Top Island Transport Picks
By Marie Javins, GoNOMAD TRANSPORTS GUIDE
Obviously, the way to get to an island is by plane, ferry, or cruise ship. Take a water taxi if the island is close to the mainland. But where there are mainland goods, there are other ways to get to your vacation paradise. Those cans of Coca-Cola and baked beans probably didn't come on the Pacific Princess, so look around and see what alternate routes are available.
Sample the South Seas on the Aranui, an interisland trading ship that provides essential goods and services, as well as passage for islanders, on its 13 yearly runs throughout French Polynesia. Based in Tahiti, the 16-day voyage cruises through the Marquesas and Tuamotu chains. aranui.com
Easter Island is reputedly second solely to Antarctica in isolation, and only LanChile flies there, on an expensive stopover en route to Tahiti. Likewise, it's pricey to fly with exclusive agents TAME or SAN to the Galapagos Islands. But if you want to go to either island by sea, you can hunt around for one of the rumored military sailings, or crew to both on a single voyage with the tallship Soren Larsen. sorenlarsen.co.nz
Be one of the few tourists to visit the British dependent territory
of St. Helena, a 47-square-mile island in the middle of the South
Atlantic. Napoleon spent his last years of life in exile here, unhappy
with all save the local coffee.
The only way to St. Helena is by the
occasional cruise ship or by the RMS St. Helena, a British mailboat
plying the Cardiff to Cape Town route. Passengers are required to spend
a week on St. Helena while the ship makes a side voyage to nearby Ascension
Island. Its not as bad as Napolean made it out to be. rms-st-helena.com
The Greek Islands are famous for cruising, but big ships can
be hard on the wallet. Forge your own itinerary, using public ferries
that go to Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, Cyprus, and loads of smaller islands. ferries.gr.
Or if you want a cruise, but not a crowd, travel on a 10-cabin traditional
wooden caique. Bookings are available from travel agents in Greece and
from Adventure Center in the U.S. adventurecenter.com
When you've seen enough animals on safari in East Africa, catch a boat
to Zanzibar, the Middle East-like "spice island" off the
coast of Tanzania. You might manage to catch a dhow, a boat made
of local wood--but it's safer and easier to take a catamaran.
will approach you, but all ferries now charge the same fee, so ignore
them and go straight to the ticket agent at the port. Tickets $35. Boats
run frequently and the trip takes about an hour and a half. . Catamarans
and speedboats also make the trip. allabout zanzibar.com
Putter around Belize's budget traveler's paradise, Caye
Caulker, in a golf cart. This 5-by- 1/2 mile island has fewer than
ten cars, so the locals zip around in electric golf carts. Tourists
can rent their own golf cart, for around $5 an hour. gocayecaulker.com
When it comes to Americans illegally traveling to Cuba, all
transportation is alternative. If you're a U.S. citizen who has chosen
to fly to Havana, you can go from Mexico City on Mexicana aerocaribe.com and Cubana flies from Toronto and Montreal. Not all islands are tropical paradises.
Take an off-season trip to
scenic Iceland for as little as $299 roundtrip on Icelandair.
Off-season includes March, which is chilly but pleasant weather for
geyser-viewing. Icelandair has great winter specials on travel to other
non-tropical northern islands, like the UK. icelandair.com