There’s something genuinely wonderful about being on an island. The sense of being surrounded on all sides by the lapping ocean, the vastness of the sky and the swaying palm trees… It’s all incredibly soothing, allowing you to forget the cares of home, study or work.
Some of the places below are a bit more upscale than your average backpackers' hostel. Let’s face it, though, from time to time we all need a bit of pampering! Admittedly, they may not be strictly ‘desert’ or ‘deserted’ islands. But they’re all in some of the most staggeringly beautiful tropical locations on the planet.
Thousands of miles away from anywhere
Taking up about a third of the surface of the planet, the Pacific Ocean is bigger than the earth's entire landmass. If Daniel Defoe hadn’t set his novel ‘Robinson Crusoe’ on the Chilean island of Mas a Tierra (now called ‘Robinson Crusoe Island’!), he might just have chosen one of the French Polynesian Islands.
The Bungalow Village Temanoha, on the Island of Moorea, is right in the middle of this vast expanse of ocean. If, as you gaze out across the azure waters, the rest of the world seems thousands of miles away… that’s because it is!
Check availability at Bungalow Village Temanoha
Idle days in Indonesia
Indonesia is a scattered collection of more than 17,000 islands. Few, though, are as beautiful or as sublimely chilled out as the Gili Islands. Whilst Gili Trawangen is a bit livelier with plenty of beach parties, Gili Meno is a truly heavenly Southeast Asian retreat.
And the Tao’ Kombo Travel Lodge perfectly captures this sense of harmony for its guests. During the day, stretching out on the sand and basking in the sunshine is practically compulsory. In the evenings you can sit out on the verandah and watch the stars. And with beds starting at only 3.00 euros per person in one of their backpackers’ huts, it’s almost too good to be true!
Check Availability in Tao’ Kombo Travel Lodge
Inhaca Island: A true tropical paradise
Inhaca Island, a short ferry journey from the port of Maputo in Mozambique, is pretty special. Coco palms stir in the warm Indian Ocean breezes, and its translucent waters are full of shimmering fish. In short, it could hardly be closer to a tropical paradise.
Although the Exotic Inhacazul Lounge puts on a range of great activities (such as diving, snorkeling and fishing) it’s very hard to raise the energy to do anything other than lounge around in the sun, take occasional gentle strolls along the beach, and allow the general feeling of tranquility to wash over you.
Check availability at Exotic Inhacazul Lodge
Situated in a secluded bay to the south of Upolu Island, and surrounded by mile after mile of white sand, the ‘fales’ or thatched beach huts of the Virgin Cove Resort are a picture postcard image. What’s more, with solar power, rainwater supplies and composting toilets, it’s reassuring to know that you’re not spoiling this beautiful place.
If you can bear to tear yourself away from the stunning shorelines, inland Samoa is a nature lover’s dream, all dramatic waterfalls, jungles that echo to the cries of parrots, and dramatic volcanic peaks.
Check availability at Virgin Cove Resort
Could you ‘survive’ a few weeks in the Cook Islands?
It isn’t hard to see why the British television show ‘Shipwrecked’ and a season of the American show ‘Survivor’ were both shot on the Cook Islands. Although they cover barely 100kms of land, the fifteen individual islands are separated by almost a million square miles of sparkling sea!
Rarotonga, the most populated of the islands, is home to Backpackers International Hostel. With its unbeatable beachfront location, its sociable travelers’ vibe and its emphasis on having a good time, this is the ideal place to while away the lazy South Pacific days.
Check availability at Backpackers International Hostels