a world away from the entrenched tourism of the more famous Hawaiian islands.
Raiatea & Tahaa
Raiatea is the most sacred island in the South Seas, with the best-preserved archaeological site in Polynesia. Separated from Raiatea by a thin lagoon, the "vanilla island" of Tahaa is even more traditional, and is home to one of the most luxurious resorts in the region.
For anyone who's ever had the urge to flee the rat race and parachute onto a tropical island with velvety air and a breezy, barefoot lifestyle, Caye Caulker would likely fit the bill. It's the kind of laid-back, sun-saturated spot that's as inoculated to the rat race as a civilized place can be.
Ile au Haut
Like its neighbor Mount Desert Island, much of Ile au Haut -- over half -- is dedicated to Acadia National Park. Yet very few park visitors make it over to this other Penobscot Bay island, well south of the main park territory.
Guadeloupe moves to its own gentle rhythms. It has no grand resorts and the shopping is certainly not as cosmopolitan as that on nearby Martinique. But the soul of Guadeloupe lies in its small inns and B&B-style gites, rustic harborfront cafes, and beachside seafood shacks.
By declaring both the Quirimbus Archipelago and the southern coast's Bazaruto Archipelago protected national parks, Mozambique has, in the words of the World Wildlife Fund, become a "global leader in conservation." In the process, it has helped preserve two of the most exquisitely untouched regions in the world.
This island of pristine white sand is only 32km (20 miles) northeast of bustling Trinidad, but the pace here is so relaxing that many Trinidadians come here for weekend escapes. It also draws travelers wishing to laze on the beaches or explore the green mountains of Tobago's rainforest with its glorious flora and fauna, including exotic birds and darting green iguanas.