You’ve been to the Bahamas and the Caribbean so many times the bartender practically knows your name. Hawaii was fun once, but you want an island destination with an exotic flair and a culture that’s different from that in the United States. Perhaps it’s time to consider a vacation on one of the many islands that dot the Indian Ocean.
About the Islands of the Indian Ocean
Located between the southeast coast of Africa and the west coast of Australia, the Indian Ocean comprises nearly 20 percent of the world’s water surface. This vast body of water is also home to a diverse collection of island nations, many of which offer spacious beaches, crystal-clear water and all of the privacy you could ask for. Below are just a few of the more popular Indian Ocean island destinations.
The Maldive Islands
Located about 400 miles southwest of Sri Lanka, the Maldives are an independent island nation made up of 1192 islands, 200 of which are inhabited. The islands offer more than 90 tourist resorts and hosts nearly more than 500,000 visitors each year. The Maldive Islands are served by the international airport in Mahe, with non-stop flights to Singapore, several cities in India and Dubai. There are also frequent charter flights from European capitals to the Maldives. U.S. and Canadian citizens need only a valid passport to enter the country.
The Seychelles are located northeast of the island of Madagascar, about 1000 miles east of Kenya. This island nation, once governed by the French and later a British Crown Colony, is now an independent nation comprised of 155, mostly coral, islands. Only a handful of these islands are inhabited. Visitors to the Seychelles will find a French creole culture, despite the many years of British rule, and miles of relatively untouched, white sand beach. The islands are served by Seychelles International Airport near the capital city of Victoria on Mahe Island, with regular non-stop service to Nairobi, Johannesburg, Dubai and Doha Qatar, and Mauritius. No visa is needed for U.S. and Canadian citizens.
Mauritius is another island with mixed French and British history. This island sits about 400 miles due east of Madagascar and offers several luxury beach resorts. In fact, Mauritius was recently named as having the Best Beach at the World Travel Awards. Visitors to Mauritius fly into Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport on the southeast side of the island. Regular, non-stop service is offered to more than two dozen cities around the globe, including Paris, London, Capetown, Zurich, Dubai and Hong Kong. A visa is not needed for tourists from the United States or Canada.
Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, is located off the coast of southern Africa. The island, once a Portuguese and French colony, is known for its bio-diversity and unique collection of plants and animals. In fact, more than 90 percent of the island’s animals are found nowhere else on earth. Visitors can reach Madagascar via flights from Nairobi, Paris and Johannesburg as well as chartered flights from several European cities. Visas are required of all foreign visitors and can be obtained at any Malagasy embassy or consulate before arrival. A valid passport is needed to get a visa.
Why not think a little out of the box this vacation season and venture to an exotic island paradise in the Indian Ocean?