Pacific Island question
Replies: 21 - Last Post: Jun 22, 2012 7:30 PM Last Post By: marksparkles
May 19, 2012 8:51 AM
Pacific Island questionHi There
Can somebody help me out?
I have plans to visit the South Pacific again in 2013 and which parts would you recommend?
I have seen French Polynesia ( Society islands, tuamotus and marquesas ) and found them the most beautiful things I have ever seen, but is there any equal scenery at other places in the South Pacific?
What I like about Fr. Polynesia is the lack of tourists, the remoteness from the Marquesas and the amazing sometimes hauntingly beauty. What I did not like what the extreme high price levels and the mean barking dogs which limit me to walk long distances alone.
So I like nature and friendly people. I am reading about Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu, Palau, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia
I want something different from Tahiti and her islands
Who can help me?
May 19, 2012 1:38 PM
1While just about any of the destinations you are reading about will meet many of your requirements I know of only two places that don't have any dogs; the islands of Aitutaki and Mauke in the Cook Islands.
The outer islands of the Cooks are my favorite SP destination for all the reasons you state. They are remote, have few tourists, are home to the friendliest people I've ever met, have lots of natural beauty, and they are definitely different from FP. They are also fairly inexpensive to visit. My wife and I typically spend less than $10,000 USD for a 4-6 week, 3-to-4-island visit, including return airfare from LAX.
May 20, 2012 6:45 AM
2Solomon Islands is Melanesian, and therefore culturally different to French Polynesia and the Cooks, which are both Polynesian. It is also composed generally of much bigger islands, so it would offer a complete contrast. While the Marovo Lagoon in the Western Province is the most picture-perfect tourist destination, there are many other fascinating areas of the country, each with its own culture.
May 20, 2012 7:51 AM
3I think the only place in the Pacific to offer SIMILARLY scenic islands as the Marquesas or the Societies would be Hawaii. But of course it would be VERY touristy.
For DIFFERENT scenic beauty, of the places you have listed New Caledonia or Palau certainly have very scenic areas, and a different culture from French Polynesia. Though I really think the Raja Ampat Islands of West Papua easily beat both...
I found people friendly everywhere in the South Pacific except perhaps in Samoa.
Though Vanuatu was the friendliest of the lot.
May 20, 2012 3:23 PM
4Thanks so much for the answers! The helped me a lot!!!
I found it to be honest a little bit disappointing that only Hawaii is that scenic as FP. I can not stand those tourists and I dont mind paying a little bit more to get rid of them.
What is different from the outer Cooks if you compare it to FP? I am looking for some kind of different landscapes...
I see that the Cooks are cheaper and Samoa as well, but anyway: everything will be cheaper dan my FP trip!!!
May 20, 2012 4:55 PM
5I'm not sure Lazlow meant that HI was the only place as scenic as FP. I think he meant that HI was scenic in a way that FP was scenic, that is; islands with lots of mountains in a tropical oceanic setting.
Beauty is a pretty subjective thing, especially natural beauty. If you're talking about geological features then the outer Cook Islands are flatter than HI & FP. Aitutaki is a classic atoll complete with a 17sq km lagoon. Atiu, Mauke, Mitiaro and Mangaia are all sunken mountain tops surrounded with a ring of fossilized coral called Makatea around their outer rim. The center of the islands usually have lower, wetter areas. They are riddled with limestone caves and most have wildlife found in very few places. Being at 20-25 latitude they have tropical climates with tropical vegetation and no snakes or poisonous insects that I know of.
But in addition to it's natural flora and fauna the people, history and culture are equally attractive to me. It's fascinating to sit down and chat with someone with an oral history of their own people as well as westerners such as Captain Cook, Bouganville and the Bounty mutineers.
I like to take my time, listen, and seek to find opportunities to drink in whatever happens in wherever I find myself. Because so few people go the outer Cook Islands there are lots unique circumstances to do this.
I've listened to locals tell me about an ancestor that went with the Bounty's mutineers, an encounter between the chiefs of Atiu and members Capt Cook's crew that almost wound up in the pot for dinner and the story of the girl on Mauke whose husband was blown out to sea in his canoe and died of a broken heart. I've had Tere explain to me how the village organization was related to the practice of cannibalism on Mangaia. And much more, all from the locals and all passed down through the ages.
You can't do that sitting at home, nor can you do that sitting around a resort talking to other tourists, no matter where you are.
So, no matter where you go, get your money's worth. Take in the whole experience.
