Welcome to another edition of Travelstart’s FAQ Fridays with me, Nick Paul.
Today we are going to be talking about visa free island destinations that are a little bit alternative to the usual stuff that people go for. We get asked a lot about visa free destinations and beach holidays so this one made sense. We are not going to be looking at places like Mauritius, Zanzibar or the Maldives. We are going to be looking at places which are a bit different, to give you some new out of the box ideas.
First up is Reunion, which is Mauritius’ sister island. It is about 200km from Mauritius and is very different from this very popular South African holiday destination. Mauritius is all about white sandy beaches and chilling at resorts, where as Reunion is much more for the active traveller who wants to go on hikes and see dramatic scenery. It has its own active volcano and has tropical beaches. The island has recently gone visa free which is a big deal as it is actually part of France.
There are direct flights from Johannesburg which makes it really easy to get to. If you want to book a flight you can do so by clicking here, or if you would like to ask our agents more about this destination please click here.
Secondly we have something on the other side of the world; the Bahamas. A lot of the Caribbean is visa free for South Africans (Including the Bahamas). The only catch here is that if you are travelling via the UK or the USA you will need a visa for these transits countries. Keep this in mind when you are booking your flights.
What’s great about the Bahamas: It’s all about the white sandy beaches, blue water, chilling out, snorkeling and seeing some amazing under water life.
To get there one can fly into Nassau and again you would most likely have to fly via Miami or London. Keep this in mind as you will need transit visas.
3. Ilha Grande
Ilha Grande is only 100km from Rio. It is relatively untouched compared to Rio which is obviously a bustling metropolis. From Rio it does not take long to get to Ilha Grande. You catch a bus from Rio to Angra dos Reis or Mangaratiba. From these places you can catch a ferry to Ilha Grande. The island itself is fantastic as it has no roads, a lot of your commuting is done by boat and activities such as hiking and snorkeling are fantastic here.
The closest airport to Ilha Grande is Rio de Janeiro which you can fly to from JNB to Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo to Rio.
4. The Philippines
The Philippines consist of 100s of small islands. It’s a lot like Thailand in some ways, just minus the massive throngs of tourists.
Some of the great places that I would recommend visiting are Boracay and Coron Island.
Borocay is famous for it’s white sandy beaches and Coron is best known for its breathtaking lagoons.
If you want to book a flight you can do so by clicking here (please note that you will need to book further internal flights/ferries from Manilla to Boracay and Coron. You can use low cost airlines such as Cebu Pacific and SkyJet) or if you would like to ask our agents more about this destination please click here.
5. Galápagos Islands
Probably the most unusual of this list, the Galápagos Islands are part of Ecuador in South America.
One wouldn’t visit the Galápagos Islands to chill on the beach… It’s all about the nature and all about scientific discovery. What I would suggest is going with a tour which takes you by boat between islands. Tours in this area are not cheap, you are looking in the region of R30 000 and R40 000. It is therefore something that you will need to plan in advance for but it is well worth the trip.
So there you have it, 5 unusual visa free island destinations for South Africans. If you have any travel related questions please ask them in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel by clicking here.