Destinations Currently Open & Requirements

Courtesy our friends at wholesale travel supplierClassic Vacations, here’s a list of countries that are open for travel, and requirements, as of December 3, 2020. See the official US government travel advisories here.

Destination

Date opening

Quarantine/Add. Testing Req

Requirements

Mexico

Open

No

• Standard temp checks/health screenings upon arrival.

Dominican Republic

Open

No


• Random rapid tests will be carried out upon arrival, such as the breath test. If positive results quarantine will be required.

• Tourists visiting a hotel will be temporarily granted a travel assistance plan that will include emergency coverage, telemedicine services, accommodations for prolonged stay and flight change costs in the event that they test positive for COVID-19.

• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Masks required in public places.

Turkey

Open

No

• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Masks required in public place.

Jamaica

Open

No


Must present a negative COVID-19 RT PCR or Antigen test result obtained at least 10 days prior to departure in order to check in for a flight.
• Test must be conducted by a Registered Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA).
• Once guests have successfully received their required Travel Authorization via email, electronic copy or printed copy required at time of check-in.

• Require all per sons to remain at their hotel/resort within the corridor for the duration of their stay.
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Masks required in public place.
• Travel Authorization form
https://www.visitjamaica.com/travelauthorization.

Antigua

Open

No


Must present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR taken within seven (7) days of their flight. (This includes transiting passengers).
• Must complete a Health Declaration Form upon arrival.
• Health screenings/temp checks/rapid antigen test upon arrival.
• Masks required in public place.

St. Lucia

Open

 No


Must present a negative PCR COVID-19 test obtained within 7 days prior to arrival.
• Health screenings/temp checks/rapid antigen test upon arrival.
• Have confirmed reservations at a COVID-19 certified accommodation provider.
• Masks required in public places.
• Complete a Pre- arrival registration form online
https://www.stlucia.org/en/covid-19/pre-arrival-form-for-visitors/.
• TEST RESULTS MUST BE SENT TO:
TravelSaintLucia@gmail.com
with a cc to:
micho1309@gmail.com
.

Turks and Caicos

Open

No


Must present a negative COVID-19 RT PCR test obtained within 5 days upon arrival.

• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Medical/Travel insurance that covers medevac due to COVID-19 
• Masks required in public place.
• Must be TCI certified through the assurance portal
http://turksandcaicostourism.com/

USVI

Open

No


Must upload  a negative COVID-19 antigen (molecular/PCR/rapid) test result received within 5 days prior to travel on travel portal.

• Pre-register utilizing the USVI Travel Screening Portal
https://usvitravelportal.com/
• Upon arrival, all travelers must produce original test result and travel certification received from the portal.
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Medical/Travel insurance that covers medevac due to COVID-19. 
• Masks required in public place.

Grenada

Open

No


Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR  test within 5 days of arrival.
• All travelers must complete online Pre Travel forms, and upload any relevant required documentation.

• Required Travel Authorization form
https://covid19.gov.gd/required-incoming-passenger-forms/
 
• Travelers must download Ronatrac Mobile contact tracing App, which can be found on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
• Guest must remain within the accommodation until they depart unless they decide to take an additional PCR test done on, or after the 4th day of their stay.
• If the results of the in-destination test return negative, guests may venture outside of the Pure Safe travel accommodations.

• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Masks required in public place.

St Vincent

Open

No

Must present negative result of a COVID-19 (RT-PCR) test done no more than(5) days before arrival.
Travelers must provide pre-arrival form online.
• Must arrive with proof of a fully paid reservation in a (TA/MOHWE) approved hotel for a (5) night min quarantine.

• Travelers will be retested for COVID-19 (RT-PCR) on arrival in SVG, Approval of SARS-CoV-2 test result by Port Health Team .
• Will be tested for COVID-19 before release from a 5 day quarantine in the approved hotel.
• Will be asses by Port Health Officers to determine their final level of risk and the length of mandatory quarantine required.
• Health screenings/temp checks/rapid antigen test upon arrival.
• Masks required in public place.

