Isla Mujeres, situated 20 minutes by ferry off the coast of Cancun, might just be the perfect mix of everything the Mexican Caribbean is famous for. The sea is a vivid turquoise, the beaches are a glowing white, and the sun drenches it all in radiant light. And, from the world-famous beach at the island’s north point to the gorgeous sea cliffs at its south end, Isla Mujeres offers an assortment of the fun resorts, restaurants, and bars that have become synonymous with Mexico’s Caribbean.
The Most Picturesque Quaint International Islands
From Sri Lanka to Portugal's hidden gem, Madeira, these are some of the most idyllic quaint islands outside of the United States to inspire your future travels.
Salt Spring Island is the absolute perfect place to spend a weekend if you are looking to relax, get close to the natural world, and step back in time to when life seemed a bit simpler. Towering pine trees, salty fresh air, and craggy coastlines will have you breathing easily all weekend long. Local organic produce and the thriving art scene will add another layer of magic to this island getaway.
Like King Kong’s Skull Island, Christmas Island is the land time forgot. Uninhabited for thousands of years, Christmas Island became an Indian Ocean Galapagos. There are species here you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Christmas Island is in the Indian Ocean closer to Indonesia than mainland Australia. Despite the location, Christmas Island is an Australian territory reachable on a three-and-a-half-hour flight from Perth.
On the northern tip of Nova Scotia sits an island that locals describe as a little slice of heaven. A mix of oceans, mountains, lakes, and rolling highlands, Cape Breton Island is also a mix of cultures. It is home to people of Scottish, British, Irish, Acadian, and Mi’kmaq heritage and is one of the largest Gaelic-speaking regions in the world. On a visit, you’ll see and hear the Gaelic words cead mile failte -- “one hundred thousand welcomes” -- everywhere, whether the community you’re exploring is Scottish or not! These are some of the activities and attractions that make Cape Breton Island such a memorable and welcoming destination.
Part of the Ionian islands of Greece, Paxos is mostly off the radar in terms of extreme tourism, especially compared to Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete. What’s advantageous about Paxos is its close proximity to Corfu, which is a major airport and boat hub. It can still take a full day of travel by boat to get to many other Greek islands after an already-long flight, but Paxos is only a one-hour hydrofoil or 90-minute ferry ride from Corfu.
Nevis is a small Caribbean island of subtle elegance and spectacular food. This serene and beautiful paradise, which is only home to 11,000 residents, is located in the West Indies region of the Caribbean. Nevis does not accept large cruise ships and limits its number of visitors, so you will find yourself surrounded by friendly locals and not by tourist hordes.
Sri Lanka sits like a pearl in the Indian Ocean, waiting for you to unveil her astonishing landscapes and rich culture and connect with her gracious, smiling people. From pristine beaches to soaring mountain ranges, verdant green tea plantations to ancient cities and national parks teeming with elephants, Sri Lanka is sure to please the curious traveler.
Is there anywhere in the world that sounds more beguiling than Zanzibar? You can virtually feel the sea breeze, hear the rustle of palm leaves, and smell the spices by just saying Zanzibar. I had always been intrigued by this Indian Ocean spice island, just by the name alone, but once I set foot on the island and watched the iconic dhows, with their triangular sails, on the ocean, sampled the cuisine, and experienced this interesting mix between African and Arabian cultures, I truly fell in love with it.