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Remote South Pacific island stays

/ Source: Sherman's Travel

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Various through 2008

The deal
Dreaming of a tropical island hideaway in the South Pacific? The wallet-busting island chains of Fiji and Tahiti typically steal the show in the region so we’ve handpicked a threesome of lesser-known archipelagos where you can enjoy an upscale beach sojourn that’s blissfully free of crowds and more affordable, too. Pick between Vanuatu, Tonga or New Caledonia, where overnights start at only $212!

Vanuatu hideaway at new beach resort
A South Pacific archipelago of 83 islands located just a two-hour plane ride from New Zealand’s Auckland, Vanuatu showcases a unique blend of tribal communities, diverse geography and serene beach bliss. Available activities include scenic sailing trips around the islands; snorkeling and scuba diving; climbing volcanoes; and chartering a seaplane to a deserted island.

Vanuatu’s newest property, the small and exclusive Eratap Beach Resort opened in November 2007 among the coastal forests of Efate Island, with three beaches and eight acres of tropical gardens. Surrounded by pristine reefs and azure lagoons, it features 12 waterfront villas; a beach restaurant; a pool with a bar; and spa pavilions. With the reduced opening rates, you can now stay here for just AU $480 per night (U.S. $438). This rate is valid for a two-person villa and covers daily breakfast, round-trip airport transfers, and all non-motorized activities.

Eco-friendly beach retreat in Tonga
Located just east of Fiji and south of Samoa, Tonga is one of the most unspoiled and ancient island nations in the South Pacific. A diverse chain of 176 islands, it ranges in landscape from high volcanic to low coral terrain. The main island of Tongatapu is home to the capital —Nuku’alofa — as well as the mysterious Ha’amonga, often called the Stonehenge of the South Pacific.

The island’s most interesting property is Fafá Island Resort, an eco-friendly retreat located on an uninhabited 18-acre island just north of Nuku’alofa.  With its shimmering white-sand beaches and palm forests, it promotes Robinson Crusoe-style tourism with its set of only 13 bungalows. Each unit is built in traditional style, with coconut thatched walls, shingled wooden roofs, solar energy and natural ventilation. Two-person bungalows start at $212 per night and run up to $280 for larger deluxe units. Breakfast and a three-course dinner can be had for $59 per person per day (full board is $70).

Luxury island escape on New Caledonia
The third largest archipelago in the South Pacific, situated roughly between Australia and Fiji, New Caledonia offers a rich variety of landscapes — from emerald lagoons to virgin white-sand beaches and lush tropical forests to rugged mountains. What adds an extra kick is the French flavor (New Caledonia is, in fact, an overseas territory of France) — the capital of Nouméa is often called the French Riviera of the South Pacific.

The island’s most breathtaking property,top-ratedLe Méridien Ile des Pins, now offers discounted rates. Secluded in a century-old coconut grove on the southern tip of New Caledonia, only a 25-minute flight from Nouméa, within a natural turquoise lagoon and white powdery sands, this is a terrific resort built from a unique blend of timber and stone. Tropical decor and private terraces grace each of the 29 chic and spacious bungalows overlooking the fragrant coconut trees or the sparkling lagoon. With a special offer we found, you can now stay here from only $484 per night.

Other off-the-radar South Pacific island nations

The dollars
In addition to low introductory rates, the new Vanuatu hotel features a welcome special valid through June: book a six-night stay and pay for only five nights (or pay for six nights and stay seven). Translated that means, you save at least $438 per couple with this deal! Fafá Island Resort isn’t currently running a special offer but the price of $212 per night for a two-person bungalow is nevertheless excellent value for such a unique sojourn. At Le Méridien Ile des Pins, rates normally start at $600 so you’re saving a bundle — over $100/night — with this special offer.

The catch
It’s pricey to get to these far-flung locales.

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