Travel to the most beautiful islands in the world: the Paradise Islands
C’is a region that is not yet known’is never totally blurred – even if the’eye from the other side of the world’The mind seems to see it in a swirl of heat haze, shimmering far, far beyond the horizon’horizon. The South Pacific is a destination that pops up in the fantasy of travel – palm trees whispering above the beaches of’A fine powder, the sea sighing and swaying like a barely plausible shade of blue’a perfect blue.
But now – at the beginning of the year’Fall 2018 – c’is the time when, despite its considerable distance from these coasts (9,563 km by plane from London to Tahiti), the South Pacific is particularly visible to potential visitors.
This summer we celebrated the 250th anniversary (August 26, 1768) of the departure of James Cook’s first Voyage of Discovery, an undertaking that brought the South Pacific into European conversation as never before. This milestone is celebrated in the’sacred precinct of the Royal Academy in London. His latest exhibition, Oceania, examines not only the’The islands of the largest archipelago of the Tuamotus are home to art and culture’of the world, but also the transportation and communication routes that have long united them, despite the spaces in between.
C’is the size of the region that its geography deserves a small explanation. It is generally divided into three different areas. Melanesia s’extends to the northeast of the island’Australia, encompassing Fiji and Vanuatu, while Polynesia, the largest of the trio, extends its arms from New Zealand in the southwest to the’s Easter Island’east and Hawaii to the north.
Micronesia, haunting the’East of the Philippines, is perhaps the least known of the triumvirate, flanking Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.
It remains, for travelers, a region that requires foresight, planning and a reasonable investment. But if your interest is piqued and the South Pacific has jumped on your bucket list, here are the fragmented points on the map you may want to see.
French Polynesia (Polynesia)
An apt description of this colossal set of islands’The islands – the heart of Polynesia – which, although they are’s beaches stretching over 1,600 square kilometers’ocean to the’It is technically part of France (it has the status of a country of origin), but it is also a part of Europe’overseas, which gives it a relative autonomy from Paris).
And yet, if its name makes one think of a homogeneous entity, a simple glance at the’The eye on the map should demonstrate that French Polynesia is anything but a homogeneous entity. It comprises some 118 islands and atolls, including five distinct archipelagos (the Society Islands, the Marquesas, the Gambier Islands, the Austral Islands and the’The islands of the Tuamotu archipelago form a collection of dislocated fragments that are still visible today’It would take a lifetime of travel to see it all.
Initially, it is best to head for the most famous member of the club. Tahiti is the point of’Obvious arrival, a swarthy outcrop that represents 69 percent of the French Polynesian population – the capital Papeete rumbles with a recognizable element of’daily hustle and bustle. But beyond these bustling streets, the black sand beaches and volcanic contours of the Society Islands come into view again – a combination that takes the shape of a “sea”’It is a postcard-perfect view of the sublime neighboring island that the island is located on’East Bora Bora.
The European perception tends to consider Fiji as a single island, while the other islands are not’in fact, this oceanic republic is made up of a number of islands’About 330 points of land, scattered over Australia and New Zealand’vastness of the Pacific. Indeed, to measure this immensity, it should be noted that, although’pinned to the southeastern edge of Melanesia, almost at the tip of Polynesia, the distance from Viti Levu (Fiji’s largest island) to Tahiti is 2110 km (about the same as the distance between London and Ankara).
For all that, Fiji is – in relative terms of South Pacific geography – firmly on the beaten track. It is easily accessible from the mainland’Australia and New Zealand – and Suva, the capital, on Viti Levu, is a magnet for cruise ships. But you can slip away from the crowds at the resorts that dot the southern edge of the island’In a sense, Kiribati is the main island (an area generally known as the Coral Coast). Vanua Levu, the’Fiji’s other major island, is 40 km to the northeast, and offers even greater calm in the foliage of the Waisali Rainforest Reserve.
