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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Island Getaways

Bora-Bora

Bora-Bora has so many natural advantages it deserves its long-held reputation as the South Pacific’s loveliest island retreat. “It’s everything a Polynesian island should be—blue lagoon, sand-fringed motus, soaring peaks,” says Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler.Photo: Man walks in shallow water


Bali Dancers

The tiny Hindu island of Bali is one of the world’s few remaining societies where modernity and tradition coexist in harmony. With several hundred dance troupes on the island, dance is at the very center of Balinese life

Photo: Traditional Balinese dancers 

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Philippines: Palawan Island

An outrigger canoe glides across crystal waters off Palawan Island in the Philippines. It’s an island of Jules Verne-like vistas, where giant eagles soar, rare seashells litter quiet beaches, and exotic orchids bloom in dark mahogany forests.
Photo: Boat passing rocky cliff

Falkland Islands: Birds

Black-browed albatrosses nest by the thousands in the remote Falkland Islands. With few crowds or restrictions, this archipelago comprising 778 islands and islets 300 miles (483 kilometers) off the east coast of Patagonia provide an intimate wildlife experience that offers an alternative to that of the more famous Galápagos.
Photo: Birds on rocky island
  
 Palau Rock Islands
Teeming with exotic marine life and Crayola-colored reefs, the more than 300 islands of Palau, in the Pacific Ocean southwest of Guam, feature some of the world’s best dive sites and the unique foliage-frosted Rock Islands. Palau is also a living World War II museum—WWII wrecks lie submerged just off the Rock Islands.

 Photo: Aerial view of blue water and small green islands

 New York: Thousand Islands
Photograph by Will Van Overbeek, National Geographic
Kids dive in at Thousand Island Park, a historic community on New York’s Wellesley Island. The community was built more than a century ago, during the area’s heyday as a gilded summer retreat. The Thousand Islands archipelago straddles the U.S.-Canada border in the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Photo: Boys jumping off dock into water

Hawaii: Waimoku Falls

The secluded Waimoku Falls in Maui’s Haleakala National Park is a two-mile (three-kilometer) hike from the Road to Hana, the island’s most popular scenic drive. Haleakala National Park centers around the active, but not currently erupting, Haleakala Crater.
Photo: Waterfall and rocky cliff

Cuba

Paper birds festoon a street during the Santiago de Cuba carnaval, in Cuba, the largest island in the West Indies. “Cuba’s allure lies not just in beautiful vistas and beaches, or its colonial history, or even in the spectacle of its entrapment in the past,” writes Jon Bowermaster. “Its real enchantment is in its optimistic people who carry on, and even celebrate life, in the midst of what appears to many as a failed political and economic experiment.”
Photo: Strings of paper birds festooning narrow street

Puerto Rico: Mar Chiquita Beach

Though beaches like Mar Chiquita Beach draw Boogie-boarders and other watersports lovers, Puerto Rico also offers lots of landlubber entertainment in its main city, San Juan. Roam the largest fort built by the Spanish in the Americas, go antiquing for wooden santos, and sample traditional Puerto Rican dishes like chicken chicharrones.
Photo: Surfer on large wave

Sardinia: Emerald Coast

Soft dusk cloaks pastel-hued Castelsardo, a fortified hilltown on the northwest coast of Sardinia. Still little known by most Americans, Sardinia’s northern coast is a corner of the Mediterranean adored by Italians and in-the-know Europeans.
Photo: Sunset over house-filled hill

Australia: Lord Howe Island

A scene from the Jurassic age? No, just a typically primeval slice of Lord Howe Island, located off the east coast of Australia. Sydney-based yachtsman Ian Kiernan calls it “Australia’s own Galápagos”; the island stayed totally isolated and—except for a native bat—devoid of mammals from creation until European discovery in 1788.
Photo: Sunset on coast with mountains and palm trees
 Mozambique: Matemo Island
Fishermen fix their boats at low tide on Matemo Island, part of Mozambique’s 32-island Quirimbas Archipelago. The islands and surrounding waters pulse with wildlife: humpback whales, hawksbill turtles, bottlenose dolphins, and a diversity of birds, from storks and spotted eagle-owls to crab plovers and kingfishers.

Photo: Fishermen fixing their boats during low tide

 By  National Geographic

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