Category Archives: Islands

An island (however big or small) is a piece of land that is surrounded by water from all sides. A grouping of geographically related islands is called an archipelago, such as the Philippines. Some of the world’s most beautiful islands are in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Tahiti, Maldives, and Mexico. The primary appeal of island vacation is relaxing at nice resorts, enjoying the beach, and doing water activities, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing.

Top 10 Best Things To Do In Tenerife

To have the best time of your life on Tenerife Island, here are our suggestions for the top 10 best things to do in Tenerife, part of the Canary Islands in Spain.

Pro Tip: Book your accommodation in a central location that is close to popular attractions, restaurants, and bars.

1. Visit the famous Teide National Park and hike to the top of Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain.

2. Enjoy the beautiful beaches of Tenerife and go swimming, surfing, or snorkeling in the crystal clear waters.

3. Visit the historic town of La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and explore its beautiful architecture and museums.

4. Experience the nightlife of Tenerife and visit some of the popular clubs and bars in Playa de las Americas or Los Cristianos.

Los Cristianos Coast in Tenerife

5. Go on a boat tour and see the dolphins and whales in their natural habitat.

6. Visit the Loro Parque, a famous zoo and amusement park, and see the exotic animals and thrilling rides.

7. Try some of the local cuisine, such as papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) and mojo (spicy sauce), and taste some of the famous wines of Tenerife.

8. Visit the Mount Teide Observatory and see the stars and planets through the telescopes.

9. Take a trip to the neighboring island of La Gomera and explore its beautiful forests and nature reserves.

10. Relax and unwind in one of the many spas and wellness centers in Tenerife and rejuvenate your mind and body.

You can also try out water sports such as surfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean. But most importantly, take time to relax and unwind at the end of your trip, enjoying the island’s peaceful atmosphere and beautiful sunsets.

186-Mile Hike on the Welsh Pembrokeshire Coastline

A strange yelping noise echoed up the cliffs to meet me. The noise rose and fell on the wind and sounded much like a crying baby.

I quickened my pace along the dusty path eager to see down into the coves. Another gust of wind brought more plaintive cries to my ears.

I reached the headland and stopped short on a grassy bluff and peered over the crumbling edge. Far below me was a shingle beach that teemed with activity.

Large figures moved in and out of the turquoise waters, their grey bodies dipping into the surf and diving amongst the waves.

Farther up the beach one of these creatures advanced past the tide line and slid ungracefully across the sand into the foaming sea. I couldn’t believe my eyes. A colony of Atlantic grey seals, right here in the UK.

This incredible evening occurred in mid-September whilst I was walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path – a 186-mile National Trails hike located in the south of Wales.

Pembrokeshire Coastline

Pembrokeshire (Wales) map by NordNordWest CCBYSA3.0

The route crosses 35,000 feet of ascents and descents which is equivalent to the height of Mount Everest!

The path is populated by 14 harbors and some bigger fishing villages such as Tenby, Pembroke, and Fishguard.

It is renowned for its rugged heathland and windswept landscape due to the harsh weather that blows off the Irish Sea. It has 58 beaches and is, for the most part, a relatively untouched area of coastline.

It was this level of wilderness that attracted me to walk the path in its entirety. Following a series of travel restrictions and lockdowns in the UK, I felt an urge to spend some time exploring the local National Parks in my home country rather than planning to jet abroad only for the trip to get canceled.

Prior to this, I’d walked the 84-mile Hadrian’s Wall Path in northern England. This hike stretched from the east to the west coast which amusingly gave me the right to say I’d walked across the UK.

Despite this, I still wanted to step it up. I felt I had more in me and yearned to do something even more adventurous.

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path seemed like the perfect challenge I’d been looking for. It gave me that added element of raw nature whilst also allowing me to explore an area of the country I’d never visited before.

Gwlad Hud a Lledrith

In fact, the path is known as “Gwlad Hud a Lledrith” in Welsh, which means “The Land of Mystery and Enchantment”, and it’s this remoteness that makes it the perfect home for a breeding seal population.

During the autumn, adult seals flock to the secluded beaches and hidden coves of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to raise their pups.

Throughout the rest of the year, there’s only a small population in the area and it’s unlikely you’ll see any – let alone up close on the beaches. However, during the 3-4 weeks where their pups can’t swim, the colony remains close to the shore at all times.

Despite knowing this, I still felt strangely aloof about the whole thing. As if it was some myth that could never actually happen. The idea of being on an empty, sweeping beach in the UK watching a colony of seals teach their pups how to swim seemed too good to be true.

