For the avid traveler, exploring a new destination on the other side of the world serves as a constant source of motivation. Although it can be challenging to find a location that is both fresh and enriching, the right place can make the extended journey worthwhile.
Duncan John MacDonald, a commercial pilot with a passion for both flying and travel, has a list of 5 unique islands to visit in 2020.
Whakaari (White Island), New Zealand
Starting off this list is an island nation in New Zealand, tucked away in the northern islands and easy to miss; once you arrive, however, you will be in complete awe of the landscape and wildlife. All you need to do is make a brief trip away from the mainland, and soon you’ll be in the vicinity of an active volcano. Although this volcano is mostly underwater, it is still able to cultivate some truly amazing sights, including sulphur stains in a variety of colors, acid lakes, and even pools of hot mud.
While you’re walking along the coastline, be sure to take note of the dolphins and whales that reside here, adding a majestic quality to this volcanic island. Keep in mind that you’ll need to take in all of these amazing sights on a day trip, as there isn’t anywhere to stay the night.
Moving all the way from New Zealand to the Indian Ocean, you’ll find the island country of Sri Lanka, which in more recent years is becoming a tourist attraction of even greater viability. This is due in no small part to political changes that have occurred, resulting in more and more part of the island opening up to tourism.
According to Duncan John MacDonald, your first stop should be the scenic beaches, which are quite serene and peaceful; much less crowded compared to many tourist coastlines, you’ll be sure to find a more private spot to relax. Moving inland, you’ll find breathtaking ruins of ancient civilizations, as well as citadels that tower above the land, situated on top of giant rocks.
Lastly, be sure to visit the national parks that host elephant safaris, which are always a delightful way to travel in an 100% natural way. Also noteworthy is one of the most beautiful train rides in the world, the slow train to Ella, which holds the promise of gorgeous landscapes the entire way.
Mont St. Michel, France
We now journey from the south Asian coastline all the way up to Europe, where a famous tourist attraction in Normandy awaits. Rising high above the coastline, this monolithic island stands as a fortress amidst a sea of sand. Located just 1 kilometer off the coast, the island of Mont St. Michel has an air of mystery to it, with the tide level determining access: You can only visit there at low tide, as high tides separate the island completely from the mainland. With the island itself having a history of once being a monastery, this proved a great tactical advantage, as the tide would simply wash away would-be invaders.
Going inside the walls, the inner parts of the island are almost like a time capsule, the very traditional architecture dotted with relics of days long past and connected by bridges that roll and twist along the hilled landscape. While it’s still recommended that you make Mon St. Michel a day trip, there are hotels here if you need to stay the night.
Transitioning all the way to the other side of the world, the island of Dominica in the Caribbean is about as close to a tropical island paradise as you can get. The rainforests here are a sight to behold, with captivating waterfalls that demand your attention. Moving out to the coastline, you’ll find beaches with black sand, a truly unique experience complimented by the availability of bungalows right along the beach, so you can stay the night.
Before you depart, there are two key factors to remember. The first is to try and plan the timing of your trip to steer clear of cruise season, as the tourist population skyrockets during this time. The second is to be wary of the modestly-sized airport, requiring a transfer from a neighboring island in order to get there as opposed to a direct flight.
Heading back over from one hemisphere to another, our last destination is the island of Mauritius, located along the southeast African coast. Like Dominica, the waterfalls here are just as spectacular; here, however, they are complimented by the locals who go above and beyond with a warm hospitality, which can enhance your trip to quite a degree.
In Mauritius you have the option to go on hikes saturated with wildlife, most notably a generous population of monkeys. Along the way you’ll no doubt stumble upon tea plantations and religious temples, both of which add to the charm of your experience. To top it all off, this destination has a competitive affordability.
Duncan John MacDonald has had a lifelong fascination of flight instilled at a very young age. After putting in hours upon hours to graduate flight school, he became a seasoned commercial pilot as well as an advocate for pursuing one’s dreams.