The Pacific Islands are as numerous as they are diverse. While they may look the same on a picturesque postcard, the various islands around this area each have their own flavor and are as different as Paris is to New York. For the uninitiated, here’s a breakdown of the best islands the Pacific has to offer.

Thailand

Maybe the most famous group of islands in the Pacific, Thailand has a well-earned reputation as a veritable haven for sun-seeking holidayers. Those looking for bargain holidays or who are on a budget (and who isn’t?), will be happy to know that once arriving in Thailand, it is pretty cheap. You’ve got the revelry of Bangkok, the lush water and vegetation of Ko Phi Phi, and the underwater aquarium that is Ko Samui. Each island brings its own flavor to the mix, and it makes Thailand a truly unique place.

Vanuatu

Vanuatu

For those that like their view from the beach to be otherworldly, you’d be hard pressed to find a more suitable destination than Vanuatu. This lesser known cluster of islands is home to Mt. Yasur, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, right on Tanna. You can spend the day looking at it with a cold drink in hand and warm sand on feet, or you can bring your wits and adventure with you and climb this fiery volcano.

Philippines

The Philippines

The Philippines is for those who like a dash of mega cities with their beach time. Its uniqueness has quite a bit to do with the Spanish, whose remnants can still be felt after their 350 year rule. Don’t be surprised when you see architecture that looks like it belongs in Barcelona or come across a fiesta, it’s all part of what makes Filipinos who they are today.

Tahiti

Tahiti

In the heart of French Polynesia, Thaiti is not a beach destination in the typical sense. While there are beautiful and unique black sand beaches, the real draw is the island as a whole. You can hike through century old archaeological sites or spend the day winding through valleys and rivers. It’s an explorer’s dream, with few tourists and many sites.

BoraBora

Bora Bora

Now this island is what people think about when they think of ultimate beach relaxation. Water so clear you can see the tiniest fish at the bottom and sand so white it looks painted will do that to you. It’s the kind of place where you can finally stay in one of those bungalows above the ocean. What better way to wake up than stepping out from your bedroom only and diving into the lazy blue water.

These may be five of the best the Pacific has to offer, but by no means are they the only places you can go. There is no end to beautiful beaches and scenic views, so what are you waiting for?

Images by Rushen, Phillip Capper, Andy Enero, Daniel Chodusov and Pierre Lesage used under creative commons license.