Summer is upon us, and you know what that means. It’s time for sunbathing on white-sand beaches, ice-cold beverages with tiny umbrellas, and plenty of outdoor adventures. What’s the best place to do all that? A South Pacific island, of course.

With swaying palm trees, dramatic coastlines, and shimmering turquoise waters, the archipelagos of Samoa, Fiji, and Vanuatu are the most beautiful islands in the South Pacific. And you live in one of the best places on earth to take advantage of these gorgeous landscapes. Book a stay at one of these pristine properties and hop on the next flight for your most photogenic holiday ever.

Samoa

Talofa! You’ll be hearing that word a lot in Samoa. It means “welcome”, and these islands are renowned for their hospitality. Samoa is also famous for its traditional dances and gorgeous coastline. It’s one of the most unique cultures in the South Pacific, and has to be experienced to be believed.

Where to Stay in Samoa

Le Vasa Resort

Waterfront huts at Le Vasa Resort in Samoa

Courtesy of Le Vasa Resort

Nestled on the westernmost point of Upolu island, Le Vasa Resort is accessible, yet perfectly secluded. Just ten minutes from the airport and five minutes from the ferry port, you’d never guess you’re actually on a historic site. A thousand years ago, Samoa’s final battle with Tonga took place here—an epic tale the Le Vasa staff is more than happy to share with you. These legends are all part of the experience, which also includes authentic local activities and delectable regional cuisine at on-site restaurant Cocolini’s by the Sea.

Return to Paradise Resort and Spa

If you’re looking for truly untouched coastline, look no further than Return to Paradise, on Upolu’s southwest coast. In 1953, the beach caught the attention of Hollywood scouts, and the movie Return to Paradise was filmed there. However, the landowners refused to sell out to corporate interests, finally developing the land just a few years ago. This resort was built by the villagers, and is proudly 100% owned and operated by Samoans and staffed by extended family. It may be one of the island’s newest properties, but you’re sure to enjoy an authentic holiday.

Things to Do in Samoa

It’s not only Samoa’s culture that’s impressive. This island nation is home to many stunning natural landscapes. Sign up for the Forgotten Bay Scuba Tour and you’ll get to snorkel from a secluded beach, looking beneath the waves for reef sharks and turtles. For the adventurous, there are the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks, naturally formed waterslides only about a fifteen minute drive from the capital of Apia. And no traveller can miss To Sua Ocean Trench, which literally means “Giant Swimming Hole”. Climb thirty metres down a wooden ladder to snorkel in this picturesque locale.

Fiji

When you picture sparkling lagoons, pristine beaches, and over-the-water huts, Fiji is probably the first island that comes to mind. And you’re not wrong: Fiji is one of the most idyllic islands in the South Pacific.

Where to Stay in Fiji

Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa

Pool area of Hilton Fiji Beach Resort

Courtesy of Hilton Fiji Beach Resort

Located at the northern tip of Denarau Island and sprawled over 2.5 kilometres of private beachfront, Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa is the ideal couples’ retreat. Koro, the resort’s brand-new, adults-only zone, includes a private bar, pools, deck, and beachfront created exclusively to eat, drink, and relax. There is even an adults-only restaurant, KORO, serving up Mediterranean tapas and plenty of fresh seafood. Bringing the kids? The resort has a complimentary children’s club, giving you the peace of mind to relax—and still enjoy these amazing adults-only amenities.

Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort

Live the laid-back island lifestyle at Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort, a sparkling, newly renovated property on its own private island. Yanuca Island sits off Viti Levu’s south coast, surrounded by deepwater lagoons. The resort recently added the Reef Wing, an adults-only section with a separate entrance and check-in desk and exclusive pools and restaurants. It also has nightly entertainment, bringing in international DJs and chefs for pop-up parties and restaurants throughout the year. Relax in the spa or spend an active day parasailing or snorkelling. At Shangri-La’s, the day is yours.

Nanuku Auberge Resort

Pool area of Nanuku Auberge Resort at sunset

Image via Sue D./Yelp

Be treated like royalty at Nanuku Auberge Resort. On this private, 500-acre estate, you’ll discover fine dining among the treetops or on a coastal cliff. Enjoy exceptional massages on a treetop platform suspended over the beach. And you’ll have one-of-a-kind experiences, like tending to mangroves with the locals, planting coral, and even beekeeping. Arrange for a secluded outdoor movie night or an excursion to the resort’s private island—or, simply book a room with a kitchen and bring in the resort’s private chef for the ultimate meal. At Nanuku Auberge, it’s all about you.

Musket Cove Island Resort and Marina

Off the main island’s west coast lie the Mamanuca Islands, one of Fiji’s most beautiful areas. Musket Cove Island Resort and Marina perfectly captures this island chain’s laid-back vibe. Relax around the island’s largest swimming pool—you’ll find plenty of those tiny umbrellas you’ve been dreaming of at this sun-soaked property. With its daily snorkelling trips, sand-between-your-toes beach bar, and bright, airy villas that welcome you with a slice of island-baked coconut lime shortbread, you can’t capture the Fijian spirit any better than this.

Things to Do in Fiji

If you want to sunbathe on white-sand beaches all day, this is the place to do it. But there are plenty of activities you can take part in, too. The South Sea Island Full Day Cruise takes you just thirty minutes from the city of Nadi. You’ll feel worlds away as you spend the day swimming, snorkelling, and kayaking on this secluded island. Back on land, visit the Naihehe Caves on an off-road quad bike safari. But first, you’ll participate in a traditional kava ceremony, a must-do on any Fiji trip. For another unique experience, the Suva Day Tour takes you around the charming capital, giving you a taste—literally—of Fiji’s culture.

Vanuatu

A short hop across the Coral Sea to Vanuatu, and you’ll be witnessing rare traditions like nanggol (bungy jumping from wooden structures), camping on active volcanoes, and diving acclaimed shipwrecks. The treasures of Vanuatu are only amplified by its under-the-radar status.

Where to Stay in Vanuatu

Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu

Over-water huts at Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu

Image by Cleo Codrington, courtesy of Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu

Located just minutes from town on exclusive lagoon frontage, Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu is an oasis in Port Vila. The resort offers idyllic overwater accommodation, with uninterrupted views from your private balcony and direct access to the lagoon’s warm waters. In fact, Seema Goundar, director of marketing, says, “When people see images of our Overwater Villas, it can easily be assumed that they are priced out of reach, but the resort team prides themselves on providing competitive rates. Service and that ‘special touch’ are all part of the experience when you stay with us.”

Breakas Beach Resort

Looking for a tropical getaway with an awesome location, atmosphere, and vibe? You can’t go past Breakas Beach Resort. This adults-only hotel is located directly on its own private beach—we’re talking dining with ocean panoramas and your feet in the sand. Lounge by the infinity pool or work your way through the cocktail list at Salt Bar. Oh, and don’t forget your surfboard. Breakas Beach Resort is perfectly positioned on the best surf beach in Efate. It’s just one more way to fully experience all Vanuatu has to offer.

Things to Do in Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s main island, Efate, is filled with activities for intrepid adventurers. On the Efate Island Safari, you’ll head inland to take a dip in a refreshing swimming hole and get a glimpse of fire-walking and other ancient traditions. The Glass-Bottom Boat & Snorkelling Cruise takes you in the other direction, out into Mele Bay to check out what’s below the surface in this legendary dive spot. Really want to go all out? Nothing will take your breath away like a helicopter flight that lands you on the rim of Ambrym Volcano. Peer into the volcano’s fiery depths for an unforgettable experience.

Header image via Joshua Fawcett/Shutterstock.com