The South Pacific islands offer some of the most beautiful and diverse scenery of anywhere in the world.
Mountains, stunning stretches of beach, sparkling surf, calm lagoons, crystal clear blue waters, and scenic natural environments above and below sea level make the South Pacific ideal for romance. For years, filmmakers have used the amazing island backdrops to create movies such as South Pacific, Blue Lagoon, and Couples Retreat, leaving moviegoers wanting to visit this unspoiled, unique environment of extreme beauty and tranquility.
February is the season of romance. Whether celebrating a honeymoon, an anniversary or just rekindling the love, there is an island spot for you in the South Pacific. Whilst there are numerous islands in the South Pacific to explore, only about 500 are inhabited. Of those inhabited islands, some have become the favorites for couples looking for romance- French Polynesia, Fiji, and The Cook Islands. Each destination has its very own romance personality.
The Cook Islands
A Polynesian nation with a fierce pride in its people, history, and culture, boasting a warm, welcoming climate any time of year. Lying within the same time zone as Hawaii, the Cook Islands’ location makes it convenient for travelers who like to keep in touch with home while they are gone. No visa required! Visitors can stay up to 31-days with just a valid passport and return ticket home. The Cook Islands are comprised of Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Atiu, and the Sister Islands. One of the coolest things visitors can do is obtain a Cook Islands Driver’s License from the Police Station in Rarotonga or Aitutaki. It makes for an awesome souvenir even if you don’t intend to use it. Another unique feature is the Cook Islands are one of the few places in the world without chain hotels or high-rise buildings. Most accommodations are locally owned and operated.
A romantic rendezvous is easy in a place where it is forever summer. The fall/winter (May – October) is ideal for weddings, honeymoons, renewal of vows, anniversaries, and romantic getaways. A myriad of stunning and intimate locations are available to say “I Do.” A bonus for the happy couple is that weddings are legally recognized internationally. They need only be in the country 3 business days before the wedding to obtain their marriage license. A great selection of venues, facilities, and professional coordinators are on hand to plan and take care of every fun activity and detail. Memories from the Cook Islands will last a lifetime.
Bula! Welcome! Fiji consists of 333 mountainous islands of volcanic origin. It is in the heart of the romantic South Seas and is the first country to see each new day’s dawning. The perfect destination for those looking to escape the doldrums of winter with pleasant year-round temperatures. The warm waters of Fiji are great for snorkeling. This destination is perfect for the laid back traveler where the dress is casual all year-round (no ties, gentlemen). While Fijian and Hindustani are most commonly heard, English is widely spoken and taught in schools, making it an easy place for American travelers’ communication. There is a wide variety of unique and fascinating things to do and see, but if you are looking to stay put, you will find many activities are centered around the pool, beach, or lagoon. Many activities are water-based such as swimming, snorkeling, and windsurfing, but you will also find various land activities to include tennis, golf, and horseback riding. One of the best things to do is to get out and meet the Fijians. Every city and town has an open-air market- a must stop for any visitor. Attractions and activities here are truly endless and cater to the laid back all the way up to the heart-pounding adventurer.
The beautiful, fragrant garden of tropical flora make Fiji a great place for romance, weddings, and honeymoons. Simple ceremony or full-on with a choir, warrior escorts, and traditional costumes could be the start of a new life together. To experience this, grandeur couples must get a license from the nearest marriage registry. Typically a minimum of 36 hours. You must also reside in the country at least 1 working day before the wedding. You will need a valid 6-month passport and your original birth certificate as well. You can choose to marry in a hotel or resort, on a beach or in a church. It is even possible to make arrangements to have the whole resort to yourselves. Imagine a wedding in total privacy.
Better known as Tahiti and Her Islands (the Society Islands, Tuamotu Islands, Gambier Islands, Marquesas Islands, Austral Islands), French Polynesia is famous for her magnificent, sensual, sun-drenched landscapes. Comprised of 118 islands and atolls, lying half-way between the United States and Australia, it is the Society Islands – home to Moorea, Bora Bora Taha’a, and Tahiti that are most often visited. The islands speak French and Tahitian, although English is widely heard. Offering lush tropical backdrops encircled by coral reefs and surrounded by beautiful azure, turquoise blue lagoons, this destination screams romance!
While a 14 hour flight from Los Angeles, this destination does not require crossing the dateline and is only a 2-3 hour time difference from Pacific Standard Time depending on daylight savings. The claim to fame for this destination is being the home to the overwater bungalows—a signature accommodation where visitors sleep above the waters in their own thatched-roof bungalow villa or suite. Many of them with glass floor viewing areas to see the sea and coral below. Start your day off with a quick trip off the deck for a morning snorkel. The island resorts provide Polynesian spa experiences that will relax and rejuvenate. What could be better than a couples’ massage or maybe a bath in a tub full of flowers?
Weddings come with an array of locations. Wedding Chapels are available at many resorts for couples that prefer to have a Western-style ceremony. Like privacy? Choose to celebrate your wedding on your own tiny private islet (called motu in Tahitian). If you like to really go out, you can even get married underwater. Whilst weddings in French Polynesia are legally recognized, there is a bit more paperwork for this destination. It is highly recommended you work with a destination specialist when planning a wedding to ensure all legal documents are procured and translated. The typical process takes 3 to 5 months. An option would be to have a legal ceremony done stateside then have a symbolic traditional Tahitian wedding performed during your stay. And of course, like the other islands of the South Pacific, the array of land and water activities is endless. Take a 4 – wheel drive tour of the mainland or spend the morning swimming with shark and stingray and the afternoon shopping for cultured “black pearls.” Most of all, be sure to discover the rich history and culture of this captivating destination.
Everything here whispers romance. From the north to the south, from the mountains to the seas, these fragrant paradises combine all the truly generous and wonderful landscapes Mother Nature has created.
The South Pacific is your gateway for a romantic getaway!
Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI.
She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds. Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind. She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember. With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.