St. Maarten

Open

No


Must present rt-PCR test for the SARS-COV-2 virus obtained from a naso-pharyngeal swab only and performed within 5 days prior to departure.
• All arriving passengers are required to complete the online Health Authorization Declaration at
www.stmaartenentry.com.
Must print copy of declaration form to present upon arrival.

• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Required to have health insurance coverage.
• Masks required in public place.

Puerto Rico

Open

No


Must present a negative COVID-19 molecular-based test obtained within 3 days upon arrival.
• All persons entering Puerto Rico must complete a Travel Declaration Form which can be found:
https://app.travelsafe.pr.gov/
 
• Standard temp checks/health screenings upon arrival.
• Masks required in public places.

Aruba

Open

No


Must present a negative COVID-19 Molecular test obtained within 3 days before arrival. 

• Complete (ED) card at least 12 hrs. before arrival to apply for ED card

https://edcardaruba.aw/

• Purchase mandatory insurance that protects against expenses if testing positive for Covid -19 withinn72 hours prior to travel .

• Health screenings/temp checks/rapid antigen test upon arrival.
• Masks required in public place.

Costa Rica

Open

No

• Fill out the electronic epidemiological HEALTH PASS form, available at
https://salud.go.cr.
• Travel insurance purchased in Costa Rica through the National Insurance Institute (INS – Instituto Nacional de Seguros) that covers $2000 in hotel cost.

• To purchase insurance visit

www.grupoins.com/seguroparaviajeros
, or Sagicor
www.sagicor.cr/seguro_para_turistas/

• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Masks required in public place.

Montenegro

Open

No


Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test obtained within 3 days upon arrival.
• Can also present a positive result for antibodies to new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) class IgG obtained by ELISA serological test.
• Health Declaration Form/Traveler Accommodation Form required. 
• Masks required in public place.

Dubai

Open

No


Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test obtained within 4 days upon arrival.

• Transiting through Abu Dhabi, individuals must  presentation a COVID test conducted in the last 48 hours from an approved facility.
• You must also download the COVID-19 – DXB Smart App. iOS – Android. 
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Proof of international health insurance coverage before traveling.
• Masks required in public place.

Oahu

Open

No

Must take a nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) pre-travel test from a trusted testing and travel partner within 72 hours from the final leg of departure.
• Travelers arriving in Hawaii with pending test results will remain in quarantine until negative test results uploaded to the Safe Travels Hawaii account.

• Must complete Safe Travels Hawaii online form prior to arrival on the State of Hawaii Safe Travel at
https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/

• List of trusted pre-testing partners visit
https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel-partners/

• Masks required in public places.
• Oahu does not require an additional test if pax are arriving from their first stay on a neighbor island, even it’s 72 hours or longer.
• Traveling into Maui County Pre-test 72 hours prior to departure.
• Traveling to the Big Island from any other island must quarantine.
• Traveling into Kaua’i County Pre-test 72 hours prior to departure.
Recommended that visitors not plan multi island itineraries for travel to and between the islands of Kauai, Big Island of Hawaii, Maui, Lanai & Molokai prior to December 1st, 2020

Maui

Open

No

Must present a negative COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) within 3 days processed at a (CLIA) lab

• Travelers will be required to upload the negative pre-travel test result and answer a health questionnaire 24 hours prior to departure.
• If results are not available by time of arrival, quarantine will be required until test results received.
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• All adults (18 and older) must register on the State of Hawaii Safe Travel at

https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/

• List of trusted pre-testing partners visit
https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel-partners/

• Masks required in public places.
• Traveling into City and County of Honolulu No test and no quarantine required.
• Traveling into County of Hawai’i Not participating; must quarantine.
• Traveling into Kaua’i County Pre-test 72 hours prior to departure.
Recommended that visitors not plan multi island itineraries for travel to and between the islands of Kauai, Big Island of Hawaii, Maui, Lanai & Molokai prior to December 1st, 2020

Lanai

Open

No

Must present a negative COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) within 3 days processed at a (CLIA) lab

• Travelers will be required to upload the negative pre-travel test result and answer a health questionnaire 24 hours prior to departure.
• If results are not available by time of arrival, quarantine will be required until test results received.
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• All adults (18 and older) must register on the State of Hawaii Safe Travel at

https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/

• List of trusted pre-testing partners visit
https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel-partners/

