Caroline tells you about…
Some are between Scylla and Charybdis, others have to choose between Bora Bora and Kuramathi. Though the dilemma is real and the islands appear to look alike, you will quickly realize it is thoroughly different.
Tahiti is a fantasy no one can clearly locate on a map, a utopia from the other side of the world which hides an infinity of tiny islands. Located at the very heart of the Pacific ocean, Polynesia indeed gained some notoriety over the years and has nowadays become one of the most prised honeymoon destinations. Thus, both insularity and isolation contribute to reinforce its unattainable aspect, which makes it even more desirable.
Nevertheless, it currently faces fierce competition, especially regarding financial and geographical matters. It is often said to be located too far and to be too expensive, which explains why some rather go to Hawaii, the Maldives or Seychelles. These people however no very little about the aura surrounding our islands, this unutterable dimension which cannot be estimated and yet makes a significant difference.
The Polynesian experience
Endless desert islands, thin sand between your toes and the illusion of being all alone in the world, the Maldives are like tiny pearls gently laid in the middle of the Indian ocean. Archetypal romantic destination, this archipelago presents quite a few advantages, starting with the financial aspect. This midsummer night’s dream is indeed yours for a few thousand dollars. Taking off to the Maldives is the promise to recharge one’s batteries in an idyllic place, to take a sunbath by the beach and to get to know what it feels like to relax in a five-star resort.
Heading to Polynesia however is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it is not just a vacation, it is an experience. Here, it has nothing to do with a price/quality ratio, we are talking about long lasting memories. What is luxury according to you ? Is it just about personalization and privilege or is it beyond all comprehension? Perhaps do you think the Vilamendhoos‘ overwater bungalows are worth those of Bora Bora but then you would have just caught a glimpse of Polynesia. We offer way more than just a standardized hotel, we offer encounters, endless sunsets, cultural learnings, isolated motu and breathtaking moments.
The lagoon may not even be more blue here but our quality of life is definitely better than anywhere else. It will take you about eight hours from Los Angeles to arrive you may have jet lag for a while but you will quickly realize this is all derisory.
Marlon Brando and Paul Gauguin fell for this place, so will you.
And if you are not convinced yet, here are some reasons which should help you in making your choice…
The archipelagos’ uniqueness and complementarity
The Maldives are essentially made of private island resorts where you can relax, take a sunbath and dive. If you are not into farniente or willing to discover the depths of the ocean, you may quickly get bored…
Beside Tahiti and Bora Bora, Polynesia is made of 118 islands spread over the Pacific Ocean on a territory as vast as Europe. Let’s admit it, you are unlikely to get to see it all…
Would you rather go to the beach or hike in the mountains ? Would you pick the jet ski or 4×4 safari ? Overwater bungalow or guesthouse ? From coral atolls to volcanic islands, there is forcibly an island intended for you.
Thus, at Moana Voyages, we propose custom-made trips for you to taste the diversity of all our archipelagos.
- The Society islands: Probably the most touristic of all, it enjoys a temperate climate and encounters a tremendous success thanks to Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora namely. There you can have lunch by the beach, go on a canyoning excursion, visit a marae, go for a jet ski ride within the mythical turquoise lagoon, explore the pineapple fields and contemplate the several waterfalls.
- The Tuamotu archipelago: If you are into sand, coconut trees and tranquility, there you go. Here, you will definitely not hike summits but you can take a walk by the reef, take sunbaths and eat plenty of fish all day long. It is the perfect place if you are willing to indulge yourself, get a tan and use coconuts.
- The Austral islands : Crossed by the Tropic of Capricorn, the Australs enjoy a softer climate than the other archipelagos. The overall coolness is suitable for the cultivation of mangoes, lychees, oranges and other citrus. In Rurutu, you can even visit some gorgeous taro fields, swim with whales from july to october, explore great caves and learn the basics of local craftmanship by creating baskets out of pandanus leaves on your own.
