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Sometimes all you need is an island getaway. An exorbitant number of fellow tourists can spoil the ambience for your well-deserved rest and relaxation. Thankfully, there are plenty of hidden gems that mass tourism is yet to discover. Check out these eight underrated island vacation spots you need to visit.
Labelling Santorini and Mykonos as over-touristed and overpriced is an understatement. See the same beautiful views without the crowds by visiting Folegandros. Walk amongst the white houses with their blue accents and admire the view of the small towns occupying the cliff faces.
Also located in the Aegean Sea, Folegandros is only 32 square kilometres. Regardless of its size, there is plenty to see and do. Visit the charming beaches, feast on delectable seafood and see the ancient ruins.
Saba Island, Caribbean
Located in the Dutch Antilles, Saba Island is a must-see for nature lovers. While Saba is an island, you won’t find tropical beaches here. Instead, lush greenery and extensive biodiversity fill the island.
Saba Island is truly a hidden gem. Cruise ships are yet to visit here. Dolphins, sea turtles and marine life thrive. Unlike many places flawed by mass tourism, the coral is vibrant and flourishing.
Ko Tao, Thailand
When it comes to over-touristed islands, Thailand is, unfortunately, a huge culprit. However, there are still some lesser-known islands that boast peacefulness and serenity.
Skip the busy Phi Phi islands and Koh Phangan, and instead visit Koh Tao. Palm-fringed beaches, a tropical reef and hilltop views are some of the highlights of the island. You can also enjoy markets and nightlife here too.
Isla Holbox, Mexico
There’s no doubt Tulum is beautiful, but it is completely overrun by tourism. Instead, visit the unspoiled Isla Holbox in the Gulf of Mexico. The island is devoid of cars and instead, expect to see flamingos and pelicans roaming the grounds.
Trying the local seafood dishes are a must here.
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Palawan is not necessarily an unknown island. However, it is less populated and arguably more beautiful than Boracay.
Located in the archipelago of the Philippines, Palawan is a great place for all outdoor activities, whether it be land or sea. Activities popular in Palawan include hiking, diving, snorkelling and kayaking.
If Palawan is on your bucket list, be sure to visit the limestone formations at the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River.
Lifou, New Caledonia
You’ve likely heard about the Isle of Pines off the coast of Noumea. But what about the largest loyalty island of New Caledonia, Lifou? This untouched island has scenic walking trails surrounded by crystalline waters.
Lifou isn’t shy of white sand beaches. With views like these, you’ll feel as though you’re looking at a postcard. Lifou is a great place to hire snorkelling gear and experience marine life.
Known for its picturesque To-Sua Ocean Trench, Upolu makes for a great island vacation. The natural beauty of the white sand beaches and pristine waters will entice you to stay oceanfront with a cocktail in hand.
Relax on the beach and catch some rays, then snorkel to see the flourishing marine life. Visit the Samoa Cultural Village for a taste of Pacific culture.
Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Due to its location in the South Pacific, the Cook Islands aren’t well known. Aitutaki, also known as Honeymoon Island, is just a short boat ride away from the more widely known island of Rarotonga.
Never before will you have seen softer sand and more vivid, turquoise waters. There’s no question as to how Aitutaki got its nickname. Immerse yourself in island life and completely relax. Laze on the beach with a good book while enjoying a cocktail from a beachfront bar.
Many beautiful places fill the Earth, some of which may be unbeknownst to many. Visit these untouched islands to experience their natural beauty. Make a perfect island getaway your reality.
Harper Reid is a beach-loving creative writer based in New Zealand. As soon as she thinks of travel, her mind immediately drifts off to white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. Read more of Harper’s published work on her personal blog.