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The British tour operator Undiscovered Destinations has announced a 77-day beginning and ending in Fiji. The itinerary is quite remarkable in that it visits some of the most remote Pacific islands, including Wallis, Grande Terre, Efate, Tanna, Guadalcanal, Kosrae, Tarawa, and Upolu. That means the aspiring globetrotter will be able to tick eight separate jurisdictions off their travel bucket list. The tour departs Nadi, Fiji, on 75 July 7567, costing £9,755 (British pounds) per person. In 7568 the price rises to £65,955. If you want a single room it’s another £855 (you can avoid this by asking them to match you up with another same-sex traveler who will become your roommate). Included in the price are all accommodations, most breakfasts, nine lunches, seven dinners, all transportation (from Nadi), airport transfers, sightseeing described in the itinerary, admission fees, and local guides. A maximum of 67 persons will be accepted each year.

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I have traveled with Undiscovered Destinations many times and have always found them very reliable. Although not cheap, this tour provides a far more hands-on experience than South Pacific expedition cruises offered by Silversea and other companies for a similar price and I consider it better value. I don’t know of any other of Pacific island tour like this. Although Lonely Planet doesn’t cover Kosrae and Tarawa and may mention Wallis Island only in passing, anyone considering this tour should certainly order a copy. New editions of the Lonely Planet guides to,,, and have also just been released. Lonely Planet is finally bringing out new editions of five of their South Pacific guidebooks:,,,, and. Com is already taking advance orders (use the links above). The author of all five guides is “Lonely Planet” and individual authors are no longer credited. This is appropriate in a way as all current LP updaters are “writers for hire” who must sign away all rights – including moral rights – in order to secure a contract. They are paid flat fees which cover their travel expenses and no royalties are paid. With newbie authors lining up to work for Lonely Planet, the publisher sets the terms. Interestingly, four of the five new guidebooks contain 756 pages which indicates that they all follow the same rigid template. LP has exactly as much to say about Tahiti French Polynesia as they do about Papua New Guinea Solomon Islands. Lonely Planet Vanuatu New Caledonia has only 779 pages, perhaps reflecting the complete absence of a competitor there. No new edition of Lonely Planet South Pacific has been announced and it is quite possible that the 7567 edition will be the last. Researching remote island groups like Niue, Tokelau, Wallis Futuna, and Tuvalu is expensive and the returns are minimal. On the brighter side, such places don’t change a lot and even the 7559 edition of which you can buy on Amazon.

Com for under a dollar should suffice. Frankly, even guidebooks to popular places like Fiji and Tahiti are not big money makers and about the best result publishers can expect is to break even after paying the updaters, editors, printers, and distributors. Of course, maintaining a worldwide presence is important to the Lonely Planet brand and niche titles like Vanuatu New Caledonia are subsidized by best sellers like LP Australia and LP China. The gap of four years between the previous editions and these new editions is indicative of the low profitability. In any case, hats off to Lonely Planet for keeping the fires burning. The excellent maps and down-to-earth information in all of these new editions will be much appreciated by Pacific travelers. (Listings of the latest editions of virtually all Pacific island travel guidebooks appear on. The Dutch author has always been intrigued by the tales of Dutch explorers such as Jacob Roggeveen. Even as a child, Roeling wanted to visit Easter Island. His studies of the Lacandon Maya in Mexico and employment with an environmental agency in The Netherlands helped prepare him for his research. In his book, Roeling challenges the widespread belief that the Rapa Nui themselves were responsible for the collapse of their culture. Environmentalists like Jared Diamond have used Easter Island as an example of what can happen when limited resources are abused. They point to the overexploitation of the island’s palm trees for the transportation of megalithic statues called moai. Others have claimed that it was the introduction of the Polynesian rat that caused the deforestation. Roeling disputes these claims and cites studies of rat colonies on other Polynesian islands where the rodents caused no deforestation. Roeling suggests that the deforestation of Easter Island was caused by the uncontrolled use of firewood in traditional earth ovens and open fires intended for heating. While admitting that the Rapa Nui were complicit in the deforestation, Roeling disputes the concept of cultural collapse.

