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Fiji, Bora Bora, Tahiti, Bali, Boracay Island

Where should I go for a warm, island vacation next winter?

Next year, my family and I are planning on escaping the east coast snowstorms for a warmer winter wonderland. There's a lot of us: 7+ in the group. I'm a new college grad, so my budget is conservative. And it might be anywhere from 3-14 days.

Where's a good place for a family vacation (looking internationally)?  Fiji? Bora Bora? Tahiti? I wouldn't mind a spot that's popular with tourists, but I would prefer to discover islands I've never heard about. My ideal vacation is filled with tons of activities like snorkeling, parasailing, or something unique to the location.

13 Answers

top answer by
Brew from Manhattan Beach

The other posters are correct that Bora Bora is probably the most beautiful place on earth, however, if I were to pick a destination for a family trip, I would choose  Fiji.  Fiji is also one of the most beautiful places on earth, it is much less expensive if you are on a budget, and the people are some of the most amazing in the world.  If you do decide to do French Polynesia (Tahiti, Bora Bora, etc.), I would choose Moorea over Bora Bora, as there is more to do on land and around the island and it wont break your budget (as much).

If you go to Fiji, I am not a huge fan of the resorts on Denarau Island, as they are larger chain hotels (Wyndham, Sofitel, etc.), unless you need a night near the airport to make travel easier, so I would recommend getting out to the  Mamanuca Islands.  There are a lot of small island hotels to choose from.  A good option for a family island resort in the Mamanucas is  Castaway Island.  Easy ferry ride from Nadi (where the international airport is), not too expensive, and fun for families.  

If you want to get out and explore, I personally think  Vanua Levu is an incredible place.  Vanua Levu is the second largest island in Fiji and is very rural, beautiful, etc.  On Vanua Levu, the most amount of hotels are around  Savusavu.  Some are very expensive (Jean Michel Cousteau Fiji IslandsNamale the Fiji Islands Resort & Spa, etc.), but there are some good vacation rental/small hotel options, like the  Naveria Heights Lodge and Fiji Beach Shacks and if you need an inexpensive hotel with great views for a night or two, the Savusavu Hot Springs Hotel is right in the middle of town, with amazing views. If you'd like to have a mix of frontier adventure and ultra peacefulness, combined with great food, 2 or 3 nights at  Palmlea Farms Lodge & Villas Fiji would make sense.  This is a really interesting little place that is off-the-beaten path on an organic farm, but has access to the Great Sea Reef (the third longest, continuous barrier reef in the world), has amazing food and is one of the more peaceful places I've been.  Palmlea is the type of place that you can spend the day on the water exploring little islands, mangroves, sand spits, etc., then come home to an amazing meal (seriously, this tiny little place in the middle of nowhere has some of the best food in Fiji).  Not a typical "resort" but worth it for people who want to see a different part of the island that most never see.  Palmlea is close to the airport  Labasa, which has multiple flights per day.  Also, I should note that the drive between Palmlea/Labasa and Savusavu is incredibly beautiful.  Another small hotel/resort on the tip of Vanua Levu just across from Taveuni Island is Sau Bay Fiji Retreat, which sits in a beautiful bay at the tip of Vanua Levu and has a great vibe.

So, if you are the type of family that wants to explore a little bit, I think a combination of Palmlea, Savusavu and Sau Bay would be pretty amazing (and not break the bank), but if you want to go to one or two resorts, sit on the beach and enjoy drinks, check out  Castaway Island or some of the other island resorts in the Mamanucas.  Either way, you'd have an amazing trip as Fiji is a special place.

11 thanks

answered by
Karlo from Philippines

Hi Tanya,

Since you Included Boracay Island on your list, its a great option for budget travel as well as it being a great place to skip town for the winter since it has lots of activities for the family (everything you included). You can also check out El Nido, Palawan. Coron, Palawan, Pearl Farm (Samal) Davao City which is a great spot for diving and snorkeling but not much people. (all of those are in the Philippines). Whats also nice about it is should you could actually go to all of those places in your 14day trip since theyre all just an hour plane ride apart.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Boracay Island (island)
  2. El Nido (city)
  3. Palawan (city)
  4. Coron (city)
  5. Samal (city)
  6. Davao City (city)
10 thanks

answered by
JR from Manhattan Beach

Hey Tanya. The trip sounds great, but I would avoid Bora Bora for a group trip. I went with my wife a few years back and we stayed at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora and it was awesome, over water bungalows, the whole deal. Except it was a little boring and we felt a little trapped. Once you're on the resort, it's pretty hard (and expensive) to get around to other parts of the island, as boats and water taxi is the only way to do it. Also, they wouldn't take us to any of the other resorts because we weren't guests, so our only option was heading into town and there wasn't a ton to see there.

if you family has small kids and you're not planning on exploring too much, it could be a fine spot, but if you want to explore and see a bunch of things the other options like Fiji might be better. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bora Bora (island)
  2. Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora (hotel)
9 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Rob from Costa Rica

