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Top 5 Island Escapes

by Martha Hales

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Islands have a particular allure and a special sense of romance and adventure. Whether you’re inspired by the solitude of unpopulated tropical isles or those busy with local life, there are destinations within our collection that can meet your requirements. We’ve picked five of our favourites to tempt you to get booking that dreamy island trip.

Raja Ampat

Canoeing in Raja Ampat IndonesiaDazzling colours of emerald, sapphire and turquoise greet you when you arrive in the Raja Ampat archipelago in eastern Indonesia. Hundreds of impossibly verdant islands are scattered throughout beautiful blue water, which offsets the pearl-white beaches and the deep green tufts of jungle tangled over each isle. Many visit for the incredible diving and snorkelling opportunities, and are stunned by the colourful and varied submarine life. Diving is the major activity in the area, but don't miss the chance to go in search of the crimson bird of paradise or the exotic species of reptiles that live here.

Make it happen

Our local experts have put together an itinerary idea based around various rural activities in Raja Ampat. Situated to the west of the Indonesian part of Papua, these islands are best visited between November and March.

Corn Islands

Big Corn Beach NicaraguaThese wonderful little islands can be found basking in the clear Caribbean waves around 80 kilometres northwest of Bluefields (mainland Nicaragua). Big Corn spreads across 10 square kilometres, while little Corn is a pinprick at just 2.9 square kilometres. They both offer great beaches and Caribbean vibes without the crowds, making them a very laid back option for anyone who wants to build some beach time into their Nicaragua itinerary. Don’t miss the incredible seafood - cheap and widely available, it's extraordinarily good.

Colombia’s islands

Diving, Coral ReefSan Andrés and Providencia are a pair of Colombian islands far out from the mainland in the Caribbean Sea. They are known for their stunning seascapes, where the multicoloured water spans every colour from deepest purple to palest turquoise. Providencia has been recognised by UNESCO as a marine reserve and attracts divers from all over the globe to its world class pristine reefs. Rosario and the surrounding islands are much closer to the mainland and can be visited on a day trip from Cartagena, great if you want to find excellent beaches near the capital.

Make it happen

Colombia’s Caribbean Paradise is an itinerary idea taking in the glories of San Andres and Providencia, while the Winter Sun itinerary includes a day exploring the Rosario archipelago.

Islands of Panama

Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Parque Nacional Bastimentos, PanamaBlessed by nature with fabulous flora and fauna, as well as vistas saturated with tropical colour, the islands of Bocas del Toro are a haven of peace and beauty with an intriguing local culture. Lose yourself in the rainforest where exotic birds flits through the trees and butterflies perch on the superb array of flowering plants. The islands are surrounded by reefs which make fabulous snorkelling and diving territory, with a great display of fish and coral to investigate beneath the Caribbean waves. Beaches of virgin white sand are scattered generously along the island’s shores, blissfully relaxing and backed by the lush foliage of the rainforest vegetation.

Make it happen

Our local experts have several itinerary ideas including time spent exploring Bocas del Toro, including The Panama Journey, the Panama Panorama and the Panama Wildlife Experience. The best time to visit Panama is December to April. If you want to make it for the whale season, however, be sure to visit between July and October.

Lake Malawi

Malawi, Children on the BeachTwo Malawian islands bask in the clear waters of the Mozambican part of Lake Malawi, and make a fascinating stop on any tour. Likoma is the more accessible of the two, and has a sizeable population of its own giving you a good insight into local island life. There are beaches and coves punctuating the shore and plenty of opportunities to get into, onto and under the water. The remote charms of Chizumulu island are something of a challenge to reach, but offer an unparalleled destination for immersing yourself in an island community with little exposure to tourism. Mumbo island lies near to Cape Maclear and offers a luxury island retreat with plenty of activities to entertain you, from snorkelling to kayaking and walking.

Make it happen

Our partner company can put together an itinerary based on your preferences, but they have a number of sample itineraries to fire your imagination. Mumbo island features on the Southern Malawi circuit itinerary. Malawi’s dry season runs from May to October, with cool temperatures until August.

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