Where is Tahiti? Did you know there are 118 islands?

August 19, 2014

Everyone dreams of visiting the islands of Tahiti so lets learn a little bit about this piece of paradise - making your dream of visiting one step closer to a reality!

There are non-stop flights out of LAX to Tahiti.  The main airport is Papeete (ppt).  The flight time is between 7 and 8 hours and is non-stop.  I suggest departing on the red-eye flight, that way you arrive in Papeete early in the morning and can transfer immediately to an outer island.  Otherwise you will need to have a “forced” overnight in Papeete.  The airline of Tahiti is Air Tahiti Nui.

The islands officially known as French Polynesia but widely known as “Tahiti” are actually 118 individual islands located in five island groups: the Society Islands, the Tuamotus, the Marquesas, the Austral and the Gambier archipelago.

The Society Islands are the most popular island group including the main island of Tahiti and its capital city of Papeete, as well as popular vacation islands of Moorea,Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea, and Tahaa.

The Tuamotu Islands are known for their outstanding diving and snorkeling including the islands of Manihi, Tikehau, Rangiroa and Fakarava.

The Marquesas Islands are historically significant with their ancient stone tikis, as well as the final resting place of poet Jacque Brel and painter Paul Gauguin.

The Humpback whales enjoy the waters around the Austral Islands between July and November.

You are now 2 steps closer to enjoying your umbrella drink under a palm tree - call me, the Travel Gal for more information and lets begin planning your vacation of a lifetime!

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Extreme Sport & Authentic Adventure Holiday

June 6, 2012

If you are looking to connect with nature and spend some time with wildlife, New Zealand is for you.You can hire a punt on an urban river; relax for days on a houseboat, motor yacht or sailing vessel; be your own captain or hire an experienced professional crew.

The pristine landscapes and waterways of the Southern South Island offer a favourite cruising experience for many, offering scenic cruises through Fiordland, Queenstown and Stewart Island.

Whether you prefer a high speed jet boat ride or a leisurely jaunt, you’ll find New Zealanders are happy to share with you their love of water-borne transport.

Like a jet aircraft, a jet boat has no external propeller. Instead, it squirts water out at high speed just below the surface behind the boat. This allows the boat to operate in depths of only a few centimetres.

The jet boat was developed in the 1960s by New Zealand farmer William (Bill) Hamilton, to allow navigation of the shallow Canterbury rivers. However, enterprising New Zealanders soon realised its potential as an adventure activity.

Sit back, buckle yourself in and feel the acceleration. A New Zealand jet boat ride will take you powering through narrow river gorges, almost brushing against sheer rock faces; or skimming across the surface of water channels that weave through the shingle banks of braided rivers.

Jet boating is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness, and can be enjoyed the whole year round. Some of the most exhilarating trips are available near Queenstown and Canterbury. Other areas include the Buller and Makarora regions in the South Island and the Rangitaiki, Whanganui and Waikato Rivers in the North Island.

Exploring New Zealand’s magnificent coastline by paddle power is an exercise and pure enjoyment. You can discover the coastal regions of national parks. You can paddle around islands and along fiords. You can even paddle a traditional Maori waka.

In the South Island, sea kayaking experiences can last half a day or several. Meander through the Marlborough Sounds, where waters are sheltered and people are few; follow the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park and hope for encounters with seals, dolphins and orca; get a sea level view of a fiord; or find your way around Okarito Lagoon, where you’ll see all kinds of wading birds.

In the North Island you can embark on a sea kayaking safari around the Bay of Islands, Waiheke Island or Wellington harbour. Sheltered water experiences can be found on the Hokianga and Tauranga Harbours. Paddling around a marine reserve, such as Goat Island, is always fun - beach your kayak and go for a snorkel.

From a quiet drift through the forested wilderness to a white-knuckled, wide-eyed journey down turbulent rapids, rafting covers the full adventure spectrum.

The mountains of New Zealand’s interior feed a myriad of fast flowing rivers that run through the forests to the sea. Grade 1 rivers offer relatively tranquil waters, while grade 5 rivers is regarded as an extreme sport. Trips ranging from a couple of hours to five days are led by qualified rafting guides who comply with established safety codes. All gear and special clothing is provided.