- The Marquesas : If you are keen on hiking, art and legends, welcome ! Thoroughly different from the typical Polynesian postcard, this archipelago is made soaring mountains and steep cliffs. Impressive landscapes that you will love to discover on horseback.
- The Gambier islands: Probably the most remote and sparsely populated area of all Polynesia, it remains a must-do. There, are to be found some of the most beautiful churches, peral farms and lots of meals based on korori, goat and crab. If you appreciate wandering off the beaten track, there you go…
The uniqueness of each archipelago contributes to the attractiveness of Polynesia, it would be a shame to focus on a preconceived idea of your travel.
The importance of nature
Polynesia is a postcard on its own : volcanic islands such as Tahiti or Bora Bora, endless white sand beaches in Maupiti or coral reefs in Tikehau, here lush nature runs alongside crystal-clear lagoons.
Whether you are a landlubber or you rather stay on terra firma, you will be connected to nature at all times.
Proud of their environment, Polynesian people make sure to preserve it and to maintain this special bound by offering several outdoor activities.
Of cultural resources
If all Polynesian tend to share an innate dexterity and natural singing and dancing skills, each archipelago has its own specificities and shines in a distinct area. Thus, though almost every island masters both tattoo and ori tahiti disciplines, the art of basketry and leaf weaving is particularly developed within the Austral archipelago.
As for the Marquesas, they are specialized in curving stone, wood and even bones.
In the Gambier and Tuamotu islands, they took advantage of the ocean resources through pearl culture while the Society islands undertook to emphasize the role of culture through va’a races (local outrigger canoes) and the annual heiva.
The beauty of the ocean
Although we would never deny the potential of the Maldives diving spots, Polynesia is one of a kind… The Tuamotu atolls namely are known around the world for their biodiversity. Napoleon wrasse, triggerfish, barracuda, parrot fish, Pacific sleeper shark, scorpion fish and other sorts of coral species wander through the surface. The Tumakohua pass of Fakarava is renowned for its famous grey shark wall.
As for the lagoon of Tikehau, naval officer Cousteau said he had never seen as many fish before, which explains why so many divers travel the world, eager to discover endemic species, spiny fish, tuna, des thons, giant fluorescent clams and manta rays.
Essentially based on fish, vegetables and tubers, Polynesian cuisine is constantly evolving. Mainly influenced by Asian, European and American migrations, i twill please your taste buds. First of all, you should probably try the famous raw fish with coconut milk, and afterwards give a try at the ahima’a (traditional tahitian oven), a culinary experience… Fafa, pua’a, taro, fafaru, banana poe, pota, ipo, uru, it is a great start for whoever would like to taste local savors. Your whole stay will be garnished with lagoon fish, papayas, coconuts, mangoes and a lemon zest.
The overwater experience
Coming to Polynesia does not necessarily imply to renounce to the comfort of a five-star establishment. In fact, each archipelago offers its own specific conception of luxury and intimacy.
Whether you decide to go to Bora Bora, Rangiroa or Tetiaroa, you will be given the opportunity to sleep in an overwater bungalow, to observe tiny fish wandering under your feet and to jump into the lagoon as you wake up from your private pontoon. Stare at the lagoon at dawn, contemplate sunset from your personal whirlpool, this could be your everyday ritual in a few months…
Beside the landscape diversity, connection with nature and impressive biodiversity, if there is something that makes a big difference, it is definitely the benevolent nature of Polynesian people. It is indeed the inhabitants of the islands who will contribute to make your stay unforgettable through their gentle way of welcoming you, their inner hospitality and special tendency to help others. Wherever you go, you will be welcomed with a flower lei and a genuine smile, people wave to you as they walk in the streets, help you find your way and like to share convivial moments.
If you really want to meet locals, choose guesthouses instead of resorts, there you will take part to great conversations while eating yummy local dishes.
Taking off to Polynesia implies to cover thousands of miles to land on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean, in a thoroughly different universe. It is a unique experience, based on singing, legends and traditions. It is about meeting new people, getting to know their culture, rebounding with nature and feeling the mana. It implies to give up the uniformity of an asepticized resort to find more authenticity.