Fiji

This island archipelago in the South Pacific is made up of 333 tropical islands some of which remain uninhabited to this day.  The islands make up 9 separate groups of which the Conway Reef islands and the Skerries are the smallest and the Vanua Levu Group the largest.

The island groupings which make up this island paradise are Conway Reef, Kadavu Group, Lau Islands, Lomaviti Islands, Mamanuca Islands, Rotuma Group, Vanua Levu Group, Viti Levu Group and the Yasawa Islands.

It is thought that the forebears of ethnic Fijians arrived on the islands as far back as the 2nd millennium BC, but the islands were not discovered again until the Dutch and British arrived in the 17th and 18th centuries.  The Fijian chiefs eventually offered to cede control of the islands to the British in 1874 and the islands of Fiji became a British dependency.

The British then set about developing the islands as a sugar-cane growing colony and as the plantations prospered more and more cheap labour was needed.  40 years from the start of the plantations the islands’ population was insufficient to meet this demand,  so the British imported indentured labour from its colonies in India.  Indentured labour, which is, of course, just slavery in disguise, was finally stopped in 1920.  This left the Indian population vying for employment and space on the islands and racial tension between ethnic Fijians and Fijian-Indians began.

Fiji’s Independence was won in 1970 and Indian Fijian’s dominated the government and the already existing racial tensions heightened resulting finally in a coup in 1987.  At this point, many Indian Fijian’s found it difficult to remain on the islands and many fled.  It was clear something had to be done and a new constitution was drafted for the islands which took effect in 1998.  The island is now governed by a multiracial government and the islands have become known as

Today visitors can choose from the most luxurious holidays on Luxury private islands, mid-range all-inclusive resorts, or budget packages.  The islands offer much for those who love golden sands and clear calm seas.  Scuba diving and water sports are the most popular activities but there is a growing interest in eco-tourism  and adventure tourism as the islands become better known and part of the tourism industries mainstream.

The many choices afforded to the visitor in Fiji means that often visitors face a dilemma when it comes to choosing the right island destination for their particular needs, so a little more background information is often sought.

Fiji’s island groupings

Vitu Levu

The capital city of Suva and Fiji’s international airport are on Vitu Levu which is Fiji’s largest island.  Arriving by plane the visitor lands in the town of Nadi, which is treated as more of a night stop by most as they move on to more idyllic settings. However, Nadi also offers holiday adventure activities outside the town.

Suva

Suva the Capital of Fiji is also where most of the industry of the island is to be found.  So although not an ideal holiday destination it is worth a short visit to visit the mahogany rainforest or savour some of the modern day multi-cultural cuisines that is offered in the many restaurants and cafés that offer authentic curries, and mouth-watering seafood.

Denarau Island

Denarau Island: is not far from Nadi and is much favoured as on this island most of Fiji’s best hotels are to be found.  The coast offers great opportunities for water sports, snorkelling and scuba diving.  There is also a Marina where the luxurious yachts of the well-heeled are berthed.  The inter-island ferry also docks in the Marina offering a regular service to Manamucas and Yasawas both of which are paradise for those who love to snorkel in crystal clear waters.  On the Yasawas accommodation ranges from backpacker-basic to upmarket luxury.

Pacific Harbour

Pacific Harbour:  Whether you are looking for backpacker type accommodation or top of the range you will find resorts here that cater to every budget.  The best beaches of the island are here as are boutique shops, and Arts village and everything you could wish for in the way of water sports and adventure activities.  There is really great surfing at Frigate’s Passage and scuba diving at Beqa Lagoon.

The Coral Coast:

The Coral Coast: If you are looking for a great scuba diving spot then this is where to come.  The many resorts on this stretch of coastline offer many varied activities and tours as well as boat rides to the best diving areas.

The Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast: If you are looking for somewhere to experience unspoilt Fiji, the dry Sunshine Coast has many traditional villages to explore where mosques and temples are also to be found.  Some holiday homes here are offered as holiday rentals and there are a few boutique resorts.  From here there is easy access to the Bligh Waters region where the diving is superb.

The Highlands:  The eco-tourist in you will be delighted with the lush green of the highlands where you can hike from village to village and get to see authentic Fiji.

Ovalau and the Lomaiviti Group

Not far from Viti Levu is the Island of Ovalau.  The once capital of Fiji, Levuka is situated on the island and is full of colonial buildings to explore.  Outside the city, you can hike through the mountains and visit the many traditional villages.

The small chain of islands that includes Leleuvia, Naigani and Koro host some mid-range resorts and Wakaya Island is host to the famed exclusive and luxury Wakaya Club.

Kadavu Group

South of Vitu Levu lies the Kadavu group of islands with Kadavu Island the fourth largest island of Fiji.  It is the least developed of the tourist islands and there are not many roads, although more modern roads are planned.  However, tourists come here to enjoy the fabulous snorkelling and diving to be had at the surrounding

Vanau Levu Group

This archipelago in the north of Fiji is not a bustling tourist oriented group of islands and the largest island of the same name is the 2nd largest in Fiji.  It is a destination that offers much to the more adventurous traveller.  It is possible to arrange a homestay in the town of Savusavu and there are some excellent back-packer resorts.  In its protected bay many yachts find safe harbour and along the coast are some high-end luxury resorts that boast glorious beaches and some of the region’s most spectacular dive spots.

