Island Vacations

Island Vacations
When it comes to island vacations many people think of sipping drinks on a white sand beach, but there can be a lot more to an island vacation than just fun in the sun. While beach fun is often a big part of why one might want to go to an island, the best islands offer so much more. Many island destinations sit at the center of world class scuba diving or are home to sea cliffs that are perfect for climbing, and much else besides.

Koh Phi Phi (Thailand)

Koh Phi Phi is an archipelago, but the term is usually used to refer to the largest of the Phi Phi islands, which are located in the Andaman Sea off the southwest coast of Thailand. They are renowned for sheer limestone cliffs, beautiful tropical greenery and warm, crystal clear waters. The main island offers beautiful sea views, lovely beaches and great opportunities for sea kayaking, cliff jumping and climbing, snorkeling, scuba diving and even a little bird watching. Next door is Phi Phi Leh ("little Phi Phi"), an unpopulated, gorgeous tropical paradise that was used as the location for the film "The Beach."

The Azores (Portugal)

Situated in the central Atlantic, the Azores offer a different kind of island experience. This is not the sort of place you should go if you are looking for a beach holiday, but it does offer plenty of outdoor adventure opportunities. The main island of the Azores is San Miguel, and its interior is criss-crossed by hiking and mountain biking trails. Many of these lead to the scenic twin volcanic crater lakes at Sete Cidades. There are also whale-watching trips and opportunities to swim with dolphins in the open ocean. The Azores also has some good scuba diving, both from San Miguel and from Pico, another island in the chain.

Easter Island (Chile)

Easter Island is the home of the famous and mysterious Moai statues, and is one of the more out-of-the-way destinations in the world. Those statues are the island's main attractions, and the outdoor enthusiast can make their tour of the archaeological sites by hiking them or biking them. In addition, the island has a pair of white sand beaches that are good for bodysurfing. There are also good snorkeling and scuba diving sites in some of the island's inlets and offshore rocks. Finally, a little known fact about Easter Island is that it is home to an extensive volcanic cave system, which for some reason is often overlooked and should be a magnet for spelunkers who like to travel.

The Maldives

This Indian Ocean archipelago of over a thousand coral islands is one of the world's more removed-yet-popular island destinations. The beaches and sunshine are world renowned, and there are a number of Maldives resorts that have an entire small island all to themselves. However, the main draw of the islands is the scuba diving. Endowed with colorful corals and rich sea life, even an average dive in the Maldives will compete with the best dive sites available anywhere else in the world. Furthermore, the Maldives are one of the best places in the world for encounters with big fish, such as manta rays and whale sharks. However, it should be noted that the Maldives are a very expensive place to visit, especially by South Asian standards. For example, you should be prepared to treat your own drinking water from the tap if you don't want to pay $5 or more for a 750 ml bottle of water.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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