Located in southern Thailand, this semi-off-the-map island is one of my favorites and the month I spent here remains one of my most fond memories. Here on Ko Lipe, the super-friendly locals bring in the daily catch for amazing seafood, as the island’s water is teeming with life. Accommodation is still basic, and most places turn off the electricity around midnight.
Sipadan is located in the Celebes Sea off the coast of Sabah (Malaysia's easternmost state on the island of Borneo—Google-map it!). Best known for world-class diving, and described as an “Untouched Piece of Art” by Jacques Cousteau himself, the snorkeling here is equally stunning with easy viewing of otherworldy coral formations, sea turtles, and Bumphead Parrotfish.
The minimalist bikini design became common in most Western countries by the mid-1960s as both swimwear and underwear. By the late 20th century it was widely used as sportswear in beach volleyball and bodybuilding. There are a number of modern stylistic variations of the design used for marketing purposes and as industry classifications, including monokini, microkini, tankini, trikini, pubikini, and skirtini. A man's single-piece brief swimsuit may also be called a bikini. Similarly, a variety of men's and women's underwear types are described as bikini underwear.
While the two-piece swimsuit as a design existed in classical antiquity, the modern design first attracted public notice in Paris on July 5, 1946. French automotive engineer Louis Réard introduced a design he named the "bikini", adopting the name from the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, which was the colonial name the Germans gave to the atoll, transliterated from the Marshallese name for the island, Pikinni.
Went to Fiji for my honeymoon and i don’t think that trip can be topped. We wanted seclusion, privacy and romance and thats what we got. Our bure was 20 feet from the beach where we could relax and maybe see 1 or two people all day. It was incredible. The resort was called Matangi island resort. Great staff, great food…. It’s as close to perfect as you can get.
The water at Ocean Beach is noteworthy for its strong currents and waves, which makes it popular among serious surfers. The water is cold, due in part to a process known as upwelling, in which frigid water from below the ocean surface rises to replace the surface water that moves away from the beach as a result of the Coriolis effect. The rapid rip currents and cold water make the ocean dangerous for casual swimmers and even those who simply want to set foot in it, and swimmers have been swept away and drowned. Nevertheless, the beach is one of the Bay Area's top surfing spots. The southern portion of the beach by Sloat Boulevard is one of the cleanest in the state.
Great list Matt! Indeed, there obviously there are some spots on this globe I have to visit. Can confirm the Maldives though. Has changed over time, but then again, the first time they were still “exploring” their “tourist economy” potential. Been there twice now and although definitely more crowded still holds its appeal. Be prepared for culture shock though. If you return to the “civilised world” you will wonder about the rest of the grubby world and catch yourself day dreaming regularly. 😉
Sounds like you’ve had some interesting adventures! If you’re looking for a mindful community, I would recommend somewhere away from the tourist hot spots in Bali or if you want to get away from the drunken backpackers and one week tourist hordes entirely, the nearby island of Lombok is absolutely surreal in it’s beauty but you might find getting reliable Internet difficult there.
Hi Kyle… interesting roundup. I’ve been to most of the places you mention over the past twelve years — the period of time I have been living as a “global gypsy.” I know San Marcos well, love the Oaxaca coast, used to really love my village in Goa until the tourists discovered it, and I really love Africa — for those who want a chill cheap life, Swaziland is an interesting choice, hugged by South Africa and Mozambique. It home to the Bushfire Festival, one of the most acclaimed music/ art/ culture/festivals in the world. I also really love Kenya and the beautiful Diani Beach. Ok, here’s my current situation: I have grown weary (and older!) of living out of a backpack and am currently looking for a base. I have also accidentally adopted a rescue dog and am traveling with him. As such I need a beach destination with calm waters b/c he loves to swim — so Oaxaca is out. I also make and sell jewelry so some tourists are needed. I am currently on Roatan and it is just not resonating. It is more expensive than I expected and doesn’t seem to have that sort of “mindful” community I prefer. So… any suggestions? I’m really stymied… I sometimes feel there is such a thing as too much freedom… peace and out.
The Island of Jamaica in the West Indies is the ultimate vacation destination for the package tourist. But head out from behind the gates and you will discover a country filled with rich culture, fun activities and friendly and inviting people. And yes, the beaches are absolutely beautiful. Jamaica is so large, we captured many beautiful pictures of this tropical island. It was difficult to choose a favourite.
