When most people think of a Pacific Island vacation, they conjure up images of deserted white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters revealing vibrant coral reefs, and luxury five-star resorts. Some of the islands in the Pacific are incredibly remote, but to experience paradise like this, it’s well worth making an effort to reach them.
The Pacific Ocean separates the Americas from Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, and with an area of 60 million square miles, it is the largest ocean in the world. There are hundreds of islands in this gigantic Ocean, making choosing one for your next vacation seem impossible. That’s where we come in. International statistics experts, world-meters.com, have compiled this list of top Pacific Islands destinations to help you decide which would make the best vacation.
Which Pacific Islands are best for vacations?
Nine of the best places for a Pacific Island vacation are:
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Continue reading to find out more about these top nine Pacific Island destinations.
1. Bora Bora
Like all of the islands on this list, Bora Bora is in the South Pacific, located less than an hour’s plane ride from the neighboring island of Tahiti.
A popular destination for honeymooners, Bora Bora’s scenery is typically romantic, consisting of sandy beaches, palm trees, coral reefs, blue sea, and bungalows on stilts emerging from the water.
Snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, and, of course, laying on the beach are the most popular activities on Bora Bora, but there are also shark and stingray feeding, four-wheel drive excursions, and luxurious spas to keep you occupied. Plus, there’s a turquoise lagoon and a dormant volcano to explore.
Tahiti may be located 2,700 miles south of Hawaii, but because it has an international airport, it’s much more accessible than Bora Bora. It is also the largest island in French Polynesia, meaning there’s plenty for visitors to see and do.
As well as being a popular wedding and honeymoon destination, thanks to its romantic scenery and luxury resorts, it is also a tourist hotspot for surfers. If you’re a surfer, May through August are the best months to visit, and the place to be is Teahupoo, which is where the Billabong Pro surf competition is held. Other events include the Heiva Festival in July, where you can witness traditional Tahitian crafts, dances, and other performances.
Other activities on Tahiti include shopping at markets and boutiques, enjoying the lively nightlife in the capital of Papeete, hiking to waterfalls like Fautaua Waterfall, diving with manta rays and reef sharks, visiting the Water Gardens of Vaipahi, swimming in crystal clear lagoons, and relaxing on black volcanic sand beaches.
3. Cook Islands
Located halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, the Cook Islands are more affordable than Bora Bora and despite the archipelago’s small size, there’s something on offer for everyone.
In addition to the usual Pacific Island beaches, lagoons, waterfalls, and snorkeling and diving opportunities, there are ancient stone temples on the island of Aitutaki and an extinct volcano on the island of Rarotonga. One of the activities that’s not to be missed is an island night celebration of feasting and traditional dancing.
Even though the Cook Islands offer an off-the-grid experience in a blissful setting, thanks to Rarotonga’s international airport, there are direct flights from several destinations (including Hawaii).
Located 1,250 miles west of the Cook Islands is the island nation of Fiji. With more than 300 islands and hundreds more islets, it attracts the same number of visitors as all of the other South Pacific Islands combined.
Despite this, it remains an exclusive and exotic tourist destination, with less well-known islands offering unique snorkeling and diving opportunities, limited beachfront accommodation, and deserted beaches.
If you don’t mind crowds, you can see firewalking or participate in a kava ceremony (which involves drinking a mildly narcotic and sedative drink) in the capital city of Suva.
If diving is your thing, Vanuatu is the ideal destination for a Pacific Island vacation.
Located just 1,100 miles off the east coast of Australia, this archipelago is popular with Australian tourists due to the relatively short four-hour flight time.
The 83 islands that make up Vanuatu offer incredible coral reef diving and wreck diving at sites around the island of Espiritu Santo, where you can explore the wreckage of the American luxury ocean liner, SS President Coolidge.
Aside from diving, Vanuatu is known for world-famous beaches, like Champagne Beach, and volcanoes, including the active Mount Yasur volcano.
6. Solomon Islands
While this archipelago to the northeast of Australia is made up of nearly 1,000 islands and atolls, only 147 of them are inhabited. Of those that are, few attract tourists, which makes them perfect for those looking to get off the beaten track so they can experience some of that authentic Pacific Island adventure.
Rather than lounging on beaches and staying in luxury accommodation, a vacation to the Solomon Islands is all about hiking through jungles, uncrowded surfing, climbing volcanoes, and diving around sunken World War II seaplanes, oil tankers, and submarines.
With years of wars, slavery, and cannibalism, history buffs, in particular, will enjoy exploring the Solomon Islands and learning about the country’s fascinating past.
7. Samoan Islands
Located halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, the Samoan Islands of Samoa and American Samoa don’t see many tourists. So, if you’re after more of a rustic Pacific Island vacation, these are the ones to visit.
Accommodation mostly comes in the form of basic beach huts, and tourist attractions are mainly limited to hiking, snorkeling, swimming in lagoons, and relaxing on the beach. That said, on Samoa’s Upolu island, there’s also the Museum of Samoa and the Samoa Cultural Village — where you can witness traditional tattooing and cloth-making demonstrations.
8. Easter Island
The most isolated, permanently inhabited island on Earth, Easter Island is not easy to get to. LATAM is the only airline that flies to this remote island, and flights only depart from Santiago in Chile.
Most people visit this remote island to see the massive stone statues that dominate the landscape. The 900 statues — called Moai — are of human figures with oversized heads, which represent ancestral chiefs who were believed to have descended from the gods.
Other tourist activities on Easter Island include hiking and horseback riding.
9. Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea consists of more than 600 islands and it is a diverse archipelago where hundreds of indigenous languages are spoken. However, tourists have only been visiting the country fairly recently.
The main draws for visitors are that Papua New Guinea is home to some of the world’s oldest cultures, and it also boasts diverse wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else on Earth.
Its lack of infrastructure outside the capital of Port Moresby means it is a more challenging destination than the other places on this list, but if you’re an experienced traveler, you will reap the rewards when it comes to having a unique and authentic experience.
There are hundreds of islands in the Pacific Ocean, and while not all of them are inhabited — or even accessible — we hope this list has shown you that there are still plenty of options to cater for every type of vacationer.