Ecuador’s Galapagos is an eco-tourists heaven, abundant with wildlife above and below the waves. Get up close on a stroll or in a Zodiac boat. Snorkel and dive with denizens of the deep, from sea lions to sea turtles at Santiago’s Cousin’s Rock. Take a hike along the Darwin Trail and see finches, flamingos and iguanas, admire the Sierra Negra Volcano on Isabela. As visitor numbers are limited within the islands’ National Park, book your boat tour through a tour operator, for the best snorkelling visit between January and April.
Easter Island in Chile is best known for its mysterious congregation of volcanic rock sculptures (moai) carved around 1,500 years ago. Quite an isolated isle Easter Island hovers in the South Pacific more than 2,000 miles off the Chilean coast. Almost half of the island is the World Heritage-designated Rapa Nui National Park, named for the Polynesians that first settled here. Rano Raraku volcanic quarry and Orango cultural village, with its stunning viewpoint, are a definate must see. The island is most easily accessed via air from Santiago or Tahiti.
Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea and lies at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples about 30km from the historic city of Naples and nearby Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Amalfi Drive. As the largest of the Phlegrean Islands it serves as the main port town for the town of Ischia which has been inhabited for centuries, famous for its beaches and the healing waters of its spas. The town is divided in two, Ischia Porto which is the harbor district and commercial center of the island, filled with brightly lit taverns and bars, and Ischia Ponte which is the historic quarter, with its ancient castle and its stone streets.
Sri Lanka lies just south of India, and is surrounded by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. With miles of unspoilt beaches there is a wealth of attractions to be explored. Visit one of the many national parks that thrive with fascinating wildlife, visit an elephant orphanage, Scuba dive, explore dense jungle, shrines and temples. The island, formerly known as Ceylon is home to 20 million people and six World Heritage sites.
The beautiful Island of Santorini, in the southern Aegean’s Cyclades islands, curves round a giant lagoon, a caldera left by a volcanic eruption. The island’s capital, Fira, clings to the cliffs above and gives stunning views of the lagoon below. Ruins, including the volcanic ash- preserved town of ancient Akrotiri, amaze those with a bent for ancient history. Hydrofoils, ferries and catamarans connect Santorini to other islands and the mainland.
Madagascar, regarded as the world’s number one conservation priority. Nowhere else can you see over 70 varieties of lemur, the world’s biggest and smallest chameleons and the last stomping ground of the elephant bird, the largest bird that ever lived. Inhabited some some 2000 years ago along the Indian Ocean trade routes, the people of Madagascar grow rice in terraced paddies, and speak a language that has more in common with their origins in Southeast Asia than with the African continent. Their culture is steeped in taboo and magic, imbuing caves, waterfalls and animals, throw in touch of pirate history, coastlines littered with shipwrecks, great regional cooking and some of the world’s longest place names and you will agree this island truly is unique.
Anguilla is part of the British West Indies and is an upmarket splash in the East Caribbean. With both British and African influences, Anguilla puts on a plethora of festivals and celebrations. This exclusive spot is an English-speaking paradise with crystal clear waters, unrivalled white beaches, high style and low key elegance. Visitors can travel Anguilla’s sometimes perilous roads by hired car, scooter or taxi. Don’t miss popular Shoal Bay, the restaurants in Sandy Ground or lovely Rendezvous Bay.
Maui is the second largest Hawaiian island with a smaller population than you’d probably expect. Known as “The Magic Isle” Maui is a popular tourist destination, with many landmarks, historical locations and attractions. Visit the Pools of Oheo, located just past Hana, beautiful pools fed by cascading waterfalls, the lively west Maui hot spot of Lahaina an historic whaling village and Haleakala National Park, a scenic national park on the island of Maui and home to Maui’s highest peak. A truly beautiful and unforgettable island.