Niue’s tourism industry is still in its infancy, but the island’s tiny population already includes dozens of tour guides which are willing to show visitors their unique home. This island may lack the long beaches of white sand found in most other South Pacific spots, but Niue’s own beaches, as small as they are, offer intimate and secluded environments which are nearly impossible to find anywhere else. There are countless caves, grottoes, and other natural treasures waiting to be discovered on the world’s largest coral island.

Niue is an island whose reef drops dramatically into the deep Pacific Ocean and whose landscape is filled with steep cliffs that tower above hidden caves, beaches, and bodies of water. The island’s raised reef is a scenic place to stroll at low tide and supplies ideal land-based game fishing conditions at high tide. Visitors can scuba dive among dolphins and whales beneath the island’s waters or watch them above ground aboard chartered tour vessels. The Huvalu Forest Conservation Area’s tropical rainforest occupies 20 percent of Niue’s total land mass.

Niue Dive is the island’s leading scuba diving tour operator, offering four-day open water classes and dives to many of the island’s breathtaking underwater caves, caverns, coral walls, and dramatic drop-offs. Divers can see as far as 328 feet beneath these pristine Pacific Ocean waters where visibility rarely falls below the 100 feet mark. Visitors should not schedule dives the day before their flights as Niue has no decompression chambers.

Those with less underwater exploration experience may prefer snorkeling tours organized by groups like Herman’s Reef Tours. Hio Beach’s reef pools and Alofi’s Utuko Reefs are the safest spots for beginners to explore the colorful variety of marine life beneath Niue’s waters. Matapa’s two huge natural pools at low tide and Snake Gully are two of the more popular island snorkeling spots.

Depending on the season, visitors can even scuba dive or snorkel alongside humpback whales or spinner dolphins. However, these gigantic sea creatures can also be safely seen as close as 150 feet from the dry land of the upper viewing deck aboard the largest Niue Charters whale watching charter boat. June to October is Niue’s best humpback whale watching period, especially around the Avatele and Tamakautoga bays.

Charter boats are also commonly hired for fishing tours where passengers can cast their rods to catch marlin, sailfish, tuna, red bass, or many other fish. Fishaway Charters passengers can barbecue the fish they catch at the Washaway Café, while Niue Sport Fishing Charters can customize its state-of-the-art vessels for all fishing requirements. Sunday fishing is prohibited on Niue.

The island’s leading kayaking tour operator is Kayak Niue, whose 2.5 mile long paddling tours across the central Alofi coastline last between two and three hours. Kayaking tour participants must be at least 16 years old with good swimming ability, but visitors can also rent their own kayaks and explore Niue’s waters at their own leisure.

Caving explorations of the underground dwellings where many residents lived until the mid-19th century should not be undertaken without assistance from a reputable guide like Talis Cave Tours. A keyhole passageway guides visitors down at least one of the caves situated on traditional family-owned land. The first settler’s canoe is said to have docked at Makefu’s Avaiki Cave, whose deep pool provides a peaceful swimming spot. Visitors must brave a slippery entrance to reach the pool at Palaha Cave’s mouth, where the sunset is especially lovely at low tide.

Toamana Orientation Tour offers Saturday morning hiking excursions around some of Niue’s most outstanding landmarks, including the stunning Matapa Chasm and Huvalu Forest Conservation Area rainforest. None of this tropical rainforest’s numerous animal and plant species are harmful to humans. Other walking tours take visitors through the island’s dozens of plantations.

CycleNiue is the best place to learn more about the cycling possibilities on Niue’s flat and peaceful roads. The scent of frangipani envelopes cyclists as they pedal around the island’s scenic coastline. Cyclists looking for a bigger challenge can race against the South Pacific’s finest during the June Rally of the Rock race.