Backpacking Pacific Islands
I have heard such wonderful things about the Cook Islands, I've been longing to go there. My friend, Diana, said she had the best sushi ever in the Cook Islands.
I spent 3 nights at Chez Nelson on Moorea thanks to having read these forums back in 2007!!! It cost about $20/night for a single room, but the setting by the water, with green mountains behind us, was gorgeous. I met a bunch of backpackers, had a great 2-hour snorkel, and generally kicked off my trip around the world in one of the most exotic (and expensive) destinations on Earth!!
Again, just $66/day, which let's face it, is completely doable for a few days as you head east or west across the Pacific. Of course reaching islands farther afoot, like Bora Bora, require flights and I wasn't prepared to spend that kind of money. But check out Tahiti, and little Moorea nearby on Google Earth, and try to tell me it doesn't look like paradise.
A few tempting photos in case you're not sold...
Chez Nelson on Moorea:
Our snorkel guide took us by the rich folks' dolphin pool:
We went to Fiji and Vanuatu after 6 months in New Zealand. And Vanuatu was the best part of our 6 month travels! We were only there for 2 weeks and could have spent a lot more time there exploring. It's known as the "friendliest country in the world" (back in 2007 it was awarded with that title). And it was, the locals are very friendly and helpful. We ended up flying to Epi Island (which cost us about $270 roundtrip or something). But what an experience. Beautiful sights, and the experience of flying on Vanair is really amazing. Live chickens packed in palm leaf suitcases, tossed in with everyone's luggage. Epi Island is amazing as well. Beautiful beaches, awesome snorkeling, the chance to spot dugong, volcanoes all around. We saw dolphins, met the chief and had several meals with the local villagers. We paid $20 a night on Epi for 2 meals and very comfortable accommodations. Anyways I can't recommend it enough!
Loved it. And it's backpacker friendly though no where near as touristy as Fiji!
"I travel not to escape but to find reality"
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