Cyan waters, cloud-free skies, palm-fringed sugar white beaches of pebbly perfection that stretch for miles. You’re tucked away in a hammock, gently swaying in the cool tropical breeze, sipping a chilled rum and coconut milk cocktail, straight from a freshly plucked green coconut. For many, this scene is heaven on earth; a fantasy island of pristine beaches made for blissful relaxation. If you’re looking for a refuge far from the 9-5 grind, away from the pressure of mortgage payments and dry-cleaning errands, here are ten tropical island paradises across the globe with stunning natural landscape, unspoiled beaches and a Hakuna Matata ‘no worries’ lifestyle.
1 – Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
Located off the northeastern coast of Malaysia, the Perhentians consist of two islands Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Perhentian Kecil, some 12 miles off the coast. The bigger island of Besar offers high-end resort accommodations, while Kecil tends to attract a younger backpackers with its cheap wooden beachfront huts and laidback party vibe. When not sprawled out on the sand soaking up the sun, activities include jungle trekking, dining on fresh barracuda filets, snorkeling for turtles or reef diving among sunken ships.
2 – Tetepare, Solomon Islands
Tetepare, the largest uninhabited island in the South Pacific is found in the Western Province of Solomon Islands. It’s home to primary lowland rainforests that have never been logged, which makes for rich biodiversity: from manatee-like dugongs, to horseshoe bats flying over the canopies of banyan trees and critically endangered leatherback turtles who lay their eggs on volcanic black sand beaches. Stay at the Tetepare Island Ecolodge (http://www.tetepare.org/tetepare-accommodation.html), basic but clean accommodations set in in two traditional Melanesian leaf houses.
3 – Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Said to have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Fernando de Noronha is a tropical archipelago found some 200 miles away from the Brazil’s northeastern coast, just a few degrees south of the Equator. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fernando de Noronha boasts picturesque volcanic inlets jetting from the azure waters. The unique and fiercely protected ecosystem is home to an array of animals, birds and a kaleidoscope of fish. Take a stroll along the Esmerelda Coast trail to observe the pelican-like catraias as they swoop down for dinner, or head underwater for some incredible scuba diving where you’re likely to spot manta rays, sharks, moray eels, sea turtles and dolphins.