A relatively unknown series of islands located in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa, Comoros is considered to be the sixth smallest African nation in terms of population, and is currently considered to be an independent republic, although in the past it was administrated by France. Officially made up of four islands—Grande Comore, Moheli, Anjouan, and Mayotte in French, or as they are known by their African names Ngazidja, Mwali, Nzwani, and Mahore—this archipelago is a diverse little nation built up over the years by a variety of civilizations from the French, the Comorian, and the Arabs.
As an island nation, Comoros is the perfect little place to simply drop off the face of the planet for a while. Best suited to veteran travelers, Comoros can be a bit tricky to navigate for first-timers given the diversity between the islands. Ajnouan is the perfect little paradise, called the pearl of the Comoros by natives, and is the epitome of a tropical paradise. The scent of cloves and endless rows of palm trees interspersed with Arabic plantation ruins take you back to simpler times, while the national park of Moheli can provide nature lovers with the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with Island life, and the water is full of sea turtles, dolphins, and other fabulous wildlife.
Grande Comore itself is the largest and most economically developed of the islands, with the western portion of the island reasonably developed, and the eastern featuring native thatched dwellings and far-from-developed civilization. Mayotte, on the other hand, with its definitive French connections, is still overseen by French law, and the island is packed with Western tourists, largely in part to the sandy white beaches, the amazingly turquoise seas, and the exceptional diving and snorkeling opportunities.
While not necessarily on the beaten path, the Comoros Islands offer a unique glimpse into tropical lifestyles that differs greatly from the typical Caribbean experience most travelers are likely to experience.