• Masks required in public places.
• Traveling into City and County of Honolulu No test and no quarantine required.
• Traveling into County of Hawai’i Not participating; must quarantine.
• Traveling into Maui County Pre-test 72 hours prior to departure.
Recommended that visitors not plan multi island itineraries for travel to and between the islands of Kauai, Big Island of Hawaii, Maui, Lanai & Molokai prior to December 1st, 2020

Big Island

Open

Yes

• Must present a negative COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) within 3 days processed at a (CLIA) lab

• Travelers will be required to upload the negative pre-travel test result and answer a health questionnaire 24 hours prior to departure.

• Required to take a County administered COVID-19 antigen test upon arrival to Hawaii Island with results within 15-20 minutes.

• If a traveler tests negative for COVID-19, they will not be subject to self-quarantine.

• Those testing positive for COVID-19 will be required to take a subsequent PCR test immediately and will be required to self-quarantine up to 36 hours.
• If results are not available by time of arrival, quarantine will be required until test results received.
• All adults (18 and older) must register on the State of Hawaii Safe Travel at

https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/

• Lisa of trusted pre-testing partners visit
https://hawaiicovid19.com/travel-partners/

• Masks required in public places.
• Traveling into City and County of Honolulu No test and no quarantine required.
• Traveling into Kaua’i County Pre-test 72 hours prior to departure.
• Traveling into Maui County Pre-test 72 hours prior to departure.
Recommended that visitors not plan multi island itineraries for travel to and between the islands of Kauai, Big Island of Hawaii, Maui, Lanai & Molokai prior to December 1st, 2020

Bermuda

Open

Yes

Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test obtained within 5 days of departing the US.

• Travel Authorization form online within 48 hours of departing the US and pay $75 fee.
• Undergo PCR COVID-19 test upon arrival at airport and isolate in accommodation until results are ready (turnaround time 6-8 hrs)
• Required to take your own temperature twice per day and report via online application/portal.

• Take another PCR COVID-19 test, administered on Day 4, Day 8 and Day 14 at easily accessible pop-up testing centers.
• Masks required in public place.
https://www.gov.bm/coronavirus-travellers-visitors

Abu Dhabi

Open

Yes


Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test obtained within 4 days upon arrival.

• Transiting through Abu Dhabi, individuals must  presentation a COVID test conducted in the last 48 hours from an approved facility.
• You must also download the COVID-19 – DXB Smart App. iOS – Android. 
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Proof of international health insurance coverage before traveling.
• Masks required in public place.

Barbados

Open

Yes


Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test obtained within 3 days upon arrival.
• 7 day quarantine for travelers originating from a high risk country.
• Travelers will be required to retest 4-5 days after arrival, and will be released from quarantine if negative.
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Masks required in public places.
• Complete Embarkation/Disembarkation (ED) form 24 hours prior to travel at

http://www.travelform.gov.bb/ .

St. Barts

Open

Yes

Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test obtained 3 days prior to arrival for all travelers over 10 yrs old.

• If your stay exceeds 7 days, you will be subjected to a second COVID-19 test on Day 7 following your arrival.
• Travelers must also present a sworn statement that they have no symptoms and have had no contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the 14 days preceding the flight.
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Masks required in public places.

Tahiti

Open

Yes


Must present a negative SARS-CoV-2 virus genome test obtained within 3 days prior to departure from US only negative results can board flight.

• Upload test results online with the digital Sanitary entry Form
https://www.etis.pf/
• Travelers will also be required to have an international travel insurance policy.
• A self-test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus 4 days after arrival French Polynesia.
• Masks required in public place.

Bahamas 

Open

Yes

Must obtain a COVID-19 RT PCR test five (5) days prior to arrival
• Apply for a Bahamas Health Travel Visa at
travel.gov.bs

• For the duration of the visit, complete a daily online health questionnaire for symptom tracking purposes.
• Take a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test on Day 5 of the visit (unless departing on day 5).
• Beginning November 14, 2020, all visitors will be required to opt-in to mandatory COVID-19 health insurance when applying for their Health Travel Visa.
  o $40 – Visitors staying up to four nights and five days.
  o $40 – Citizens and returning residents.
  o $60 – Visitors staying more than four nights.
  o Free – Children 10 years and under
• Masks required in public place.