Apart from sun, sand and water, there is a rainforest and the Wasali Nature reserve with its many hiking trails that lead to lookout spots with the most breathtakingly beautiful views.  If you really want to explore and find something really different then near Labasa you can wander the Hibiscus highway or seek out the Snake Temple.

Conway Reef

This is a coral reef, inhabited only by birds, is part of the Western Division of Fiji.  It is virtually inaccessible except by a shallow tender and then only at high tide.  There is a small sandy 2-hectare cay on the reef with only a little scrub vegetation.  The only people who go out as far as the reef are extremely experienced divers who apart from exploring the reef, enjoy a dive around the two sunken wrecks in the pristine waters.

The Rotuma Group

Home to its indigenous people with their own unique language is not particularly keen on developing a tourist infrastructure, so there are no hotels or resorts on this group of islands to the north of Fiji.  However, it is possible to pay a short visit to explore and experience life on the islands where the influence of the outside world is minimal.  The number of visitors to the islands is strictly regulated and as far as can be established are not permitted to number more than 100 each year.

Pacific Islands

The islands of the Pacific are situated on the Pacific Ocean. It is divided into the three ethnic-geographic groups namely Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. It excludes the island continent of Australia, the Asia-related Indonesian, Japanese and Philippine archipelagoes. The islands cover over 300,000 square miles or 800,000 square km of land, of which New Zealand and New Guinea make up nine-tenth. Apart from these, there are independent states, dependent states, associated states and fundamental parts of Non-Pacific Island countries.

The arc of islands situated towards the north and east of Australia and then the south of the Equator is known as Melanesia. It comprises of New Guinea Island, Bismarck Archipelago, Vanuatu (the New Hebrides), Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Fiji.

North of Equator and east of Philippines are islands of Micronesia, which ranges from Palau, Guam and goes up to Northern Mariana Islands. It goes through the west eastward side of Federated States of Micronesia (Caroline Islands), Nauru, the Marshall Islands to Kiribati.

The eastern Pacific is enclosed with the triangle shape of Hawaiian Islands towards the north, then New Zealand to the southwest and Easter Island (Rapa Nui) to the east. They also have numerous Polynesian Islands in this section. Some widely scattered islands from west to east would include Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna, Niue, Samoa, American Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Cook Islands and French Polynesia.

The main islands span through the Equator obliquely, right from north-west to south-east. It is divided into two main physiographic regions according to the island type of continental or oceanic. The deep ocean trenches result in the Andesite Line, which goes along the eastern borders of Japan, Marianas, Solomon Islands, New Guinea, New Zealand and Fiji. The lines separate basaltic volcanic islands of the eastern and central region from the western Pacific margin. This side has a contrast of metamorphosed rocks, andesitic volcanic materials and sediments.

The continental islands which lie southwestward of Andesite Line are folded in mountainous arcs and are higher and larger than the ones farther towards the east. The soil is rich here, and can support all types of vegetation. These islands are larger and the notable ones for tourism are Marianas, New Guinea, Bismarcks, Solomons, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji and New Zealand. They support richer mineral-bearing soils than other counterparts.

The main lava material of the oceanic type of islands is basalt. They are specified with high volcanic-based islands like Hawaii, or atolls and coral islands like Marshalls. Most of the Pacific islands are coral formations, although the lie on volcanic or other cores. The shallow waters of the tropics are prone to having coral growth in both continental and oceanic islands. These are a form of fringing reefs or partially submerged consolidated limestone along with coral organisms at the edge of the ocean. Numerous islands have sunk due to geologic actions and floods due to melting icecaps. When islands flood, the coral growth continues outward and that produces barrier reefs to form further from shorelines, and these are separated by lagoons.

The prehistoric parts which have no written records date back to 33,000 years according to archaeological remains at the Bismarck Archipelago. Migration to this region had started over 40,000 years ago. The settlers reached habitable islands by 2nd millennium CE. The arrival of Europeans happened in the early 16th century and since then, the culture, population and economy of the islands started transforming. From passing explorers to permanent inhibitors, the islands started gaining importance from late 18th century. During 19th and 20th centuries, there were numerous settlers, immigrated labourers, European administrators, etc. The missionaries and immigrants still take up significant segments of their population today. However, European governments have withdrawn from the region except France.

Climate of Pacific Islands:

Since the Pacific Islands are divided into the three regions, it is better to explain their climatic differences individually. They are as follow:

  1. Climate at Melanesia Islands:

These islands are located in the South Pacific and have a tropical climate all through the year. The hot and humid months are from November to April, while May to October stays drier and cooler. The countries close to the equator like Tuvalu, Samoa and Solomon Islands are warmer than the ones towards the south, like Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga.

  1. Climate at Micronesia Islands:

These islands have a touch of tropical weathers as well and are also divided into two major seasons. The dry seasons span from December to April, while the rest of the months are rainy. They have heavy rainfall from July to October. The temperature is always bearable being between 26-32° Celsius. The waters are just about or below 30° Celsius. Micronesia is prone to typhoons from July to mid-November and that can cause floods and erosion. They are mostly towards the north-west and rarely reach the islands, and sometimes not strong enough for destruction too.