A snorkel is a device used for breathing air from above the surface when the wearer's head is face downwards in the water with the mouth and the nose submerged. It may be either separate or integrated into a swimming or diving mask. The integrated version is only suitable for surface snorkelling, while the separate device may also be used for underwater activities such as spearfishing, freediving, finswimming, underwater hockey, underwater rugby and for surface breathing with scuba equipment. A swimmer's snorkel is a tube bent into a shape often resembling the letter "L" or "J", fitted with a mouthpiece at the lower end and constructed of light metal, rubber or plastic. The snorkel may come with a rubber loop or a plastic clip enabling the snorkel to be attached to the outside of the head strap of the diving mask. Although the snorkel may also be secured by tucking the tube between the mask-strap and the head, this alternative strategy can lead to physical discomfort, mask leakage or even snorkel loss.
Some of the most relaxing vacations mean finding a secluded spot where you can unplug from the stress of modern life. The Cook Islands is a secluded paradise with welcoming people, great dancers, drummers and singers, with strong Polynesian traditions and culture that make visiting the islands so memorable. The largest island and the home of the capital Avarua, is Rarotonga. Avarua is famous for its fascinating churches made of white coral, and don’t miss the islands Saturday market. Northeast of Rarotonga, visitors to Atiu may want to learn about the local “moonshine” known as tumunu at a local bush beer school. Neighboring Mitiaro stands in water 14,750 feet deep and has white coral streets lined with bright orange Pumarumaru trees. Although it is surrounded by coral reefs and is home to many underground caves and lakes, Ma’uke is known as “the garden island.” Finally, the second largest and oldest island is Mangaia, a beautiful location known for its fossilized coral, otherwise known as “makatea.”
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Captain Hook’s regularly visits three Sanctuary Preservation Areas (SPA’s): Sombrero Reef, Coffin’s Patch and Looe Key Reef. They are a part of the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary, the third largest living coral barrier reef system in the world. These are biologically important areas that help sustain critical marine habitats and species. These locations offer beautiful coral reef formations and a diversity of fish.
It's no surprise that the Maldives tops your list of best islands to snorkel. A chain of 26 atolls and over 1,000 islands in the Indian Ocean, it's the world's most geographically dispersed of countries, and can't be beat for underwater exploration. Seeing as each island is barely the size of a small estate in the Hamptons, we're hard-pressed to pick a top spot, but consider the Anantara Kihava Villas Maldives your first stop.
The beach has a lot of people around, but it doesn't feel too crowded once you're having fun. Parking can be a challenge, but once you find one you won the jackpot cause it's free. There's a large life guard tower close to the pier. We got to see them do a practice drill that day. You can hear airplanes flying over from time to time. You can see the sail boats in the distance which is nice. Lots of families there on my visit. There's a dog park along the beach more towards the hotel. People were nice and every one was friendly on our visit. No one bothered us and we were able to just relax. We got to also see people practicing their surfing skills. I plan to go back when I'm in that part of town again.
With so many great destinations available in the Caribbean, you may have a hard time deciding exactly where to go. Islands like Anguilla, St Barts, the BVI and the US Virgin Islands offer a diverse choice of accommodations, activities and restaurants. You can get your scuba diving certification, go hiking to scenic waterfalls and book massages. There is great choice of small intimate hotels with an emphasis on personal service, and larger resorts offering water slides, pools and kids’ clubs. Among the top all-inclusive options in the Caribbean are Bolongo Bay which offers live entertainment, Couples Swept Away for honeymooners and Jumby Bay where you can an amazing variety of sea life.
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I think Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador and the Oaxacan Coast of Mexico are all excellent options. If you’re just going to these places as a tourist it can get quite expensive but if you’re staying long-term you can find much cheaper accommodations that fits your budget (may be a bit minimalist). I have a friend who works in Bocas Del Toro and she absolutely loves it. Probably much better than Panama City if you just want to relax, study and recharge.
Masks come in all sizes and shapes so choosing one which doesn’t leak is pretty essential. As eager as you are to jump in the water, take the time to learn the basic principles of how to defog your mask (The spit and rub technique works quite well for masks!) There is nothing worse than a mask that keeps fogging up. Knowing how to clear your mask when it’s filling up with water is also pretty useful.
Thanks for the fascinating article. I’m currently based out of Vancouver myself (but soon back to Toronto). I’m enthralled by the idea of taking my show on the road somewhere cheap and warm next winter. I’m a planner, though, but it seems like (from both your comments and my failed attempts thus far) the best way to get something like this is to show up somewhere and then go from there; whenever I’ve looked at somewhere like AirBNB, it seems like everything is $50/night and upwards (with the exception of some stuff I’ve found in Goa).
It's hard not to pick Hanauma Bay for Oahu's best snorkel spot as it's filled with so much to see, including Reef triggerfish, known in Hawaiian as Humuhumunukunukuapua'a. This nature preserve, an ancient volcanic crater, used to be mobbed but now allows only a maximum of 3,000 visitors per day (and all must watch an informative introductory video at the Marine Education Center before hitting the sand and water). Note: The center is closed on Tuesdays, so adjust your itinerary accordingly.