When you think of islands, wide, pristine beaches and uninhabited jungles typically come to mind. These 5 lesser-known islands probably use to be like that once – but today, they have developed into entire towns. Islanders often have problems due to congestion in these settlements, and tourists from time to time come to enjoy the special charm of crowded islands…
1. Mexcaltitan, Mexico
Mexcaltitán is a small island city off the Pacific coast of Mexico. The town sits low in the marshy, mangrove-lined channels that surround it, and during the June to October rainy season, water floods the streets and everyone rows from place to place in boats.
Some experts believe that Mexcaltitán may actually be the legendary Aztlán, the ancestral homeland of the Aztec people. Today it’s foremost a shrimping town, with shrimps spread out to dry on any available surface throughout the town.
2. Ebeye Island, Marshall Islands
Ebeye is the most populous island of Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, as well as the center for Marshallese culture in the Ralik Chain of the archipelago. Over 50% of the population is estimated to be under the age of 18. It is the fifth most densely populated island in the world.
When the United States decided to test nuclear weapons in the South Pacific, they chose to do so amongst the atolls of the Marshall Islands. U.S. officials uprooted many residents from Bikini Atoll and Enewetak Atoll to insure that the testing did not directly harm human life. The relocated Marshallese had to move somewhere, and most moved to Ebeye under the assistance of the United States. This forced relocation caused a huge mess, including a severe housing shortage and land owner legality issues that persist today. The combination of factors created an environment of hostility and squalor, creating the slum of the South Pacific.
3. Flores, Guatemala
The Island of Flores is located on Lake Peten Itza in Guatemala. It was formerly called Tayasal. The Island is named after Cirilo Flores, one of the first Guatemaltecos to call for independence from the Colonial powers.
On the island is located homonymous town – Flores. This town is quiet small island town, but it is hosting lots of restaurants, hotels, guesthouses, handicraft and souvenir stores, Internet caffee’s, etc. Island is connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway. The causeway connects Flores to the two surrounding towns which are home to most of the area’s population. The two neighboring towns are Santa Elena and San Benito both of which sit along the shores of Lake Peten Itza and service Flores.
4. Santa Cruz del Islote, Colombia
The most densely populated island in the world is Santa Cruz del Islote, a microslum off the coast of Colombia. This tropical island is located in the emerald waters of the idyllic Caribbean, though is packed so tight that most activities are done off island.
The residents have to use neighboring islands as cemetery, recreation grounds, and the residents work on the mainland instead of on the island. Students from the island attend school on neighboring mainland. The Mucura Island Hotels are a prime source of work for the residents.
5. Migingo Island, Kenya
Migingo is a tiny 2,000-square-metre (half-acre) island, about half the size of a football pitch in Lake Victoria. A rocky and rugged piece of land with little vegetation, Migingo is one of three small islands in close proximity.
In 2008–09 the island itself was claimed by both Kenya and Uganda. July 2009 a survey team found that the island is 510 metres (1,670 ft) east of the Kenya-Uganda border within the lake. The island has a population of about 130 (according to 2009 census), mostly fishermen and fish traders, who are served by four pubs and a pharmacy on the island.