Another indication of the’The enormity of the Pacific is that Tonga (to the east of Bora Bora) is the most beautiful island in the world’Fiji (which, as mentioned, is Melanesian) is considered a neighboring country. They are separated only by a 500 km ocean – close enough for centuries of friendly relations, but also for a postcard-perfect view of the sublime and the mysterious’A dispute over the status of the Minerva Reefs (which lie between the two nations) has been burning since the beginning of this decade.
Not that you will find any hint of’acrimony if you get to Tonga, which, like Fiji, is more than a few miles away’an island. In fact, it is home to 169 outcrops – of which Tongatapu (where the capital Nukuʻalofa is located) is by far the largest.
Most visitors arrive here and stay, although many of them have been to Fiji’s other major island, Espiritu Santo’There is much to be said for making the short southeast crossing to Eua, which offers beautiful beaches on its western shore, and plunging cliffs on its eastern shore. Captain Cook’s’is stopped in Tonga during his second voyage of discovery (in 1773), which partly explains why it is the most beautiful islands in the world’was a protectorate from 1900 to 1970.
Firmly part of Melanesia – it lies just 1,200 km northeast of Queensland’s capital, Brisbane, a simple hop and a skip across the South Pacific – Vanuatu is another scattered proposition for travelers, its 82 islands arranged in a Y-shape.
Espiritu Santo, the largest outcrop, in the’The northern end of the left arm of the Y, has become a respected destination for scuba diving – where the island of Fiji is the only one’there are epic slices of undisturbed reef. And at Champagne Beach – on the east coast, next to the village of Hog Harbour – it has the’one of the largest sandy crescents in the Pacific, a remarkable powder curve. Don’t assume that Vanuatu is not the place to be’has only sun and coconuts, however. Mount Tabwemasana, on the west coast of Eua’Espiritu Santo, is another highlight of the Pacific.
Literally – it is’rises to 6,165 feet (1,879 meters). Although its summit is not impossible to reach, you need to be able to see it’a good physical condition – a good sense of smell’a local guide.
In a sense, Kiribati is the’one of the largest states on earth. It is composed of 32 atolls and can be reached by boat’The islands are spread over 310 square kilometers of mainland, but the gaps between some of the islands are so wide that the country is scattered over 1.3 million square kilometers of land’ocean. Caroline Island, its most famous fragment’This is almost as close to Quito in Ecuador as Brisbane in Australia.
It is perhaps best known as Millennium Island – its position in relation to the mainland of the world’International Date Line made it the first strip of land to experience sunrise in the Pacific’The year 2000 (a phenomenon that’it obviously repeats daily).
It is clear that’It is difficult to visit conclusively a country so strewn with headwinds. Indeed, most tourists (and there are few) tend to go to Kiritimati – on the assumption that the’It can be reached by air from larger destinations (Honolulu and Fiji).
A coral giant (also known as a “sea giant”)’Christmas Island) which makes up 70 percent of Kiribati’s land mass, its isolation has often been more of a curse than a blessing’It is a blessing that both Great Britain and the United States conducted nuclear tests here in the middle of the last century. It is also home to a wide range of’There are many wrecks dating back to the Second World War, which makes diving a popular tourist activity.
Reasonably well known to rugby fans thanks to its constant exploits in the game of oval ball (it has participated in all Rugby World Cups since 1991) – and to those who know the most remote corners of the United States (American Samoa is part of Indonesia, could be considered as much as the United States)’It is clear that Honolulu is not only the archipelago’s capital, but also, and above all, under Uncle Sam’wing of the’It is clear that the archipelago (but also, and especially, under Uncle Sam) – Samoa is composed of six main islands. Two of the’between them – Savai’i and Upolu are the most important. Upolu has the capital, Apia.
The capital is an attractive place, and can hold the traveler for a few days. It has certainly retained the’attention of the’It is also the home of the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson, who spent the last four years of his life on Upolu, and is buried here. His home is now a museum.