Yet there I was, witnessing exactly that. The more I stared, the more the animals seemed to appear from their camouflaged hiding spots amongst the rocks.

I began to recognize small white shapes, about the size of a house cat, flapping at the base of the crumbling cliffs. Those strange noises suddenly had their source.

The fluffy pups lay on their backs in the sun creating quite a racket, clamoring for attention. They moaned and cried out, calling for their mother’s milk.

I dropped my heavy backpack on the floor and sat beside a patch of ferns to watch the amazing natural dynamic unfold below me.

Occasionally the pups would fall asleep and go quiet, or sometimes a tired-looking mother would shuffle over and flop beside her pup for it to have a drink.

I was blessed with crisp blue skies and the cliffs were lit orange by the low Autumnal sun.

Rays of light illuminated the water so clear that I could see the adults diving down and foraging amongst the seaweed, catching fish and collecting crustaceans to eat.

They looked so sleek gliding under the water which only made it more comical seeing them try to move clumsily overland.

Some of the bigger seals rested out to sea glancing about with their whiskered heads bobbing up and down in the water.

From this distance, they looked much like dogs and I had to squint sometimes to convince myself otherwise.

As the sun lowered in the sky the calls and movements of the animals began to dwindle. Growing tired, I pitched my tent right there overlooking the cove.

I set up my cooking equipment and sat staring at the seals, almost in a trance. The wind gently swept through the grass and rippled the canvas of my tent. The blue flame from my stove hissed and the water clicked and rolled in the pan.

I ate a pouch of spicy tomato pasta and sipped at a steaming mug of tea as the sky ran red and the animals fell silent. The shadows lengthened on the beach and the sea turned slate grey as darkness descended.

I put on my hat and gloves and watched my breath rise into the starlit sky. The moon drifted above the ocean and cast a white glimmer onto the tops of the cliffs.

I could see no glow of urban settlements on the horizon nor hear the sound of any human noise. Only the swash of waves and the occasional scuffle of blubber against stone.

I lay in my sleeping bag that night thinking about what I’d set out to achieve on this walk. To have an adventure. To explore my home country. To find some of its untouched pockets of nature, and most of all, to have an experience I’d never forget.

As I drifted to sleep listening to the sound of waves lapping against the beach and a groaning seal roll over in the sand, I felt I’d accomplished exactly that.

Author Bio

My name is Matt (Twitter @MattWalkWild). I’m a 24-year-old Biologist and adventure traveler. I’ve visited 42 countries around the world and particularly love wild and natural landscapes. I write about all things hiking, camping, and walking. I want to encourage others to experience the amazing outdoors and inform them about how to explore it just like I do! Check out my website: mattwalkwild.com

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11 Days Hiking the Kerry Way in Ireland

I’d dreamed about the Ring of Kerry since I first saw it. I was 19. I’d never been out of the country before, and my first trip was to Ireland.

On that trip, I took a bus ride through the Ring of Kerry. It was the most beautiful place I’d seen thus far in my short life. I promised I’d be back soon.

Hiking the Kerry Way Ireland

Four years later, at 23, I finally kept that promise. But this time, I didn’t take a bus. I walked— 130 miles, for 11 days, with a 30-pound backpack on my back. Alone.

This is the story of how I took my first long-distance solo hike.

Hiking Kerry Way (Ring of Kerry), Ireland

The Beginning

I started out in the city of Killarney. I walked around an entire peninsula before ending back where I started—a full loop, a revolution, a cycle.

The hike started great. I felt empowered, ready to experience nature’s peace, and excited to visit charming towns along the way. I had a lot of thinking to do and I was ready to buckle down and do it.

But there were more challenges than I’d anticipated. I prepared extensively—purchased the right shoes, the perfect pack, researched and plotted everything I would need.

But the fact is that no amount of planning—and I had planned this for years—can prepare you for what you might face along the way. Especially when the toughest obstacle tends to be your own mind.

Killarney National Park

Day 1-3: My Body and Mind Adjust

Let’s go back to the start.

I stepped out of my hostel in Killarney apprehensively. It felt strange, walking through the city like a normal person, albeit with 30 pounds of extra weight on my back.

People were already out and about at 9 am, families laughing, people sipping coffees in cafes. For a moment, I felt like just another tourist visiting Killarney.

Between the Mountains and the Sea

Killarney National Park

I reached Killarney National Park after about an hour of walking along the road. Here, I passed waterfalls and streams and walked amidst massive mountains.

