An Introvert’s Guide to 8 Incredibly Secluded Places

Stare at the horizon for hours; ponder the world; dig your toes in the sand; climb a mountain; gaze across endless forest or ocean–change your perspective and you can change your life, your thoughts, your reality. Escape the masses and experience life without interruptions, deadlines, stress, haste, the media barrage—taste life in its purest form in seclusion where you can hear yourself think. There’s merit in vacationing among  company but there’s also incredible worth in examining some of the world’s most wonderfully secluded destinations to experience authenticity in its finest form.

8. Nauru

The Micronesian island of Nauru in the Central Pacific is just 20 square kilometers and home to less than 10,000 people. There’s no lack of anything natural, pristine, and beautiful–Naura is perfectly picturesque, with extensive white sand beaches and endless ocean views. If listening to the sound of water lapping at the shore is about the most activity you’re looking for, Nauru delivers. This is one of the least visited destinations in the world but still attracts anyone looking to (literally) get away from it all. The only way to arrive is via flights from Brisbane, Australia once per week on Nauru’s charming airline, simply called Our Airline. Despite the remoteness there are a few entertaining things to do: a sheltered dive or relaxing days along the alabaster sands of Anibare Bay is a great option. Buada Lagoon, Central Plateau, and the Parliament House round up the main attractions.

Photo by: SBS
Photo by: SBS

7. Tobago

Tobago is the small, quieter, and more secluded part of  Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, mostly removed from the tourist scene and spanning only 32 kilometers. It’s an entirely laid-back kind of place that’s so relaxing neighboring Trinidad locals enjoy it as a weekend getaway. Quiet and beautiful, Englishman’s Bay is directly out of a film, with a crescent beach, white sand, and nothing strenuous about it unless you get out for a rigorous swim. Snorkel with the fishes and trade the lush, jungle backdrop for underwater scenes or visit Pigeon Point Bay and revel in the simplicity of dining options–you can actually get a rack of ribs here if you want to interrupt your reverie. There are so many engaging ways to break spell of seclusion if desired: beachfront horseback riding, kite and windsurfing, rainforest tours, and the Speyside Hummingbird Gallery are reminders you’re not alone.

Tobago

6. Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique

Quirimbas Archipelago is a protected national park located near mainland Pemba and off the northern coast of Mozambique. Decades ago, Portuguese trading routes and Arab trading posts prevailed over the seas and today, most of the 34 adjacent islands remain vacant of residents. Natural and cultural heritage is exemplified in Ilhas Quirimbas, all partially connected by coral reefs, sand bars, and mangroves and surrounded by ocean water rich with marine life. Along the flourishing stretch are the islands of Quisiva, Ilbo, and Matemo showcasing pre-colonial Swahili sites and old Portuguese establishments. Sea kayaking and sailing are two tranquil ways to soak in the solitude. If you’re not a complete recluse, visit Vamizi island where the day’s theme is “relaxing,” snorkeling and diving is world class, and the best views include the billowing, white sails of the dhows moving without sound against cerulean Indian Ocean.

Photo by: Mozambique Travel
Photo by: Mozambique Travel

5. Sakhalin Island, Russia

Located on the eastern side of Russia’s mainland, Sakhalin Island has been home to indigenous tribes for centuries–currently the only indigenous population is the Nivkh whose language is unrelated to any other on earth. In 1990, tourists were permitted to start visiting the pristine beaches and sparkling rock cliffs but it’s still not common to find too many foreigners. Still, this gorgeous island is ideal for escaping the scramble of modern life, shack up in one of a dozen-plus hotels, and relish in a secluded and dramatic backdrop. Getting there isn’t exactly straightforward but it’s entirely doable: take a cross-continental trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway into Khabarovsk on Russia’s east side; ride a hydrofoil to Komsomolsk; hop another train to Vanino and then book an island ferry. Traveling this far-flung place isn’t effortless but worth it to vacate the rest of the world for awhile.

Sakhalin Island, Russia

4. Lofoten, Norway

Approaching Lofoten archipelago in Norway is an unforgettable experience: jagged islands extend rocky frames against the horizon like some strange, barbed, island lizard and you marvel at how anyone actually lives here at all in such raw, unfavorable conditions (a small population does and they seem to make it work quite well). Lofoten comprises the main islands of Flakstadov, Austvagoy, Moskenesoy, and Vestvagoy, all distanced by Vestfjorden from the mainland but joined by tunnels and bridges that create easy route to the entire area. Ech island is a sanctuary of scenic villages living under the Auroral Oval laden with protected bays and extensive pastures. Set along one of Norway’s picturesque National Tourist Routes, Lofoten showcases the stunning Aurora Borealis, incredible whale watching, myriad adventure sports including kayaking, cycling, and hiking and some remote cottages and cabins ideal for sheltering your inner solitarian.

