There are very few destinations on Earth that remain relatively untouched in a world that prides itself on turning nearly everything into the latest and greatest. So many of our favorite getaways are overrun with luxury resorts, souvenir stalls, and instagrammable sites that it’s hard to see or even imagine the true beauty of the destination.
However, the Pacific Ocean is home to some of the rawest, yet beautiful countries you will ever lay eyes on. The Pacific Islands, made up of 22 small island countries and territories including Fiji, Samoa, and Vanuatu, remain relatively untouched despite holding the top spot on many travel wish lists. From romantic honeymoons in overwater bungalows to hikes up semi-active volcanoes, the Pacific Islands have it all.
ESSENCE caught up with one traveler, Dr. Dafina Good (@dafinagood), who recently took the plunge and spent time exploring these hidden gems to find out what made her journey so far from home.
What made you want to visit the Pacific Islands?
Dafina Good: It was time to explore the Pacific islands and a deal with Fiji Airways allowed me to go to Fiji and Vanuatu all on one ticket from Los Angeles for $700 roundtrip. I had no idea what I was about to witness, it has been mind-blowing and soul-stirring. To go from French Polynesia to Fiji then Vanuatu within 4weeks was like stepping back in time and felt like a cross between São Tomé in Africa and Kingston, Jamaica. They love reggae here!
Where should people stay when they visit?
Most stays are small bungalow styles. I loved Barrier Beach Resort on the island of Espiritu Santo. On the mainland island of Efate, stay at Paradise Cove. It’s walking distance to a local village and a 10-15 minute ride into the main town area.
What are some of the things people have to do when they visit?
You have to see all the Blue Holes on Espiritu Santo island, the blue color is unreal. If you scuba dive, you have to do the World War 2 shipwrecks on Efate island, and if you want culture, visit the villages and try Kava. Lastly, get to know the people. They are genuinely kind with the biggest smiles and hearts.
Welcome to the Pacific Islands
Located in the Pacific Ocean, which covers 11 million square miles stretching from the top of Australia to the Hawaiian Islands, the Pacific Islands include well-known islands like Tahiti and Fiji. Visit during the dry season from May to October for great weather and easy sailing.
Feel at Home
Bigger islands like Fiji are home to the luxe resorts we all dream about, but on the less-visited islands, boutique bungalow-style accommodations make you feel right at home.
As expected, seafood reigns supreme across the Pacific Islands, so make sure to try everything!
Get the Blues
You’ve heard of the Blue Hole in Belize, but on the island of Vanuatu, the jewel tones of their blue holes are so intense that they are known as some of the best in the world.
Make it Hot
“This journey has been such an amazing experience! Topping off my last day in VANUATU with a Volcano tour! Took a day trip over to the Vanuatu island of Tanna to see one of the world’s most accessible active volcanoes! Crazy…but I had to do it!” – Dafina Good
Actor Tom Hanks shot the movie Cast Away on Monuriki Island in Fiji.
Teach the Babies
“Went to Pepeyo Village for a cultural tour. The people here are from another island but live here on the main island of Efate in Port Vila, Vanuatu. This is how they preserve and share their culture. Not only do they share it with visitors but this is how they ensure their children are rooted in tradition and customs from their home island. As one man stated, “We want to make sure that our children don’t feel like visitors when they return to our home island. This way they can sing and dance with their cousins and family.” – Dafina Good