It’s hard to imagine life before smartphones or without Wi-Fi to stay connected to the Interwebs. There’s no way we’d be able to survive without our PlayStations and other electronic gadgets. And unfortunately, we become too connected by constantly answering a barrage of work email messages or just standing at the ready to be called into work.
Well, if you can’t seem to decompress from these normal nuisances, you really should think about planning a vacay to completely unplug and reconnect with your long-lost friend…inner peace. Travel off the beaten path to regain some balance in your life, and nothing exemplifies serenity like these five, off-the-grid island destinations.
A 20-minute flight from Antigua’s international airport, the sleepy Caribbean island of Montserrat has made a huge comeback since its devastating volcanic eruption in 1997. Turning tragedy into triumph, the Montserrat Development Corporation helped rebuild the capital city on the island’s northwest coast, luring investors to return to this lush, mountainous island formerly frequented by the rich and famous. The population as seen a slow, but steady uptick from 1,200 to 5,000 people since the eruption.
Thirty miles off the coast of Panama City, a love match between jungle and sea dazzles across the archipelago of the 200-plus sparsely inhabited Pearl Islands. Due to limited infrastructure, it’s only possible to visit a handful of these natural treasures. Standouts include the 17-square-mile Isla San José and neighboring Isla Pedro González, which has been re-christened as Pearl Island and is now the site of a luxury resort community and the future home to the Ritz-Carlton’s extensive private natural reserve.
About a 45-minute ferry ride off the northern tip of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Holbox Island hosts the world’s largest known congregation of whale sharks in the summer months and thriving populations of native pink flamingos year-round. Beyond nature, the island—completely void of cars and most other reminders of globalization— flourishes with a small boho-chic downtown, wide swathes of quiet beaches, mom-and-pop-run beachfront bungalows and colorful beach bars.
Belize’s largest island may be off the grid for most, but it’s no secret to divers in the know. This laid-back, palm-laced paradise, a mere 15-minute flight or 45-minute speedboat ride from Belize City, serves as the principal gateway to the second-largest barrier reef in the world, with proximate access to renowned dive sites such as the Great Blue Hole and Shark Ray Alley. Your ticket to jumpstart your mind, body and spirit awaits!
In the heart of the Indian Ocean, Silhouette Island is one of 115 islands that comprise Seychelles, Africa’s smallest nation. About 98 percent of this high-rising, boulder-strewn granitic island (population: 135) is a nature reserve, which features a single resort, the Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa. Though just 45 minutes by speedboat from the capital island of Mahé, Silhouette feels oceans away from modern civilization.