If you’re really looking for a true escape to an island nearly untouched by humans, look no further than Mindoro, just a few hours from the capital city of Manila in the Philippines. The mango-shaped island has idyllic beaches, but it’s the rest of its geographic features that really set it apart from other remote islands.
Mindoro has rivers, lakes, mountains, and the nearby Apo Reef, one of the best diving spots in the Philippines. It’s the largest reef system in the Philippines, a protected natural park spanning 106 square miles, and a center of marine biodiversity.
If diving’s not your thing, there are plenty of hiking opportunities around Mindoro as well. Mount Halcon is the highest peak on the island, at 8,400 feet above sea level. Trekking to the summit would involve a multi-day camping expedition, though many choose to hike around the mountain instead. This will allow you to see the area’s rich wildlife, including several species of local and migratory birds.
If you’d rather leave the diving and hiking to the more ambitious, and simply relax on the beach, you’ll find a number of hotels and restaurants along the White Beach strip in Puerto Galera. Some resorts even have their own built-in islands and coves.
Since June to December is monsoon season, you might want to visit between January and March instead. Weather is probably best during the April and May holiday season, though this is also when the island becomes the most crowded.