I adjusted to being alone, not having anyone to tell me where to go—only my GPS and the trail markers at every kilometer.

At one point, I nearly got lost in a field of boulders, with no trail marker in sight. But I kept myself calm and continued straight, eventually reaching the next part of the trail.

Lake Killarney

By the time I got to my first hostel, in an area called Black Valley, I’d lost track of time. My feet hurt bad I’d been limping for a mile, my thighs ached, and my shoulders felt like I’d done a million push-ups. I dropped the bag to the floor and slept like a baby.

According to the map, the next day’s hike was “difficult”. The day before had been labeled “easy,” and I could barely walk by the end. Still, I kept my mood high.

Yesterday’s intense foot pain had mostly subsided, though I felt bruises on my hips from where the pack was strapped tightly to my waist.

Landscape, Kerry Way

I enjoyed the dramatic scenery of the valley covered in towering clouds. Eventually, those clouds released a flurry of rain. I stuffed my hair in my raincoat and hummed to myself and the sheep over the sound of the raindrops.

I stepped through muddy gates in strangers’ farmland and a forest darkened by a lack of sun. When the rain finally stopped, hours later, I was in the most dramatic valley I’d ever seen.

The valley was rolling with green, sheep-dotted farmland. Massive mountains framed me on all sides.

I could see why the trail was marked difficult—it led me up and over one of the distant mountains. As I neared the base, I tightened my straps and steeled my nerves.

The climb was tough. The air thinned with each step up to the next rock, and the weight of my pack tugged me backward. I focused on where my feet would go next and controlled my breath until I got to the top and, panting, was rewarded with a breathtaking view of the valley I’d just walked through.

I felt immense pride when I reached my guest room, in a house on a beautiful lake called Lough Acoose. It was a relaxing place to spend the night and I slept peacefully.

The next day, though, I felt anxiety as I set out. I think the excitement was wearing off and exhaustion was finally hitting me. The terrain was full of small hills that would’ve been much easier if I didn’t have 30 pounds on my back and sore feet.

I counted the hours until I finally limped into Glenbeigh, found the hostel where I’d stay, and threw my pack down. This was the first real town I’d stayed in so far, and I delighted in buying actual shampoo from a general store.

After a hot shower, I rewarded myself with a Guinness at a nearby pub and befriended several of the regulars as I recounted my journey so far.

I felt exhausted but proud I’d completed the first few days of my hike.

Day 4-7: The Real Challenges Begin

On the hike scenery

As I walked out of Glenbeigh on day four, the mountains evened out and I realized I was nearing the coast.

Eventually, I found myself walking along a cliff overlooking the entire bay. It was stunning, and I stopped many times to absorb the view—and to allow my aching feet to rest.

Soon I reached the B&B I’d rented for the night, a farmhouse on the water called Taobh Coille. The owner greeted me energetically and immediately sat me down for homemade soup, tea, and biscuits.

I was starving, as I was subsiding on granola bars and fruit during my hikes (it was lighter). I ate gratefully in a sunroom overlooking the water as she told me about her family, who were grown now and having kids of their own. Her kindness made me feel awake and rejuvenated.

That evening, I took a slow walk down to the shore and watched the sunset over the water, ending a nearly perfect day.

I started the next day in a great mood, and walked along the coast for a while, enjoying the views of the turquoise bay and distant faded mountains. But soon the trail veered inland, cutting across the peninsula to reach the other side.

The views and peaceful sea disappeared as I walked through the dullest terrain yet—plain grass fields. No grand vistas or even uphill climbs to distract me now.

This was when the days started to blur. The terrain was mild, but the pain wouldn’t let me relax. It should’ve been the easiest section, and every step was a challenge.

I focused on anything but the pain to distract myself, finding solace in the sun, sheep, distant mountains, the big blinking eyes of cows. Mostly I thought of reaching my hostel, taking off my shoes, and getting a hot meal.

Day 6: Midpoint of my journey

The 6th day started the same. But while I was expecting that same boring terrain, I had another thing coming.

Soon the trail started ascending uphill. I thought it would only be one hill, and made the walk slowly, taking baby steps. My back and thighs ached.

When I stood at the top feeling victorious, the feeling was short-lived as I saw an entire range of mountaintops ahead of me. One after another, I walked over them, feeling as though they’d never end.

I focused only on the step right in front of me. The weather turned harsh. Freezing rain pelted my face, and the wind blew sideways into my ears. I could barely hear or see, and felt like screaming, crying, stopping.

But I kept going and going and suddenly, there were no more mountains. Only a silent winding valley that took me to my hostel, where I collapsed after the hardest day yet.

