Polynesia’s best-kept secrets…Huahine is a Garden of Eden

April 27, 2012

One of the most picturesque and geographically diverse islands in the Society Group, enclosed in a single lagoon, it covers 75 square miles. Huahine (who-wah-hee-nay) is located 109 miles northwest of Papeete. The highest point on the island, Mt. Turi, reaches 2,200 feet and is located on Huahine Nui. Mt. Tavaiura in the Fitii Peninsula looks like a women’s face, leading to her chest and her round belly, hence one of the interpretation for Huahine’s original name (pregnant woman).

A deep, crystal-clear lagoon surrounds the two islands while magnificent bays and white-sand beaches add drama and solitude to their virtues. Relatively unchanged by the modern world, Huahine offers a slower taste of old Polynesia.

Probably one of Polynesia’s best-kept secrets…Huahine is a “Garden of Eden” with lush forests, an untamed landscape and quaint villages. It is relatively unchanged by the modern world. The island’s fertile soil provides bountiful harvests of a variety of melons as well as other fruits and vegetables. It is located approximately 105 miles northwest of the island of Tahiti.

Another unique thing about this island is the wooden boxes alongside the road that look like a newspaper delivery box. Very French in culture, these islanders have delicious-looking French baguettes delivered twice daily to residents and put in this box.

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Aranui III - Cruise on a Freighter thru the South Pacific!

April 6, 2012

The Aranui is a mixed passenger/cargo vessel that operates between Tahiti and the Marquesas.  Experience a 14-day adventure cruise in the French Polynesia, Marquesas islands, begin the journey from Tahiti to Fakarava, Ua Pou, Nuku Hiva, Hiva Oa, Fatu Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, Rangiroa and back to Papeete.

She offers comfortable, air-conditioned accommodations for about two hundred passengers. Passengers will be able to sunbathe on deck, swim in the pool, or enjoy exotic tropical drinks while the Aranui winds her way among the islands of the Marquesas.

The vessel operates under the French flag, and her crew are all Polynesian, primarily Marquesans. To give you an idea of the schedule, please see below (itinerary subject to change):

Itinerary:

Departure from Papeete, Tahiti dock at 10:30am

Day 2 - Fakarava, Tuamotu Islands

Day 3 - At Sea

Day 4 - Ua Pou (Hakahau-Hakahetau) Marquesas

Day 5 - Nuku Hiva (Taiohae-Hatiheu-Taipival)

Day 6 - Hiva Oa (Atuona)

Day 7 - Fatu Hiva (Omoa-Hanavave)

Day 8 - Hiva oa (Puamau-Hanaiapa)

Day 9 - Tahuata (Vaitahu-Hapatoni)

Day 10 - Ua Huka (Vaipaee-Hane-Hokatu), Ua Pou (Hakahau)

Day 11 - Nuku Hiva (Taiohae), Ua Pou (Hakahau)

Day 12 - At Sea

Day 13 - Rangiroa, Tuamotu Islands

Day 14 - Arrival back in Papeete at around 9:30am

Facts about the ship:

Facilities aboard the Aranui, include electrical current, telephones and a ship’s boutique.

Meals

All meals are included in the price of carriage. Meals are served in the Aranui’s dining room in an informal setting. Depending on the number of passengers, there will be on or two seatings. There is buffet breakfast. Lunch and dinner menus will vary depending on what fresh ingredients are available. Complimentary wine is provided at both lunch and dinner.

For shore excursions, we will provide either a picnic lunch or a delicious meal at a local restaurant.

Please let us know at the time of booking, or no later than three weeks in advance of the sailing date if you need a special, medically prescribed diet.

Clothing

Recommended clothing, luggage and sundries.

Shore Visits and Excursions

Information about excursions and activities available on your voyage.

Weather

The weather in the area is generally divided between the dry season, from March to October, and the wet season, from September to February. You can expect some rain even in the dry season, so we recommend you bring a poncho or other raingear for shore excursions. Temperatures during both seasons will average in the 80’s during the day, and 60’s-70’s in the evening. Temperatures are given in Fahrenheit.

To experience the South Pacific in a more authentic & intimate way,

Contact the Travelgal at Teresa@Luxuryhideaways.net or 800 644-6659

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M/S Paul Gauguin offers Luxury and Adventure with their SCUBA Dive Program

September 11, 2011

The Paul Gauguin was built with adventure in mind. There is an amazing Watersports Marina off the back of the ship where all of the watersports equipment is launched. From this marina you will easily be able to access the ocean and come face to face with a colorful parade of marine life, from magnificent parrot fish and clownfish to stately sea turtles. You will be able to hop aboard a windsurfer, launch a kayak, or embark on a Zodiac for optional diving adventures. Your first dive into crystal-clear waters will spoil you for anything else under the sun-or the seven seas. Also the ship’s small footprint enables it to navigate hidden lagoons that larger ships would never dare to enter.

