Much like our travel-obsessed friends, guests and colleagues, the team at TQ spends some of our free time flipping the pages of the latest travel magazines, reading industry news and day dreaming about our next escape. Today we came across one piece that rang especially true: “So Summer’s Almost Over. Distract Yourself with These Island Escapes.” Conde Nast Traveler, you took the thoughts right out of our mind.

With Labor Day weekend coming to an all-too-sudden end, we are happy to be back to work but having a hard time shaking mental images of sun, sand and the slower pace of island life. Over the years, TQ has traveled to some of the planet’s most perfect islands that are both widely celebrated and seldom visited. From the expansive seas to the solar eclipse skies, we can’t help but reminisce on a few of our favorite ‘summer vacations:’

Easter Island
Located just off the coast of Chile, the iconic Easter Island has mystified historians and visitors for hundreds of years. The famed statues of the Rapa Nui culture provide a plethora of questions surrounding their ancient people. Beyond the towering moai structures, volcanoes, lava tubes and caves are beautifully framed by tropical forests and palm trees set against the blue South Pacific. In the summer of 2010, TravelQuest guests enjoyed 4.5 minutes of totality as a total solar eclipse shadowed one of the most famous islands on Earth. Talk about unforgettable.

Cook Island
Simultaneously to our Easter Island trip, TQ guests found their way to somewhere perhaps even more unique for the solar eclipse: Cook Island. Dubbed ‘the secret of the South Pacific,’ the Cooks are located northeast of New Zealand and find the majority of their population on the island of Rarotonga. Few places on Earth can equal the beauty we found here: white sands, crystal blue surf, an encircling coral reed and emerald green mountains. Pure paradise.

Despite being somewhat of a traditional tourist destination, Tahiti offers everything an island getaway should be: postcard-worthy beaches, friendly locals, beautiful culture and much more. As one of the largest islands in French Polynesia, Tahiti caters to a steady stream of international visitors who relish in scuba diving, snorkeling and backpacking while enjoying tropical weather and the country’s famed black sand beaches. During the summer of 2012, TQ guests also enjoyed an astronomical milestone: the transit of Venus, an event that won’t happen again until 2117. It wasn’t your average summer getaway, which happens to be perfectly fine by us.  

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