Weather: South Pacific, Papeete, Suva

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein picked the right venue for a lush, warm musical when they composed South Pacific. This enormous expanse of island-dotted ocean simply screams “tropics” – or perhaps it gently whispers that refrain.

The only real weather worry in these parts are tropical cyclones (hurricanes). In general, they're most likely to threaten the west part of the region, near the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. However, El Nino tends to shift the activity so that islands as far east as Fiji, Samoa and even Tahiti are at higher than usual risk of a cyclone. La Nina, in contrast, tends to focus the activity even more toward the west than usual. Most cyclones move to the west or southwest, then recurve to the east after they've moved south of 20°S, away from the main belt of South Pacific islands.

Aside from the occasional tropical cyclone, a moist tranquillity dominates. Temperatures stay firmly tucked in the mild-to-warm range, slightly warmer in the summer months, with a near-constant trade wind from the southeast and frequent showers. On the whole, it's considerably wetter here than in the Caribbean, especially the further west you go. The trade-facing southeast coasts of mountainous islands are generally damper than the northwest sides. Every few weeks it can pour more or less solidly for a day or two; every few years, a drought will settle in for several weeks.