The next day, the valley looked new. The sun broke through as I walked and I felt as though nothing could faze me anymore. The day’s hike seemed to go fast. By late afternoon, I’d reached the coast again, and the charming seaside town of Waterville.

Once I checked into my B&B, I forced my feet to make the walk into town for a hot meal and a Guinness. I ate at a cozy pub on the water, staring out the window.

My view—the sea, the dark clouds, the crashing waves—looked like peace in its purest form.

Day 8-11: Learning Who I Am Now

On the hike scenery

It was a treat to start my walk along the coast again. My feet still hurt, but I was better at blocking the pain out now.

I was also becoming adept at entertaining myself with my own mind. Spending 8 hours a day completely alone with nothing to do but walk will do that to you.

After a relaxed and short walk, I ended in Caherdaniel. I had expected a town but found nothing but a small pub and a general store that doubled as a gas station that tripled as somebody’s home.

They didn’t even have an ATM—and I didn’t have cash. I ate dinner in the hostel, making due with what I had left and what I could find in the shared kitchen.

As I set out the next day, it quickly occurred to me I’d finished off the rest of my food the night before. I had nothing to tide me over during the 8-hour hike ahead of me.

My GPS said that there was a general store along the road where I’d be walking. But I was walking through rolling hills and farmland, dirt roads that looked like nobody had used them for months.

I could hear the hum of distant cars but never saw this road, never saw the general store. I ate my last apple as slowly as I could manage. I wondered if I’d ever felt so hungry. My body resisted every movement—my energy was spent.

When I hobbled into the busy, charming town of Sneem I felt plunged into bliss. The main street was nothing but restaurants—I smelled roasted chicken and barbecue, grilling burgers, and fresh bread. I nearly cried tears of joy when I quickly checked into my hostel and finally sat down at a restaurant.

I ordered several things off the menu and a big Guinness to wash it down, and felt more satisfied than I could remember ever feeling.

I was sad to leave Sneem the next day, but I bid farewell to its colorful shops and lovely restaurants and set about the second-to-last day of my hike.

I felt calm and relaxed, resolved like I was every day to ignore whatever pain I felt. No stopping now. There were no surprises in the trail description, just a bit of rain and clouds today which made me feel even more alone than I had before.

Ring of Kerry, Kenmare

I ended up in a town called Kenmare, and went about my usual routine of stopping in a pub for a beer. But I felt too tired to socialize. I slept like a baby, prepared for the final day of my journey.

Today’s final leg of the hike was to be long, but easy. I set about feeling strange—I had gotten so used to the routine of waking up early, eating breakfast, having a coffee and packing my bag for the day’s walk. The idea that it all ended today felt surreal.

After a few hours walking through those same massive mountains, I’d seen the first few days, I reached the part of the trail that led to Killarney.

Landscape Killarney

It was the same as the first day—the booming valley full of waterfalls and streams. I didn’t panic when I reached the boulders. It was the same place I started, but I felt like a different person.

The feeling stayed with me, heady and surreal, as I walked into Killarney that afternoon. The tourists were still there, trotting about, completely oblivious to the limping girl with the giant backpack.

Killarney, Ireland

I wondered if I looked as different as I felt. I thought I did—windburn-reddened cheeks, hair bleached from the sun. I could even see the muscles that had grown slightly in my legs.

But, I was still me. The same me who started the hike, the same me who first laid eyes on the Ring of Kerry and vowed to return. Except I had proven to myself that I can keep a promise to myself, that I can follow through.

I hoped that this well-earned knowledge would stay with me for the rest of my life.

Author Bio

Pandora Domeyko is a Barcelona-based travel writer and blogger, and the creator of the travel blog Pandora Explores. On her blog, she covers solo travel and expat living in Barcelona and beyond. You can find her on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

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Top 5 Stunning Caribbean Beaches

Caribbean beaches are stretches of soft white sands fringed with colorful coral reefs backed by the lush coastline. A day on the beach is a necessity while you are on a trip.

These Caribbean beaches are relaxing escapes from bustling tourist attractions. You can get sunbath under the tropical sun or dive into the crystal blue waters. Here is our collection of stunning Caribbean beaches.

EAGLE BEACH

Eagle Beach is on the most famous beaches in Aruba (and for good reasons). The gorgeous palm trees lining the coast along with Divi-Divi trees make an excellent background.

Ivory white sands sprawl across the beach, fringes of turquoise blue water is in stark contrast to it. It is an irresistibly inviting sight. If you want to get a tan or go jet skiing, you can.

