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    Remote Islands

    Experiences for Islands off the beaten track.

    If you've always wanted to visit remote and beautiful islands less travelled but don't know where to start, take a look at the experiences below and come back again soon as we gather more great experiences and store them here each month. If you have been to an unusual island destination we would love you to post your experience so that we can all share these hidden treasures and insider tips.

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    • Where: Yasawa Islands, Fiji
    • Who: BexBD
    • When: November

    Fiji is a great place to mix a beach holiday with a little bit of adventure. I travelled from Nadi up the Yasawa Islands.

    We took the boat and spent 6 hours on it to work our way back from the top down, which was really great. The Islands at the top of the group are a lot more rocky and are larger, whereas the Islands closer to Nadi are tiny and very Robinson Cruso-esq.

    I loved the back to basic feel on the Islands, so if you're looking for luxury I wouldn't suggest Island hopping. We did some day trips to local villages, learnt how to make jewellery from coconut shells and leaves. We also did scuba diving, snorkeling and swimming with sharks.

    For me the best bit was that every few days we got back on the boat and travelled to somewhere new, so I was never bored. I do think that perhaps Fiji may be aimed at younger travellers rather than couples - BUT, that might have been because that's what I was doing and noticed it more.

    The food was basic and sometimes a bit questionable, as was the accommodation that we stayed in. But there did appear to be some lovely private huts.

    There were stunning views, peaceful walks and back to basic style living, which made you feel a million miles away from the rush and bustle of home.

    Published: 21 August 2012

    • Where: Ilha Grande, Brazil
    • Who: LB1008
    • When: April

    I feel really lucky that I found Ilha Grande-there aren't many places like this left on the planet. The island itself is entirely made up of dense rainforest, the odd mountain and beautiful beaches and compared to the mainland is a bit of a shock to the system. There are no cars on the island so get used to walking, or use boats if you can't face the exercise. Additionally, there are no banks/ATMs and credit cards aren't accepted everywhere so bring cash with you when you come over. And if you hate insects or wild monkeys you may be in the wrong place. The only town on the island is Vila do Abraao and most people stay around here-if you need to book any tours (snorkelling, diving, fishing) or boat trips to different beaches this can be done really easily.

    If you really want to get away from everything, take the time to find a place hidden (literally) in another part of the island. I stayed at Atlantica Jungle Lodge on the east coast which was stunning. There was nobody around (the resort only has 4 rooms), the views over the bay were amazing and from the lodge it was only a 15 minute walk to Lopes Mendes beach which is rated as one of the best in Brazil and is pretty special (from Abraao it is a 3/4 hour return hike, or you can get a boat most of the way). At this point all I wanted to do was sleep, read, be antisocial and recharge my batteries so this place was just paradise (couples would like it too), but if you get bored you may prefer to stay in Abraao - electricity on the island is sporadic at best and there was nothing to do in the evening.
    I spent most days at Lopes Mendes as I liked it so much (walk to the far end if you want to swim in calmer water) but Dois Rios and the Blue Lagoon are also beautiful. Take insect repellant!!!!!

    Published: 01 August 2012

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    • Where: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
    • Who: Suze
    • When: June

    The Galapagos Islands presents the traveller with a real dilemma – as a wildlife lover do you visit the fragile eco-system to see its beauty for yourself, all the time knowing that your very presence is detrimentally impacting the wildlife? Selfishly I decided that I couldn’t just look at books or a programme on the islands and that it really was a must-see for me – and I wasn’t disappointed! The Galapagos Islands are absolutely beautiful and you were literally tripping over the wildlife!

    I tried to reduce the impact of my visit somewhat by choosing a small boat and I am glad I did as you really did get a completely different experience than a large cruise ship. I had a 6 day cruise and I would recommend this option as (despite the marketing otherwise) you really don’t have the same experience on a 2 day cruise. With a longer cruise you are able to sail out to some of further islands, away from the short trips, and so of course reducing the numbers of tourists who are visiting the island at any one time. The few islands we visited at the same time as a cruise ship were my least favourite – there were just too many people on too small a space – and of course with so many humans around the wildlife scarpered! A smaller boat will also mean you have much more interaction with your fellow passengers, usually leading to late night drinking & chatting under the amazingly clear starry sky up on the top deck!

    I can’t believe that there is anywhere with better stars or sunsets than the Galapagos. Swimming with the seals was a truly magical experience – even if they did scare me frequently by suddenly appearing inches in front or beside me to swim in tandem or play - fantastically fun creatures and an experience that shouldn’t be missed. In hindsight I missed a trick in that I didn’t combine the cruise with a few days on main land Ecuador, but that would be my only regret from the holiday.

    Published: 20 June 2012

    • Where: Tioman, Malaysia
    • Who: Leahlas
    • When: July

    We flew from Kuala Lumpur out to Tioman Island for 5 days. We were hoping for something isolated and beautiful and that’s what we got. We took an hour long flight on a 20 seater Berjaya Air propeller plane from Sultan Abdul Kuala airport into Tioman, and a short car ride to a beach for a boat to Salang Sayang resort/village. Boat is the only way to get to the village. We stayed in very rough little huts on the beach but this was what we wanted, and it was idyllic. The island is mountainous and mainly jungle, so unless you take jungle tours you can’t walk much further than your beach resort. The snorkelling was fantastic right off the beach, however as beautiful as the white sand was we did get nipped a lot by little sand flies while sunbathing.

    Be careful not to leave your bags unattended on the beach as monkeys hop down from the trees and raid them! Although our hut was basic, it was all we needed. We did struggle to find much on offer for food, and when we asked for coffee we got a strange concoction of thick condensed cream at the bottom with syrupy black sweet coffee on top, if you ask for Nescafe you get something that resembles a more normal coffee. The island was teeming with wildlife, and just wandering to the village store we saw Monitor lizards on the banks of the streams. We were there in steamy July, and we did have a tropical storm for 2 days of our visit. It didn’t stop us enjoying it, if anything we enjoyed it more; it was still incredibly hot and we had never seen torrential rain like it. In fact it meant that most flights were grounded and we managed to get the last flight out of there before they stopped service for several days. It meant cutting our stay a day short, but to catch our other flights in KL we had to do it. It really was a desert island and an unforgettable experience.

    Published: 20 June 2012

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