  1. Climate at Polynesian Islands:

The climate here can be described as warm and tropical. The temperatures are warm almost through the year but that maximum to expect is 35° Celsius. The trade winds from east and south-east bring in some cooling breezes by late noon and early eve. The tropical rain season lies from December to February and also coincides with the warmest summer months! Summers are from November to February, but it gets mildly cold during the nights, from April to September, which is supposedly their winter months. Typhoons are likely to hit from January to mid-March. However, they aren’t much of a danger to the islands.

Pacific Island Attractions:

The Pacific Islands as a traveller’s destination is packed with adventures in pristine landscapes, boldest natural spectacles, and friendly cultural interaction. People from nations around, love to come here and indulge in the infrastructures, natural treats, off-beaten tracks and amenities. The main islands of Pacific for visits would include:

  1. American Samoa
  2. Cook Islands
  3. The Federated States of Micronesia
  4. Fiji
  5. French Polynesia
  6. Guam
  7. Kiribati
  8. Marshall Islands
  9. Nauru
  10. New Caledonia
  11. Niue
  12. Northern Mariana Islands
  13. Palau
  14. Papua New Guinea
  15. Samoa
  16. Solomon Islands
  17. Timor-Leste
  18. Tonga
  19. Tuvalu
  20. Vanuatu

All of these are easily accessible by water and air, and have the real adventures in store for you! Get active in the middle of the hidden and remote areas, go into the jungles and interiors of the islands, laze around the rivers and explore rich biodiversity. From venturing into the underwater swimming to mingling with some local people, every experience is delightful here.

Caribbean Islands

The Caribbean, which has mostly been referred to West Indies, has over 7,000 islands in its periphery. Out of these, 13 islands are independent countries, and some are dependent on countries overseas. In addition to this, there are numerous coral reefs, islets and cays, which might or might not be inhabited by people.

Geographically the islands are situated on the Caribbean Sea, and all of them are close to the south-east of Gulf of Mexico, north of South America and east of Central America and Mexico. Some of the cays, reefs and islets border the main islands from these places. Bahamas and Turks and Caicos aren’t a part of Caribbean, but their geographical and political associations with the Caribbean Islands records them just like other islands.

At early 15th century, the population of Caribbean had been estimated to be around 900,000 indigenous people just before the European touch. When Italian explorer, Christopher Columbus, began exploring in 1492, it was the first time, for Europeans to venture into the Caribbean. He had landed at the eastern Bahamas and reportedly named it ‘Indies’. This was because he thought it was Asia and East Indies.

Numerous explorers followed the path and then started settling here from America, Europe, China and some more countries like India. In this mix, some religious outcasts and a small army of pirates were included too! Across the Caribbean, African slaves were imported for working in sugar and tobacco plantations. By this time, the indigenous populations at the islands started declining. This was due to the exposure of diseases and also due to brutal genocide. Great military powers kept fighting to have their control on the islands, and it finally boiled down to a mixture of African and European culture. The languages transformed, and the large group of islands started bringing people close to one another. Today, it is one of the prime tourist destinations in the world, and you can never have enough of it!

Climate of Caribbean:

Winters are a great time to come to these islands because people like to escape the extreme cold in the north.  Tourism booms from the middle of December and goes right through April. The weather, this time, comes with slight rainfall, with about 80mm at the most. Two drawbacks which can shift your tour to some other time would be crowds and expense.

The shoulder season to tour is late spring when the weather is milder at north. The weather is warm with slight rainfall but the islands are less busy. The temperature is about 20 to 30 degree Celsius and travellers get a great discount for accommodation.

If the weathers are hot in the north, the Caribbean vacation decreases quite a lot. This makes June to August, their offseason for visits. It rains heavily during these months but when it is clear, it is sunny and bright. It day temperature usually stays over 30 degree Celsius but reduces at nights.

From June to November, the islands are prone to hurricanes. A lot of locals shy away from this season even though all areas are not equally affected. Planning a trip to the Caribbean at this time will need you to be specific about where you go. The southeastern region has less of hurricanes, while southwestern and northeastern have most. Tripping during these months can be risky, but the risk-takers are benefitted with unbelievable touring rates, out and about the islands.

Caribbean Attractions:

People have been flying to Caribbean Islands, over the last few decades, to enjoy their amenities. Visitors frequently come on cruise ships, or by air, and spend their vacation in any of the main islands they want. Caribbean boasts of its palm trees, turquoise waters and white sand beaches. It is at most times, blessed with the sunshine and the climate stays favourable to tour. Visitors who come here, want to come back again, as they can never have enough of the jungle-covered rocks, beaches, flora and fauna, activities and the historical surprises they are acquainted with.

There is nothing subtle about the landscapes of these islands. When you walk on the beaches, your toes will touch the perfect sand, as you look at the heavenly picturesque around. When you hike through the emerald wilderness, you can spot some red orchids and yellow parrots. The colours are infectious from the time you step in. The birds shed their dull plumage, and the travellers leave their grey and black clothes, at the wardrobe. Swimming below the waters would take you by some colourful darting fishes and corals. The beach bars are coloured like paint factories have exploded, and you add some more to the ambience with a glass of rum in your hand. The islands look like a colour palette which gleams up the experience for every local or visitor.