Image Credit

But if you want just to enjoy the warmth of the sun, sit under the thatched roof of palapas made from palm leaves. The beach can be crowded at times. So, you can head to the south of Eagle beach to get your own pleasurable time.

PINK SANDS BEACH

Who doesn’t love the Bahamas? You can’t help but gawk at the pretty unusual pink sand at the shore of Harbor Island, Bahamas.

Do you want to know what gave the naturally white beach sands a unique color? While the beach was in making (naturally), the shells of the coast got crushed. That is the reason you can see a cute pink shade in the soft sands.

                 Pink Sands Beach , Harbour Island BY Mike’s Birds CC BY-SA 2.0

Apart from rolling on the pink bed, you can do a whole lot of things here. There are golf carts available.

You can travel around the island and witness the quaint beauty of small island cottages. There are vibrant coral reefs, along those lines you can do kayaking.

GRACE BAY

In the Turks and Caicos Islands, you will find many Caribbean beaches. But Grace Bay is above all others.

It ticks all boxes of being an excellent beach. The shining white sands are soft against the toes, while you want along the crystal clear blue waters of the shore.

Image Credit

There are many creatures that will greet you, once you are underwater. The cute dolphin Jo-Jo frequents the coast.

Generally speaking, everyone here has a good fate of viewing of Stingrays as well. The swanky resorts and Princess Alexandra Marine Park will top off your experience.

SHOAL BAY

The Caribbean is full of beautiful beaches, but Anguilla’s Shoal Bay stands out from the crowd.

Everyone dreams of having a beach to themselves. It is more of a naughty fantasy when you are traveling as a couple. You can roll off the sands while you make love.

Shoal Bay is a place where you can find very few tourists except you. If you are here on a working season, you can have the beach to yourself.

This beach is 3 km (2 miles) long, which makes it huge. Visitors spread throughout the length. You can just watch the sunset over bright blue waters, while you sit under a coconut tree.

A broad range of water sports can be done here as well. Dive into the cold blue water and say hi to coral gardens beneath the watery surface.

HALF MOON BAY


The unspoiled beauty of Caribbean beaches reminds us of the time when we lived in complete harmony with nature. Half Moon Bay in Antigua is one such beach. The wild plantations growing in proximity to the white sandy beach gives you a remote feeling.

The resort which used to be here is just an abandoned shell. You can explore it. The coral reef lining the waters gives fantastic opportunities for surfing and snorkeling. Grab some snacks from the nearby restaurant and be ready to roll.

5 Terrifying Tales Of Isolated Islands

Isolated and dejected, you might think only you feel that way. But there are several islands around the world going through the same feeling.

There are bone-chilling tales about the islands which are off-limits to visitors. If you are daring enough, set your sails to the hauntingly mysterious islands which have a lot of secrets to bare.

NORTH BROTHER ISLAND

On a warm sunny morning, the members of the St Mark Lutheran’s Evangelical Church were ready to enjoy a picnic. They boarded a ship General Slocum to make their way from Lower East side to Eaton’s Neck. But they did not know that it was the last trip they would ever make.

Flames engulfed the entire ship, turning the smiles into tears. Hence, The captain had no choice but to steer the ship to nearby North Brother Island.

Here a thousand corpses lay, mangled and burnt. And those who did not make it to the shore died drowning in the dark waters without any life support. Till this day, General Slocum rots beneath the ominous waters near North Brother Island.

SOLOVKI

Monks and monasteries are peaceful places where the most troubled soul can attain peace. When monks settled in Solovki islands, that was the way. But change was soon coming to the island.

The Soviet Union made the island into a prison. Those who guilty of theft, murder, blasphemy spent their life in isolation and torture.

Ivan the Terrible sent 400 prisoners every year. He sentenced convicts who fought against him in Russian civil war.

By the end of the 1890s, the monastery had become a nightmare. Chopped heads, bodies hanging from sea hooks, frozen prisoners – and many horrifying tortures took place in Solovki.

If you still think all Islands are white sands and palm trees, think again!

TIBURON ISLAND

Image Credit

Tom Grindell was an Arizonian Prospector inquisitive about the Tiburon Island. He made a team of four people, including him to discover the unknown frontiers of Tiburon.

On June 10th, 1905 they set the sails to the island. But their families never saw them again. Tom Grindell’s brother Edward wanted to know what went wrong with his brother. So, he set off to the island.

The locals told him that Seri killed a group of Americans. He only found hands tied to stakes, around dance rings. His brother and team became the victim of Seri tribe, who inhabit the land.