Ireland

Open

Yes


All arrivals from overseas, including Irish residents, are asked to restrict their movement for 14 days on arrival.
• All arrivals, including Irish residents, arriving from overseas must complete a Public Health Passenger Locator Form prior to arriving in Ireland.

•Failure to complete the form or providing false information is an offense under Irish law, with a fine of up to $3,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months.

• Masks required in public places.

Maldives

Open

Yes


Must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test obtained within 3 days upon arrival.
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Health declaration cards, which will need to be filled out
http://www.imuga.immigration.gov.mv/
• Covid19 pre-flight testing requirements for United States Citizens transiting via the United Arab Emirates or other countries will be tested at resort at least 96 hrs before departure.

•  Split stay between resorts that meet all compulsory requirements under the split stay guidelines may be permitted.

• Masks required in public places.
• Travel to Maldives is not currently recommended.

Anguilla

Open

Yes

Submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken within 3  days prior to arrival.
• All visitors must be granted pre-approval
https://ivisitanguilla.com/

• Once the application is approved a travel authorization ticket will be issued.
• US travelers have been denied entry.
• Submit a travel insurance policy that covers medical costs including Covid-19 coverage.
• All travelers will be given a PCR test again upon arrival.
• Travelers will then be restricted to their villa/accommodation and its amenities for a period of up to 10 days.
• Travel to Anguilla is not currently recommended.

BVI

Open

Yes


Must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 5 days prior to travel.
• Visitors must have proof of medical insurance that includes coverage for COVID-19.
• Visitors must upload required documents to the BVI Gateway Online Portal and complete a travel declaration.
• All arrivals will be required to conduct a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival.
• Visitors will be required to download to their phone a contact tracing application and utilize a wearable tracking bracelet.
• Visitors must quarantine 4 days at the property of their approved accommodations. Visitors will be allowed to move about the property.
• On the fourth day of the quarantine period, visitors must take another COVID-19 PCR test, which will take place on property.

• The costs of all PCR test and tracing app/wearable device will be at the visitors expense. Costs are expected to be $100 per test, and $150 for the app/device.
• Masks required in public place.

New York

Open

Yes

• For travelers who were out-of-state for more than 24 hours:

• Travelers must obtain a test within three days of departure, prior to arrival in New York.
• The traveler must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine for three days.
• the traveler must obtain another COVID test. If both tests comes back negative the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.

San Jose, CA

Open

Yes

• All persons entering the County from an origin more than 150 miles away.

• MANDATORY QUARANTINE UPON ARRIVAL

United Kingdom

open

Yes


• Borders of the country are open and there is no travel ban introduced for any travelers.

• Fill out the Passenger Locator Form, between 48 hours and 1 hour before arrival online only.
https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/public-health-passenger-locator-form?_ga=2.45628071.245850260.1598554051-1144289859.1598554051

• Declare to customs that you will adhere to the 14-day quarantine regulation.
• The fines are up to £480 for not properly filling out the form with correct travel plan and destination information.
• £1000 for breaking quarantine.
• Health screenings/temperature checks may be implemented on arrival or departure.
• Masks required in public places.

Kauai

15-Jan

Yes

ALL incoming trans-pacific and inter-county travelers to Kauai will face a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

12 Must-Do New Zealand Experiences

There is so much to see and do in New Zealand, from wine-tasting to bungy jumping, whale-watching to glacier hikes, gorgeous beaches to glow-worm caves, it can be difficult to choose.  Check out our recommended lists of experiences and talk to one of our free New Zealand travel experts for more advice.

