Vanuatu... or? Solomons? Fiji?
Replies: 30 - Last Post: Jan 20, 2012 9:35 AM Last Post By: Watsoff
Jan 15, 2012 5:45 PM
My husband and I live in New York City and want to escape... we live in the land of restaurants, bars, shopping and all that and want NONE of it on vacation.
What we do want is beauty, gin clear water, scuba, snorkel, beaches, jungles, and quiet. No phone? No problem! But we are not wanting to spend a lot-- just looking for decent, clean places to see, smell, breathe, swim.
I think Vanuatu may fit the bill, but I am also wondering if Fiji/Solomons/Cook Islands might fit the bill as well?
Any advice would be great!
Jan 15, 2012 6:09 PM
Jan 15, 2012 9:36 PM
2While Fiji is perhaps more developed compared to other places, it is all relative and what might suit you guys may depend on where you have been and what you have experienced before.
A ''slightly'' more developed experience may be less of a culture shock for you?
Are you looking for a week, or a month?
Jan 15, 2012 11:19 PM
3The Cook Islands has a resident population of 17,000 persons spread across 15 populated islands. Rarotonga the capital island with 12,000 people is the most developed because it has the main port and an international airport. However, it still retains a Polynesian charm which exudes friendliness, safety, slow pace of life, and reasonably good facilities (banking, telecommuications, foodstores,accommodation, dining, sports, arts, leisure). There is a weekly direct flight from LAX to Rarotonga, and a weekly return flight northbound to LAX.
Aitutaki island, situated 100 miles north of Rarotonga is today like the main island was 40 years ago before tourism. A languid, easy going people, few tourists, lots of wide open spaces, nice accommodation properties, long lengths of isolated beaches. A daily domestic airline connects Aitutaki to Rarotonga. You probably already know that Aitutaki has a magnificent lagoon area suitable for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, SUP, kitesurfing and bonefishing. The reefline offers scuba divers good dropoffs and canyons, and tropical sealife. With the favourable exhange rate, a safe,clean environment and caring locals you may even decide that time-out on Aituaki will fit the bill admirably.
Jan 16, 2012 4:04 AM
4There are definitely places in Solomon Islands that would meet your needs. They vary from Low key tourist to remote village stay (although those would not have scuba facilities). Probably the Western province would have more places that meet your needs. (and have scuba facilities).
The website should give ou plenty of suggestions.
Jan 16, 2012 1:24 PM
Jan 16, 2012 4:59 PM
6Factor in Aitutaki island (Southern Cook Islands) as a possibility:-
Huge area of coral reef surrounding a huge area of lagoon. Some coral heads within the lagoon providing habitat for fishlife. Coral around the motu (islets). Snorkel offshore in the north opposite the coral runway (built by US servicemen during WWII).
Great range of accommodation for an island of 2000 residents. Look at Matriki Beach Huts (west), Amuri Sands (west), Akaea Cottage (west), Ranginui's Retreat (south-east).
Transport from USA - Air NZ direct service to Rarotoonga international airport. Transport from Rarotonga - Air Rarotonga daily services to Aitutaki domestic airport. Transport on/around Aitutaki - rental scooters, push-bikes, lagoon charters, deep sea fishing charters, friendly locals offer lifts to visitors.
Dive trips - 2 operators: Aitutaki Scuba and Bubbles Below.
Jan 16, 2012 4:59 PM
71. All are beautiful, but the reefs are richest in the Solomons, getting poorer in biodiversity the further east and south you go from there.
2.Fiji is definitely the cheapest of the 4, probably followed by the Solomons.
3. Fiji must be the easiest country to travel in, followed by the Cooks (where you MUST fly between islands), then Vanuatu, with the Solomons being hardest. Scuba diving is available in all 4, though see #1.
Jan 16, 2012 10:47 PM
8All of the places you mentioned in your original post would be beautiful destinations and quite different from NY.
I'd recommend getting detailed information about the accommodations at your final choice. There are places in the SP where Spam is the dinner meat of choice and canned Spaghetti O's are typical breakfast fare. Some may not have screened windows, running water nor full-time electricity and many will have geckos and insects as housemates.
Like I said.... it ain't New York....
Jan 17, 2012 4:28 AM
Jan 17, 2012 10:30 AM
10LOL @8, are you referring to Hawaii where Spam almost the national dish - even though Hawaii is not in the South Pacific? I'd pump for Solomon Islands, but then I'm biased. Vanuatu is perhaps more 'upscale' than Solomons so might be a better choice if the OP is not used to really basic conditions. Then Fiji, always a great place to visit. I do like Cooks but I find Rarotonga too touristy.
Jan 17, 2012 12:46 PM
11Kll5 Hi. Say what!! No pastrami on rye for a month?...the horror. Seriously, I would say no to Rarotonga account price and a bit of a 'Not too spiffy' ambiance about it. Hard to explain why exactly.
My 'Must Do Again' place? Tahiti Iti...the area around Vairo to Teahupoo (Population 40) at the dead-end of the paved road. Surfie crowd when the killer waves are in. B&B accomodations. NO thru traffic as it's a Dead-end. Ambiance-to-die-for if one is on a budget yet has a yearning for fresh French baguettes, skinny brown dogs, snorkel, jungle hikes and QUIET...yet close to Papette for an occasional 'civilization fix' while you twitch going thru NYC withdrawls. Locomotiveman Tom
Jan 17, 2012 4:19 PM
12@ 1, 9, 10 & 11.....
I was responding to: "+ we live in the land of restaurants, bars, shopping and all that and want NONE of it on vacation+". It would be a shame if they asked for a destination without modern amenities and really wanted a hotel on the beach in Rarotonga.
Most of the places off the beaten track don't have restaurants. Most rely heavily on canned food. I have dined on tinned beef (I meant Spam as a generic name for that product) in many remote places including the SP.
If you find yourself in a remote spot when the supply freighter is late and fishing has been bad you will probably find yourself eating what the locals eat. In the outer islands of the Cooks this will be locally grown fare supplemented with canned goods. Things like canned Mackerel, tinned beef and canned spaghetti are pretty standard fare. Home-made donuts (lots of grease, not much sugar) served with tea make up most noon meals there even in times of plenty. They are probably not going to kill a pig or a goat unless there's a party or someone pays big money for it.
I just asked my wife about the Spaghetti O's for breakfast. She corrected me, it was just plain canned spaghetti on Mitiaro in 2009 when the supply freighter was two weeks late.
Jan 17, 2012 7:27 PM
Jan 17, 2012 9:31 PM
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