In colonial times, the islands of Con Dao were much feared, as a notorious French prison was located on Con Son, the largest island of this remote southern archipelago. Many of Vietnam's most famous freedom fighters served time on this lonely, windswept island, which lies 185 km south east of the port city of Vung Tau. Today, the archipelago's residents survive by fishing, diving for pearls, collecting swallows' nests, and farming. Visitors will find starkly beautiful cliffs, long, untouched beaches, and patches of thick, old-growth forest. Sea turtles lay their eggs on the islands' remote beaches, while dolphins live offshore. With little in the way of development, Con Dao offers the perfect escape from modern life.