An island getaway could be the perfect answer for your winter cabin fever. Whether you’re planning a proposal or you’re looking to rekindle the spark in a long-term relationship, there’s nothing quite like a beach to bring out the romantic in us. Not to mention local soul-warming cuisine.
Here are five places — for all kinds of tastes — where you can sit, sip, munch, swim, hold hands, and just take in the majesty of big water.
For the ultimate tropical fantasy, check out Fiji. With over 300 separate islands — many of them almost completely untouched — this place really has it all. Pamper yourself in a secluded, luxurious resort. Take a walk through one of the world’s largest Asian orchid collections. Visit the shores where Tom Hanks taught himself to fish and create fire in Castaway. Submerge yourself in the breathtaking wonderland of exotic fish, gorgeous coral, and crystal clear waters with a scuba dive for two. Looking for an extra boost for your proposal? Consider that in 2014, the Fiji tourism board reported 600 asks…and 600 yeses. That’s some good mojo!
Kokoda, pronounced koh-kon-da, is a Fijian take on the raw fish dish, ceviche. Kokoda is made with fresh fish soaked in lemon or lime juice, which ‘cooks’ the fish. Spring onions, red onion, chilies, sweet peppers, and tomatoes are common additions, then it’s all soaked in coconut milk for a refreshing local dish.
For a snorkeling adventure that will stay with you for a lifetime, you can’t beat the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. This is the place for you if you crave something a little wild, a little rugged, and completely original. The Great Barrier Reef is unparalleled in its sheer magnitude. Head for one of the 74 Whitsunday Islands, only 8 of which are inhabited, or take in a seaplane tour of the heart-shaped Hardy Lagoon.
Catch and Eat your own seafood You could be standing in the ocean eating freshly caught oysters, spearing a mud-crab and cooking it over an open fire. Maybe catching a rock lobster and putting it straight on the grill, or hooking a local barramundi, snapper or blue mackerel. Of course, if you’d prefer not to catch your own, you can enjoy the Aussie tradition of fresh fish and chips (try the barramundi 😉). The perfect meal for sitting on one of the beautiful beaches.
What if tropical isn’t your bag? If you prefer milder temps, old-growth forests, a laid-back approach to life, and cozy, elegant B&Bs and Craftsman-era resorts. Consider a romantic getaway to the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound? Here you can kayak along dramatic shorelines, watch the orcas migrating in magnificent pods, hike pristine forests with towering evergreens, and have a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains. Or, take in the beauty and romance of a lavender farm. Love the water? Sail among the tree-covered islands to watch dolphins and whales play in the cool waters. Traveling among the islands is easy, and you can even take a day trip to the gorgeous Canadian island of Victoria.
The Crab – You can get a taste of one of the quintessential foods of the Pacific Northwest, the sweet and flavorful Dungeness crab, at numerous restaurants on in the San Juan Islands. Always served in season, crab is often simply steamed and served with melted butter, but some creative chefs also prepare it in creative ways with pasta, in crab cakes or in sushi.
If you’re looking for something unique in the Mediterranean, book an island getaway adventure on Corsica. Birthplace of Napoleon and part of France, this island retains its fierce cultural independence. The result is a marvelous blend of Italian and French cultures, wine, food, and language. The emerald waters of the north and the dramatic rocky cliffs of Bonifacio in the south, which drop precipitously into the ocean, will take your breath away. This is a place filled with small private alcoves and turquoise water. With accommodations from luxury resorts to charming hotels run by generations of Corsicans. You can hike or drive in rugged interior mountains, sample cheeses, and honey cultivated in 400-year-old traditions. This small island has plenty to see, do, and experience.
Fleur du maquis – This is one of my all-time favorite cheeses. During the making process, the cheese is covered with aromatic coating of rosemary, fennel seeds, juniper berries native to the island. It has a sour, citrusy taste and has a semi-soft texture. Also known at Brin’ d’amour, look for it at your favorite cheese shops in the USA too.
For the ultimate in a island getaway, I have to mention Belize. Often overlooked in favor of more famous places. Belize is only two hours from Miami and boasts some of the most pristine shorelines in the world. Cayo Espanto, just off the coast of Belize, is a private island resort with several secluded 5-star villas and was recently named the #1 honeymoon spot in the world. One of the bungalows is set 150 feet out in the water. It features glass floors through which you can view the colorful and varied sea life. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can explore ancient Mayan ruins on the main island. Or you can simply while away the hours overlooking the cerulean waves from your own private deck. The staff will see to your every need.
Conchita Pibil is a traditional Maya dish that has been eaten in the region for thousands of years. It is a delicious combination of slow-roasted pork and local vegetables served in a soft tortilla.
If you love the idea of a island getaway but need help finding just the perfect destination for your vacation-for-two, let’s set up a time to chat! There are a million opportunities to rekindle the flame and dine on delicacies. Let’s find the spot that has your name on it. You can contact me today by clicking here and set up a time to talk about your dream vacation.
I can’t wait to talk to you!
Interested in other tropical spots with amazing cuisine? Take a look at these quick reads; Caribbean Culture and Cuisine: St. Lucia, Caribbean Culture and Cuisine: Aruba,Caribbean Culture and Cuisine: Turks and Caicos.
At Gourmet Adventures Travel Co., I craft culinary getaways for travelers who love to eat well and yearn to truly savor the authentic side of their destination. From a river cruise through Provencal wine country to a journey through the heady spice markets and medinas of Morocco, you'll taste your way through the world's most enchanting landscapes.