Hollywood scouts were on to something when they skipped over Mykonos and chose a secret island in Greece as the location for Mamma Mia
. The movie was a $600-million hit, in part because it fueled peoples' fantasies of escaping to a secluded island (and yes, those catchy ABBA tunes didn't hurt).
Surprisingly, that picture-perfect movie location, Skopelos, has stayed under the radar. There are still gems like Skopelos hidden all around the globe, if you know where to look.
Our friends at Travel +Leisure have done the requisite digging to find places you can truly unwind, from the rugged Chilean spot that inspired the novel Robinson Crusoe
to a tiny island in the Caribbean that was virtually deserted for decades until a luxe resort opened in 2010.
Similar high-end resorts have been popping up across Southeast Asia, where many islands are vying to be the next Phuket. So those looking to get far off the grid head to Con Dao, an archipelago 110 miles off Vietnam's southeastern coast. Sheer granite cliffs border deserted beaches, and a private guide can lead visitors by motorbike to remote spots like the spectacular Dam Tre Bay lagoon.
Travelers looking to commune with nature can also find solitude on Nicaragua's acre-wide Jicaro Island on freshwater Lake Nicaragua. The nine casitas at Jicaro Island Ecolodge were built from storm-felled trees, and all the food is locally sourced; you can sip a passion-fruit-banana cocktail as you sit by the infinity pool.
No matter the daydream, check out their picks for the secret islands of the world.
Text and photos courtesy of our friends at Travel + Leisure.
There’s nary a traffic light on this laid-back island—a five-mile strip of land that’s a 15-minute flight from Belize’s main airport. Head to Shark Ray Alley to snorkel among nurse sharks and stingrays or go scuba diving at the underwater caves of Blue Hole.
Above ground, try the curried lobster at the roadside Jolly Roger’s Grill (Ave. Hicaco; 011-501/664-3382; dinner for two $25). On the eastern side of the Caye, Seaside Cabanas (501/226-0498;doubles from $105) has 10 rooms and six colorful cabins, each with its own roof terrace for taking in those amazing Caribbean views.
T+L Tip: Visit during the annual Lobster Festival (July 1–3), when the main road turns into a street party.