They are a bunch of cannibals who feed like wild animals. They do killing and pillage just for giggles. Mexican government once tried to civilize them, but whether it bore results, nobody knows.

NAZINO CANNIBAL ISLANDS

Image Credit

The gruesome scenes you watch in movies is nothing compared to what happened in another cannibal island Nazino islands.

In 1933 Nazino Island saw 6200 people dropped off here. They had nothing more than raw flour. After ten days of starvation and death by contaminated water, people started feasting on each other. Nazino island earned its new name “Cannibal Island.”

SOROK ISLAND

Image Credit

Like all above-mentioned islands, Sorok Island is now accessible. But the beauty and restoration does not hide the agonizing past.

Sorok Island was once a leper colony. Those who contracted the disease became objects of the experiment for the scientists who studied the disease. Their disease became their curse. Days after days they worked like slaves, with little to eat.

Oppressed by the overseers and not allowed to cross the island. Finally, in 2007, a bridge was built which connects the mainland to the Sorok Island.

Pacific Paradise of Bora Bora: A First Timer’s Travel Guide

It is completely reasonable to be overwhelmed with the sheer size of French Polynesia. The vast assembly of islands stretches across the South Pacific and boasts at least 118 islands, with a healthy number of dispersed atolls, islets and reefs to boot.

Bora Bora Travel Guide

The capital of this impressive grouping of five archipelagos lies on the island of Tahiti and it is called Papeete. This will almost certainly be the first urban area you witness before you land at the city airport and embark on the long boat ride to Bora Bora.

If you have never visited this treasure trove of natural wonders before, get ready to be blown away and read this first timer’s guide to the Pacific paradise of Bora Bora.

Bora Bora: A Pacific Paradise

Bora Bora is more than just a beautiful island. Beautiful would be an understatement. Also, did you know that even though most people around the world call Bora Bora an island, it is technically a small cluster of small islands.

The central island is surrounded by a narrow lagoon and a barrier reef, and from the bird’s view perspective, it is easy to imagine that this volcanic formation was once one whole body of land above water.

The main island has two extinct volcanic peaks – Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia, that stretch 727 meters above water. Understandably, Bora Bora is notorious for being pricey, but considering how utterly beautiful it is, the ‘attendance’ is well worth the price.

Kat Kellner (CC BY 2.0)

A bit of history

The mesh of French influences and Polynesian roots can confuse certain newcomers, so it is good to be familiar with at least the superficial historical context.

The latest archeological research has shown that the first Polynesian settlers came to this island in the 4th century, and James Cook sighted the island in 1769.

However, even though the first sightings were made by Dutch and English captains, it ended up as part of the overseas collectivity of France.

Beyond that, most of its history was pretty placid, with one notable exception – Bora Bora was an important strategic location for the US during World War II.

 Kat Kellner (CC BY 2.0)

A place for romance

Countless honeymooners around the world flock to Bora Bora because of its incredible concealed beaches and enchanting lagoons.

Its powdery white stands that stretch into the water and tall palm trees that are positioned perfectly to offer a shade from the tropical sun are the epitome of the archetypal ocean getaway.

The luxurious overwater villas are crafted to blend perfectly with the surroundings, and they have become the signature ‘mascots’ of the island. It’s not a coincidence that the legendary sailor James Cook dubbed it the ‘Pearl of the Pacific’.

Activities galore

Even though Bora Bora doesn’t have impressive urbanity or a hectic nightlife, it is still a rich playground filled with countless activities around every corner.

If you move out of the vicinity of your accommodations and look for interesting things to do in Bora Bora, you will hardly have a single minute of free time, especially if you are a ‘completionist’.

From jet-ski adventures to daring deep diving challenges and long hikes into the ruin-littered jungles, Bora Bora has a bit of everything for anyone.

Kiteboarding is becoming a very popular activity and it is mostly practiced at the southern tip of Matira. If you are too tired yet you want to explore every inch of the volcanic caldera, you can rent a bike or small terrain vehicles and jeeps to drive around the main island and reach the most interesting locations.

Of course, if you want to revel in sheer, unadulterated hedonism, the idyllic beaches and delightful restaurants are strewn about in all their glory.

Gourmet paradise

While we are on the topic of food, Bora Bora has some truly incredible world-class restaurants. Don’t be fooled by the remote geographic location of the island group – the chefs have mostly been through trial by fire in all the corners of the world and they have developed their own signature culinary expression.

