In this new BOSSIP feature, we will bring you a spotlight on travel destinations, deals and tips to inspire you to go out and enjoy the world! This week, we want to introduce you to 10 remote islands you may not have known about, but will definitely want to visit. Some are nearly deserted exotic locations you can't get to without a passport, a year's worth of vacation days and at least a month's paycheck. Others are right here in the good ol' US of A. Flip through and enjoy a little mental vacay, courtesy of TravelandLeisure.com!
Pico Island Location: Azores, Mid-Atlantic When Columbus made his expedition in 1492, Pico was considered a last outpost before you, well, fell off the earth and it remains virtually unknown. It's a shame, what with wines unlike anywhere else, and footpaths that weave through beautifully eerie landscapes of lava. In the middle of a UNESCO-designated vineyard is the Pocinhobay (Pocinho-Monte; 351/292-629-135; pocinhobay.com; doubles from $238), where six basalt bungalows take in views of the Atlantic.
Southport Island Location: Maine Nature enthusiasts and locavores love this nine-square-mile oasis full of working farms and lush fields on Puget Sound. Stay at Willows Inn (2579 W. Shore Dr.; 888/294-2620; willows-inn.com; doubles from $185), with views of Orcas Island and, for the patient, some actual orcas. Feast on spot prawns, reef-net-caught salmon, and just-picked greens prepared by the hotel's chef Blaine Wetzel, who recently came over from Copenhagen's legendary Noma.
Scrub Island Location: British Virgin Islands, The name may suggest otherwise, but a trip here hardly constitutes roughing it. Once a pit stop for explorers, it's been virtually uninhabited for decades—until last year, when the luxe Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina (877/890-7444; scrubisland.com; doubles from $375) opened its doors. What to expect? Spacious hillside villas, guided trips to nearby Norman Island, and sunset nature hikes.
Andaman Islands Location: Bay of Bengal, India These 550 atolls in the Bay of Bengal have all the prerequisites for an idyllic getaway - with an added dose of culture. You can still see a few ancient indigenous tribes. The island of Havelock, a two-hour ferry ride from Port Blair, is arguably the most appealing, thanks to its bone-white beaches. Book a sea-facing villa at the new SilverSand Beach Resort (91-3192/282-493; silversandhavelock.com; doubles from $130) and ask the staff to take you on a trek to the Kala Pather forest.
Mabul Island Location: Malaysia Diving enthusiasts flock to Mabul, off the northeastern coast of Malaysia, where the exotic marine life is on a par with the Galápagos - native sea moths, bobtail squids, and the elusive paintpot cuttlefish are just a few of the inhabitants. At Sipadan Water Village Resort (6-089/784-227; swvresort.com; doubles from $365), the 45 stilted bungalows are cooled by constant sea breezes.
Colonsay Island Location: Scotland A 2 1/2-hour ferry ride from the west-coast whisky town of Oban takes you to this remote Hebridean island. Sheep far outnumber people, and those who have made the wildflower-carpeted island home are the sort of characters who would have inspired Robert Burns. There's the naturalist Kevin Byrne (44-1951/200-320; colonsayguide.co.uk; walks for two from $32), who can name every buzzard flying near the mile-long sands of Kiloran Bay, or proprietor Mike McNicholl of the General Store (44-1951/200-265; colonsayshop.net), who'll tell you about the dolphins he just saw and sell you a bottle of Laphroaig. The Howard family owns the Colonsay Hotel (44-1951/200-316; colonsayestate.co.uk; doubles from $160), a nine-room Georgian inn built in 1750, with white pebble-dashed walls, sloping slate roofs, and spare furnishings. You can meet all the locals at the village hall for Saturday's weekly ceilidh dance, as authentic a gathering as you'll find in the British Isles.
Desert Islands Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates The roaring traffic sounds of Abu Dhabi, 150 miles to the east, is replaced by the sound of lapping waves on this cluster of Arabian Gulf islands. Sir Bani Yas—with its wadis (dry riverbeds), mangroves, and Christian monastery excavation site—has the only hotel. Luckily, you’re in for a treat: Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara (971-2/801-5400; anantara.com; doubles from $383) includes 64 Arabian-chic rooms; the hotel will plan everything from kayaking trips to game drives through the nearby wildlife park.
Lummi Island Location: Washington State Nature enthusiasts and locavores love this nine-square-mile oasis full of working farms and lush fields on Puget Sound. Stay at Willows Inn (2579 W. Shore Dr.; 888/294-2620; willows-inn.com; doubles from $185), with views of Orcas Island and, for the patient, some actual orcas. Feast on spot prawns, reef-net-caught salmon, and just-picked greens prepared by the hotel’s chef Blaine Wetzel, who recently came over from Copenhagen’s legendary Noma.
Con Dao Island Location: Vietnam Those looking to get far off the grid head to this undiscovered archipelago just 110 miles off Vietnam's southeastern coast. A 45-minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City brings you to Con Son, the largest (and only inhabited) member of the 16-island chain. Here, sheer granite cliffs border deserted beaches and crystal-blue water - imagine a tropical Amalfi Coast without the crowds. Up until now, you'd have been hard-pressed to find a decent place to stay, but the arrival of the Six Senses Con Dao (Dat Doc Beach; 84-64/383-1222; sixsenses.com; villas from $685) has brought a welcome dose of luxury to the island. Standing along a stretch of golden sand are 50 airy villas (some with private pools) that look out onto the South China Sea. Food is a highlight here. In classic Six Senses style, the hotel’s Vietnamese restaurant is set up to resemble a market; there are separate stalls “hawking” noodles and rolls, while made-to-order dishes are cooked outside in charcoal-fueled woks. You may be tempted to never leave the resort, but the 20-square-mile island is well worth exploring.
Robinson Crusoe Island Location: Chile A two-hour flight west of Santiago, this rugged isle earned its fame from the 18th-century sailor Alexander Selkirk, whose wild spell as a castaway here inspired the novel Robinson Crusoe. The aura of adventure still endures (there’s even a rumor of buried treasure). Travelers arrive on a seven-seater plane, then take a 30-minute speedboat ride to the town of San Juan Bautista. At the new Crusoe Island Lodge (Bahía Pangal; 56-23/460-103; crusoeislandlodge.com; doubles from $330, all-inclusive), all 15 rooms are made with recycled materials and wood from the nearby forest. Hire guide Michelangel Trezza from the hotel to organize a scuba dive (from $150), on which you’ll see a centuries-old shipwreck.