South Pacific – Where Shall I Visit First?

On our website you will see some great information on each country’s main page to help you decide where you would like to visit. All of the South Pacific is so beautiful, it’s hard to choose where to go first….. Below is some information comparing the different regions so you can make sure you stay at the perfect place for you!

Fiji

It’s not every night you can go to sleep and wake up in Paradise! Fiji is well worth the 11 hour overnight flight from Los Angeles to Nadi, on the main island of Viti Levu. Fiji has 333 islands in total so has an amazing choice of accommodation types. Viti Levu is home to the larger hotels whereas if you travel to the outer islands the resorts are much smaller, more boutique type with bures (bungalows) right on the beach and one resort, Likuliku Lagoon, has overwater bungalows. A lot of hotels in Fiji are all-inclusive or offer meal plans and some include alcohol in the price too – there is also a wide range of both adults only and family resorts. The islands north of Viti Levu – Savusavu and Tavenui – can be reached by a short flight, as can Kadavu in the south, and the Mamanuca and Yasawa chains of islands, with their wonderful beaches, to the west can be reached by boat, seaplane or helicopter. Taveuni, known as the Garden Island because of its abundant tropical growth and beautifully weathered mountains is definitely
worth exploring on foot and under water. Fiji has a wide range of activities such as whitewater rafting, waterfalls, hiking and surfing, and is known to divers as “the soft coral capital of the world”. With an exchange rate of 2 Fijian Dollars to 1 US Dollars, Fiji offers great value for money too.

French Polynesia

French Polynesia has some of the most stunning ocean scenery in the world. Truly a beautiful location with aqua marine lagoons against fantastic mountain back-drops. Approximately 8 ½ hour flight from Los Angeles to Papeete and then short hops via ferry or plane to one of the Society Islands (Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea and Taha’a) or to The Tuamotu Islands or The Marquesas. French Polynesia has the biggest range of overwater bungalows in the South Pacific. The resorts are mostly 4 and 5 star larger, chain hotels which offer pre-purchased meal plans and of which virtually all allow families.

French Polynesia offers many exceptional and unique activities to partake in – shark and ray feeding in the lagoon, ATV biking around remote villages, arts and crafts lessons, horse-riding on the beach and hikes to dramatic waterfalls. Based on the Euro, French Polynesia is pretty expensive so be prepared for this with a decent budget for meals, beverages and excursions in addition to your package price.

Cook Islands

If you’ve ever fantasized about escaping to a remote desert island, far from the hustle and hum of the modern world, then look no further than these 15 fascinating islands, where you’ll find a thousand years of Polynesian culture sitting side by side with some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the South Pacific. The jewel in the crown is Rarotonga, a bewitching blend of craggy mountains, dense jungle and glorious bone-white beaches – but you really need to get out and explore some of the other islands as well. The hook-shaped atoll of Aitutaki, the second most visited by tourists, sits at the top of one of the world’s largest coral lagoons and ringed by smaller uninhabited islets around its outer edges. Then there’s the small, rocky island of ‘Atiu, with its limestone caves, coffee plantations and bush-beer drinking, as well as the makatea islands of Mau’ke, Mitiaro and Mangaia and the far-flung black pearl fields of Penrhyn and Manihiki. Rarotonga is approximately 9 hours direct flight from Los Angeles and can easily be combined with a visit to Tahiti, Australia and New Zealand. Many of the accommodations tend to be smaller, more intimate and boutique properties, most of which have kitchens so you have the option of eating at ‘home’ or going out for meals. Some unique and awesome activities in the Cook Islands are the Aitutaki Lagoon Cruise, the island of Atiu for a birder’s paradise, taking a jet boat ride in Rarotonga, fire dancing shows and driving the island on a scooter or small convertible car at your own pace. The Cook Islands currency is the New Zealand Dollar and as currently we receive about 1.35 to our $1 the Cooks are great value.

Samoa

Samoa is comprised of two relatively large islands, Upolu and Savaii (which can be reached by ferry from Upolu), and eight smaller islands. The flight will take you from Los Angeles to Fiji (approx.. 11 hours) and then from Fiji to Apia (approx. 3 more hours). Apia is the capital and situated on Upolu. The islands are volcanic and dominated by rugged mountain ranges with a fringe of coral reefs and lagoons which surround the islands. The accommodations on both Upolu and Savaii vary immensely from plain and simple beach Fales to 4 and 5 star deluxe accommodation. Samoa even has a resort (Coconuts Beach Club) with stunning overwater bungalows. Family means everything in Samoa and this is evident when you are with the locals. In Samoa there are many natural sights and activities from beautiful beaches, gorgeous swimming holes, blow holes and amazing sunsets. Samoa’s currency is based on their Tala and
1 Tala = approximately 40 cents. Samoa is pretty good value.

Tonga

Tonga is an archipelago south of Samoa comprising of 176 islands, 36 of them are inhabited. Like Samoa, Tonga can be reached by travelling to Fiji and then taking a short flight onwards to Tonga. A lot of people will visit all three countries – Fiji, Samoa & Tonga on one trip as it is expensive to get to anyone but relatively inexpensive to fly between them all. Tonga is very similar to Samoa in a lot of ways but one distinct difference is the hierarchy system in Tonga complete with a King. The accommodation in Tonga are basic to superior but deluxe accommodations are not available. Tonga is also famous for humpback whales. An experience not to be missed in August and September is a swim with these gentle giants. Tonga uses the Pa’anga and currently we get about 2 Pa’anga to our dollar. Tonga is reasonably priced.

Vanuatu

Vanuatu is a place that has it all! Luxury resorts, culture, active volcanoes, beautiful beaches, beautiful people and great SCUBA diving. Just a couple of hours from Fiji via plane to the capital of Port Vila on the main island of Efate, which is a city on the bay with both English and French history and numerous activities including zip-ling, botanical gardens, island visits etc. You can then take a short flight to Espiritu Santo for some amazing snorkelling at million dollar point or SCUNA the US President Coolidge ship wreck. Tanna Island and Ambryn are renowned for their amazing erupting volcanoes and cultural villages. With approx. 100 Vatu per USD Vanuatu works out to be pretty cheap.