My Top 3: Favourite islands of the world
Are you an island lover? Are you planning your next island holiday?
These are my top 3 islands for great holidays that combine both Adventure and Style!
#3 - Malapascua, The Philippines
Malapascua is a lively small white-sand and car-free island that offers great scuba diving and snorkelling. The vibe is very international, with divers from all over the world, but it still has a local filipino touch that makes it very special. The island has all you need: white sand, turquoise waters, beautiful sunsets (and sunset cocktail bars!), palm trees, extremely rich marine life, professional dive shops and the kindest locals. Make sure you spend at least 3 days on the island.
Adventure: Scuba diving with Thresher sharks (click here to scuba dive with me in the Philippines).
Style: Barefoot laid-back island life. Bring a beautiful dress to enjoy the sunsets and comfy swimwear for all the snorkelling and diving!
Perfect for: Licensed scuba divers (also ideal for doing diving certifications (I got my Nitrox certification with Evolution), adventure couples, groups of friends or solo travelers (it can be a little challenging for families with small children).
Getting there: By ferry or private boat from Maya (3-4h drive from Cebu city).
Tips: No ATM or Pharmacy on the island.
Price range: $$
Bonus: You can also explore other islands nearby on a day trip, such as Kalanggaman, famous for its stunning sandbars!
#2 - Gili Air, Indonesia
Imagine arriving by boat to a tiny island away from the crowds with no roads, cars or motored-vehicles of any kind; waking up and opening the doors of your beautiful beach villa to admire the crystal-clear water; heading to the beach to relax with a fresh watermelon juice in a balinese beach cabana; diving or snorkeling and finding yourself surrounded by turtles; walking past restaurants with their ultra-fresh catch of the day; ordering delicious Indonesian food while enjoying the night sea breeze! Welcome to Gili Air...
Adventure: Discover diving or get your Open Water license, dives in the area are usually easy and relaxed.
Style: All you need on this island is a set of beautiful sarongs, a hat and balinese handbag!
Perfect for: travellers looking for a very tiny island to simply relax and do some easy dives - couples, friends and families. If you are looking to party, your alternative is Gili Trawangan.
Getting there: There are plenty of boat options from different ports in Bali and Lombok to Gili Trawangan. Once there you will have to take a second short boat ride to Gili Air.
Price range: $$
Bonus: Gili Air can be the perfect recovery island and combo after volcano trekking and rice pad hikes in Bali or Lombok!
#1 - Aitutaki, Cook Islands
If you close your eyes and picture an island paradise you will most likely come very close to an image of Aitutaki. This Polynesian jewel is the most remote island I have ever been to and the most impressive. The "wowness" starts as your plane lands and you see Aitutaki's Lagoon and the reef surrounding it...but that's only the start! Amazing Polynesian nights, mesmerizing sandbars, unbelievable sunsets, fun boat tours for diving, snorkeling or sport fishing and delicious coconut water ALL THE TIME (after you learn how to husk a coconut)! Choose one of the beautiful villas over the water or a cute little bungalow - it really doesn't matter, you are in paradise!
Adventure: Kayaking to one of the islets on your own to feel like Robinson Crusoe (be aware of currents and tides!) . Diving is amazing, crystal clear visibility and unspoiled marine life out in the surrounding reefs.
Style: Ask your resort to get you an éi kata (flower crown): Bring your beautiful bikinis and dresses for the beach and chill-out sunsets at the resort. Also, take reef shoes if you plan to go near the lagoon or reefs.
Perfect for: Travelers looking for a super-remote, visually perfect locations away from the world (and internet, which is quite limited in the island) , couples and families.
Getting there: Fly to Rarotonga International airport - usually via New Zealand; if possible spend a couple of days exploring Rarotonga and then get an air-jet that will take you to Aitutaki in 45 min.
Price range: $$$$$
Bonus: Aitutaki has 15 uninhabited motus (islets) to explore! My favourites One Foot Island and Honeymoon Island.
For its delicious Mediterranean food and pristine white-sanded beaches, the energy flowing during sunsets in the lighthouse, the pink colored salt mines and the the boho-chic mood. Sunset bars are also a must!
Adventure: Rent a bycicle (or a scooter) and ride around the island.
Style: Dressing in white won't look as good anywhere else. Complement it with a local wicker carrycot! They are not only useful but super cute.
Price range: $$$
Caye Caulker, Belize
For its great relaxed Caribbean vibe, its colorful village and the amazing diving/snorkeling spots, which include the famous Blue Hole and swimming with nurse sharks...or whale sharks (depending on the season and if you are lucky!).
Adventure: Scuba diving the Blue Hole, for sure!
Style: Hey! You are in the Caribbean, get your colorful dresses out and put a cool hat on.
Price range: $$$$