Want to go where hordes of tourists haven't yet traveled? You're not alone. Vacations to unspoiled destinations are growing in popularity. These locations are filled with gorgeous scenery, beautiful beaches, astonishing amounts of wildlife, and opportunities for soft adventure.
Some of the world's most secluded vacation places are reachable by boat or small cruise ship. These off-the-radar destinations are havens for nature lovers, watersports enthusiasts, hikers, and those who want to relax and unwind. Here are five magical spots to discover on your next trip:
* Molokai, Hawaii. If you’re seeking the untouched, authentic Hawaii of your dreams, take the road less traveled and head to Molokai. This tranquil island isn’t overrun with throngs of tourists, making this scenic island paradise the perfect place to slow down, decompress and take in nature’s beauty. Molokai offers a wide variety of historic, adventure, cultural and nature experiences. Go on the famous mule ride down Molokai’s sea cliffs, the tallest in the world. Walk in the footsteps of saints through hauntingly memorable Kalaupapa National Historic Park. Learn about Hawaiian history and customs from resident elder Anakala Pilipo Solatorio and take his family’s cultural hike through scenic Halawa Valley’s rainforest. Wander in solitary splendor on spectacular three-mile long Papohaku Beach, often deserted with no crowds in sight. Go paddling along Hawaii’s longest continuous fringing reef system for a few hours. One of Molokai’s greatest treasures is its people, so spend the time talking story with them. Passengers on Un-Cruise’s Hawaiian Seascapes itinerary begin their cruise in Molokai, offering guests the opportunity to arrive early and explore this island for several days in advance of their cruise. For more information, visit http://www.gohawaii.com/molokai or http://www.un-cruise.com.
* Peru’s Amazon Basin. Take a riverboat adventure and explore the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve in the company of seasoned naturalist guide. Here, guests can learn about the local culture, interact with community members, and experience the Amazonian jungle first-hand. Two full days on this itinerary are spent in the wildlife-rich Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, allowing plenty of time for exploration and discovery. Daily skiff excursions and hikes give travelers the chance to see exotic creatures such as sloths, toucans, and even pink dolphins. Pink dolphins can be seen on the Amazon River year-round and they deliver their babies between the months of May and July. G Adventures leads this small group trip aboard the Queen Violeta Amazon riverboat. To learn more about the company’s voyages in the Peru’s Amazon Basin and trips to other unspoiled destinations, visit https://www.gadventures.com.
* The Islands of Tahiti. Paul Gauguin Cruises' luxury cruise ship, the m/s Paul Gauguin, is one of the best ways to explore the stellar landscapes, culture, history, and natural wonders found in Tahiti, French Polynesia and the South Pacific. This ship was specifically designed for the shallower waters found in this region, so guests are able to visit smaller ports that aren't available on larger ships. Although all of the line's Tahiti & South Pacific itineraries are good choices for exploring this relatively untouched region, the best for voyaging to remote destinations are the 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus sailings. Guests on this extensive itinerary visit lush Huahine, breathtaking Bora Bora, Rangiroa - home to tiny villages and black pearl farms, and Fakarava - designated by UNESCO as a nature reserve. For more information, visit http://www.pgcruises.com.
* Galapagos Islands. Where can you snorkel with penguins, swim with sea lions, kayak with manta rays, lounge with lizards, and get up close to giant tortoises all in one vacation? Only in the Galapagos Islands, a remote and stunning chain of islands located six hundred miles off the coast of Ecuador. A small ship cruise through the Galapagos Islands is the ultimate eco-adventure. Each day spent here is a living lesson in nature and a chance to make memories that will last a lifetime. Ecoventura is a top ranked, award-winning company operating comfortable 83-foot motor yachts accommodating up to 20 people. Their naturalist guides are superb. Ecoventura offers a variety of unique expedition itineraries exploring islands throughout the Galapagos as well as land-based extension in Ecuador and Peru. For more information, visit http://www.ecoventura.com.
* The Grenadines. Set in the crystal clear turquoise waters of the southern Caribbean, over 30 palm-studded islands make up the Grenadines chain. It’s easy to get away from the crowds here. The Grenadines are pristine gems, each little isle lovelier than the last. Star Clippers’ Royal Clipper ship sails to these islands from Barbados from late fall through spring, visiting Grenada, St. Vincent, Bequia, Martinique, St. Lucia, and Tobago Cays, a national park offering exceptional snorkeling. There’s even a “Captain’s Best” beach day at a deserted Grenadines islet of the Captain’s choice. On a Star Clippers tall ship cruise, guests also have the opportunity to climb the mast and lay in the bowsprit net above the ocean in solitary enjoyment. Star Clippers’ graceful sailing ships accommodate less than 200 passengers and allow adventurers to visit ports that cannot be accessed by large cruise ships. Star Clippers offers an extensive free watersports program as well as special activities such as beach barbecues and pirate night parties under the stars. For additional information, visit http://www.starclippers.com.