11 Tropical South Pacific Islands You Must Visit

Are you looking for your next vacation somewhere far away from the tourist crowds where you can completely enjoy the stunning nature, pleasant weather, and endless sandy beaches? South Pacific islands might be the perfect destination for you. Consisting of three major groups of islands, Melanesia, Polynesia, and Micronesia, hide the crazy amount of untouched tropical islands.

If you've ever had a dream of getting far away from civilization and enjoy the beauty of nature, then exploring the hidden parts of South Pacific is definitely what you’re looking for.

best south pacific islands to visit

Keep reading as we're going to introduce you with few hidden South Pacific islands you must visit. Let's start.

1. Mystery Island, Vanuatu


Vanuatu was crowned the happiest nation in the world, according to the Happy Planet Index, and still currently holds the fourth spot!

As the name suggests, Mystery Island is located in a tiny Vanuatu archipelago located around 2,500 km off the main Australian coast. The southernmost island in the archipelago features white powder beaches, turquoise waters, thick palm trees, and colorful coral reefs. Once you set your feet on the island, you can explore the whole place by walking as the size is about 1 KM by 200 M.

Since the island is uninhabited, the infrastructure is nonexistent, so you can expect a real adventure far away from the modern world. A very interesting fact is that Australian dollars are accepted as the main currency, but you can pay only in coins. Since the island features the untouched nature, people usually enjoy world-class snorkeling and diving around surrounding coral reefs.

Calm waters make the island a perfect destination for paddle boarding and exploring the underwater world on the glass bottom board. Mystery Island is a home of Keamu village that serves as a cultural hub where you can learn about the local traditions, food, and way of life. People of Vanuatu have a deep connection to their food. From paddock to plate, they're passionate about their produce.

By far the best way to reach the island and explore its surroundings is by booking a cruise.

2. Ha'apai, Tonga


Ha'apai isn't a single island, but a small group of islets, atolls and active volcanoes. For adventurous souls, this tiny archipelago might be the ideal destination as you’ll most likely fail to meet a single person around. The islands feature stunning sandy beaches, an abundance of palm trees, bright blue waters, healthy and colorful coral reefs and the most active volcano in Tonga.

If you’re into snorkeling and diving, heading to Lifuka island might be the best option for you. The island features a sandy beach accompanied by rocky patches on the eastern part which makes it an ideal destination for underwater activities. Pangai village is the only inhabited place on the island and serves as a perfect connection spot to other places.

Probably the most adventurous thing you can do is hiring a boat and go to Tofua island that features an active volcano. You can hike to the top where you can observe a crater lake and have breathtaking views over the ocean and surrounding islands. Explore pristine beaches, blowholes, volcanoes, hills and greenery. You have almost everything from history to natural wonders to hills, beaches and culture in this small island of Tonga.

3. Tuvalu


Tuvalu is one of the least visited countries in the world. The remoteness and limited accessibility of the country are the main reasons for less tourism. Tuvalu is an extremely remote island country located in the pacific ocean and somewhere in the mid of Hawaii and Australia.

Tuvalu is a small island group located between Australia and Hawaii that features sandy beaches, bright blue and calm waters, world-class water activities and great lessons from history. Since it's a group of islands, the most popular island Funafuti, that’s at the same time capital serves as the major touch point to untouched nature and tropical paradise.

Funafuti island being the only island with the airport and hotel facilities in Tuvalu is the main attraction for the tourists. Though you won’t find any tour operators or guides in the central area. Since Tuvalu boast of islands majorly the key activities would include diving and snorkeling. You can enjoy the vast diversity of marine life as well. There are 9 different coral atolls, and several small islands to spend days.

If you're looking for pure relaxation while catching the shade of palm trees and drinking fresh coconut juice, then Funafuti is an ideal destination for you. The island is known by its long lagoon that features a diverse and colorful coral reef that is home to many sea species including barracudas, manta rays and even reef sharks.