Main Islands to tour the Caribbean:

Planning a trip to the Caribbean Islands will give you numerous places to choose from, so we have listed the main islands to make your choice simpler. As you go through the descriptions, it will give you a rough idea of what you can expect when you get there. These come with the best attractions and amenities, which make your trip worthwhile. The main islands in the Caribbean are as follows:

  1. Anguilla
  2. Antigua and Barbuda
  3. Aruba
  4. Bahamas
  5. Barbados
  6. Belize
  7. British Virgin Islands
  8. Cuba
  9. Dominica
  10. Dominican Republic
  11. Grenada
  12. Guyana
  13. Haiti
  14. Jamaica
  15. Montserrat
  16. Netherlands Antilles
  17. Puerto Rico
  18. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  19. Saint Lucia
  20. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  21. Suriname
  22. Trinidad and Tobago
  23. United States Virgin Islands

You get all types of island adventure here, and when you get to choose from so many options, you know you have a variance to the beaches, flavours and cultures. You cannot ask for more from a beach paradise with the loveliest sands, party-like resort atmospheres, remotes areas to explore and unveiling the centuries-old culture. You might also possibly discover the inner pirate in you, so getting your trip planned now!

(AIMS) Africa, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea

Africa, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South Chinas Sea, together abbreviated as AIMS, have 9 main islands under the group of Small Island Developing States. Out of 52 Small Island Developing States and 9 from the region of AIMS, 6 islands are under Africa. These are Cape Verde, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, São Tomé and Príncipe and Seychelles. Seychelles comprise of 115 islands and takes up the smallest area compared to the rest, while Guinea Bissau is the largest with 80 islands in total. Apart from the African islands, we have Bahrain, Maldives and Singapore.

These countries trigger vivid picturesque images to tourists who characterise the tranquil beaches, green landscapes, turquoise waters and reefs, as heaven on earth. The islands are very beautiful for a tour and are diverse socially, economically, politically and geographically. Although, they are prone to cyclones, hurricanes, storms and droughts, with frequent climatic changes as well, they are preferred by tourists who love to explore. People just need to be a little careful on their vacation timings, and they’d get the best of these islands. Let us read through some short descriptions on them, after which you can browse through the detailed descriptions:

Bahrain:

Bahrain Islands are an archipelago to the Middle East and lie by the Arab Gulf. Travellers love to come here because it is socially liberal and yet gives the authentic Arab feel. The culture of the people reflects a cosmopolitan side and they make an apt tourist’s destination with its sophistication and amenities. The climate here is like a tropical desert climate and stays usually dry. The best times to tour would be from winters to spring.

Cape Verde:

This island country lies on the Atlantic Ocean. Most islands here are mountainous and had been out of resources for a long time. It has been developing since the 21st century after they had devastating famines in later 20th century. At present, it has seen a positive reputation after promoting stable democracy in Africa. The increase in standard of living higher and politically liberations have improved their tourism scenario. The climate here is mostly temperate with warm and dry summers. The best time for visits is around and after September when the rainfall is just over.

Comoros:

This island nation is situated off the East Africa coast and falls on the Indian Ocean. Landing here takes you away from the clutter and busy lives, among some sprawling hotels, neon discos, amazing eateries and lots of activities to do. It is one of the most economical places to tour through, as they standard of living is low. The climate here is tropical and pretty warm. The coastal areas are usually hot and humid, with occasional rains and cyclones.

Guinea-Bissau:

This is a country which is also into developments and improvements, with many saddening reports but is yet successful in pulling off a travellers smile. From the loud to tender music, from grilled oysters with lime to faded colonial houses, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The climate here keeps fluctuating all through. The average is 26.3° Celsius and rainfalls are around 2,024 mm, but mostly accounted from June to September. The country goes through a drought period from December to April, so travel plans ought to be made accordingly.

Maldives:

It is an archipelago comprising of 1,192 islands and is grouped in 26 coral atolls. It is situated on the Indian Ocean, falls under Southern Asia and is south-southwest of India. Maldives came into prominence as a tourist’s destination after the 1970s. Today, it is not only a popular tourist’s site but also comprises of its 300,000 inhabitants. Tourism accounts for over 28% of their GDP, which assures you that coming here, can never be wrong! The climate here is tropical and gets plenty of sunshine. The temperature stays around 30° Celsius, and rains are mostly from April to October.

Mauritius:

This multi-cultural island falls on the Indian Ocean and is situated east of Madagascar. Like Maldives, this too is a popular tourist’s hub and has heavy crowds all year round. The island is known for its beaches, lagoons, reefs, along with volcanoes, rainforests, waterfalls, and hiking trails. The temperature is tropical but modified by south-east trade winds. They are dry during winter months between May to November and hot and humid from November to May.

