Travel unplugged: 19 islands to power down


One of my personal favorite desert islands reachable only by boat, courtesy of Ninamu Resort in Tahiti

Travel unplugged? Is it ever a reality? Sometimes the distance you have to travel = how much you can unplug.

Me, I prefer places not served by airports; they are harder to get to, and that’s a good thing. It’s more expensive, usually about $300-$400 per person. But I find that it is money well spent. Plus, once you arrive, those places don’t have goods to consume. Just you and nature. Complete travel unplugged. When I saw a post on The Culture-ist with an infographic of desert islands, I remembered all those power-down places.

Before we get to the infographic, a small shout-out to Ninamu Resort, an island in the Tuamotu chain of Tahiti pictured above. This wee island is about a 50-minute flight from Tahiti’s capital, Papeete. Getting there was a feat. A plane from L.A. to Papeete. Overnight. A flight from Papeete to Tikehau. Shuttle from airport to boat launch. 10-minute boat ride to Ninamu. Then blissful travel unplugged. Alas, the resort has Wifi; but I suspect if it didn’t people would scratch their eyeballs out. We’re addicted.

TEN islands I recommend that aren’t in the infographic below but you can travel unplugged:


  • Bequia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines. I used to live on this island and since it built an airport about 10 years ago, it has developed. Still, it’s charming. No hotel chains, no stoplights, no fast food. Water taxis are the vehicle of choice.
  • Canouan, St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Canouan isn’t the prettiest island. And there’s a lot of high-end building happening. Yacht clubs, Trump and the like. But I am soft for my little Tamarind Beach Resort. It has loads of character and a great beach.
  • CarriacouGrenada. The Caribbean of the 1970s still exists.
  • Isla Holbox, Mexico. On the Gulf of Mexico, Holbox has no cars on island. When I went, it was sand roads, not a lot of resorts over $40 per night. I hear that’s changed since 2005. You can see my article that won an award.


  • Pangkor Laut, Malaysia. Absolute heaven. A self-contained private island resort.
  • Huahine, Tahiti. The home of a blue-eyed eel, and a magical mountain where wishes come true when you reach the top. Loads of character.
  • Ninamu, Tahiti. See comments above. Six handbuilt bungalows made from coral, driftwood and pandanus.


  • Elba, Tuscany, Italy. From Rome, a train then a ferry. In off-season (aka not the summer), ferries are less frequent.
  • Pico, the Azores (Portugal). The Azores are undiscovered gems in Europe. There are non-stop flights from Boston to the mainland of  São Miguel. Commuter flights to Pico
  • Skopelos, Sporades, Greece. An elevated white-washed town, donkeys, beaches, tavernas galore. You’ll arrive by ferry from the overly packaged touristy Skiathos.

There are 19 islands including my list and Cheap Flights. Who can give me a 20th that deserves a call-out and rounds out my list?”

Infographic of Travel Unplugged: 9 More Power-down Islands


Desert Island Guide Infographic by Cheapflights

Cheapflights commissioned this infographic by sujata_cheapflights

What do you think?