What Is Your Ultimate Island Paradise?

Tuesday Nov 10 | BY |
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Fred in Kauai

Hiking on the North Shore of Kauai

On Monday I wrote about my fantasy of moving to an island paradise. Although I never quite realized it, I ended up spending a lot of time in these places due to the fascination I have for them.

A lot of people wrote to me, telling me about which place they like best in the world.

So I thought of writing to you today to ask my readers what is YOUR ultimate island paradise.

Have you ever found a place that is so perfect that you felt you had discovered something unique, something special, something you hoped wouldn’t be overrun by tourists in the future?

Let’s dream a little bit together…

The grass is always greener on the other side, and often the best place to be is right where you are. But having a dream is also what keeps us alive. And a dream can be just a place, that you’d like to visit, move to or retire in.

This dream can keep you alive. It can be a way to motivate you to go through tough moments in life. You can have your own secret island.

So let me tell you my criteria for the ultimate island paradise. And then I’ll give you my own top choices, and let you chime in.

Fred’s Criteria for the Ultimate Island Paradise

1) It has to be an island. Maybe because I grew up in a place (Canada) with lots of open places that I’ve always been curious about islands. To me, they are attractive as self-contained worlds of their own. There’s magic in going to an island. Considering the fact that it took thousands of years for humanity to colonize most habitable islands in the oceans of the world, and that many have perished trying to find them, I know I’m not alone in my fascination with islands. So an island it has to be, and if a bridge connects it to mainland, then it’s out.

2) It has to have a pleasant climate. I won’t say the word “tropical” necessarily, but let’s just say that it would be a place you wouldn’t want to leave because of the weather. Rain is okay.

3) There should be healthy foods to eat. Can you go there and not have to live on canned foods and coconuts for months on end? There has to be an abundance of healthy foods like tropical fruits.

4) Not overrun by tourists. You should be able to find your own, perfect place to meditate, away from the hustle bustle of resorts.

5) It should be beautiful.

6) There should be beautiful stuff to see under the sea. Half of the attraction of an island is what’s underwater — a world of its own. If there’s a lagoon or an area in the sea protected by a reef, then the place gets bonus points.

7) Friendly locals are definitely a bonus.

8) Smaller islands have my preferences.

My Choices

Ok, I can’t claim to have been to all of the beautiful islands of the world — not even close. But I’ve been to a few. It’s very difficult to pick one as the perfect one — maybe as a proof that all sorts of compromises are necessary in life… it’s rare to find a place that has it all. But it’s worth a try.

IMG_4002The atoll of Fakarava
is definitely the most beautiful island I’ve seen in my life. It definitely gets an A+ grade on all counts, except for one: the food situation. Like all atolls, not much food grows there. You’ll find coconuts, breadfruit, and fish. Almost everything else has to be imported. The locals live on a lot of pasta with tunafish or canned sauces, baguette, rice and fish. If you want to live on a vegan diet, you have to get creative. If you want to be a raw foodist, you can pretty much forget it.

Then, the Greek islands are another sort of paradise. Not much to see underwater, but they’re definitely one of the loveliest places I’ve seen. People who travel a lot there have told me that some of the smaller islands are untouched by mass tourism and are definitely worth a visit. I haven’t been to these more remote islands, but the popular Santorini made an impression on me that will stay for the rest of my life. The only caveat: If you’re thinking of moving there, keep in mind that everything shuts down by November for the winter.

Kauai and Maui are both incredibly beautiful. The North Shore of Kauai is definitely one of the prettiest places that I’ve seen in my life. Maui is still a paradise, although a popular one. The two islands get A+ by my creteria, except of course that they are very popular. So Kauai gets the edge here, although many tourists still get. You can still find your own private beach if you’re adventurous enough and are willing to hike.

Finally, I would maybe vote for the island of Huahine in French Polynesia or Rarotonga in the Cook Islands as a place that has it all: remote, incredibly beautiful, with possibilities to live there for a while living on fruit and love.

What about you? Any secret paradise you care to reveal to us?

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.


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  1. Romy says:

    MAUI I would say
    but living in FL, is more affordable and has island type surroundings.

  2. Vieques & Culebra… Puerto Rico. An excellent balance of natural beauty… plus, just enough development. The rustic beaches of both these islands are never crowded. they are beautiful. Some of the best on the planet. The e-coli measurement on the South Shore Beaches is 4 parts per million. (The CDC allows 440 parts per million.) And you can very often have them to yourself. Excellent dining options. It’s possible to go Vegan or Raw Vegan here. A few locals grow local, organic greens & sprouts. Papayas, coconuts, mangos, bananas, starfruit, Guyanbana, Limones, avocado etc grow here in abundance. 10,000 residents on an Island that’s 2x the size of Manhattan.

  3. Deane Alban says:

    I wish that everyone finds their own perfect place like I found mine. My idea of paradise? I’m glad you asked! Yesterday I happened to attend a free public art tour in my town and fell in love with it all over again — Oro Valley, AZ. We have 350 days of sunshine, spectacular mountain views, over 60 miles of paved multi-use trails, little traffic and very reasonable cost of living. And if you are an art lover you’ll find much to love here. All commercial developments are required to have public art such as sculptures, mosaics, meditation gardens, stained glass, etc. making this a truly magical place. It’s a regular “Florence of the desert southwest”!

  4. suzanne says:

    N. Shore of Kauai was my favorite until I read recently that big name chemical companies are doing what they always do and its effecting the locals with serious medical problems.

    San Juan Islands, WA just NW of Seattle real close to Vancouver Island are quite idyllic and in the sunbelt.

  5. Patti says:

    I notice you didn’t list Costa Rica as a tropical paradise, even though it isn’t an island. How would that fit on your list? The only tropical paradise I have ever been to is Hawaii, Oahu, and I think there are too many tourists for your taste. However, being the only tropical place I’ve been, I still love it. I have heard Samoa is beautiful, and Bali…anyone been there?

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