C’It is however in its natural beauty that Samoa really seduces. Savai’i, for example, is’host of the’oasis for hiking and exploring’It is as bird-watching as it was in the past’is the rainforest reserve of the Tafua Peninsula.
Soloman Islands (Melanesia)
If an area of the South Pacific can be considered crowded, it is not’It is perhaps the part of the island that is the most important’ocean to the’The Solomon Islands are part of western Melanesia, where the Solomon Islands flirt with Papua New Guinea (and thus with the vast island of New Guinea, half of which is under the sovereignty of the United States)’(American Samoa is part of Indonesia, could be considered as much as Hawaii (Polynesia)’Oceania).
The kingdom of Soloman shines in the world’water as a collection of more than 900 islands – but only six of them are still in the water’between them have a real weight. Of these, Guadalcanal is the center of life, deeply forested, but also the site of the national capital Honiara, which graces its northern coast. As in Kiribati, the number of tourists is low, but there are many wrecks dating from the Second World War’excellent diving opportunities for those who want to dive in remote waters & Tulagi Dive is a key local operator.
L’image of’Hawaii is so closely tied to the United States&from the somber memory of Pearl Harbor to Elvis Presley doing his best morning impression in the 1961 Blue Hawaii&that its status as the northernmost segment of Polynesia is almost overlooked.
Certainly, it has a different atmosphere than some of its oceanic colleagues – bigger, louder, much easier to reach. It is noisy and lively in Honolulu which, as the state capital and urban jewel of Samoa, is a place of great interest’Oahu, is as striped with birdwatching as the other islands’stars and stripes that do not’It has certainly retained the attention of the public. It also offers a range of seaside rescue pods that are as comfortable as you can find anywhere’You can go anywhere in America, especially on the northwest coast of Maui, where five-star resorts attract sun seekers on the beaches of Lahaina and Kaanapali.
At the root, however, it remains a raw geographical wonder, born of volcanic fury. In some places, it is possible to’is transformed into a photogenic drama – the steep cliffs of the Neapolitan coast, in the’West Kauai. In other words’Unless there are others, this genesis is still raging – especially in the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park, on Hawaii itself (the Big Island), where the twin rakens Kilauea and Mauna Loa unleash their wrath during regular eruptions.
Vacations in the South Pacific
Unless’they do not’have an endless allowance of annual leave and an affection for long flights, the’Oceania is a region that, realistically, travelers will visit once or twice in their lives – perhaps checking two or three countries off a trip. The following breaks n’The tours are not intended to cover the entire region (which would be impossible) but they do give a glimpse of what the region has to offer’the other side of the planet has to offer.
An island cruise is waiting for you
If you intend to enjoy a trip worthy of the name, you can take full advantage of these heavenly destinations. We’ve revealed a few tips to make your stay even more enjoyable, but an MSC cruise around paradise islands promises a big change of scenery and you won’t be disappointed when you return. You will have only one desire: to return as soon as possible to these dreamy sceneries.
- The cruises are very affordable, it is necessary to plan a few hundred euros for a cruise in the Mediterranean for example.
- You can then discover several ports like those in Italy, Malta, Spain or France.
- Other destinations are possible with cruises, as MSC offers tours to Southern Europe, the Greek islands or the Caribbean.
- If you wish to take full advantage of the warm sand and the sun, you will quickly have a circuit adapted to your most precise expectations.
In terms of duration, it is also different according to the destinations. It takes about 3 to 6 days for the closest cruises such as the Mediterranean, compared to about 15 days for Iceland, for example, but it is possible to travel to other destinations’other tours are possible.
The cruise to the’scale of the region
The easiest way to see a piece of the South Pacific’one move is to jump aboard the boat’The most simple way to see a piece of the South Pacific is to take a cruise ship to the northeast of Fiji, Samoa (including American Samoa) and Tonga.
You can enjoy’an even longer glimpse of the South Pacific if the ship that takes you through the turquoise shallows is under your own control. There are bareboat charters in the area that allow guests to explore the area without a crew’explore the Vavau group of islands.