The dishes mix local Polynesian traditions with the influences of French cuisine, which means that you will get a healthy mix of the adventurously exotic and the deliciously familiar in equal measure.

Falling in love with Bora Bora is the easiest thing to do. Parting with the island is a completely different matter.

It won’t take you long to become utterly enamored with the white sand beaches and vibrant turquoise waters of this destination, and you will begin planning for the swiftest possible return long before you board the plane to return home.

Author Bio

Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels, she likes to read poetry and prose and surf the Internet. Her favorite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag.

Marie spends most of her free time at home walking her Labrador Retriever named Max. She is an avid lover of photography and a regular author at High Style Life. You can find Marie and follow her on Twitter.

Paradise Found at the Galapagos Islands

Let’s admit it, everyone dreams of laying at the white-sand beaches of Hawaii, Fiji, or Bora Bora. While these Islands are without a doubt charming, I have found my own paradise. The volcanic archipelago is known as the Galapagos Islands.

These beautiful islands can be found around 600 miles (1000 km) off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean and are different from a stereotypical island with sandy beaches with palm and coconuts trees.

The Enchanted Islands

These islands are called the “Enchanted Islands” for good reason. Galapagos is full of life and mystery. There are hundreds of types of exotic animals that have made the variety of volcanic rocks, sand, and beaches their home. Charles Darwin famously wrote, “The natural history of these islands is eminently curious”.

Most of the Galapagos archipelago is uninhabited. The Galapagos were the first to be declared a World Heritage Site in 1978 and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1984. The Galapagos National Park covers and protects almost 97% of the islands. As you can guess by now, this is your unspoiled paradise. 

 

Galapagos Animals

There are so many islands in Galapagos, all with different structures, vegetation, and wildlife. Whereas some islands are inhabited by land iguanas and waved albatrosses, others are full of penguins or seals. There is a good reason that the Galapagos islands became Darwin’s laboratory for the study of the origins of life.

The island’s landscape varies from rough volcanic rock to green overgrown areas with sandy beaches. This makes it an excellent destination to do more than just lay on the beach. You can hike, swim, snorkel, dive, mountain bike, kayak, and do so much more at this astonishing paradise.

There are white and red sand beaches that are full of seals, sea lions, and other animals that you don’t get to see usually on most touristy islands. It is not uncommon that the curious animals accompany you on these trips.

These islands, isolated from human colonization have developed unique and abundant wildlife that has no natural fear of humans. Whereas in most other places, wild animals are often scared or are shy from humans, on here they are not afraid at all.

Galapagos Travel

Unfortunately, you often must choose between visiting the west or the eastern part of the Galapagos Islands. Luckily I found a tour operator in Quito that was able to make a tour that included everything I wanted! I loved the comfort of the cruise, alternating with the challenging hikes I did.

I never thought that I would be able to visit and live in my own “real-life nature and wildlife documentary’’, let alone take amazing pictures that make the journey even more memorable.

Arriving at Galapagos Islands

The adventure starts when you arrive at the airport and make your way to the shore (and dock). You can hear the wind blowing and the loud barks of the seals and sea-lions, it’s like they all are welcoming you to this enchanted island.

The sun shines bright, but luckily since you are at the equator and it shines from straight above, it doesn’t block your view. Each following day you will be surprised. Just when you’ll think you know what to expect, there will be something unexpected coming your way that will surprise you.

Whichever islands or parts you explore, I think that Galapagos will never cease to amaze you.

Meeting new people

Whether you are a solo traveler, traveling with your special someone or friends, it’s always nice to meet new people and share your travel experiences.

I met some of the most amazing people in the Galapagos Islands, from world travelers to locals who have spent their lives on these beautiful Islands. Even they admitted that living there never gets boring or ordinary.

To my surprise most of the people spoke multiple languages, so making contact was very easy. We ate some fish at Alfonso’s house, a local we met that lives in Santa Cruz. Honestly, I was a little jealous of his seemingly relaxed and stress-free life in Galapagos.

Protecting nature

I think that nature is very important and that it’s a shame that all the beautiful places on earth go under due to human greed and the commercialization of tourism. Of all the places I’ve visited, I think the Ecuadorian government is setting an example of how to deal with preserving nature.

As noted above, almost 97% of the Galapagos Islands are part of the nature park, and this can be seen everywhere. According to Gulliver Expeditions, “It is obligated to be accompanied by a local guide and nature expert that is certified.’’ 

The guides here tell you awesome facts about the animals and wildlife while making sure that you stick to the rules. A lot of the money you pay for your Galapagos trip will be used to assure its existence in the future.