Rafting rivers in the North Island are mostly found in the central east coast areas of the Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay. In the South Island, you’ll get the chance to try rafting around the resort town of Queenstown, Christchurch and on the West Coast. Some operators offer a combined helicopter and rafting experience. You can also try black water rafting through underground caves.

There are several areas of New Zealand’s coastline that are ideal for sailing adventures. Sheltered harbours open out to inshore cruising grounds dotted with picturesque islands, and there are popular coastal journeys with harbour-like bays conveniently spaced less than a day’s sail apart.

You can charter a vessel and sail her yourself or opt for a skipper and crew. Skippered voyages range from an afternoon tea and sightseeing sail on the harbour to several days on an ocean-going maxi racing yacht.

The style of boat varies from restored historic square riggers to New Zealand’s high-tech America’s Cup winners. You can get as hands on or as laid back as you wish.

The maritime reserves of the Bay of Islands, Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds are among the best areas for a holiday afloat. Auckland, known as the City of Sails, has the world’s largest number of boats per head of population.

Kaikoura, on the east coast of the South Island, is the main centre for whale watching in New Zealand. It’s one of the only places in the world where you can easily see sperm whales.

Sperm whales, the largest of the toothed whales, grow to over 15 metres in length. They dive deep into the ocean to feed. The resident population of sperm whales at Kaikoura can be seen all year round. Orca (killer whales) may be seen from December to March, and humpback whales in June and July. Several dolphin species are seen almost daily in the area.

Whales thrive close to Kaikoura because of its unusual submarine landscape. The continental shelf drops quickly into a number of extremely deep underwater canyons. In addition, a warm current from the north meets a colder one from the south. This causes nutrients from deep within the ocean to be carried upward, a phenomenon that helps to support all types of marine life from plankton and krill to dolphins and whales.

An encounter with dolphins always feels such a privilege. Their gentle nature is something most people admire, and something we would prefer to see more of in humans. These playful creatures appear keen to communicate. They’re quite a large animal, yet they present us with no danger. They are intelligent, but seem to be completely free of cruelty or greed. This may explain why swimming with dolphins has been rated by visitors as one of the top tourism experiences in the country.

Many dolphin species can be seen in New Zealand. There’s the common dolphin and the large bottle-nosed dolphin, which can often exceed three metres in length. The smaller dusky dolphin is less than two metres long and is very playful. The Hector’s dolphin is one of the world’s rarest and smallest dolphins, and is found only in our waters.

New Zealand offers a wide selection of dolphin watching and swimming tours. Operators take great care not to harm the dolphins, and some of the tour price often goes towards dolphin conservation.

These cute little creatures are bound to make you smile. In the sea they dive and swoop like other birds do in the air, and on land they march upright and waddle like officials in a parade.

You’ll find three species of penguin around New Zealand. The korora, or little blue penguin, is the world’s smallest. Standing only 25 centimetres tall, and weighing just over a kilogram, it is found in coastal waters and often comes ashore at night. The Marlborough Sounds, Akaroa Harbour, Oamaru and Stewart Island are excellent places to see little blues.

The rare hoiho, or yellow-eyed penguin, has a beautiful yellow eye band sweeping back from each yellow eye. You can find hoiho on the Otago Peninsula, just out of Dunedin, and along the South Otago Coast.

The Fiordland crested penguin is one of the world’s rarest. It is found in Fiordland and Stewart Island, in the deep south of the South Island.

Antarctic king and gentoo penguins can be viewed at an aquarium and Antarctic attraction in Auckland.

To learn more about travel to New Zealand, call the Travel Gal at 800 644-6659 or email Teresa@LuxuryHideaways.net

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You are Travel Agent Extrodinaire!

March 11, 2012

Dear Teresa;

Jim and I want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the wonderful vacation you planned for us. We loved Sugar Beach so much. Loved walking the 2 miles of beach every morning, the Farmers Market across the street, the close proximity to Up Country, Wailea beaches, shopping, etc. Even Kihei was great.

Doing the 2nd week in Lahaina was a brilliant call on your part. Lahaina Shores is such an intimate, homey, relaxed yet sophisticated hotel. Love that place! Our room was perfect. But with that view it wouldn’t have mattered much what the room was like.

Thank you for thinking of the whale watch adventure with Hawaii Ocean Rafting. We carry that memory of seeing them so closely with us still. Makes it a little easier to handle the fact that we’re back in 40 degree rain again.

