Cactuar Island is an island in Final Fantasy VIII located south of Esthar and just east of the Kashkabald Desert. It can be accessed by the Ragnarok, and is located off the south-eastern shore of the Kashkabald Desert. Cactuar Island is similar to Cactus Island in Final Fantasy VII as an optional location where cactuars appear.
The only enemies fought on the island are Cactuars and the elusive Jumbo Cactuar. Cactuars yield a lot of AP and have only little HP, making the island a good place to get AP fast. Cactuars offer little EXP, making this is a good area for low-level players. However, the Cactuars have very high Evasion, and will flee from battles. They are weak to Water, and thus summoning Leviathan against them can be good, if the summon can be executed faster than the Cactuar can flee. Squall's weapons and Selphie's ultimate weapon have perfect hit rate, and thus the player could junction high Strength and Water spells to their attacks. Limit Breaks also always hit, and thus a critical health party member could be coupled with Initiative; Quistis's Aqua Breath could be good, as the Cactuars cannot be degenerated.
Due to imprecise zoning, walking across the Kashkabald Desert and staying at the edge of the land is counted as being on Cactuar Island; this allows for continuous Cactuar encounters when a mobile Balamb Garden is available, rather than when the player acquires an airship as was intended. However, it's not possible to encounter the Jumbo Cactuar this way.
The Jumbo Cactuar is not a random encounter, but appears and disappears from sight on the world map. To initiate the fight the player must walk up to it before it vanishes again. Defeating Jumbo Cactuar nets the Cactuar Guardian Force.