Don't you think flamingos are some of the very most gorgeous island creatures? I just learned that this stunningly beautiful bird's name comes from the Spanish or Portuguese word flamengo, meaning "with the color of flame." How could you not love a bird with a name like that? Or with such improbably long (but nonetheless practical) legs? (Flamingos in the botanical garden, Guadeloupe. Photo by Zickie Allgrove.) On an island getaway last summer to Guadeloupe, we Island Runaway
If you love to snorkeling the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, or other Caribbean destinations, you've probably already made the acquaintance of today's featured guest. These fish are in fact some of the most common on the tropical reef, and they're easy to identify once you learn their name and understand how their name is tied to their appearance. Since I think it makes any tropical island getaway more fun to (a) explore under the sea by snorkeling and (b) know what you're seeing
Does anything say "tropical beach" or "island runaway" more than coconut palm trees? With their slim, graceful grey trunks and languid palm fronds, these beautiful specimens of nature grace islands from Tahiti to Martinique. But did you know that the palms don't actually produce a nut, but a "drupe"? (Other drupes, or stone fruits, include mangos and olives.) The palm trees themselves can grow up to 98 feet tall! (One attraction of any tropical beach. Photo by Laura Albritton
One regret from my brief island getaway to the island country of Trinidad in the Caribbean? That I did not go birding. Yes, you heard me correctly. "Birding." Once upon a time, I thought bird watching sounded sort of silly and dull, but that was before I knew about gorgeous creatures such as the scarlet ibis. The photographs of these stunning animals have utterly captured my imagination: (The scarlet ibis in flight. Photo by Dominic Sherony, Flickr.) While Trinidad is beloved
Are you a fan of pelicans? Have you ever witnessed a squadron of these wonderful waterbirds soar across the ocean in the later afternoon? Maybe sailing past a dock on a tropical island getaway in Florida's Key Largo, or even New Zealand or the Seychelle islands? (A pelican about to land, Key Largo. Photo by Island Runaways/Z.A.) Something about their big bills and pouches brings a smile to my face. In the air they can appear as graceful as ballet dancers, while on land, somet
If you spend a lot of time in the islands, eventually you notice the birds. From parrots to pelicans, the bird life can be just enchanting. Years ago, I thought bird watching was about as entertaining as taking a nap, but time, travel, and exposure to the incredible avian variety in the tropics has taught me to pay closer attention. Not long ago in Islamorada in the Florida Keys, Zickie and I spotted this handsome fellow: (A handsome guy. Photo by Zickie Allgrove.) My first q
One gorgeous example of island nature you'll most likely encounter on tropical island getaways? The beautiful bougainvillea. While bougainvillea certainly grows off-island, somehow it just becomes unforgettable in the midst of an island paradise, like Jamaica or Grenada. Let's say you're wandering through the streets of a small Caribbean town and stumble across this: (Bougainvillea in Marigot, capital of St. Martin. Photo by Zickie Allgrove.) The colors appear so vivid that t
Tropical islands, from the Caribbean to Tahiti, burst with gorgeous natural beauty, especially when it comes to flowers. Bougainvillea, yellow allamanda, red hibiscus, and a slew of other graceful blossoms decorate island landscapes and make us stop and appreciate just how miraculous nature is. A perennial favorite with the Island Runaways duo? That would be orchids. (Phalaenopsis orchid in bloom. Photo (c) Zickie Allgrove.) Yes, orchids bloom on the mainland, too. But there'
The Island Runaways began 2015 with a mission: learn to identify and appreciate more of the creatures which live on the tropical reefs that ring many of the world's most beautiful islands. Snorkeling or scuba diving is one of the best ways to discover the natural beauty of isles like Bonaire, Grenada, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and it makes the experience more intriguing to know exactly what you're seeing. So far, we've covered the parrotfish, sea horses, starfish, queen co
Whether you're diving in the Caribbean, or bravely setting out on an underwater polar expedition, island travelers have a very good chance of spotting a starfish. The starfish or "sea star" has always been one of my favorites sea creatures. Not long ago in Guadeloupe Zickie and I came across huge orange starfish, larger than his hand. We picked them up, inspected them closely, then set them back gently on the sandy ocean floor. They are marvels of nature. (The starry five-arm
Run away to the islands...
Articles & photographic inspo for your own island travel. From the Florida Keys to the Caribbean.