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For many beach vacationers, the Pacific Islands don’t immediately come to mind. With so many options closer to home in the Caribbean and Central America it can be hard to justify the longer flights and expense, but for those who do, the rewards are big. Made up of some 30,000 islands, the diversity of terrain, culture and history on offer in the Pacific is incredible, not to mention remote topical beaches where you will barely find another soul to action packed luxury resorts set on pristine white sands. With so many unique island experiences to choose from, the hardest part might just be picking a destination.

FIJI

Fiji is your tropical hideaway dream turned real. With over 300 picture-perfect islands and warm year round temperatures, Fiji has everything you could want in an island getaway. Get off the beaten track and island-hop your way around the archipelago or choose from one of the three largest islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu or Taveuni and stay put. Whatever you decide, you’ll be rewarded with palm-fringed beaches, azure waters and rugged mountain landscapes teeming with lush forests and waterfalls.

For those who want to do more than laze on the beach, Fiji offers a wealth of activities both on and off the water. Famous for its soft coral diving and iconic surf spots, Fiji also offers ocean kayaking, paddle boarding, and deep sea fishing. On land there’s hiking, four wheeling, golf, horseback riding and white water rafting, and for those looking for even more adrenalin, there’s parasailing and skydiving.

You’ll find all of your accommodation and dining needs taken care of from luxury 5 star to backpacker friendly options – you can even book an island all to yourself! So no matter your budget, there’s a place for you in Fjii…whether it’s on an island that you can circle on foot in under 30 minutes or an exclusive resort on one of the big islands with seemingly endless miles to explore.

FRENCH POLYNESIA

French Polynesia offers over 100 spectacular islands scattered across 2,000 miles of Pacific Ocean. From groups of tiny atolls to rugged volcanic isles, the islands of French Polynesia are home to some of the most exquisite and diverse landscapes in the South Pacific. French Polynesia offers a mix of Polynesian and French culture, a fabulous year round climate, and everything you could want in a luxury beach vacation. From adventure sports like surfing, snorkeling, or swimming with sharks to cruises, golf, blissful spa experiences and relaxing on the beach, there’s something for everyone.

Two of the most popular destinations in the French Polynesian islands are Bora Bora and Moorea. Often hailed as the most beautiful island in the world, Bora Bora is one of the most famous beach getaways – and one of the most expensive. Comprised of luxury resorts featuring bungalows built on stilts over the coral-filled turquoise lagoon that surrounds the island, you can wake up with an underwater paradise literally under your feet. When you get tired of exploring the tropical waters, there are miles of unspoiled beaches and lush forest to explore – although there’s a good chance you’ll be content simply swimming, sunbathing and sipping cocktails.

Just as scenic as Bora Bora, Moorea is known as ‘the magical island’. With eight volcanic mountains rising dramatically from clear lagoon waters, towering rainforests and white sandy beaches, it has all the ingredients for the perfect beach vacation. Here you can swim with dolphins, feed manta rays, go whale watching, and of course enjoy all the watersports and land adventures you’d expect in a tropical paradise. With a range of accommodation including overwater bungalows, you can choose from luxury five star resorts to small hotels and private guesthouses for your stay, which combined with its close proximity to the main island of Tahiti, makes Moorea a great choice for your next overseas beach vacation.

NEW CALEDONIA

If you’re an avid diver or windsurfer, New Caledonia should need no introduction. Comprising a series of islands strewn across one of the largest lagoons in the world at over 9,000 square miles, this French territory is simply out of this world. The lagoon is created by an enormous barrier reef, providing clear tropical waters around the main island of Grande Terre and the many others of New Caledonia. A rich marine life makes this South Pacific gem a haven for scuba divers, while the famous trade winds provide countless opportunities for wind and kitesurfing.

Of course many other activities are on offer from kayaking and sailing to whale watching, rock climbing or simply lounging your days away on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, sipping cocktails and eating gourmet fare at ocean side bars and restaurants.

With a semi-tropical climate, the dazzling waters of New Caledonia beckon year round, and its World Heritage status ensures the pristine beaches and reefs will continue to welcome travelers to the shores of these most majestic islands.

VANUATU

For a tropical getaway like no other, head to the islands of Vanuatu. Here you can really experience traditional island living along with all the five star luxury of modern resorts, restaurants and adventure activities. More than two thirds of the 80 islands that make up Vanuatu are inhabited, and its people live predominately in small, clan-based villages headed by a chief, the way they have lived for centuries. There are more than a hundred different cultures and languages in Vanuatu, and it is in fact one of the most culturally diverse countries on earth.

In Vanuatu you’ll have the opportunity to experience ancient island cultural traditions including ceremonies, dances, and kava drinking, perhaps even with a local village chief. Then there are the deserted beaches, unsurpassed diving and snorkeling, soaking in hot springs, swimming in phenomenal blue holes, and “ash boarding” down the side of Mt Yasur – an active volcano – just to name a few other reasons to visit Vanuatu. You can also check out the world’s only underwater post office. That’s right, located within the Hideaway Marine Sanctuary is an underwater post office, where divers and snorkelers can mail special underwater postcards. Find out more about this surreal experience here: http://www.vanuatupost.vu/index.php/en/underwater-post.

Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, is where you will find most of your luxury resorts, restaurants, shops and other modern amenities, although there are secluded resorts dotted around the islands as well for those who want to spend more time outside of the main hub.

This Pacific Island list is by no means exhaustive. In fact, it barely scrapes the surface of the phenomenal island adventures that await the intrepid traveler in the South Pacific. From world-class diving in Micronesia, to the Polynesian islands of Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands, to the mystical giant statues of Easter Island, there is so much to experience that you may want to plan a new trip every year.