When you think about an island vacation, you might think specifically about tropical islands. However, there are islands all over the world, and many have something to offer tourists in terms of spectacular scenery, delicious food, and rich cultural heritage.
Nevertheless, some island vacations are more worthwhile than others. Regardless of the region of the world that your wandering star leads you to, here are some of the best islands to see as well as those you might want to bypass.
During the cold winter months, many people like to take off for the tropical warmth of the Caribbean. You are likely to hit popular spots like Cancun during a western Caribbean cruise, but those who like to travel a bit off the beaten path may enjoy a side trip to nearby Isla Mujeres. Here you can feast on locally sourced shrimp in the shell, nap beneath the sheltering palms on the white sand beaches, or check out the partially underground swimming hole in the colonial town of Valladolid.
The Galapagos Islands might seem like a good vacation spot due to the historically important natural habitat. However, its ecological significance is precisely the reason why it does not make for a good destination. The Ecuadorian government does not prohibit tourists from visiting the Galapagos Islands, but it does employ a lot of strict regulations to protect the ecosystem. Unless you are planning a trip there for purposes of scientific study, it may be hard to relax on a trip to the Galapagos Islands.
The Greek archipelago contains a number of islands that are popular with world travelers. Santorini is one of the best. Its picturesque towns feature whitewashed houses and buildings with bright blue roofs. You can take in the scenery from above when you hike up to the top of the volcano’s caldera. Because of the volcano, you will also find unique black and red sand beaches on Santorini. When you are done exploring, you can relax by the turquoise water and feast on food and wine with a distinctly Mediterranean flavor.
Many people include a trip to Venice, Italy, on their Mediterranean travel itinerary. However, not all locations in or around Venice are as appealing as others. Poveglia Island is a creepy island that most tourists pass over. In the Middle Ages, the Black Plague wiped out 50% of Europe’s population. Disposing of the bodies became a problem for Venetian officials, and over 100,000 dead bodies ended up in “plague pits” dug on Poveglia Island. The island has also gained a reputation for paranormal activity, so unless you are traveling specifically to seek out that sort of thing, you might want to give Poveglia Island a pass on your trip to Venice.
As the largest continent, Asia offers multiple island destinations to travelers. Hong Kong was once a British colony that has since been turned back over to the Chinese government. As a result, it offers a blend of Eastern and Western cultures. Hong Kong’s area also includes barrier islands featuring protected parks, woodlands, and wetlands in addition to the main island with its large city and towering skyscrapers.
The Izu Islands in Japan seem like a good destination on paper, offering opportunities for scuba diving and dolphin sighting. If you could spend your entire trip there underwater, you would likely have no problems at all. Unfortunately, you’d be in for an unpleasant surprise when you came up for air. The atmosphere around the Izu Islands contains deadly levels of poisonous sulfur due to the volcanoes. There is, however, a small population of people who live on the Izu Islands, and they are ready to welcome any visitors that brave the trip with gas masks upon their arrival.
Some island destinations are not popular with tourists, for good reason. However, some travelers have unique tastes, and the very qualities that make some islands unpopular actually attract a certain brand of tourists with unusual interests. Therefore, any of these locations could potentially be the perfect vacation spot for the right kind of traveler.