  1. Try wine-tasting on Waiheke

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Photo copyright S Kaya

 

  1. Go bungy jumping in Queenstown

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Photo copyright michael 7601

 

  1. Say ‘kia ora’ to Māori culture in Rotorua

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Photo copyright scott1346

 

  1. Kayak around Milford Sound

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Photo copyright Bernard Spragg, NZ

 

  1. Explore the geysers of Rotorua

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Photo copyright Daniel Fernandes de Oliveira

 

6. Tour the The Lord of the Rings Hobbiton in Matamata

 

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Photo copyright othree

 

7. Heli-hike Fox Glacier

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Photo copyright Dani

 

  1. Cruise with whales in Kaikoura

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Photo copyright Anita Gould

 

  1. Kayak the Bay of Islands

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Photo copyright Teseum

 

  1. Sip wine among the vines in Marlborough

 

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Photo copyright Chris Gin

 

  1. Hike ancient lava flows at The Tongariro Alpine Crossing

 

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Photo copyright Jeff P

 

  1. Relax at The Coromandel’s Cathedral Cove

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Photo copyright Sandra Vallaure

 

For hotels in New Zealand visit https://www.visualitineraries.com/Explore.asp?only1country=NZ 

Find out more things to do at https://www.newzealand.com/us/feature/new-zealand-must-do-experiences/

The Islands of French Polynesia

When people think about French Polynesia, a tropical paradise comes to mind – but not all tropical paradises are the same.  Do you dream of sunbathing on beautiful white sand beaches? Or SCUBA diving through magical underwater reefs? Perhaps catching a wave on the Tahitian surf is your idea of a good time?  For some people the dream is hiking through lush jungles on remote islands, for others it’s learning the secrets of ancient Maori cultures. Whatever’s your definition of a tropical paradise, French Polynesia has it. But with 118 islands and atolls, stretching over 1,200 miles (2,000km), deciding where to go in French Polynesia can be overwhelming.  If that’s how you’re feeling right now, you’ve come to the right place!

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Photo copyright Daniel Chodusov

 

French Polynesia is divided into five groups of islands: the Society Islands Archipelago, the Tuamotu Archipelago; the Gambier Islands; the Marquesas Islands; and the Austral Islands.  Knowing about each of the island groups can help you narrow down your search for the ultimate vacation getaway. In this post, we will take an in depth look into each one to help you make the decision that’s right for you.

 

SOCIETY ISLANDS

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Photo copyright dany13

 

The Society Islands are the most well-known islands in French Polynesia, and include Tahiti, Mo’orea, Bora Bora and many others.  Tahiti was born when two volcanoes erupted and formed an island so large that it represents almost 30% of French Polynesia’s landmass and 68.7% of the population of all of French Polynesia. It is high and mountainous with surrounding coral reefs.  On the island of Tahiti, you will find small towns dotting the parameter of the island and the cosmopolitan city of Papeete in the northwest. The population drops as elevation rises inland, bringing you majestic peaks like La Diàdeme, and a stunning thousand-foot waterfall. Tahiti’s quieter side, Tahiti Iti, is on the southeastern end of the island and is home to the world famous surfing wave, Teahupo’o. Surfers, kiteboarders, and swimmers dot the shore and add color to the exotic black sand beaches that ring the island.

Just off the coast of Tahiti is Mo’orea, a heart shaped island with two small, nearly symmetrical bays on the north shore. It is encircled by coral reefs which provide a tranquil refuge to a wide variety of exotic and iridescent fish. Bora Bora is a 12 mile-wide island group consisting of a main island surrounded by a lagoon and barrier reef. The center island is known for its towering volcanic spires which disappear into the clouds, adding a touch of mystery to the island’s remote beauty. Bora Bora is famous for its aqua-centric luxury resorts and overwater bungalows.  

 

TUAMOTU ISLANDS

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Photo copyright Alessandro Caproni

 

With their unparalleled beauty, the low-lying Tuamotus island chain is a scuba diver’s dream. Rather than volcanic activity, these island atolls relied on coral reefs to form.  The heavenly lagoons are so precious and rare that many of them have their own unique ecosystems. In fact, the pristine Fakarava, is deemed a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.  

 

GAMBIER ISLANDS

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Photo copyright Kyle Pearce

 

The Gambier islands is well off the beaten track and offer the perfect mix of cultural treasures and natural scenery.  The mountains on the island of Mangareva rise above the surrounding lagoons and neighboring islands, in fact Polynesian mythology tells of the demi-god Maui lifting the island of Mangareva from the ocean floor. Famous for their pearl farms and historic churches from the 1800’s, travelers to the Gambier Islands get the sense that they have been transported back in time.  