Lofoten, Norway

3. Cape York Peninsula, Australia

Cape York Peninsula is a massive, unspoiled expanse of pristine wilderness that exemplifies Australia’s position as a sensationally scenic destination with very low population density. Situated on the country’s northern edge, Cape York Peninsula is just 128 kilometers south of Papua New Guinea, Australia’s closest neighbor. Palm-lined beaches and lush rainforests comprise are found along Cape York’s spine which is The Great Dividing Range on the eastern edge–on the west are coastal mangrove and eucalyptus forests and extensive savannah woods. Here, the population is less than 20,000, mostly comprised of aboriginal tribes, and is thought to be one of the biggest swaths of undeveloped land in the world. Cape York’s qualities have earned it a reputation among adventure enthusiasts but with many areas difficult to access, there isn’t any kind of influx of tourism here and the natural landscape has been very well preserved.

Photo by: Cooper Tires Aus
Photo by: Cooper Tires Aus

2. Masoala National Park, Madagascar

If living amongst chameleons, geckos, and butterflies sounds better than sharing space with humans, Masoala National Park in Madagascar could be the perfect spot to kick back. Three marine parks, balmy beaches, a pristine shoreline, and over 2,200 square kilometers of protected land are worthy reasons to ditch the daily grind and visit the park. Hiking excursions lead across tree-backed, beachfront paradise for days on end–another great way avoid everything but natural backdrop. Visit Antongil Bay during summer months and see scores of whale pods occupying the sheltered cove, explore sandy stretches and corals within marine reserves, and hike the coastal trail from Alhoatrozana to Antalavia that careens back and forth between rocky coves, golden beaches, and succulent forests–the most impressive stretch in the park. Several beachfront and hidden forest lodges, from basic to upscale, offer shelter from the elements–and whatever else you want to avoid.

Masoala National Park, Madagascar

1. Koh Tonsay, Cambodia

On Cambodia’s southwest side, 25 minutes from Kep Krong, is Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island), a sleepy little island with some of the most scenic beachfront real estate in the Gulf of Thailand. Surprisingly,  few tourists visit though access is simple by boat; that surprise is quickly replaced by a daze over the gorgeous backdrop mostly void of residents, short on electricity, and lacking vehicles of any kind. Eight small establishments offer traditional, thatch-roof bungalows which, during the week, are gloriously empty. Though you’ll have to share the turf with incoming guests over the weekend, Tonsay is still magnificently quiet and a world away from other Southeast Asian islands in feel. Hammocks, coconut palms, and a few dozen bungalows share the almost-2000-foot beach with a smattering of fantastic seafood joints–this is a place to wile away blissful, effortless days and bask in the beauty of detachment.

Matyas Rehak / Shutterstock.com
Matyas Rehak / Shutterstock.com

The 7 Most Beautiful and Underrated Caribbean Islands

When the temperatures drop in the Northern hemisphere people tend to flock down south to get a little escape from the winter’s chill. One of the easiest places to find the sunshine we seek is the Caribbean, with so many choices available to us depending on the experience we’re looking for. When we think Caribbean vacation, the popular places like Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and The Bahamas tend to come to mind first. Or the slightly more adventurous may think of the resort laden islands of Saint Lucia, Barbados and Turks and Caicos. These destinations, while popular for good reason are not your only choice in the vast expanse of the Caribbean Sea. Here are 7 lesser-known, hidden gem islands that are definitely worth checking out the next time the Caribbean is beckoning.

7. Guadeloupe

The island of Guadeloupe is actually an overseas region of France and has a total population of 403,750 as of 2014. While commonly referred to as one island, Guadeloupe is actually two islands, Basse-Terre to the west and Grande-Terre to the east. These 2 are separated by a narrow strait and crossed by bridges. Part of the French West Indies, the official language spoken is French, though almost everyone also speaks Antillean Creole. The currency used throughout Guadeloupe it the Euro, give that this island is part of the European Union. There’s tons to see and do on these islands, including swimming in hot springs, climbing an active volcano and visiting the many parks and historic sites throughout Guadeloupe. The winter months of January, February and March are an excellent time to visit this Caribbean destination as average rainfall is at its lowest.