São Tomé and Príncipe:

This is a small island country lying off the Atlantic coast. It is located in the Gulf of Guinea and straddles through the Equator. It was discovered by Portugal in late 15th century, and the islands had been a sugar-based economy which then gave way to produce coffee and cocoa. The palm-fringed beaches, emerald rainforest, mellow fishing villages and soaring volcanic peaks, are few of the highlights which attract people to tour the country. The climate is tropical by the waters, and takes makes is hot and humid with about 27 ° Celsius at an average. The interior gets cool during the rights and is full of rain from October to May.

Seychelles:

As mentioned before, there are 115 islands in this archipelago, which lies on the Indian Ocean, and off the East African coast. The beaches look like they have been powdered with white sands, and are lapped by topaz waters. The landscapes follow up with lush hills and it is one of the truest tropical paradises to travel through. The climate stays moderate with less of heat or cold. The temperature rarely goes below 24° Celsius or and 32° Celsius.

Singapore:

The Singapore Island in South Asia was founded as a British trading colony from 1819. Since then, it has been one of the most prosperous countries. Blending the skyscrapers and subways of modernity, the region is a medley of Chinese, Indian and Malaysian influences. The climate here is tropical and people love to come here for food and shopping. Their vibrant night-life scene is also one attractive side to see. What makes Singapore easy to tour are their less stringent entry requirements. A lot of people tend to fly in here for work and inhabitance.

WSSD

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) convened from 26 August to 4 September 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa, reaffirmed the international community’s commitment to ‘full implementation’ of Agenda 21, alongside achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and other international agreements. The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI), adopted at WSSD, sets out new commitments and priorities for action on sustainable development. It is divided in to eleven chapters, each with its own specific focus.

 

WSSD and SIDS

The WSSD reaffirmed the special case of SIDS, dedicating Chapter VII of the JPOI to the sustainable development of SIDS in which it identified a set of priority actions, called for a full and comprehensive review of the BPOA in 2004, and requested the General Assembly at its 57th session to consider convening an international meeting on the sustainable development of SIDS.

 

New Partnerships

Non-negotiated partnerships for sustainable development, also known as Type II partnerships/initiatives, were also a key outcome of the WSSD. As of April 2011, 59 such partnerships registered with the CSD Secretariat focus on the sustainable development of SIDS. However, few of them are currently active.

 

Follow-up to WSSD

In a follow-up to WSSD, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution (A/57/262), inter alia, called for a 10-year comprehensive review of the BPoA at a high-level international meeting.

Vanuatu

Vanuatu is a chain of islands shaped like a ‘Y’, extending about 1176km in a north-south direction and placed between equator and tropic of Capricorn. It is closest to the Solomon Islands in the north and is also neighbored by New Caledonia towards south-west and Fiji to the east. The capital of Vila is about 1900km from north-east of Brisbane, Australia. The main Vanuatu airport is located here, making it accessible to the other nations. Vanuatu has more than 80 islands with a population of around 200,000 people.
Vanuatu weather is very warm, and you get to see lush tropical bushes everywhere. The summer rains make it greener, and they are followed by beaches, coloured in black or white sands. There are interesting coral reefs which make the waters pleasant to swim and snorkel. These islands are known for their nut growth, and you’d get numerous types here. From coconuts to peanut and navel nuts you have a lot to choose from, as the fertile sole and weather, adds to eat vegetation.
Vanuatu facts, through archaeological researchers, indicate that human beings have lived here for over 3000 years now. New Guinea happened to be the first to colonise Vanuatu. Crossing over from one island nation to another was long and dangerous, and the canoes included animals and plants as well. Migration was frequent until people started settling down. By the end of the 1800s, French and British had settled in the islands and signed agreements to make it a condominium. The nation got independence at 1980, but by then, the blend of cultures had made it quite cosmopolitan. The islands are known to have over 20 major languages, out of which Bislama, English and French are most commonly known. There are more than 115 mother tongues, which the locals commonly use among themselves.
The traditional cultures have been kept intact by the Melanesian people. It is not only about rituals, ceremonies and traditions, but the entire way of living, which is reflected on to how they interpret a situation, when occurred. The customs and traditions date back to centuries, and they ensure on showing respect with other communities. Their customs are reflected during the regular celebrations and events they go through, for example, marriage ceremonies, death rituals, etc. They have law and order which they strictly maintain for these. People generally resolve disputes peacefully by sorting out matters, and by exchanging gifts like foods, mats and pigs!
Vanuatu tourism will take you through the lovely islands, coral reefs, two colours of sands, volcanic landscapes, quiet beaches, friendly locals, fresh seafood, tranquil waters, economic stays, luxurious Vanuatu resorts and all the amenities that you’d need for vacationing at an island. Let us read through the top things to do and places to visit ay Vanuatu, so that you can make the most of your tour.

Samoa

This is an island nation, located in the South Pacific Ocean, and falls under the Polynesian territory. The population of the people is around 185,000, but many shift abroad for better opportunities. This island nation is halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. It has narrow coastal plains and comes with volcanic rugged mountains in the interior. The two main islands here are Upolu and Savaii. Upolu has an airport, which makes connectivity easier to all other parts.

The islands are serene yet spirited, they have their wild sides with well-maintained tourist’s locations, perfect for quietness but had volcanic origins – all these make it a paradisiacal paradox! The intense beauty of nature blended with iridescent seas, crystal waterfalls and jade jungles, make it a humble place and cut you out from commonly seen mega-resorts or flashy attractions.

