Secret Island is an intimate, secluded white sand beach, only accessible by a 5-minute boat ride across our ancient Hawaiian Fishpond. Amenities: Beach, restrooms, picnic table seating, canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, table tennis, beach volleyball, dining tents, shade trees and more. Technical: There are no outlets on Secret Island, we recommend generators and lights optional for night events. Diving enthusiasts flock to Mabul, off the northeastern coast of Malaysia, where the exotic marine life is on a par with the Galapagos.
Hollywood scouts were on to something when they skipped over Mykonos and chose a secret island in Greece as the location for "Mamma Mia." The movie was a $600-million hit, in part because it fueled peoples’ fantasies of escaping to a secluded island (and yes, those catchy ABBA tunes didn’t hurt). Similar high-end resorts have been popping up across Southeast Asia, where many islands are vying to be the next Phuket.
Diving enthusiasts should opt instead for the secret island of Mabul, off the northeastern coast of Malaysia, where the marine life is on a par with the Galapagos.
Travelers looking to commune with nature can also find solitude on Nicaragua’s acre-wide Jicaro Island on freshwater Lake Nicaragua. Whatever your daydream, you’ll find a destination to match by checking out our slideshow of secret islands around the world. Travelling to an Indonesian island that is not in the guide books and barely mentioned on Wikipedia in search of waves is always an adventure. Being a freshly developed island, the roads were potholed and we even went to dirt at times. The one lane coastal highway ran parallel to the beach and there were signs of waves everywhere. The story goes that this wave was formed from the 2004 earthquake that pushed the coral reefs up close to two metres in some areas, creating this wave and also the deadly tsunami that wiped out parts of Sumatra, Thailand and more in the process. Day One was just about over and with the sun setting pushing pinks, oranges and yellows into the sky, the only thing missing was a cold Bintang. As soon as it started, the trip was finished; waves caught, mission completed, time to go home. Lorca is editor and co-publisher of Lines magazine, an Indonesian publication that covers environment, lifestyle and the best of local surfing. Island holidays are great - but if you have to elbow people off your towel, they're not so much fun.
Upon docking on the beach, guests take a short walk into a labyrinth of trails through mangrove and hau trees, which creates an exciting entrance to the private beach. Match cards, in over 60 unique solitaire layouts, to explore 12 intriguing island locations in search of clues to find your way off the island.


When you hop off the ferry, you’ll be wowed by the view of the shimmering Aegean Sea, the island’s tile-roofed tavernas, and a decided lack of travelers. T+L editors have done the hunting for you to uncover secret islands where you can truly unwind, from the rugged Chilean spot that inspired the novel "Robinson Crusoe" to a tiny island in the Caribbean that was virtually deserted for decades until a luxe resort opened in 2010. So those looking to get far off the grid head to Con Dao, an archipelago 110 miles off Vietnam’s southeastern coast.
Even better, the native sea moths, bobtail squids, and elusive paintpot cuttlefish are some of the only inhabitants.
The nine casitas at Jicaro Island Ecolodge were built from storm-felled trees, and all the food is locally sourced; you can sip a passion-fruit-banana cocktail as you sit by the infinity pool. On Washington’s Lummi Island, a nine-square-mile oasis on Puget Sound, you can sample the region’s bounty (net-caught salmon, spot prawns) while watching orcas ply the waters. Earlier this year a friend and I had a couple of hot tips from a few trusted friends and the luxury of a week to visit an island off an island, off an island in search of the perfect surf at our disposal. There were many losmen (budget accommodation) and newly built air-conditioned bungalows available, so that part was easy. Not every wave looked amazing, but there were some definite breaks that were working with not a soul in the area. Legend has it that the villagers on this island were told by their ancestors that when there is a terrible earthquake and the reef dries up and the animals start going wild, run for high land because the big wave is coming. Yes, on these strict Muslim outer islands, beer and all alcohol is seriously illegal, and you cana€™t just cruise down to Circle K and grab one because there are no Circle Ks or any mini marts, nor do any of the warung sell alcohol except for the kind you cana€™t drink. Waves to ourselves, waves with nobody, waves in the middle of nowhere; good waves at that, too. You always say you will go back to a special place you visited and in my experience, ita€™s always 50-50. To unlock the clues and continue to the next location, you must first 'seek and find' the hidden objects lost underwater and on land. Sheer granite cliffs border deserted beaches and crystal-blue water, and a private guide can lead you by motorbike to remote spots like the spectacular Dam Tre Bay lagoon. It was a full word-of-mouth, roll-the-dice kind of trip, but with the swell forecast looking promising we knew waves were coming, so the first piece of the puzzle was set in place.
All sorts of motorbikes were available to rent, but we waited to seek out the one local on the island who had made a motorbike with surfboard racks on it.
Farm animals roamed freely and on the drive to the beach we spotted a black monkey, countless deer, cows and buffalo, which, although very natural, made you proceed with caution in case you hit one by accident. And thata€™s what they did, and though the coastline was destroyed, nobody died because of the tsunami in 2004.


After basic pancakes and coffee in our air-conditioned bungalow (OK, we werena€™t roughing it that much) we would load the boards and take off. Thata€™s why you have to live every moment to the fullest and take lots of pictures because you never know, it might not be the same the next time you visit.
To aid you on your adventure, use the mysterious power-up cards which will be discovered along the way. Passing a smoking volcano crater on Sumatra on our tiny prop plane flight to the island as the sun rose was a sign that we were definitely going into the wild. These were not the professionally finished racks you see in Bali; these were a rough form of rack made by a backyard welder with barely enough space for your feet when a board was carried and there was no bungee cord to hold the board in the rack, or foam to keep the sides from damaging.
They say over 200 people die a year by coconuts falling on their heads and on this island there was no shortage of doubt that this could be true with the amount of heavily fruiting coconut trees that sprung up everywhere like weeds amongst a dense green background.
News does travel in this small world and the wave had been found for some years, but obviously the cat was not totally out of the bag with only about six out enjoying overhead to double overhead (6-10ft) waves breaking left and right off of a perfect peak in glassy smooth conditions. Some good did come of it, with this wave being created, where it never existed when the reef was deeper, although the tens of thousands of lives lost elsewhere is nothing to be taken lightly. Past the buffalo, past the waving kids yelling a€?Hello Mister!a€? Groundhog Day never felt so good; days melted into days and no phone signal meant no contact and no emails, and neither of us felt the urge to switch to a local SIM card to communicate more. The racks were strictly surfboard on metal, but after a few strategically placed towels and a little screwdriver adjustment for foot space, we were mobile and off, headed to the beach with the pedal to the metal. This was tropical paradise at its rawest, and the air was about as fresh as you can imagine.
Everyone had big smiles on their faces, everyone sharing waves and happy for the other surfera€™s ride, totally opposite to the vibe on Bali or other crowded Indonesian waves. The only indication that time was moving was our growing sunburns and the calendar at the front desk where we luckily did ask what day it was.
The locals dona€™t have a surf shop on the island, so we gave what we could; boardshorts, t-shirts, hats, stickers. The surfboards we kept because they were magic, plus the one local surfer on the island already had a good board.



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