While cruising the French Polynesia take advantage of the crystal clear water teaming with sealife and learn how to SCUBA Dive! The Paul Gauguin is the only luxury ship in the South Seas to offer PADI certification onboard for novice divers as well as classes at all levels, from snorkeling to advanced scuba diving techniques, supervised by their own staff of PADI dive masters. For the convenience of their guests, all necessary equipment, including an air compressor to refill scuba tanks, is onboard.

For more information contact the Travel Gal at 800 644-6659 or email Teresa@LuxuryHideaways.net

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Ready … Set … GO! Hawaiki Nui Canoe Race Nov. 10, 11 & 12, 2010

July 10, 2010

canoe paddlersEvery year, in the islands of Huahine, Raiatea, Taha’a and Bora Bora, takes place the incredible Hawaiki Nui Canoe Race!

This competition has gained international fame to become THE not-to-be-missed event for fans of the sport.  Approximately 80 teams from the islands and worldwide enter the race on an itinerary starting from Huahine to Bora Bora. Each day equals a segment:

Day 1, Huahine to Raiatea;

Day 2, Raiatea to Taha’a;

Day 3, the longest segment of this beautiful adventure, Taha’a to Bora Bora.

The race unveils the physical and mental strength of each canoe paddler. It does indeed require quite a mental of steel to paddle hours long with no rest!

Each departure, each arrival in the islands is spectacular! However, we have to admit that the Grand “Finale” in Bora Bora’s lagoon is just the most amazing!

You can be part of this unique adventure too!

Contact us now to book YOUR Hawaiki Nui experience at 800 644-6659!

or Teresa@Luxuryhideaways.net

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Life Aboard the Aranui III Freighter

May 19, 2010

The Aranui III is a mixed passenger/cargo vessel that operates between the islands of Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands.

She offers comfortable, air-conditioned accommodations for fewer than 100 passengers, creating an intimate environment for her guests. Passengers will be able to sunbathe on deck, swim in the pool, or enjoy exotic tropical drinks while the Aranui navigates her way among the islands of the Marquesas.

Vessel Particulars

Length: 104 meters (343 feet)
Draft: 5 meters (15 feet)
Cruising Speed: 15 knots
Capacity: 60-100 passengers
Displacement: 4,000 DWT

The name “Aranui” means “The Great Highway” in Maori, another great Polynesian culture. The first Aranui was purchased from a New Zealand ship owner in 1959. CPTM kept her original name, because it suited her. Serving as a link between the remote Marquesas and the rest of the world, she truly was a “Great Highway” on which cargo and passengers traveled. The original Aranui was too small to meet the needs of the islands as trade increased. CPTM therefore retired her, and purchased a new vessel, which was also named the Aranui.

The current Aranui was originally built as a freighter for the Baltic trades, with unusually thick hull plates because of floating ice often found in that area. She was modified in Germany in 1990, when additional passenger cabins were added.

The ship features a small boutique where various sundries, clothing and souvenirs are available. There are washing machines and dryers aboard. There is also a bar and video room, which has a television, VCR and a small collection of videotapes.

The vessel operates under the French flag, and her crew are all Polynesian, primarily Marquesans.   They are extremely skillfull and very hospitable. It is often their custom to give an impromptu concert in the evenings, both for their own and our passengers pleasure.

For more information contact The Travelgal at 800 644-6659 or Teresa@luxuryhideaways.net

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Paul Gauguin Ship Info & Watersports Marina

August 30, 2009

The Paul GauguinThe m/s Paul Gauguin was designed specifically to sail the shallow seas of Tahiti, French Polynesia as well as other islands in the South Pacific, visiting small ports that larger ships can’t reach and effortlessly blending into the stunning natural beauty of the South Seas.

She offers an extension of the informal, relaxing environment of the islands, coupled with five-star service, comfort and luxury.

• Overall Length: 513 feet • Beam (width): 71 feet • Draft: 16.9 feet
• Passengers: 332 • Crew: 215
• Passenger Decks: 7
• Shipyard: Chantiers de l’Atlantique, Saint Nazaire, France
• Gross Tonnage: 19,200 • Cruising Speed: 18 knots • Ship’s Registry: Bahamas
• Most luxurious ship to sail in Tahiti on a year-round basis;
• Only 332 guests
• Crew to guest ratio of 1 to 1.5
• All oceanview accommodations, nearly 70% with balconies
• Space to guest ratio of nearly 58 to 1, one of the highest of any ship serving the North American market
• All onboard gratuities included
• Complimentary beverages including fine wines and premium spirits, soft drinks, bottled water, coffee and tea served throughout the ship
• Butler service in categories B & above, including in-suite bar setup and SoundDock® for iPod®
• In-suite mini-bar replenished daily with soft drinks, beer and bottled water
• State-of-the-art retractable Watersports Marina
• Onboard dive program • Onboard lecture program
• Two elegant restaurants and one pool-side grill, all with open-seating dining
• Well-being and vegetarian selections and special dietetic menus upon request
• WiFi hotspots throughout the ship • Complimentary 24-hour room service
• Complimentary in-room dining • Complimentary in-room movie channels/movies available

Gauguin watersports marinaWatersports are a highlight of the Polynesian experience, and the m/s Paul Gauguin is constructed to take full advantage of these irresistible waters, with accessibility to ports and adventures that other ships can’t offer. The ship’s small footprint enables it to navigate lagoons that larger ships would never dare to enter. Their retractable, onboard Watersports Marina brings you down to sea level, where you can hop aboard a windsurfer, launch a kayak, try waterskiing, or embark on their Zodiac for optional diving adventures.

