The breathtaking paradise of the nearly 1000 islands that make up the sovereign state of the Solomon Islands is a haven for divers, snorkelers, and beach loungers alike. The Solomon Islands are located in the Oceania region of the Pacific Ocean, East of Papua New Guinea, and are home to just over half a million people. The ancient peoples of the Solomon Islands first arrived an estimated 32,000 years ago, and were known for headhunting and cannibalism before the arrival of Europeans in the late 1500s. Today, the Solomon Islands area has been rising in popularity as a destination for scuba divers, though the growth of tourism has been slowed due to lack of infrastructure and transportation difficulties. But for those who can get there, the Solomon Islands are an unmatched slice of heaven on Earth.
The stunning white sand beaches and beautiful mountains of Moorea amaze even the most seasoned traveler. A small tropical island in French Polynesia, Moorea is neighbor to the island of Tahiti, and the island of Bora Bora is also nearby. Romantic Moorea is a popular honeymoon destination, known for its exquisite scenery, excellent snorkeling and diving, and enchanting rain forests. Visitors can get to Moorea via a ferry that departs daily from Papeete, Tahiti. The island of Tahiti is home to Faa’a International Airport, the gateway to this region.
Officially a collectivity of France, the island of Bora Bora lies in the Leeward group of the Society Islands of French Polynesia. With its amazing reef, fantastic white sand beaches, and laid-back local population it is easy to see why Bora Bora is considered by many to be paradise on Earth. The island itself features an extinct volcano in the center and is surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef. Bora Bora is a tourist hot-spot and many resorts and over-the-water bungalows have been built on the island. The population of locals is just under 9,000 with Tahitian, French, and some English spoken. Visitors can enjoy world-class diving and snorkeling, as well as sunset catamaran cruises, fishing trips, and jet ski rentals.
The island nation known as the Seychelles can be found in the Indian Ocean off the East coast of Africa, North of Madagascar. There are 115 islands in the archipelago. Seychelles has become a popular tourist destination, thanks to its stunning tropical beaches and interesting wildlife. Popular activities include diving, fishing, sailing, and laying around on amazing white sand beaches. Visitors can find any range of accommodation on the main islands of Praslin, La Digue or Mahé, as well as a variety on outlying islands.
Once a backpacker’s secret, Thailand’s Phi Phi islands exploded onto the tourist map after the release of The Beach, a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio that was filmed on one of the islands. Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Lee are located between the island of Phuket and mainland Thailand off the West coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. Ko Phi Phi Don is the larger of the two islands and is home to permanent residents and a myriad of accommodations for tourists. Ko Phi Phi Lee has spectacular white sand beaches and can be visited by boat only, with trips leaving from the larger island throughout the day. Visitors can enjoy diving, snorkeling and kayaking in the waters off both islands.
Nosy Iranja is a small tropical island located off the Northwestern coast of Madagascar, 45km (28 miles) South of Nosy Be, a slightly larger and more popular island. Nosy Iranja consists of two islands that are connected by a bank of white sand only visible at low tide, but can still be traversed at high tide. Nosy Iranja is emerging as a popular tourist destination in Madagascar due to the idyllic white sand beaches and the excellent diving and snorkeling that can be had there. Visitors also come for the interesting wildlife, including green and hawksbill sea turtles, large coconut crabs, and many varieties of bird life.