Paddling with the Lahaina Canoe club was great too. Something I never would have done without your suggestion/encouragment. I worked my tail off, but felt truly exhilerated when we were done. If I lived there I would definitely be a member.

All in all it was really a perfect vacation. We feel so relaxed and rejuvenated (re-connected too). I mean that Teresa, with all my heart.

It was exactly what we hoped for and needed. Thank you so very much. You are travel agent extroidinaire!

Aloha, love and kisses,

Jim & Barb S.

[Read more]

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Big Wave Watching Season - Check into Turtle Bay Resort!

September 16, 2011

From November to February, Oahu’s North Shore waves average heights of 16 feet. For about 20 days during this peak season, waves swell to 36 to 50 feet in size. On occasion, winter waves have topped 100 feet. It’s awe-inspiring to watch, but surfing these massive waves is best left to the pros. The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing will take place November 12 - 20, 2011.

Turtle Bay Resort & Ocean-villas information

One of the closest and best hotels to stay in to see all the action close by is the Turtle Bay Resort & Oceanvillas - a little luxury hideaway tucked into the North shore. Here is some info on the resort:

Oceanfront resort
Set on 880 oceanfront acres just four miles from the renowned Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach.
Beach cottages
Each of the 400 guestrooms and beach cottages offer oceanfront views and gracious Hawaiian service.
Spa, surfing & golf! - need we say more?
Enjoy dining choices from poolside casual to upscale gourmet, and recreation options including Spa Luana, 10 tennis courts, horseback riding, surfing, and 36 holes of championship golf.
What to Expect: Set along five miles of secluded shoreline, coves, and bays, this 880-acre Oahu resort encapsulates the North Shore’s natural beauty. Adjacent to the resort’s east side is Kuilima Cove, protected by a reef from ocean swells for prime snorkeling and swimming. On the resort’s west side is Turtle Bay, site of surfing tournaments.
Amenity Highlights: Spa Luana offers a range of locally inspired massages and body treatments such as the Hawaii Coffee & Macadamia Nut Scrub. Turtle Bay Resort’s pool complex has a 70-foot main pool area, two secluded spa tubs, a large children’s pool, and an upper-level pool with a rock waterfall and 80-foot waterslide. Other leisure options include two championship golf courses, tennis courts, and surfing lessons.
Insider Tip: Though it can’t be seen, only imagined, there is an underwater canyon in front of the resort that humpback whales follow when returning to their summer home in Alaska after wintering in Hawaii. A Honolulu newspaper rated the resort as one of the 10 best whale-watching places on Oahu.

For more information and special rates call the Travel Gal

at 800 644-6659 or teresa@luxuryhideaways.net

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Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay - Paradise is still available for Christmas!

September 9, 2011

Looking for a fabulous family vacation resort for Christmas?  Perhaps a “luxury hideaway with the little ones“? A little slice of heaven in Hawaii? Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay is where you will want stay!

This Five Star resort offers impeccable service and is the perfect island getaway… so relaxing. While you are lounging by their lovely pool you will be treated to Evian spritzers, ice water, chilled towels and fruit kabobs. Steps from the resort, just down the beach path, you will find Hulopoe Bay and a great stretch of white sand beach. You can sit back and enjoy the sun or snorkel and explore the underwater world at best spot on the island for snorkeling and swimming. It will be the perfect time of year to see the Humpback whales and Spinner dolphins.

The Island of Lanai is a wonderful playground where you will find * Horseback riding * Golf * Snorkeling & SCUBA diving * Mountain biking * Skeet shooting * Lanai Art Center

The Spa is incredible and has 11 treatment rooms including red cedar dry heat saunas, eucalyptus steam rooms and rainforest showers. Dining is fabulous at both Manele Bay and their sister resort, The Four Season Lodge at Koele! You can also take a complimentary shuttle to the Lodge for the day or just to have a nice dinner.

The Four Seasons Manele Bay is a fantastic resort for children: they will be greeted with a welcome amenity, child size bathrobes, complimentary infant and children’s toiletries, welcome milk and cookies on the evening of arrival and even a teen center is available.

