With more than 20,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean, visiting them all and then picking a favourite is not really an achievable aim. With some of the most beautiful sights on the planet residing on the Pacific Islands, being daunted by the sheer breadth of the islands could lead to you missing some truly awe-inspiring experiences.
Incredibly, the Solomon Islands are one of the best kept secrets in the Pacific Ocean. With more than 3,300 miles of breath-taking coastline and unique, indigenous flora and fauna casting a vibrant light of life over the terrain, the 347 islands in the group are well worth the difficult trip for tourists. The Solomon Islands have proved to be particularly popular with divers, who travel from around the World to experience the beautiful waters.
Highlight: the Mataniko Falls moonlighted as a hideout for Japanese soldiers during WWII but now serves as a beautiful landmark comprising of a double-side water fall sweeping into a cave full of stalagmites.
The resurgence of New Caledonia from an area of extreme political strife to honeymoon paradise is remarkable. Capital city Noumea in particular is a welcoming tourism spot, welcoming visitors to its relaxing selection of restaurants, bars and activities. The French overseas territory has certainly adopted much of its mother country’s elegance.
Highlight: the Anse Vata beach in Noumea is a sprawling, stretching beach sure to satisfy divers, swimmers and sun-worshippers alike.
If you are looking for a real taste of Polynesia, then Tonga is your best option. Having never been under the rule of foreign ownership, Tonga has retained all of its cultural and historical charm. The capital city Nuku’alofa is renowned for its fantastic range of amenities, beaches and whale watching opportunities.
Highlight: divers can enjoy the spectacular underwater caves along the coast.
Stock photographs demonstrating the idyllic beauty of the South Pacific are often taken from the beautiful island of Samoa. The picture-perfect beaches defy belief even as you comb down them. With only one true metropolitan city on the island, it retains its unexplored charm. If there is anywhere in the World where you can escape the stresses of the office and everyday life, then it is Samoa.
Hightlight: take in one of the idyllic beaches under a traditional Samoan fale – a small wicker structure.
The party centre of the Pacific Islands, Tahiti’s capital city Papeete is rich with diverse culture and activities for people of all ages to engage in. Almost everything you could wish for on a tropical paradise is available here from delicious cocktails to a bustling market.
Highlight: Bain Loti is a naturally formed swimming hole popular with tourists and locals alike.
If your ideal holiday in the Pacific Islands includes no roughing it, then Guam is the perfect Island for you. The edges have been polished and the island’s tourist board has gone to great lengths to ensure that every whim of the visitor is taken care of. Tumon Bay is a bustling metropolitan of hotels, restaurants and pubs.
Hightlight: the Y’Pao party beach is where all the revellers end up.
What separates Fiji from many of the other islands in the Pacific is the accommodation of more thrifty travellers. The subtle gentrification of the country ensures that it retains a lot of its heritage and traditional charms whilst allowing tourist of all ages, the highlights of a Pacific Island holiday.
Highlight: thrill-seekers will enjoy the river rafting available on the island.
Perhaps the top diving destination outside of the Great Barrier Reef, Palau in the Micronesia is made up of hundreds of limestone formations. The Rock Islands resemble emerald shapes floating in a beautiful royal blue sea.
Highlight: the nearby Chuuk Islands contain a famous lagoon which is full of WWII shipwrecks and crashed fighter planes.
For the more adventurous amongst you, Vanuatu or ‘the land that time forgot’ may be the perfect destination due to its uncorrupted nature. The locals on this island still retain all of their traditional village customs and living standards. Vanuatu is the only place in the World that contains an underwater post office.
Highlight: the bright blue hot springs found in the heart of the jungle are the perfect mix of luxury and exploration.
Papua New Guinea
Although most commonly associated with tribal cannibalism, the tourism trade in Papua New Guinea provides stunning views and incredible cultural experiences. With more than 800 indigenous languages split amongst the 600 islands, there are endless customs to enjoy.
Highlight: explore the historical significance of the islands including the discovery of human remains, 50,000 years in age.
Mike Kindon is a Director at Cruise1st.sg.