Sometimes, all we want is to find an island, post up with a towel, and let the calming waves lull us to sleep—only to find ourselves sunkissed (or burnt!) when we inevitably are awoken by the caw-caw of a bird we can’t name. Can you relate? The ultimate way to relax is to travel to a beautiful, remote island. And once you’ve soaked up some relaxation, islands are usually waiting for you to dip into some of the adventures they hold—complex ecosystems of vibrant marine life, waterfalls, water sports, and sunrise nature yoga. If you’re looking for the most unique islands for travel, keep reading.
Three of the Best (and Most Unique) Islands for Travel
1. Bartolomé | Galapagos, Ecuador
If we’re talking most unique islands for travel and adventure, you know we’re including the Galapagos high up on the list. The Galapagos archipelago consists of over 125 islands, islets, and rocks overflowing with breathtaking, diverse wildlife.
The good news is that if you travel to the Galapagos, you don’t need to choose just one island to explore. Stay on Santa Cruz island (with us) and then explore the surrounding deserted islands during the day.
If you have to pick one, go to Bartolomé. It’s only 0.5 square miles big and has a human population of zero (that’s how you know the wildlife viewing will be spectacular!).
The Galápagos archipelago is one of the parts of the world with the most volcanic activity. The 125+ islands and rocks were created over thousands of years of volcano action. And it’s not done, either. Today, there are still 13 active volcanoes.
Want to imagine the adventure you’ll have? How does this sound:
- Swim with sea lions and snorkel with other sea life (think: penguins)
- Learn about the spectacular flora and fauna of the islands with a certified Galápagos naturalist
- Kayak over sharks and around the mangroves on Tortuga Bay
- Look up to see the stunning southern hemisphere stars
- Bump into a roaming giant tortoise or wild horses at your home base on Santa Cruz island
- Spot marine iguanas and the amazing blue-footed boobies
Check out the rest of the Galapagos itinerary here. It’ll change your life, no big deal.
2. Vanua Levu | Fiji
Fiji has over 300 islands, so don’t take this recommendation lightly. While the bulk of Fiji tourists will find themselves on Viti Levu island, Vanua Levu is less touched by tourism, affording visitors a more connected Fiji experience.
Did you know the practice of walking on hot stones originated in Fiji? Yup. It did. The Sawau tribe of Bega island followed a fire-walking tradition for generations over five centuries ago.
As the second largest island of Fiji, it’s filled with adventure opportunities. For example…
- Snorkel across the coast of the island with a marine biologist to explore vibrant coral gardens and barrier reefs
- Hike inland waterfalls and swim in the untouched, smooth, (and yes, turquoise!) waters
- Experience local culture and traditions, and practice your Fijian, thanks to the less busy location
- Learn about the unique and endemic plant and animal life on Vanua Levu and the archipelago
- Help replant mangroves with a local expert
- Take a walk on the waterside at low tide
If these sound good to you … I mean… then you should look into our Fiji Yoga Adventure. Experience all of this (and more!) over the course of eight, luxurious, relaxing, and unique days of adventure and discovery.
3. Bocas del Toro | Panama
Third and final on our list is Bocas del Toro, another stunning archipelago with tons of deserted islands and incredible biodiversity. There’s something for everyone here—waves for surfers, wildlife for nature enthusiasts, sunrises for yogis, scuba diving, ziplining, beach bumming…
You can see the sunrise on the Pacific Ocean and watch it set on the Atlantic Ocean in Panama. This is the only place in the entire world where this is possible.
This is what we do when we go (you can adventure with us too!):
- Eat delicious tropically fresh food (we’re talking: yucca cakes, Panamanian lobster, tamales, ropa vieja (mouthwateringly good shredded meat)
- Snorkel mangroves and azure reef waters, and spot some sea turtles
- Sail turquoise waters and lounge on a catamaran
- Visit the pristine islands of Bastimentos National Park
- Enjoy unparalleled sunsets.
- Wake up to the chatter of local monkeys
This one, you really shouldn’t miss. National Geographic voted this yoga retreat in Panama as one of the top 50 Epic Adventures in 2018.
So… Where To, Adventurer?
You’ve read our pick of the three best island archipelagos to adventure to. Which one will you pick? If you hit all three, which is your favorite? To explore more of The Travel Yogi offerings, check out our Yoga Adventures. If you’re building out your bucket list, check out our bucket list travel recommendations from Sri Lanka to Romania and back.