May 20, 2012 7:35 PM
6Aitutaki island being part atoll and part volcanic has very different scenery compared to Rarotonga which is a high island with its rugged volcanic peaks, coastal plain, and highly visible reefline. Aitutaki is renowned for its fabulous lagoon and once you see it, or better still experience the lagoon it is easy to see why many people fall in love with Aitutaki island. The main island is attractive, with its little villages, interior hills, and pretty beachfrontages facing the algoon and reefline.
The Cook Islands offer value for money, a clean and safe environment, and a reasonable standard of living for its citizens. While it does have some modern facilities( far more so on Rarotonga with its international airport, port and seat of government), the nation hasn't gone overboard with development. Aitutaki has a nice mix of visitor accommodation, residential areas, village stores and enough land and sea activities to enjoy a stay there. Daily domestic flights from Rarotonga to Aitutki, and a weekly flight between Aitutaki and Atiu island.
A 3 island stay will provide you with a range of interests; although domestic fares aren't cheap on Air Rarotonga. But you can grab a package bargain if you keep an eye out for specials. These specials are mainly sold on Rarotonga through the travel agencies and Air Raro travel centre.
H2ooh has given you some really useful first-hand information related to geography and cultural insights. Being Polynesian we are closely linked to Tahiti but more remotely Hawaii, sharing common words and some similar language phrases. Rarotonga has 12,000 residents, Aitutaki approx 1900, Atiu around 400. Rarotonga receives the most visitors each year (100,000 over 12 months), Aitutaki far less, and Atiu very few! Compare these figures to our bigger island neighbours and you can see how small we are through tourism volumes and associated tourism activities. Still if you want a lot of beach space around you, and maybe even see no-one all day on the same beach, land on Raro then head for the outer islands.
Edited by: lagoon
May 21, 2012 3:38 AM
I am looking to the Cook Islands at Google Earth, but the look sometimes a little bit the Society Islands of FP. A small high island, blue lagoon and motu. I have seen a lot of them.
Maybe is Vanuatu a better choice - also a different culture - or Samoa, but almost everyone here at the forum from LP talks negative about Samoa. Somebody have been to Tonga? It seems to be more off-beat.
Is Fiji really more touristy than FP?
Sorry for many questions!
May 21, 2012 5:54 AM
May 21, 2012 7:15 AM
May 21, 2012 9:57 AM
May 21, 2012 3:01 PM
May 24, 2012 3:19 AM
12I think the only place where organized excursions are regularly offered in Vanuatu is Vila.
And then to a MUCH lesser extent Tanna and Santo.
The rest of the country is very much a DIY kind of place, which just makes it a lot better to me.
Didn't you say you wanted to leave the tourist crowds behind? ;-)
Mind you, the main plus of Vanuatu over FP will be the culture and the "unspoiltness", not the scenery.
The scenery is beautiful, but not quite as spectacular as in FP.
In compensation, the underwater scenery may well be much more spectacular in Vanuatu.
Oh, I quite like Tonga, too.
Much more than Samoa, but not as much as Vanuatu! ;-)
And yes, H2ooh is right about what I meant: the HI are beautiful in a similar way to some of FP: large, rugged islands of the eroded volcanic sort, blanketed in lush tropical greenery. And that's about where the similarity ends, I guess.
May 24, 2012 9:52 AM
Thanks so much again
I really like the remote, but I have one problem. I don't drive, so i am dependend on tours and I prefer to travel alone. I am a very good walker, even in high temperatures with high humidity ( I did it a lot in FP, mainly at Marquesas, but I am not a driver and I want to see some things. Look at this http://www.pacificislandtravel.com/vanuatu/excursions/excursions_intro.html It is a dutch site in English ( i am dutch ), so there are some excursion I see right now.
I think you are very expierenced with the SP. You have seen a lot. After FP, where is the scenery accordion to you the best ( dont count hawaii in it please )
I am going for my work in 2013 to Java and after that I want to go to the south pacific again but I have to fly via New Zealand. It is also an option to stay in Indonesia, but I am addicted to loneliness and small islands.
Is the scenery in Tonga good? Are the dogs everywhere like in FP?
I am sorry for all my questions...
May 24, 2012 10:58 PM
14There are plenty tours on offer on Tanna to keep you occupied for a couple of days or -in my case- a week. A lot of the guest houses (probably all) can arrange tours to Yasur volcano (highly recommended, but stay in an accommodation as close to Yasur as possible, otherwise it might be a long drive to get there and back) and kastom villages. I also did a tour to a black magic cave, the big banyan tree and arranged a couple of hikes with a very informative guide, all easy to book through your accommodation.
I really liked my stay on Tanna, as it was so different than Fiji and the Cooks. The people are lovely and the culture is so different and interesting. And I can't remember having seen any dogs.
(4 star Hotel)
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