DREAM of an island ESCAPE? There’s an option for EVERY budget.
if you want to take an island holiday, there are plenty of options to choose from, whatever your budget
BEST FOR… LUXURY Unlike many private islands in the Maldives, Velaa is owned by only one person: Jiri Smejc, a business man and frequent flier. Velaa is named after the sea turtles that inhabit the island, which has been designed to look like the marine creatures from above. The over-water villas seek to offer high-end luxury with the ocean as a centrepiece. Located in the Noonu Atoll, 187km north of Malé, the retreat is built using local materials. velaaprivateisland.com FOR… SECLUSION After purchasing Isla Simca, its new owner, Jean Pigozzi, was so determined to keep it secluded that he also purchased 4046 hectares of the Panamanian coastline closest to it. It is all now a playground for guests, offering mangroves for kayaking, scubadiving and jet-skiing, plus 64km of mountain tracks. Situated at the island’s summit, 300 metres above the sea, four houses can sleep up to 30 guests. There’s also a private cinema. avenueproperty.com BEST FOR… BACKPACKING Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun), a Bolivian island in Lake Titicaca, is a favourite with backpackers travelling across South America. A boat from the mainland town of Copacabana will drop you at the north end of the car-free island and, from there, it’s a tough day’s hike to the south end for the boat trip home. Accommodation is basic (but cheap!) and hard to book in advance, but the casa owners are welcoming. In the off-season, you could easily be the only tourist there. BEST FOR… COST-CUTTING You can stay on a private island for free thanks to the start-up Workaway.info, which matches hosts with holidaymakers who are willing to exchange skills or manual labour for accommodation. The owners of a 263-hectare private island in Lambay, Ireland, are currently looking for someone who can help in their home, babysit and do a spot of gardening. There are also islands that are listed in Croatia, Greece, Sicily and New Zealand, in exchange for labour such as nannying, cleaning and maintenance. workaway.info BEST FOR… PHOTOGRAPHY Off New Zealand’s North Island, north of Wellington, is Kapiti Island, a wildlife sanctuary. A permit that can be booked via approved tourism providers is required to visit the island, which is home to rare bird species, including the white-faced heron and little spotted kiwi. Visitors can book overnight stays – including glamping – through Kapiti Island Nature Tours, the only commercial operation on the island. kapitiislandnaturetours.co.nz