Last updated: 05:00 AM ET, Wed June 03 2015

5 Pristine Islands For the Nature Lover

Features & Advice | Cherese Weekes | June 03, 2015

5 Pristine Islands For the Nature Lover

PHOTO: Saba, the Netherlands, an island referred to as "The Unspoiled Queen." (Courtesy of Thinkstock)

When life becomes a bit too hectic, the best cure is to take a page from Thoreau’s book and become one with nature. If you’re itching to get back to your uncivilized roots, the following five destinations are well-equipped to provide a walk on the wild side.  Whether zipping through trees or soaking away your stresses, there is no better escape than enjoying the simple luxuries only nature can provide.

Saba, the Netherlands

Whoever said big things come in small packages must have been exploring the pocket-sized island of Saba, which is located in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.  For one, the island lives up to its name “The Unspoiled Queen” by housing the Dutch Antilles’ only rainforest, dripping with tropical fruit like mangoes and oranges.

Also, its rugged terrain provides extraordinary hikes to Mount Scenery, an extinct volcano.  Still can’t get enough?  There are plenty of underwater adventures to discover here since Saba is recognized as a beloved diving spot, which is a must when visiting the Saba Marine Park.

Isla Bastimentos, Panama

Panama is filled with many hidden treasures, but Isla Bastimentos might just be its best kept secret. In between observing the sea turtles that can be found nesting here and exploring the Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos, you can take a trip to the sleepy town of Old Bank where Isla Bastimentos’ banana culture comes to life through its plantations. Although quite small, the island makes a lasting impression for thrill seekers by also providing ziplining as well as aquatic adventures. 

Prince of Wales Island, Alaska

Alaska is beloved for its untamed wilderness, which is why a visit to the Prince of Wales Island is worth the trip.  One of the United States’ largest islands, with a pristine location in the heart of the Inside Passage, the island offers many ways to discover the great outdoors, including backpacking, biking, canoeing, kayaking camping in the Tongass National Forest as well as exploring Prince of Wales Island’s caves and villages. 

Even black bears are smitten by Prince of Wales Island and are frequently seen on the hunt for salmon, which is just one of the fascinating nature shows the island provides. This dance of nature can be best seen from the Dog Salmon Fish Pass or the Cable Creek Fish Pass.

Fraser Island, Australia

If you are looking for a unique sand-in-between-your-toes experience, then Fraser Island might just be the place to be. After all, this Australian gem is well-known for its vast sandy carpet, making it the largest sand island on the planet at around 120 km. But what is most impressive about Fraser Island is the way its towering rainforest emerges out of its sand dunes.

From walks with nature to four-wheel excursions, the island is a paradise for all nature lovers.  You might also be inclined to skip the beach and wash the sand off your feet in one of Fraser Island’s sparkling freshwater lakes. 

Borneo, Indonesia

Not only does the island of Borneo places visitors in the heart of nature, it also offers a walk into history since it houses one of the world’s oldest rainforests. However, there is much more than dense vegetation in store.  Its primeval villages invite visitors to observe old Indonesian traditions by preserving the indigenous lifestyles. 

In addition, Borneo is home to some of the world’s rarest wildlife like orangutans, hippos and elephants; and there are plenty of opportunities to soak in the Indonesian culture, whether from boating or diving in the Derawan Archipelago.


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