Geographically and culturally, this nation is referred to the heart of Polynesia. Although the missionaries at the 1800s were pretty influential, the country still clung to Fa’a Samoa (the Samoan Way), and this is why it still retains the authentic and traditional side to Pacific societies. Despite its isolation, this nation is accessible to adventures! From the relative ruckus of Apia to the solitary times at Savai’i, you will have a nice experience to go through the best of both.

The climate in these islands are tropical and come with rain, sometimes a little of cyclones too. The wet months are from October to March, while the May to October is dry. The average temperature all through the year is 26.5° Celsius. This makes it a great time to tour during the winters, for the people living in the southern hemisphere.

Tuvalu

Tuvalu is a formation of atolls along with a group of low-lying islands, located in the South Pacific. It forms the 4th smallest country in the world and is a pretty neat place to tour through. During the British Colonial times, this place was called Ellice Islands. The current name translates as ‘cluster of eight’. This is because, even though there are 9 islands right now, the smallest one of Niulakita was inhabited by humans at 1949. It is believed that the ancestors of these islands were mostly from Samoa, and some came from Tonga and Wallis. Most of them were Polynesian settlers, except for Nui – where people descended from Kiribati.
The islands here are flat and hardly go over 15 feet. Funafuti, Nui, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae and Nanumea are five atolls, which are large circular columns made of corals, and they rise vertically from the sea bed. These form reefs and the coral islands occur where the corals go above high tide level. Apart from the coral islands, you will come across large lagoons which are also enclosed within the reefs. They are both natural and man-made. There are islets at Funafuti, which occurred when the American forces extracted material for the runway, during World War II. You get flights to Tuvalu land at Funafuti, and we assume that you’d want to get here, especially if you are new to the destination.
There are four more islands, apart from the atolls, and they are pinnacles of land which rose from the seabed. Some of these have salt-water ponds in the interior, and some like Nanumea are famous for a fresh-water pond, which is rare among atolls. Most lands are covered with coconut palms, and to sum up, you get the best of an island experience here.
The climate at Tuvalu is hot tropical, with very little variation during the seasons. The Easterly trade winds make the weather slightly moderate, which lasts from March to November. The westerly gales come with heavy rain for the rest of the year. The islands aren’t prone to much of natural hazards but since they are at a low level, they are sensitive with the sea level alteration. The average annual temperature is about 30° Celsius with 3535mm of rains. The best time to visit this place is from March to November, which frees it from the heavy rains.
Tuvalu sinking is one of the major concerns in the area. It is predicted to be one of the first countries to be washed away due to global warming. Tuvalu tourism is all about making the most of the places till they survive.

Singapore

Location and Geography of Singapore

Lying between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, Singapore lies just off the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula in Southeast Asia.  The main island Pulau Ujong with its 62 surrounding islands make up the world’s only island-city-state with Singapore city covering most of the main island.  The highest point on the island is Bukit Timah Hill 163.63m (537ft).

In the north Singapore is connected to Johor in Malasia by a road and rail link: ‘The Johor-Singapore Causeway’, which also provides a means of piping water to Singapore.  In the west, there is the bridge known as the ‘Tuas Second Link’ also linking Singapore to Johor.  The bridge having been constructed with the aim of relieving traffic congestion on the causeway.

As a result of ongoing land reclamation, the island of Singapore is steadily growing in size.  It has already increased its size by some 23% and more projects to add another 100 km2 are to be completed in 2030.

Climate of Singapore

The climate in Singapore is typical of Southeast Asia.  It is hot and humid throughout the year with night time temperatures never dropping lower than 20°C (68°F)and daytime temperatures reaching as high as 30°C (86°F) or even higher.  Humidity is usually around 75%.

The rainy season is through November and December although it does rain throughout the year, but rain usually comes in short downpours.

History of Singapore

Once known as the Kingdom of Singapura this island state was established as a trading port in 1299 and because of its strategic position as a gateway to the East, suffered a number of invasions before the Majapahit of Java (Indonesia) totally destroyed the city in 1398.  The city was then rebuilt and Singapore became part of the Johor Sultanate.  However, in 1613 it was totally destroyed by fire set by Portuguese raiders and thereafter, although the area was under the control of the Dutch, Singapore was largely forgotten until the British took over and began colonising the islands in 1819.

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles was the Lieutenant-Governor of British Java from 1811 to 1815 and during the Napoleonic Wars was involved in the wrestling the Indonesian island of Java from the Dutch and French.  In 1819 having established that there was no Dutch presence on the island, Raffles secured permission to establish a settlement.  With a treaty signed by Hussein Shah, the Crown Prince of Johor, Raffles set about establishing the British settlement of Singapore and finally the Dutch gave up their claim to the island.  By this time the original population of the island, approximately 500 – 1000 Malay and Chinese, was being added to by administrators, traders and soldiers growing the numbers to 5000.  By 1923 the population on the island had grown so exponentially that it became clear that something had to be done to maintain law and order and a police force and magistracy were established along British lines so what had been a trading post, gradually began to evolve into a law-abiding city. By 1860, with the influx of immigrants from China, the population on the island had grown to 80,000.  These immigrants came to work on the rubber plantations established by the British and Singapore soon became known for its international rubber exports.