Guadeloupe

6. Barbuda

You may be familiar with Barbuda from hearing it mentioned alongside its more popular sister island Antigua. Together the two make up the twin-island country that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Those looking for a quite piece of island paradise will enjoy the island of Barbuda and it’s small, relaxed charm. The island is pretty tiny and only hosts a population of about 1,600 but the beaches are simply breathtaking. The only town on the island, Codrington is where you’ll find most of the island’s residents as well as the public airport. With only a handful of accommodations available, you won’t have to sift through pages of resorts before deciding where to stay. If quiet reflection in a world of untouched beauty sounds enticing, Barbuda is the paradise you seek.

Photo by: Lighthouse Bay Resort
Photo by: Lighthouse Bay Resort

5. Grenada

The slogan of the island country of Grenada is ‘The spice of the Caribbean’ and that’s not just a clever tagline either. The nickname is due to the fact that Grenada is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of Nutmeg and Mace crops. It’s also the largest in the string of islands known as the Grenadines, with a total population of 110,000. Grand Anse Beach is world famous for its 2 mile stretch of soft white sand and calm waters, or if you’re looking for more seclusion and less crowds, visit any of La Sagesse, Bathway or Levera Beaches. If waterfalls are your thing, you’ll love the 4 falls that can be found throughout the island and beg to be jumped in. Annandale Falls is only a short drive from the capital city of St. Georges and has a paved pathway leading to the falls. It’s the perfect place for a hike and a picnic by the falls.

St. Georges Grenada

4. Tobago

This next island is another half of a larger picture. Tobago is the smaller sister island to Trinidad and together they form The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Fun fact: Tobago was the filming location for the classic Walt Disney film ‘Swiss Family Robinson’. This island is a divers paradise with some of the best dive spots in all of the Caribbean and 3 underwater shipwrecks around the shores which make for some awesome marine life exploration. Despite being the smaller of the country’s islands with a population of around 62,000, visitors to Tobago will have no problem finding an abundance of hotels, bars, restaurants, shopping, golf and many more activities. Oh and of course no shortage of beautiful beaches as well.

Tobago

3. Martinique

Another overseas region of France, the island of Martinique, like Guadeloupe is part of the EU and its currency is the Euro. It is the third largest island in the region of The Lesser Antilles with a total population of 386,486 as of 2013. With little other trade and industry, tourism plays an important part in this Caribbean island’s economy and it’s estimated that 7% of the population and 16% of all businesses are in the tourism sector. There’s no shortage of exciting things to see and do around the island, like taking a trip up Mount Pelée, a 1,397 meter high volcano that marks the highest peak in all of Martinique. As a result of the historic volcanic activity in the island’s north end, there are several grey and black sand beaches to be found, but if you head down south you’ll find the fine white sand you’d expect in the Caribbean at beautiful beaches like Les Salines.

mont pelee Martinique

2. Anguilla

The small island of Anguilla lies directly north of Saint Martin in the Caribbean Sea. It is actually a British overseas territory and as such, visitors will notice that cars drive on the left side of the roads. The total population of the island is approximately 13,500 which drives home it’s small size compared to some of the other islands mentioned in this list. None the less, there are still countless activities and opportunities for fun in Anguilla. The beaches are truly something to behold with the Travel Channel even going so far as to call this destination “number one in the world for best overall beaches.” There’s 33 beaches in total and over 12 miles of powder white sand lining the inviting turquoise waters. And because of the lesser-known nature of Anguilla, these beaches are uncrowded and unspoiled.

EQRoy / Shutterstock.com
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

1. Dominica

Don’t confuse the number one island on our list with similar sounding countries like the Dominican Republic, the beautiful island of Dominica is a country all its own. This piece of paradise located in the southern portion of the Caribbean Sea between Martinique and Guadeloupe is dubbed as “the nature island”. One visit here will show you how it’s numerous waterfalls, springs, rivers and expansive rainforest with unique flora and fauna have earned it such a title. The island is also home to the world’s second largest hot spring, Boiling Lake which is located in Morne Trois Pitons National Park on the islands southern end. This nature-lovers paradise never ceases to amaze visitors with its endless unspoiled natural beauty.

Dominica