Even if you’ve never been diving, you can take advantage of the onboard scuba lessons. The m/s Paul Gauguin is the only luxury ship in French Polynesia to offer PADI certification onboard for novice divers as well as classes at all levels, from snorkeling to advanced scuba diving techniques, supervised by their own staff of PADI dive masters. For the convenience of their guests, all necessary equipment, including an air compressor to refill scuba tanks, is onboard.

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Star Clipper Tall Sailing Ship is sailing to Tahiti!

June 4, 2008

star clipper shipWhere romance was born, beauty amazes the senses and adventure beckons on every horizon. Tahiti and French Polynesia, the legendary siren of the South Pacific. The Islands of Tahiti are now the new home of Star Flyer - and the consummate mega-yacht sailing experience.

What a happy combination! Sailing has a very long tradition in French Polynesia, beginning with the original Polynesians, who navigated as far as New Zealand and Hawaii, perhaps even to South America, in quest of new lands to colonize. [Read more]

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Enjoy A Small Ship Cruise In Paradise Aboard the Tu Moana

May 30, 2008

French Polynesia – just saying the words conjures up visions of Gauguin, colours so bright you can taste them, scents of frangipangi wafting across the gentle breeze, and the soft lilt of French – spoken hushed, in an accent that feels like silk to the ears.

However you journey to Tahiti and her islands, you will land at the Faaa International Airport on the main island of Tahiti, near her capital city of Papeete. “International” is used loosely here. Bring your sense of humor and patience with you, and all will be well. Once through Customs, your greeter will adorn you with a fresh flower lei and assist you with your transfer; be it to the domestic air terminal or your hotel – you will be on your way to your adventure before you know it. The airport lies on its own motu (islet) and all the major resorts have permanent greeting areas there. You easily locate each other, then the lovely leis and songs break out to welcome, welcome, welcome you! [Read more]

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Adventures in Tahiti!

May 15, 2008

Sports Activities
Snorkeling, diving, tennis, sailing, water skiing, windsurfing, outrigger canoeing, para-sailing, horseback riding, biking, hiking and climbing are activities available on most islands in French Polynesia. Game fishing is also widely available, though true aficionados recommend December through July as the best months for this sport. Golfers will find an 18-hole course on the island of Tahiti; there are no other courses in French Polynesia at this time. Many hotels offer snorkeling equipment free, but it is advisable to pack your own snorkel, fins and mask (and regulator if you are a serious scuba diver).

Churches
The Polynesians are a very religious people. The church, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, is the center of activity in all villages. No matter what your religion, you will find the Polynesians’ unaccompanied singing beautiful and moving. Guests are certainly welcome in places of worship as long as they adhere to the usual decorum; men should wear long pants and shirts, and women should wear subdued dresses.

Shopping
Hand-blocked pareos (the traditional wraparound garment of Tahiti), original gold jewelry, local shell craft, baskets, wood carvings and vanilla beans can all be purchased in the markets and shops of Tahiti. French imports, such as perfumes, are available in duty free shops, while specialty shops within Papeete offer French fashions. Stores are normally closed daily for a long lunch, on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday.

Black Pearls
French Polynesia is one of the few places in the world where cultured black pearls are grown, and they can make a unique and exquisite souvenir. The Pinctada margaritifera, the oyster species common in Polynesia, produces a dark pearl which varies from pale (least expensive) to dark gray with touches of green or pink (rarest and most expensive). The two islands with the best selection of pearl stores are Moorea and Tahiti. Good quality pearls range from $500 to $10,000 or more, though slightly flawed mementos can be had for much less. On Moorea, we recommend the Black Pearl Gem Company. You will receive a gift certificate with your documents. Present it at the store for your complimentary gift, a Tahitian Pearl Pendant set in sterling silver (a $75 value).

Scuba Diving French Polynesia
Diving in French Polynesia is colorful, varied, and among the best anywhere. You’ll encounter a myriad of colorful reef fish, moray eels, turtles, even manta rays and sharks. The translucent waters are warm (generally 80 degrees and above year ’round) and clear (visibility to over 150 feet) and full of colorful, exciting marine life . . . no matter which island you choose to explore.

Moorea specializes in hand-feeding sharks and dives with rays and dolphins, along with a myriad of reef fish and low-growing corals. Bora Bora generally offers beautiful, graceful manta rays in its plankton-rich multi-hued lagoon. Huahine and Raiatea offer more brilliant displays of coral ledges and cliffs, along with varieties of colorful reef fish.

See you in paradise!!

The Travel Gal

teresa@luxuryhideaways.net

Toll-Free USA – 800-644-6659

Globally – 808-268-3198

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