Galapagos vacation

I would recommend visiting the Galapagos Islands as this is one of the world’s most special places. Thinking about going on a honeymoon to a truly unique romantic place? I think this is it.

Any beach, animal, or nature lover will absolutely fall in love with this virgin paradise that feels like nowhere else on earth. If you want to make sure your experience will be just as unforgettable as mine was, I would advise you to check out a good tour operator and let them do what they do best, making your travel unique.

Guest blog contributed by our reader Mary Wilson.

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7 Island Trip Ideas For Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is only days away, what are your plans this year? A romantic trip to a sandy beach with balmy breezes sounds like an ideal vacation for many couples. Whether it is the sea salt in the air, or the tropical temperature, or maybe the delicious food, islands are almost always a romantic destination. However, for this article, we did the tough job of selecting the top 7 Islands for a romantic getaway.

CORSICA

Floating on the Mediterranean Sea, “the Island of Beauty” is the title given to the isle of Corsica. Beautiful trails and exotic beaches make the island stand out as a premier romantic destination. If both you and your partner like an adventure, you can traverse the GR20 Trail, which runs from the north side of the island to the south. This trail is considered to be particularly difficult; it takes about two weeks to complete. However, there are other trails in Corsica which consume fewer days. Aside from the premier trekking trails, excellent beaches also adorn the Mediterranean Coast of Corsica. All kinds of water sports, from snorkeling to surfing, are available to you. If lounging is your thing, end the day watching the stunning sunset, then head to beachside bars for a gelato with your partner.

HUAHINE

The Azure waters form a stark contrast to the white sandy beaches in Huahine. When you reach this tropical paradise, relaxing on the beach is the first thing you must do. Just bask in the sun with your partner and commune with nature. Or you can visit the ancient archaeological sites as well. After a day or two of relaxing, your muscles will ask for exercise. When you begin to feel stir crazy, you can go horseback riding along the beach or indulge in water sports. 

The two islands, Big Huahine and Little Huahine, have unique features that make them gorgeous but distinct. Big Huahine attracts the attention of tourists and it is far more developed than its sister island. However, Little Huahine boasts rugged raw beauty, quiet lagoons, and isolated beaches.

NEVIS

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For a taste of romance, visit the seven acres of stunning gardens in Southern Charleston, the capital of Nevis. The locals are conservative to the core, which is why we recommend you avoid showing off excessive skin at the beaches. Maintain a respectable image as a couple, and enjoy your time here. Pinney’s Beach is the premier beach in Nevis.

During your visit, you can play various sports in the turquoise waters. For the adventure seekers – hike Nevis’s Peak where you will get a panoramic view of the island. From idyllic beaches to thrilling hikes, a trip to Nevis is well-rounded. 

TASMANIA

Secluded from the rest of Australia, Tasmania sports natural grandeur that is hardly seen anywhere else in the world. Even though there are 334 islands to enjoy, tropical island delights are not the only thing Tasmania has to offer. You can indulge in decadent wine tours or get a taste of the typical Tasmanian Gourmet dining on food tours. Plus, you can take a tour of the National Parks to get a glimpse of the renowned Tasmanian wildlife. Tasmania’s splendor unfolds your romantic story like no other island can.

TIOMAN

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On the East coast of Malaysia lies Tioman Island. This island has a small population, composed of people who live a simple life. Quaint huts on the golden sands with azure water lapping against the dense rainforest, stepping onto the island definitely feels like walking back in time. Getaway from the fast paced life this Valentine’s Day and discover the tranquil atmosphere of Tioman. Air Batang, Juara, and Genting are different stretches of sands on the island. Genting Village and the southern beach of Juara stand out among the rest. 

QURIMBAS

The Qurimbas Islands lie to the north of Mozambique. They serve as an off shore national park of sorts for the country. The string of about 30 islands extends from Pemba to Palma. Plus, each of the thirty islands has a quality that stands out. Thus, you can choose from virtually 30 unique islands during your visit. For example, Ibo Island has the haunting beauty of a colonial ghost town, whereas Matemo Island boasts indigenous charm. Although, the tremendous opportunity for fishing and diving is what attracts most visitors to Mozambique. 

LA DIGUE

The palm tree fringed, sandy coastlines of La Digue are studded with pink granite rocks. This fantastically tropical scene earns La Digue the title of “World’s top beach.” Even though it is one of the many islands that comprises Seychelles, it is the most romantic by far. Isolated and serene, La Digue has several hotels which create the perfect island experience for your Valentine’s Day. 

 

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