Paradise on the Horizon

Icon 1 de July, 2024
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How far are you willing to travel for an unforgettable island getaway?

With so many people back to traveling these days, it’s getting harder and harder to find paradise. Especially paradise islands.

But with more than a million islands around the world, there are still plenty of places that are seemingly undiscovered, under the radar or simply underrated.

This summer, consider these eight landfalls and decide which one is closest to your version of paradise.

Lord Howe Island (Australia)
Located in the Tasman Sea around 450 miles northeast of Sydney, the entire island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with volcanic mountains, pristine rainforest and the globe’s southernmost coral reef.

Lord Howe’s lagoon offers primo scuba and snorkeling, while the waves that splash its white-sand beaches are ideal for surfing. Hiking trails meander along the coast and up jagged jungle peaks.

With only 400 beds among the 21 places you can rest overnight on the island — including the posh Capella Lodge featuring a gourmet restaurant and luxury spa — Lord Howe will never be overcrowded.

How to get there: An overseas flight to Sydney and then a two-hour Qantas domestic flight.

Bocas del Toro (Panama)
Christopher Columbus anchored off these tropical isles in 1502 – his colonizing plans hindered by a “lack of treasure.” Fast-forward 500 years and Bocas del Toro is loaded with bounty – prized for its sun, sea and sand.

Floating in the Caribbean Sea off Western Panama, the islands offer a blend of Hispanic, Indigenous and Afro-Caribbean culture that reveals itself in the food, art and music scenes of Boca Town.

Bastimentos, the largest island, is home to Panama’s oldest marine national park, where coral reefs, jungle trails and white-sand strands like Red Frog Beach beckon day trippers.

Accommodation ranges from modest surfer hostels and the Sea Monkey Overwater Bungalows to upscale digs like La Coralina Island House with its Balinese vibe.

How to get there: A flight to Panama City, transfer across town to the domestic airport, and then a one-hour flight to Bocas.

ETA Summer 2024
ETA Summer 2024
ETA Summer 2024

Samosir (Indonesia)
From its days as a stop on Asia’s “Hippie Trail,” this exotic Indonesian isle has evolved into a family-friendly oasis of art galleries, casual cafes and boutique hotels. It has the feel of Bali before the advent of mega five-star hotels.

The cool thing about Samosir is that it’s actually an island within an island – located in Danau Toba (the world’s largest volcanic lake) on the giant island of Sumatra.

Tap into the local Batak culture by attending a dance performance at the Museum Huta Bolon Simanindo or by visiting sacred sites, like the 300-year-old stone chairs of Ambarita or the Tomb of King Sidabutar.

How to get there: An overseas flight to Singapore or Jakarta, a regional flight to Medan, then, a 3.5-hour road transfer to Parapat followed by a 30-minute ferry to Samosir.

Gozo (Malta, Mediterranean)
If you prefer a throwback, old-timey Med rather than modern party-hearty atmosphere, then Gozo should be your next stop.

The smaller of the two major landfalls that comprise the island nation of Malta, Gozo is one of those places that really does seem lost in time, especially at the colossal medieval Ċittadella, the baroque Cathedral of the Assumption, and the megalithic Ġgantija temples (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Gozo’s wineries trace their roots to the first grapes crushed and fermented on the island 5,000 years ago — the perfect complement to unique Gozitan dishes like pastizzi turnovers and lampuki fish.

Overnight at small hotels in 300-year-old townhouses in the shadow of the citadel or a quaint harborside hotels in one of the old ports.

How to get there: An overseas flight to Valletta, and then a 25-minute ferry from Malta to Gozo.

ETA Summer 2024
ETA Summer 2024
ETA Summer 2024
ETA Summer 2024

Tonga (South Pacific)
The last true monarchy in the South Pacific, the Kingdom of Tonga comprises 171 tropical islands southeast of Fiji.

Among its other claims to fame are the actual mutiny on the HMS Bounty in 1789 and the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai volcanic eruption of 2021 – the largest explosion of any kind in modern times.

While the capital city Tongatapu is the place to check out Tongan culture and royal rituals, the nation’s outdoor adventure playground is Vava’u and its beguiling islands in the north. There you can swim with humpback whales, dive pristine coral gardens, charter a sailboat and drop anchor at dozens of secluded coves.

Get way off the grid on Treasure and Mouno Islands, unplugged private resorts that feel a million miles away from civilization.

How to get there: An overseas flight and connection on Air New Zealand (via Auckland) or Fiji Airways (via Nadi) to Nuku‘alofa.

Bazaruto Archipelago (Mozambique)
As long as you’re flying all the way to Africa for a wildlife safari, why not combine observing the “Big Five” of African mammals with iconic maritime creatures like the whale sharks, Indian Ocean dugongs, bottlenose dolphins and colorful coral reef fish of Bazaruto.

The Mozambique isle is also renowned for towering dunes (ripe for sandboarding), inland lagoons (home to crocodiles and copious birdlife), and the long, crescent-shaped beach at Sailfish Bay.

Half a dozen tropical beach hotels lure visitors to the archipelago including the upscale Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort.

How to get there: An overseas flight to Johannesburg, followed by a 90-minute Airlink flight to Vilanculos and a one-hour boat transfer to Bazaruto.

St. Vincent & the Grenadines (Caribbean)
This sun-splashed island nation at the bottom end of the Lesser Antilles attracts a wide variety of visitors.

Mustique is a longtime hangout for British royals and rock stars, while the swank Mandarin Oriental Resort on Canouan island attracts honeymooners and well-heeled golfers.

Super laidback Bequia is a popular stop on the winter yachtie trail across the West Indies. And for something completely different, the main island of St. Vincent is for those who crave a taste of the old Caribbean before cruise ships and all-inclusive resorts.

How to get there: An overseas flight to Kingstown and either the ferry or charter flight to the Grenadines.

ETA Summer 2024
ETA Summer 2024

Santo Antão (Cabo Verde)
A delicious blend of African, Brazilian and Portuguese culture, Santo Antão and the rest of the Cape Verde islands were uninhabited until the late 15th century when Portuguese mariners discovered them during explorations of the West African coast.

Hiking is the main activity on the volcanic island with rugged highlands, Grand Canyon-like ravines, and trails that meander along towering sea cliffs to secluded villages with pastel-colored houses.

While it’s tempting to overnight on the coast, sleeping at a rustic pousada in the highlands delivers a more authentic Santo Antão experience.

How to get there: An overseas flight to capital Praia and a 45-minute Cabo Verde Airlines flight to São Vicente island, followed by a one-hour ferry to Santo Antão.

-Joe Yogerst

Font: Los Angeles Times