06/20/2012 08:12 am ET

Socotra: Yemen's Lost, Enchanted Island (PHOTOS)

Bored with the Caribbean, the South Pacific, and all those famous islands that everyone has already been to? Tired of tourists, hotels, and cruise ships? Well, think Socotra Island, maybe the world’s most abnormal getaway. It lies about 250 miles off the southern coast of Yemen, but don’t let that bother you—it is actually much closer to Somalia, the pirate haven, only 50 miles away. Officially it’s part of Yemen, but not the war-torn, al-Qaeda-strewn, drone-attack part. This is the peaceful, exotic, beautiful, unvisited, enchanting part. One of the most remote places on Earth, Socotra is a lost world, with animal and plant life found nowhere else, plus spotless beaches, dramatic landscapes, frequently forbidding weather, and a local language that has no written script. It’s been called “the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean.” I went this April with a group of five fellow travelers. We were the only tourists in a paradise the size of Long Island.