Sit back, close your eyes, and think of paradise. Chances are you are standing on a picture-perfect white sand beach looking out over crystal clear waters with an abundance of exotic fish in the shallows. Behind you, a cool breeze rustles through the leaves of the palm trees and the sanguine song of tropical birds interrupts the calm lapping sound where the water meets the beach. Whilst this might sound like the far-fetched prose of a work of fiction, it is, in fact, the reality in many gorgeous paradise Islands around the world!
Paradise Island holidays have long been the symbol of ultimate perfection and relaxation. Here are some of the most unforgettable destinations which should appear on every traveller’s bucket list.
There is no better place to start than with the Maldives, a stunning archipelago of nearly 1200 Islands set in the warm waters on the Indian Ocean. This island paradise is blessed with breath-taking displays of sunshine for most of the year, and the tropical climate has led to an incredible scenery both above and below the water. The richness and variety of life under the clear waves makes it home to some of the best diving and snorkelling spots in the world. From colourful coral and tropical fish in the shallows to manta rays, turtles and whale sharks in the deeper waters there is something to see for everyone. With over a million people escaping to this remote utopia every year the tourist industry has thrived and there is a plethora of five- and six-star resorts set amongst their own private islands as well as local guesthouses which has led to more accessibility for backpackers.
In the remote stretches of the South Pacific Ocean lay the French Polynesia Islands, often referred to as the ‘Pearls of the Pacific. This collection of perfection encompasses all the stunning qualities of paradise. The entire spectrum of blue can be found in the waters which play host to fish, dolphins, turtles, sharks, rays and more, making it another unspoiled haven for dive and snorkelling enthusiasts. Whatever your travelling preference you will find it here from the over-the-top heights of Bora Bora to the more budget-friendly offerings of smaller lodgings which provide a more cultural experience.
Off the east coast of Africa surrounded by the pleasant water of the Indian Ocean lies a 115-island archipelago known as Seychelles. Home to some of the world most luxurious resorts it is the perfect place to escape reality and experience nirvana. Fabled for its brilliant sand beaches and crystalline blue waters this untouched habitat holds an abundance of marine life making it a must for divers and snorkellers. Away from the white and blue coasts, there is also the tropical nature reserve of Valee de Mai where you can discover rare and beautiful endemic plants and engage in a bit of bird spotting. Look out for the Seychelles bulbul, warbler, the lovely blue pigeon and the rare black parrot.
This group of 74 islands is centred around Whitsunday Island and lies just off the coast of central Queensland, Australia. It has remained one of Australia’s most popular destinations and has remained well preserved since their discovery by the British explorer, James Cook in 1770. The best way to explore the Islands is by sea and luxury yachts frequently navigate the area letting tourists experience the stunning beach vistas from every angle. The Islands offer a range of activities for visitors from beach camping and bushwalking to diving and snorkelling. A real jewel in the crown of the Whitsunday Islands is Whitehaven Beach which is one of the top beaches in the world. The sand is 98% pure silica which stays cool underfoot and can be used to polish jewellery. It is also rumoured that NASA used quantities of this sand to help make the Hubble Space Telescope as the sand properties produce the fewest impurities. Whether there is traction to this story or not these paradise Islands really are out of this world.
White powder beaches, sapphire waters and luxury resorts are all synonymous with Mauritius. However, search a little further and there is plenty more to be discovered on this stunning drop of land. Aside from world-class diving and snorkelling opportunities, there are also incredible hiking trails through tropical forests, under jaw-dropping waterfalls and over mountainous terrains in the Black River Gorges National Park. Boat trips are the best way to see everything and can transport you between beautiful botanical gardens and colonial plantation houses to the very best spots for spotting spinning dolphins and whales.
With so many of us living in urban environments the opportunity to completely transcend our norm and experience such a different way of life has a huge appeal, and this is why a Paradise Island escape is on most people’s bucket list.