People who're into snorkeling and diving can explore a neighboring Marine Conservation Park that is known by one of the clearest waters on the planet. In the park, you can explore various diving spots and swim with sea turtles, countless fish species, and, in some seasons, you can even spot majestic whale sharks.

Funafuti Conservation Area have oceans spreading in an area of 33 square kilometres and is one of the main attractions of Tuvalu. The conversations also have reefs, lagoons, and six uninhabited islets.

The only airport in Tuvalu is Funafuti International airport. Funafuti International Airport has only four flights a week on two airlines. Fiji airlines (68 seater plane) which operate between Suva and Funafuti provides services only 3 times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) while Air Kiribati (35 seater plane) which operates between Tarawa and Funafuti provides one flight a week (Wednesday).

These are the services for the airport. There are no direct flights to Tuvalu from anywhere in the world except Fiji. Though there are connecting flights from the US, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore excluding 8 other small countries. During no flights at the airport, the runway is used as a playground.

Vaiaku Lagi Hotel, Filamona Guesthouse Funafuti and Hideaway guesthouse are the among the best stay overs in Tuvalu. Visitors from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and EU along with few other nations have visa-free access for a period of minimum 30 days to 180 days depending on the country of the tourist.

4. Solomon Islands


If you’re not attracted to visiting the major tropical hotspots such as Bali or Fiji, visiting the Solomon Islands might be the ideal destination for you. Did you know it's one of the least visited regions in the world attracting less than 50,000 people each year? Solomon Islands has it all - from historic sites and remains from WW2 to the abundant and healthy coral reefs, world-class beaches and attractive diving spots.

If you're a person who enjoys history, heading to Honiara might be the best start. Honiara features a variety of WW2 museums where you can learn details from infamous battles on the South Pacific. Also, visiting a central market offers a unique and authentic local experience where you can immerse yourself in the bustle of a tiny fisherman town and try delicious traditional seafood.

The Solomon Islands are renowned for its stunning beaches and untouched underwater world which makes it an ideal destination for diving, snorkeling and all kinds of other water activities. Head over to Ghizo Archipelago if you’re looking for true relaxation and a sweet holiday far away from the tourist crowds.

5. Cook Islands


Cook islands is a group of 15 islands. It is has an area of 94 Square miles. Cook islands are believed to first settled by Polynesian people and are in the Pacific Ocean.

The largest protected area in the world is known as Marae Moana. Marae Moana, found off the self-governing Cook Islands of New Zealand, stretches across some 1.976 million square kilometres. This is mainly ocean, but there are many tiny islands it encompasses. Home to some 600 species of fish and 136 species of corals, it is very similar in area to Mexico.

There are several other enormous marine protected areas - in fact, of the 20 largest ones, only one (Northeast Greenland NP) is terrestrial, and besides that all but six are in the Pacific Ocean. After Marae Moana, the largest ones are the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area off Antarctica, at 1.5 million square kilometres, and the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which includes part of Hawaii, which is a similar size.

6. Rakiraki, Fiji


Fiji has several labels, from the soft coral capital of the world to the best shark diving location in the world. With such titles, it is easy to call Fiji a world-class diving destination that meets all ages and qualifications. But diving in Fiji has more to offer, such as wall dives, swims, caverns, canyons and incredible blue water encounters besides family resorts.

The strong currents of the outer reefs bring nutrient-rich waters thousands of kilometres around. In turn, they attract some of the most diverse lives of the ocean, from macro life to pelagic spectacles that challenge the eye. With more than 390 species of corals, approximately 1,200 species of fish and five of the seven species of marine turtles in the world, is the dream of a submarine naturalist while travelling Fiji.

Recommended dive sites include the world famous Beqa Lagoon, Shark Reef and Viti Levu Coral Coast. For both beginners and experienced divers, exploring the Rakiraki dive site is fun. Here you can see gardens of marine fans and vibrant corals, as well as pelagic giants like the barracuda, the wahoo and the occasional blanket or the whale shark.

