Mystery Island, Vanuatu

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Offering an alluring blend of nature and tranquility, the small island of Anatom (aka Aneityum) is one of the South Pacific's lesser-known but dependable tropical hotspots. The southernmost island of Vanuatu, its diminutive size (159 square kilometers, or 61 square miles) and lack of modern amenities—there's no Internet nor even running water or electricity—lends the place something of a Robinson Crusoe-esque atmosphere. Although it's possible to walk around the entire island in less than an hour, there is much to explore in a day trip. As well as taking advantage of the many soft, sandy beaches and the sparkling azure waters and coral reefs, it's possible to hike the many trails that crisscross the island's sandalwood-studded and mountainous interior. In addition, you can visit the village of Anelghowhat (or Anelcauhat) on the south side of the island, which has discarded whaling-industry equipment, former irrigation channels and the ruins of missionary John Geddie's church. It's also possible to visit picturesque Port Patrick, climb to the top of the extinct volcano Inrerow Atahein, or Inrerow Atamein (853 meters, or 2,800 feet), and admire various waterfalls dotted around the island, such as the impressive Inwan Leleghei. Off the shore of Anatom is the unpopulated Mystery Island, where cruise ship tenders moor and passengers get to spend some quality beach time on a deserted island paradise. Islanders from Anatom paddle out to meet the visitors and set up temporary shops near the dock, where they grill fish and sell a few snacks and souvenirs.

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