The Second World War.

Prior to the war, in 1938, the General Officer Commanding of the Malaya Command issued warnings to Britain of the likelihood of an attack by Japan but sadly these warnings were not acted upon.  The Japanese invaded British Malaya and finally Singapore was conquered at the Battle of Singapore in 1942.  The Japanese occupation of the islands resulted in the Sook Ching massacre that took the lives of tens of thousands of Chinese.  The suffering of the people of the island did not end there, as by November 1944 the Allies, in an attempt to regain control of the island, began their bombing raids in November 1944 continuing them until May 1945 during which the harbour was destroyed as well as power supplies, and the islands water supply systems.

The Japanese surrender was signed at the Singapore City Hall on 12 September 1945 and a British Military Administration was set up to govern the island until on 01 April 1946 Singapore became a separate crown colony.

Tin and rubber exports took the island along the road to recovery but the experience of the war led to much political upheaval, and anti-colonial sentiment and so began the cry for independence.

Self-government for Singapore

After the May 1959 elections Singapore, under the People’s Action Party, took responsibility for its own internal administration and the island became a self-governing state, and in 1963 a partnership with Malaysia formed the Federation of Malaysia.

The Federation of Malaysia did not last long as differences in ideologies and community disagreements led to the Singapore race riots of 1964.  Finally, without a single delegate from Singapore, the Malaysian Parliament voted to expel Singapore, and she was once again on her own, achieving independence as a republic on 9 August 1965.

The success of modern-day Singapore is attributed to the policies of Lee Kuan Yew, the then Prime Minister.  His son Lee Hsien Loong became Singapore’s third Prime Minister in 2004 and after his party’s seats in Parliament diminished after the 2011 elections he set about restructuring the economy raising productivity, providing grants and improving the island’s healthcare system.

2015 was the year of Singapore’s Golden Jubilee celebrations with the People’s Action Party still the popular choice.

Singapore Today

Singapore today is a modern cosmopolitan city which still reveres its ethnic roots in such quarters as Little India, Arab Street and Chinatown.  The beaches offer many water-sport options including sailing.  This city-state is a mecca of shops, restaurants and resorts. A model public transport system provides a reliable, clean, comfortable and affordable way of getting around.  Singapore is a clean, efficient and decidedly friendly city where everything works like clockwork and the crime rate is the lowest in the world.

Nauru

Location

This tiny island of 21 square km is an independent country, the smallest in the world, lying some 25 miles south of the equator in the Pacific Ocean.  Its nearest neighbour is 300kms to the East, is the island of Banaba which is part of the Republic of Kiribati and Sydney Australia lies some 4750+ km to the southwest with the Solomon Islands lying approximately halfway between Nauru and Australia.

Year round weather – The temperatures on the island reach as high as 90°F and heavy tropical rain in excess of 2050mm falls throughout the year.

Short History of Nauru

The history of Nauru is a sad one, as today the island, despite its tropical climate, is an island denuded of vegetation and unable to grow its own food resources as a result of the phosphate mining that has covered most of the interior of the island since 1900.

When the island was first discovered it was named ‘Pleasant Island’ as the people were friendly and the island was covered in lush vegetation.  The islanders subsisted on coconut pandanus fruit and seafood.  The men caught young ibija fish off the reefs surrounding the island and then raised them in Buada Lagoon in basic fish farms thus guaranteeing a ready supply of fish for the island’s inhabitants.  There were 12 tribes on Nauru:  the Deiboe, Eamwidamit, Eamwidara, Eamwit, Eamgum, Eano, Emeo, Eoraru, Irutsi, Iruwa, Iwi and Ranibok.

The first Europeans discovered the island in 1798 when the whaling ship Hunter sailed past, although no-one came ashore, the island was identified, charted and named by the British. By 1830 British whaling ships and traders anchored off the island and used the island as a replenishment centre for fresh water and food.  Sadly this contact with Europeans led to the islanders bartering food for alcohol and firearms.  Alcohol took its toll on the people and the introduction of firearms led to wars between the 12 island tribes, which up until then had lived a life of peaceful co-existence.  These internal wars decimated the population and the estimated number of inhabitants had dropped from 1,400 to 900 by 1888, by which time the island had become a German protectorate.

Germany and Nauru

In 1888 Germany annexed the island and incorporated it into its New Guinea Protectorate.  The Germans renamed the island Nawodo or Onawero and with their arrival the intertribal warfare ended, as guns were confiscated and alcohol banned.  The Germans then instated a king to rule the island population.

Phosphate was discovered in 1900 and The Pacific Phosphate Company, under an agreement with Germany, began the exploitation of the island’s natural reserves.  The first export shipment of phosphate was in 1907.

The First World War

In 1914 the island was captured by Australian troops and passed on into British hands with the signing of the Nauru Island Agreement in 1919.  Thereafter a commission to manage the island’s phosphate mining was set up taking full control of all phosphate mining operations in the interior.  The additional traffic that mining brought to the island brought with it the dreaded influenza and in 1921 an epidemic among the local islanders resulted in the deaths of 230 Nauruans.