Hi Tanya, conservative budget, no problem, first things first, forget Tahiti. It's absolutely nuts. I would highly, and I mean very highly recommend Philippines for you. you'll get some great airfare deals on Philippine Airlines. And when you get there, it's paradise. All the activities you want to undertake are there. Manila is a hell hole but once you get out of there, the rest of it is amazing. Try Cebu Island and some of the coastal places around there like Moalboal. No crowds, crystal clear waters, cheap as and friendly folk always with a Filipino smile. I would avoid Boracay Island, it's incredibly beautiful away from the white beach but the crowds, year round, are ridiculous. You may as well stay in LA. The other place to consider is Sri Lanka, truly amazing but with your limited time and direct flights to Manila from LAX it's a closer option. Hope this helps

Qualification on my answer , Tahiti is probably the most beautiful place on earth I have ever been and I agree on Bora Bora, actually, nothing probable about it, it is the Most beautiful place on earth, but what I meant to say, when I said forget it, was relating to your conservative budget. It's quite expensive. Sorry if I confused.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Manila (city)
  2. Cebu (island)
  3. Moalboal (city)
  4. Boracay Island (island)
8 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Pam from Port Macquarie

Fiji is better on your wallet if you're on a bit of a  budget. The people are super friendly and all activities you mentioned are possible including a few more. Personally, I'd suggest heading out to the outer island resorts by ferry like Mana Island. The mainland hotels in Denarau Island are nice, but off island is preferred if you can manage it. Lovely place, Fiji.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Fiji (country)
  2. Mana Island (attraction)
  3. Denarau Island (city)
8 thanks

answered by
Lea from Ewing

Fiji is a magical island. I studied abroad there in the fall of 2013 and it changed my life. The people are wonderful and it is a hidden paradise! I highly recommend The Beachouse (a backpackers in Korolevu). The owner Andrew is awesome and everyone there has an interesting story to tell. Mantaray Island Resort in the Yasawa Island is great for diving as there is a lot to see and the water is always warm. You can also charter a boat from the Royal Suva Yacht Club, but it may be a bit pricey (Peter is awesome and has a lot of experience). Natadola is also a beautiful beach where you can learn to surf. 

If you are interested in the culture, I would suggest spending a day at a village. Most resorts can help point you in the right direction. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Fiji (country)
  2. Korolevu (city)
  3. Mantaray Island Resort (hotel)
  4. Yasawa Island (city)
  5. Natadola (city)
  6. The Beachouse (hotel)
  7. Royal Suva Yacht Club (attraction)
5 thanks

answered by
Jennifer from New York City

I agree that many islands in French Polynesia are not good for a large group (most are expensive, romantic and touristy). One exception is  Rangiroa. The  Hotel KIA ORA Resort & Spa is an incredible hotel that is by itself on one one the Motus that make up Rangiroa. With a group, you could rent 4 or 5 beachfront bungalows. It is a very rustic, castaway experience. Activities include amazing scuba diving and snorkeling in the lagoon, fishing (catching your dinner!), kayaking. I have traveled to most of the French Polynesian islands, and others that are low key are Huahine or Rangiroa.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Huahine (city)
  2. Hotel KIA ORA Resort & Spa (hotel)
  3. Rangiroa (region)
5 thanks

answered by
Maria from Sydney

How exciting- a great trip to look forward too. Bora Bora is very expensive. I think as a group you would get bored and if you visit, and perhaps leave it for a honeymoon or special occasion and really experience Bora Bora with an overwater bungalow.  


Fiji is lovely. I highly recommend Castaway Island Perhaps you could even break the trip up. Denarau Island has some nice hotels. We stayed at the The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, Fiji, (highly recommend) and visited the surrounding hotels. I would not stay there again but was good to visit Nadi and eat out plus explore the local area and will help with jet lag. I am glad we did this. 


My favourite place in Fiji is Tokoriki Island. Two or three nights is a must and will not disappoint. I cried when I left. Then head to Castaway for the remaining time. This way you get the best of Fiji in one trip.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bora Bora (island)
  2. Fiji (country)
  3. Castaway Island (hotel)
  4. Denarau Island (attraction)
  5. The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, Fiji (attraction)
  6. Nadi (city)
  7. Tokoriki Island (city)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Angeline from Jakarta

Bali in Indonesia, is your answer :)

Warm weather. It offers nice beaches and laid-back hillside, party places to serene natures, posh restaurants to local culinaries, lots of shops.

For activities you can do white river rafting, snorkeling and diving, surfing, bungee jump, or... just do nothing and enjoy :D

Bali can be for families, for young people, for honeymooners, for elderly people. Just choose what suits you best.

If you're interested, I can give recommendations of places to stay, to eat, hangout and stuff :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bali (island)
2 thanks

answered by
ieth from Manila

The Philippines has 7,107 islands to choose from. If you want tons of activities, you may check out Boracay IslandEl NidoCebuDavao City. For budget concerns, there are a lot of affordable hotels and resorts in those places. These are popular for tourists but there are areas/islands that are not as populated. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Boracay Island (island)
  2. El Nido (city)
  3. Cebu (island)
  4. Davao City (city)
2 thanks

answered by

Since you like new place and island to go to, why not try Bohol.... ? Your family and friend will enjoy it. have fun....  :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Bohol (island)
1 thanks

answered by
Angel from Meycauayan City

Palawan in the Philippines!! :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Palawan (city)
  2. Philippines (country)
1 thanks

answered by
Pat from Wellington

Fiji would fit your vacation wants perfectly.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Fiji (country)

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