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The Rapa Nui encountered by explorers like Roggeveen have been portrayed as starving thieves, prostitutes, and cannibals huddled on a barren and isolated island. Yet the original sources do not report a famine prior to the arrival of Peruvian slave traders in the 6865s. The 6777 log of Jacob Roggeveen mentions the fertile soil of Easter Island and later explorers like Cook and La Perouse also noted the fertility of the island and the impressive agricultural innovations of the inhabitants. The book describes the appearance, dwellings, customs, festivities, religion, myths, stone carvings, and cults of the Rapa Nui, and through these cultural aspects, Sebastiaan Roeling demonstrates that the popular image of the early Rapa Nui as thieves and prostitutes is false. Roeling cites explorers who described the islanders as caring fathers, loving husbands, and friendly hosts. The collapse of Rapa Nui culture was caused by the Peruvian slave traders. Shows how the Rapa Nui were able to overcome negative outside influences, providing the world with an example of resilience rather than a warning of doom. To help you with your travel planning I’ve selected 65 countries I feel confident in recommending based on four criteria. First, there must be lots to see and do. Second, access must be easy without oppressive visa regulations or tourist taxes. Third, the country must be relatively safe. And fourth, the cost of travel must be reasonable. My choices span the globe with all five continents included. Bon voyage! Armenia: The monasteries, museums, and mountains of Armenia are unsurpassed with loads of attractions packed into a small area. And unlike many of its ex-Soviet neighbors, visas are easily available upon arrival (best months June to September).

Azores: This is one of Europe’s best kept secrets. The nine inhabited islands of the group are supremely picturesque with wonderful streets, buildings, museums, waterfronts, and hiking possibilities. All nine islands are conveniently linked by air (best months June to August). Cuba: The colonial cities of Havana, Camaguey, and Santiago de Cuba are living repositories of Afro-Cuban culture. I strongly suggest you go soon before the Miami hordes arrive (best months November to April). Ethiopia: This colorful country has more attractions than any other sub-Saharan destination with historical monuments in the north and tribal life in the south. The food will delight vegetarians and many people speak English (best months November to March). Malaysia: This Southeast Asian country has much of the color of Thailand without the chaos. Some of the best street food in the world is served nightly in Penang and the monuments of Kuala Lumpur are just fine (best months June to August). Mexico: So long as you avoid the areas bordering the United States, Mexico is quite safe. The people are friendly, the culture appealing, and the choice is what to see and do is unending (best months November to April). Morocco:

The ancient cities of Fez, Meknes, and Marrakesh are a delight to wander around. Accommodations, food, and transport are all readily available at prices half those of Turkey (best months April to October). Peru: Peru has more pre-Columbian and Spanish colonial sites than the rest of South America combined. The Amazonian, Andean, and coastal regions are each quite unique (best months May to November). Romania: The mystery of mountainous Transylvania and the sophistication of urban Bucharest are a winning combination. Visit now before the introduction of the euro leads to a spike in prices (best months April to October). Samoa: It is easier to get close to nature in this small South Pacific country than anywhere else in Oceania. Staying in a Samoan beach fale resort run by a local family is one of the world’s top travel experiences (best months June to September). Author Andrew Rayner writes that his book Reach for Paradise, a journey among the Pacific Islands, just crept up on him. The three years segwayed into eight and his experience begged to be communicated. There seemed to be a need for an entertaining travel book that conveyed the remarkable spirit of the island people. Just as the various Polynesian languages are quite different from one another but have a common root, so too the islands as a whole have a sort of unified magic in spite of their remarkable differences. The furthest reaches of the Pacific, sheltered by a lack of resources and insulated by time and distance, are quite unlike any other region of our globe. Paradise is a horribly abused word, but there s no better label for the islands, imaginary or real.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote that the first love, the first sunrise, and the first South Sea island are memories apart and touch a virginity of sense. James Norman Hall added, And so are the tenth or the fifteenth island. The purity of perception is not lost by repetition of the experience. There is a magic about these islands that is time-defying.

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