The Second World War

With the Pacific war came the German, Japanese and Allied forces and much damage was inflicted on this tiny outpost. Phosphate mining areas and oil storage depots were shelled and many merchant ships were sunk off its shores.

The Japanese occupied Nauru in August of 1942 and the islanders suffered greatly under their new rulers.  The Japanese airstrip was bombed in 1943 causing more damage and preventing food supplies from reaching the island.  In 1943 the Japanese transferred 1,200 Nauruans to the Chuuk Islands where they were used as slave labour.

The Island finally surrendered to the Royal Australian Armed forces in September 1945 and the surviving 737 Nauruans on Chuuk Island were repatriated in 1946.  From 1947 to 1966 Australia, New Zealand and Britain were the trustees of the island appointed by the United Nations with trusteeship administered by Australia.

Nauru and Self-Government

Nauru achieved self-determination in 1966 and in 1968 became an independent republic the world’s smallest country.  In 1967 the Nauru people bought out the British Phosphate Commission and finally the people of Nauru had full control over their phosphate reserves and set up the Nauru Phosphate Corporation.  With this move came the short lived affluence of the island with a Per Capita GDP that provided the highest living standards of the Third World.

Finally the islanders realised the effects of phosphate mining.  It was clear that all the arable land of the previously lush interior of the island and all that it offered in the way of food had virtually disappeared.  In 1993 the island took legal action against its pre-independence trustees, appealing to the International Court of Justice for compensation.  An out-of-court settlement was agreed and Nauru received 2.5million Australian dollars annually for 20 years while New Zealand and the UK paid out a single settlement of $12million each.

However, by this time the phosphate deposits on the island were running out and by 2006 reserves were almost completely exhausted.  Not only did this undermine the economy of the island but it has left the island with vast areas of such horrific environmental devastation that the island was no longer able to sustain itself and financial mismanagement by the government added to the woes of the island which today is virtually bankrupt.

Nauru Today

Population:  The native Nauruan population was devastated first by the influenza epidemic of 1921 and again during WWII by the Japanese, but by 1950 had recovered somewhat to number 1,500.  Today the Nauruan population on the island stands at approximately 6,000 and a further number of 3,000 is made up of nationals from other Pacific islands as well as Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Australians and New Zealanders.  There seems to be harmony between the ethnic groupings with each living its own particular Nauruan lifestyle.

The Language:  It seems that Nauruan is a standalone language with little in common with other Austronesian languages but only now is work in hand to construct a Nauruan dictionary.  While English is the lingua franca of the island all ethnic Nauruans speak English as well as their own unique tongue.

National Identity:  To be considered a true Nauruan you must have been born to a Nauruan mother and registered under your mother’s clan.  If your family should fail to register you in this way then your claim to being a Nauruan falls away and you have no claim to shares in phosphate revenues or land.  If a child is born to a non-ethnic Nauruan mother but has a Nauruan father then the family must seek special permission for the child to be registered as a Nauruan.  No others may lay claim to be a true Nauruan.

Agriculture and Living Space: As a result of the devastation caused by phosphate mining much of the interior of the island is a wasteland and still awaits full rehabilitation.  Because of the lack of arable land on the island the 9,000 inhabitants are sustained by imported goods as there is little or no agriculture on the island.  Living space is limited to the coastal areas and people live around the perimeter of the phosphate mines and along the narrow coastal strip.

Food and Drink:  Cultivation of crops on the island is virtually impossible and there are no longer any local fruits or vegetables, most foodstuffs have to be imported.  Fresh food is limited to fish although beef is available at odd intervals but even then is very limited.  Nonetheless, there are a number of restaurants on the island with the most favoured being Chinese.  The few rather down-at-heel hotels sometimes offer Western food but again not often.  International brands of alcohol are available at the hotels, restaurants and supermarkets.

Nightlife on Nauru is provided by a single bar and the Menen Hotel’s restaurant plus a few independent Chinese restaurants.

Status and the elite:  Flaunting of wealth is not the Nauruan way, so status symbols are limited to the ownership of motorbikes or trucks, and the size of one’s house.  Those who are wealthy with off-shore bank accounts are only known by reputation and not by the flaunting of status.

Crime and Punishment:  There is very little crime on the island most breaches of law and order are due to drunkenness which for the most part results in some drunken driving, but as there is not much in the way of traffic and there are no highways this never amounts to very much.  There is no prison on the island so should a serious crime occur then an arrangement is made with Australia for the incarceration of the criminal.

Modern Culture:  Children are precious in Nauru and as a result are, by western standards, spoilt.  Children are never left uncared for and adoptions are common in cases when parents are no longer living or are unable to care for their offspring.  Women rule the household and mothers are particularly venerated.  It is an expectation of each clan that elders are respected and that children despite being spoilt honour both parents and elders.

Religion:  Christianity is practised by most Nauruans today, but in the past the islanders believed in the creation of the island by two spirits manifest in two rocks on either side of Topside (the Central Plateau).  Sadly, during mining operations on the island these rocks have disappeared.  However, Buada lagoon is still a site of spiritual strength for some.