 

MARQUESAS ISLANDS

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Photo copyright Mustad Marine

 

The fierce Marquesas Islands have the hottest and driest climate of all the island chains in French Polynesia. Surrounded by deep, navy colored sea and cold currents of the Pacific Ocean they’re not known for their beaches; but these wild, wonderful and barely populated islands are a dream destination for hikers. Not only are the Marquesas islands home to exotic species of bird and plant wildlife found nowhere else in the world, you will also have the opportunity to experience the rich Maori culture. Pick up a handmade pareo from the local markets of Nuku Hiva, or a protective tiki amulet made by the expert Maori craftsmen of Tahuata.  

 

AUSTRAL ISLANDS

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Photo copyright Montereydiver

 

The inhabitants of the Austral Islands are as friendly as they are artistic. Visit the colorful, picturesque villages to discover the craftsmanship of the islanders who make a living off of their hand-made goods. Plan your trip to the Austral Islands between August and October and you will see the mesmerizing humpback whales who migrate to the islands each year and frolic in the waters just offshore. 

 

So what will it be?

With so much diversity and natural beauty, a trip to French Polynesia is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime. Hopefully this post has helped you narrow down your perfect French Polynesian destination. For those of you who have already decided where to go, or for those of you who are still needing help deciding, contact one of our French Polynesian travel experts for assistance. Their free, no-obligation help will bring you closer to making your dream vacation a reality, and as a bonus they have access to exclusive discounts to save you money on your trip.

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Photo copyright RDPixelShop

10 Things to Know Before Going to Fiji

Your flight and hotel are booked, your bags are packed, and you are ready to go! Before you head out to the beautiful islands of Fiji, it’s important to know a little bit about the culture.  We’ve done the research and gathered 10 helpful tips for you to have the best possible vacation! So read on:

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Photo copyright Duncan Odds

 

  1. Get To and From the Airport

You don’t want to be stranded after your long flight, and if you’re in a pinch there are taxis for hire, but the best course of action is to have a driver waiting for you when you land.  Most hotels, especially those on the outer islands, will offer an airport service. Double check with your travel agent that this has been arranged before you set off on your trip.  

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Photo copyright Roderick Eime

 

  1. Fijians Drive on the Left

This can come as a shock to people who are accustomed to driving on the right side, and it’s all the more reason to hire a driver if this is something you’re not used to. You’ll probably adapt to it quickly enough, but if you’re nervous about the prospect of driving, it’s best to sit back, relax and to hire a local.  

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Photo copyright Kyle Post

 

  1. Forget About Vibrant Nightlife 

Fijians generally go to bed early and wake up with the sun, so if you plan on partying until the sun comes up, you might be on your own. Instead, plan to enjoy your drinks by the pool or on the beautiful beaches by the light of day and save partying for another time.

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Photo copyright Chris Isherwood

  1. Go Hiking with a Local Guide 

Fiji is full of wonderful natural beauty and hiking is a great way to experience the gorgeous tropical rain-forests. However, it’s important to know that many of the paths aren’t well-maintained and the terrain can be hazardous, so hiring a local guide is going to be the safest and most enjoyable option.  Ask your travel agent for help on finding great deals on local tours.  

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Copyright Pablo Marx

 

  1. Be Mindful of Your Attire in the Local Villages

Sundresses, shorts and tank tops are fine in and around the resorts but if you decide to visit a local village it’s best to dress a little more conservatively in order to show respect. Visitors should plan to remove all hats and sunglasses while in the village and plan to wear clothing that covers both shoulders and knees.  

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Photo copyright Kanaka Rastamon

 

  1. Visit the Outer Islands 

Many people have the impulse to stay on the main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu on their trip to Fiji but the real magic is on the outer islands.  Steer clear of the urban areas and opt for a seaplane or speedboat ride to places like the Mamanuca Islands, known for their scuba diving, snorkeling and coral reefs or check out Yasawa, known for its pristine beaches and jungles.  With more than 300 islands, there is no shortage of places to explore. 

