Any travel destination has its own unique charm to me so that wherever I go, I easily fall in love with anything I see. A bustling city, the remote and idyllic countryside, green and lush mountains, or a deserted beach far away from any sign of civilization. All these places are so different and yet, in their own uniqueness, they manage to touch my heart and make me feel like I’m one of the luckiest people on earth, just for being able to travel there. But despite my tendency to love every single place I visit, there is nothing that I love more than the pristine beauty of small islands. If I think of my favorite destinations so far, places like Guam and Okinawa definitely come out on top!
The calming sound of the waves, the refreshing salty air, the stunning sunsets, the peaceful and deserted beaches, snorkeling and sunbathing. You might be wondering how this differs from any other seaside destination not necessarily located on an island. That’s correct, it might not differ that much in some cases but to me, the idea of being on a small piece of land right in the middle of the ocean, surrounded only by miles and miles of water is kind of magical. Just by thinking about this, I immediately feel chill and relaxed.
One of the most paradisiac and idyllic places I had the chance to go to is Zamami island.
Located about 50 minutes by ferry off the coast of Okinawa’s main island, Zamami-jima is the second largest of the Kerama islands. A paradise for swimmers, snorkelers, and divers, Zamami is famous for its beautiful white sand beaches, its crystal clear waters, the lush green of its hills but, above all, for the great variety of its underwater wildlife.
Swim with sea turtles!
Sea turtles spawn on the beaches of Zamami between May and August each year. An encounter with these magnificent creatures is, therefore, not uncommon at all! I was peacefully swimming close to the shore when I spotted two, including a cute baby sea turtle, swimming not far from where I was. Too bad I didn’t have a waterproof camera at that time and couldn’t take a photo of this magical encounter.
Enjoy the allure of the coral reef!
The area is also home to over 400 species of coral reef. Admiring the beauty of the reef and of the sea creatures that live in it is pretty easy. It doesn’t matter if you’re just a first-time snorkeler! There are plenty of opportunities for beginners to enjoy the marine life!
From January to March there are even whale watching boat tours.
Best spots on the island!
Only 20 minutes walk from Zamami village, this pristine beach allows you to combine the beauty of an unspoiled natural paradise, with the entertainment of several aquatic sports.
Just like Furuzamami, Ama beach is located only 20 minutes walk from Zamami Port. There’s a shuttle bus service that goes there, but I highly recommend taking a walk since you can enjoy the beautiful landscape along the way.
This was my favorite beach on the island. Why? Because this is where I had my magical encounter with two cute sea turtles! As a matter of fact, Ama beach is the best place to see one of these lovely sea creatures.
From this beautiful sandy beach, you can also enjoy one of the most stunning sunsets on the island (see cover photo)!
Gahi and Agenashiku uninhabited islands
These two sandy islands lie right in front of Zamami port and can be accessed only by water taxi. Diving is prohibited here, but you can snorkel around and enjoy the beautiful coral reef.
There is no facility on the islands so remember to bring some water if you want to spend time there (you may need it under the strong sun rays!). And of course, don’t forget to bring your own trash home.
A number of observatories are scattered around the island. I didn’t have time to explore any of them during my trip since I focused mainly on marine activities, but it seems that you can enjoy stunning views from up there.
The main village on the island counts up to 600 residents. This is the main area where all the guesthouses, cafes and restaurants are located. Walking around the alleys of this tiny village, you can definitely feel the slow pace of life and peacefulness that make this place so special.
Look up in the sky and enjoy the view of the milky way!
At night there are almost no lights on the island. Even Zamami village is barely illuminated when the sun goes down. The main street is left in the dark too.
I was taking a walk around the village one night and, when I reached the port, I realized there was no light at all. So I set down somewhere and when I turned my face up, to my surprise, I could see thousands of shining stars. I had never had the chance to enjoy such an amazing spectacle before in my life! Everywhere I went, there has always been some light disturbing the view! I immediately realized what I was looking at, the beautiful milky way. So I sat there enjoying this scene, wishing that moment could go on forever.
If you’re looking for a place to revive your energy, Zamami island is the right place for you, especially if you’re based in Japan and need a break from the stressful city life. I’m sure if you have the chance to visit this tropical paradise, you’ll definitely understand why it made it to the top of my favorite places to visit!