Plan Your Trip: Blue List


For the 2009 ISLANDS Blue List, our contributing editors and photographers visited some of the world's best places that represent the future of travel. Here is further travel information on visiting four showcase destinations. To learn more about all of the Blue List winners, click here.

Fly on Air New Zealand's once-per-week direct flight from Los Angeles to Rarotonga.

Eat whatever fresh catch is featured on the blackboard at the Vaima Restaurant. Hope the seared tuna is available.

Stay beachfront at the Sea Change Villas, where one- and two-bedroom villas have their own private decks and swimming pools.

Bus it. There are two buses (clockwise and counter clockwise) that make the island very easy to get around. Buses are much safer than renting a moped or scooter, but if you do, wear your helmet! Remember to bring your home- country driver's license to the police station, as you'll need a Cook Islands license (makes a great take-home souvenir).

Fly to Miami (a good one-night rest stop for West Coasters) and then through Puerto Rico to Dominica's Melville Hall Airport on American Airlines and its subsidiary, American Eagle.

Eat on the Jungle Bay property at the Pavilion Restaurant. On an excursion to the islands's capital, Roseau, try the traditional Caribbean dishes like chicken curry roti, bull-foot soup and pig's tail with beans at Pearl's Cuisine. 767-448-8707

Stay in the heart of Dominica's jungle in one of 35 hardwood cottages at the eco-luxe Jungle Bay Resort & Spa. You'll sleep alongside cedar, gommier and galba trees, comforted that the alternative-style resort does everything not to disturb the natural surroundings.

Pack waterproof hiking shoes, a light rain jacket and a swimsuit for waterfall plunges, as Dominica is known for its lush jungle interior, not its beaches.

Fly United Airlines (the economy-plus seats offer a little extra leg room, which makes a big difference) to Honolulu and then Hawaiian Airlines to Hilo.;

Eat giant, family-size portions of pineapple curry and tom ka soup at Tina's Garden Snack Club (one order could last you three days), 808-933-9664. On the other end of town, try the Hilo Bay Cafe in the Waiakea Shopping Center.

Stay at Naniloa Volcanoes Resort in Hilo, a perfect stepping-off point for numerous Hilo adventures (it's just 40 minutes from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park). The resort's renovated rooms in spare neo-Asian style have views of beautiful Hilo Bay.

Drive the beautifully repaved Hilo side of winding Saddle Road, where you'll catch an occasional glimpse of the Big Island's east coast. (Note: The still-rough Kona side can beat up your suspension and your passengers. Be sure to check your rental-car contract before hitting those roads.)

Fly from Los Angeles (LAX) or Newark (EWR) to Kuala Lumpur on Malaysia Airlines. From there, fly to Kuching, the capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo.

Eat at the famous hawker stalls. Try apam balik (a Malay sweet pancake with crushed peanuts) and laksa (a spicy noodle soup that can be served with shrimp and eggs). But beware of the hot sauce.

Stay in a guest lodge adjacent to a traditional Iban longhouse with Borneo Adventure's three-day/two-night Ulu Ai Longhouse trip in Sarawak. Or arrange a custom jungle trek, For a little luxury after any river, longhouse or jungle excursion, stay at Sarawak's Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse Resort.