7. Kiribati


If you are not a crowd lover but a soul searcher here’s another in the list- Kiribati, an extremely geographically isolated nation, spread in 800 square kilometres. The place is capable of introducing you to a new face of life – which is less complicated and where family and community come first. Kiribati is one of the least visited countries in the world.

Kiribati is known for the world’s largest coral atoll and one of the dream destinations for the deep-sea divers. Christmas Island is another not-to-miss place with several lakes, white sand beaches and a one-stop place for bird lovers as millions of birds come here each year. If you love a bit of solitary and nature along with some picturesque views, outer Gilbert island is a place for you. In case you are looking to experience some local culture and village life you can straight away head to the Fanning island.

Banaba islands in the republic of Kiribati has an area of 2.3 sq. miles. Banada islands have tropical rain forest type climate; the soil in Banaba is not capable of growing anything. Spend New Year’s Eve in Kiribati to be among the first people to ring in a new calendar year in a new place and the beaches are nice as well! Local people from Kiribati are extremely extroverted and friendly in nature.

You might get an opportunity to participate in some local cultural activities and experience the Kiribati living. Kiribati dance is an epitome of Kiribati’s cultural heritage and is characterized by small movements of the body with sharp birdlike movements of the head.

There are two flights that fly once in two weeks from Nauru and Marshall Islands. While if you are traveling from India you can take a direct flight to Fiji, take a stay, and then fly to Kiribati. Flights are operational twice in a week from Fiji. Tarawa boutique hotel, Lagoon Breeze lodge, and Captain cook hotel are best-rated accommodations in Kiribati.

Visa is free for US, UK, Canada, Australia, EU nationals, and few other countries for a stay in Kiribati for up to 30 days and 120 days depending on the country of the visitors.

8. Nauru


Most of the well-known destinations that we know or have traveled to are mostly from the countries which are either strong and developed nations or the best developing economies. The least visited countries in the world are sadly nowhere in the picture. Such heavy tourism to a limited part of the world has given ways to the new global issues in recent years known as – ‘Overtourism’.

Some places even have to make some short term arrangements to shut down tourism to deal with the overflow. In order to deal with such an issue, we should steer away from the well-trodden paths and look out for some offbeat places in the world.

Some of the least known countries which were either ruled by Japan, Europe, or the US in the past have such a mesmerizing archipelago that is ‘untouched’ and preserves some of the rare species of the world. Sustainable tourism with good awareness is required to help such nations bloom again. Let’s take a quick look at some of the least visited countries in the world.

Formerly known as the Pleasant Island and officially called the Republic of Nauru one of the smallest countries lying in the middle of the pacific ocean. Among the least visited countries in the world Nauru sits at the top of the list with 100-200 visitors a year. Nauru is spread in an area of 21 square kilometres, and bags the title of the third smallest country in the world next to Vatican City and Monaco.

Nauru was inhabited by Micronesian and Polynesians first. The island in general terms is the result of formation of phosphate rocks. With only few annual tourists in the second-least-visited country in the world, visit the tiny country that no one seems to visit!

This island has one operating airport Nauru International Airport with Nauru airlines operating as the passenger airline. Nauru airlines serve to 4 destinations – Brisbane (Australia), Nadi (Fiji), Tarawa (Kiribati), Majuro (Marshall Islands). The main ones though are Australia and Fiji. Menen hotel, Capalle & Partner – Ewa lodge, Od’n Aiwo Hotel are some of the top-rated hotels in Nauru.

You can visit one of the best beach Anibare Bay and take a dip in Anibore Harbor which is the best spot for swimming. Or you can hike up to Command Ridge, Nauru’s highest point with WWI artifacts. You can also enjoy the view of the whole country from the top.

