Off the Beaten Track

island

Island hopping is a fabulous way to see a place up close and personal. But it can be really touristy which if you’re really looking to get away from it can be a bore.

Greece and the Caribbean are both popular island hop destinations but it still possible to separate yourself from the tourist haunts.

Off the track in Greece

There are at least 20 islands in Greece which are still unpopulated by tourists. Taking the time to explore them all will take a year or two but here are a few hot spots

Ikaria got its name from Icarus’ plunge into the sea. It has a quirky personality and is not so far off the track – there are plenty of hotels and restaurants, but Santorini it is not.

 

  • Meganisi is really away from it. A tiny island with only three villages. You need a smattering of Greek, and to be able to read a menu.
  • You have probably heard of Paros, but Antiparos just opposite is still relatively unknown. The main tourist thing to visit is the cave and there are enough visitors to make this the biggest source of revenue on the island. The population is all of 1200 so you get the idea, Antiparos is off track.
  • Kythnos is quite close to Athens and so Kythnos does get crowded, but the tourists are mainly Greek. Plan a trip here off season and enjoy hot springs and good Greek restaurants.

Shifting gear to the Caribbean

There are over 7,000 islands in the Caribbean so getting away from it all isn’t really hard work. There are ports where it almost goes dark when the ginormous cruise ships come into port. Here are some places where you can pass them by.

  • The Iles des Saintes to the southwest of Guadeloupe is notable for their blue-eyed residents, the descendants of Breton sailors who made their homes and livelihoods in the islands. Life there is laid back. It’s café’s and beaches and snorkeling

island

  • If you live to dive then the British Virgin Island of Anegada is for you. It is the northernmost island and boasts a yet unspoiled coral reef. But for a diver what really sets the pulse racing is the 300 historic shipwrecks. You won’t find treasure, but you can have a blast exploring and coming face to face with the turtles.
  • If you’d like to step back in time Caye Caulker off the coast of Belize is a delight. The island is closest to the blue hole which makes it quite the daytime destination, but with few places to stay at night Caye Caulker reverts to how it has been for hundreds of years.
  • A 12-minute flight from St. Maarten is the island of Saba. A small island of 4 villages which didn’t get a road until the 1960s. Now, of course, it is much more sophisticated. There is a place to land a plane, but still, there’s not much going other than leisurely life.

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