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.