9. Niue


The island country of Niue is world's largest coral islands. Samoan people inhabited the island as the main settlers. It is perfect example of nature's untouched beauty. Niue is a beautiful pacific nation which have some really beautiful sites. Wander around the beautiful lime stone caves, go for snorkeling, grab a fresh coconut and sit on the white sands in the beach. What more do you need in a beach vacation. And Niue offers all of these.

10. Marshall Islands


Marshall Islands is one of the least visited countries in the world. If you wish to see some local traditions of Marshallese culture visit the Alele Museum. Majuro the central city and the capital of Marshall island houses two popular atolls – Bikini and Arno. Each atoll has several small islands for you to explore. For people who love diving Kalalin pass is a not-to-miss.

There are several flights from Honolulu to Majuro (capital of Marshall Island). Hotel Rober Reimers, Hotel Marshall Island, Arno B&B are good options in Marshall Island to scroll through.

11. Samoa


Talofa lava, welcome to Samoa and the genuine South Seas! Samoa offers its visitors beautiful beaches, exciting nature and authentic Polynesian culture. Here you can during the day to experience pure white beaches, Samoan traditions and amazing food cooked in earth ovens. Divide your time between the two islands of Upolu and Savai'i, both with stunning waterfalls, lush rainforest and perfect beaches lined with palm trees.

Here you will not see many tourists. The dream of the South Pacific's Samoa!

Samoa was the chosen destination, not because of a particular preference but because of an air offer that was too tempting for us. Samoa gave us much more than the beaches that showed us the tourist brochures, and for that reason it seems like a fantastic destination, especially if you are in New Zealand or Australia.

To those crystal clear waters and golden sands, there are waterfalls, jungle, volcanoes, lava fields and, for us, the great attraction of traveling to Samoa, the traditions and lifestyle (Fa'a Samoa) that are preserved much more authentic than in other neighboring islands. In addition, it is the second cheapest destination in the Pacific after Fiji.

If your motivation for traveling to Samoa is only beaches, there are other much cheaper places in Southeast Asia. But if you are also interested in the culture of Polynesia and be part, even for a few days, of one of those remote corners where mass tourism did not arrive, then start planning.

Upolu is the most populated and modern island, where Apia (capital) has Faleolo International Airport and Lalomanu is the most tourist beach. At the western end is the Mulifanua port, from where ferries leave for Savai'i. Salelologa is the port and town where practically all the services are (markets, ATMs, bus terminal, hotels).

There is also a dock where boats go to Manono and another point (it can not be called pier) for Apolima. Manono is easy to get from Upolu but gives the feeling of being lost in the middle of the ocean. Between Pago Pago, the capital of neighboring American Samoa (US territory), and Apia, there are ferries.

And if you want to go to one of the most remote destinations in the world, twice a month there are boats to Tokelau, an archipelago of 1500 inhabitants that administratively depends on New Zealand, but culturally much closer to Samoa.

It is a hard trip of 24 to 32 hours when the wind is in favor, which explains the isolation of these islands. The place that handles all the information related to the ferry to Tokelau is the Tokelau Apia Liaison Office, which is close to the Clock Tower of Apia. The only way to have an estimated date before traveling is to write from the Government of Tokelau page, if they respond, but once in Apia you will be able to have more data.

It is definitely a trip only for those who are very convinced. Samoa is synonymous with Fale when it comes to lodging. These typical beach constructions are wooden huts with straw roof and mosquito net, ranging from the most basic ones with a mattress on the floor and winding curtains instead of walls.

A cheap hotel in Apia is around USD 15 to 20, and a simple fale on the beach is at T 70-100 per person including breakfast and dinner (cheaper in Savai'i).

Eating at the stalls of the markets will cost between T 5 and 10 per meal. The local beer, Vailima, costs between T3 and 4.

Have you ever been to the South Pacific Islands? What’s your favorite place in the area? Don’t hesitate to share your experiences below.
Kalyan Panja