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Photo copyright Joyce T

 

  1. Embrace ‘Island Time’

It can be difficult to slow down when you’re used to fast-paced living but that’s why you’re taking a vacation from the hustle and bustle, right? In Fiji, like most of the South Pacific, people live by ‘island time,’ a slowed down, relaxed mentality and they are happier for it. So relax, take a load off and embrace the slow pace living, you might just learn to love it!

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Photo copyright MickiTakesPictures

 

  1. Attend a Kava Ceremony

Kava is a legal and traditional herbal drink made from the ground root of a spicy pepper plant and is used for medicinal and cultural purposes throughout the Pacific. It has relaxing effects similar to alcohol, but without the risk of intoxication or hangover.  In Fiji, a formal kava ceremony will often accompany important social functions, usually involving drinking kava and a ritual presentation of bundled roots as a gift. If you have the opportunity to attend a kava ceremony, I highly recommend it. 

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Photo copyright Melody Tan

 

  1. Respect the Locals

Fijians are some of the most welcoming, friendly people I have ever met, and are quick to greet you with “bula,” (meaning hello) and a huge smile on their faces.  Just know that while they are making sure your vacation goes smoothly, they are often away from their families for weeks at a time. It should go without saying to treat them with the respect deserved to all people, but especially those in the service industries. 

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Photo copyright Tomas Maltby

 

  1. Watch the Sunrise

Vacations are for sleeping in, right? Yes, but we recommend devoting at least one morning to watch the magnificent light reflecting off the tropical waters. The colors in the sky will make waking up well worth it, just don’t forget to have your camera ready!

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Photo copyright Kyle Post

Snorkeling and Motu Picnic in Moorea

Over spring break 2017, we visited Moorea with our kids, staying at the Intercontinental Moorea Resort (which was fantastic by the way). The video below is from Albert Tours, who operate a snorkel trip to a section of the lagoon maybe 1000 yards from the Intercontinental. In about 5′ of water, literally dozens of blacktip reef sharks swim around you, and a half dozen or so big stingrays will come right up to your chest. What an amazing experience!

After swimming with the sharks and rays, the tour goes to a nearby beach for a picnic and some fun demonstrations of coconut husking etc.

Thailand Photo Journal

What should you do if equipped with just ten days in Thailand? Instead of turning the trip into a frenzied race to see all the most important spots with what little time we had, my favorite travel companion and I decided to pick just one town in the north and south of the country to spend more time in. The result was a lot more relaxing, in-depth, and enjoyable than burning ourselves out and spending more time than we wanted on just getting to different places.

The first stop? Chiang Mai, of course!

Chiang Mai is the rich cultural city in the north of Thailand, famous for its temples.

Chiang Mai is the rich cultural city in the north of Thailand, famous for its temples.

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Columbia River Gorge: Eagle Creek Trail

Treacherous icicles

Don’t move!

Part 2 of our Columbia River Gorge winter hikes feature is the Eagle Creek trail! This is one of the most popular trails in the gorge due to its close proximity to downtown Portland and relative easiness. The trail gently slopes and you can pick how far you want to go – if you only make it to Punchbowl Falls, you’ll log 3.8 miles round trip. The furthest people tend to hike in a single day trip is Tunnel Falls, which would be a solid 12 miles round trip. You can go a total of 26.5 miles to Wattum lake, which people tend to turn into a multi-day backpacking trip to make it more doable. Any way you slice it, the Eagle Creek trail is a crowd-pleaser with a lot of options. But that being said…it should be noted that you’re not going to get very far on this trail in the dead of winter. Or at least, we didn’t.  Continue reading

Columbia River Gorge: Cape Horn Trail

the view from a lookout along the Cape Horn Trail in the Columbia River Gorge.

the view from a lookout along the Cape Horn Trail in the Columbia River Gorge.

This is part 1 of 3 of our favorite winter hikes in the Columbia River Gorge! This post covers the Cape Horn Trail. As far as PNW beauty goes, it’s hard to beat. The trail is a loop that runs a hair over 7 miles long with an elevation gain of 1350 ft. – moderate, but totally doable. It’s a newer trail with a lot of varied views, from deep woods to great lookout points to waterfalls to even some black sheep on the way back! Enjoy: Continue reading