Two Island Tip: If you are looking for something a little extra, would like to visit 2 islands but don’t want to deal with the airports, a Maui-Lanai combo vacation is a great idea! Expeditions Ferry cruises five times a day with service between Lahaina Harbor, Maui & Manele Harbor, Lanai. The pleasant 45 minute crossing makes a Lanai add-on to any Maui stay easy and affordable!  Plus you’ll be getting a whalewatching opportunity so be sure to bring your binoculars!

For more Christmas vacation ideas call us at 800 644-6659 or email Teresa@Luxuryhideaways.net today!

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American Safari Cruises Offering Travel Credit

June 25, 2011

Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands will receive $150.00 per person or $300.00 per couple travel credit aboard the Safari Explorer if the cruise is purchased by 29/July 2011.

Experience 5 star luxury resort living aboard the 36 passenger Safari Explorer and see the Hawaiian islands in a different light.  Sailing 7 - 10 night active, adventure itineraries between Maui and the Big Island from November 2011 through April 2012, visiting Moloka’i, Lana’i and Molokini. The credit is intended to help guests defray air costs to the Hawaiian Islands where they will embark on their adventure cruise.

“We are confident guests will be thrilled with the experience of seeing and experiencing Hawaii up close on an upscale yacht,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “This is a brand new vacation option in the Hawaiian Islands, and we hope the travel credit aids in the decision-making process to try an adventure un-cruise in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.”

Jacox says the un-cruise defines the active, up close and personal style of adventure travel that makes American Safari Cruises different from other cruise vacations. The Safari Explorer is the only small-group expedition yacht offering overnight cruises in the Hawaiian Islands.

Flexible yacht itineraries focus on the leeward side of the eastern-most Hawaiian Islands. The unstructured itinerary allows time for seeking wildlife such as Manta rays, dolphins and humpback whales. Outfitted for active adventures, the yacht’s well stocked water sports equipment includes kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling gear, wet suits, sailboats and inflatable skiffs for up-close excursions. Guided snorkeling tours are a highlight throughout the trip. Two knowledgeable expedition leaders guide hiking and kayaking tours. Bicycles are also available for guest use on Moloka’i and Lana’i.

Exclusive cultural tours have been arranged for guests in Moloka’i including guided hikes, visiting and restoring a family’s ancient taro terraces, “talking story” with native Hawaiians and a private, authentic Hawaiian pa’ina (feast).

The Safari Explorer has an on-deck hot tub, sauna, exercise equipment, a wine library and two large-screen TVs in the main salon. Exceptional cuisine is prepared with fresh, local ingredients and the complimentary bar offers premium spirits, fine wines and microbrews. The active spa environment includes a complimentary massage and yoga classes. All staterooms offer Tempur-pedic mattresses, flat screen TV/DVD players and iPod docks. Upper category staterooms feature Jacuzzi tubs and suites have private step-out balconies.

Fares start at $4,995 for the seven-night cruise and $6,495 for the 10-night cruise, both per person, double occupancy. Itineraries include exclusive excursions as well as all from-the-yacht activities and equipment; transfers; exquisite meals; fine wine, premium spirits and microbrews; and all port charges, taxes and fees. An all-American crew has a guest-crew ratio of 2 to 1 and includes Hawaii residents who have personal knowledge of the islands.

Posted Originally by American Safari Cruises/Innersea Discoveries

For more information contact Teresa@Luxuryhideaways.net or call 800 644-6659

Note from Travelgal:
I personally experienced life onboard one of American Safari Cruises for a few days, it is a floating all inclusive luxury resort. If you were to break down the cost of hotel, meals, transfers, alcohol and activities - this is a deal!

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Cruising Aboard the Paul Gauguin - Tours & Excursions

December 5, 2009

There are quite a few adventures from which to choose while cruising the South Pacific islands aboard the Paul Gauguin. Here are some of my top favorite adventures:

Aito Off Road Safari - Travel in a four-wheel drive vehicle for a journey inside the volcanic crater that created Moorea.
Catamaran Sail with Snorkel - Explore Moorea’s beauty aboard a catamaran. Ride to Moorea’s northern coast, then on to Cook’s and Opunohu Bays. Upon reaching Opunohu Bay, the captain will drop anchor in the clear blue waters of a coral garden.
Dolphin Watching Expedition - Join Marine Biologist Dr. Michael Poole or his assistant for this eco-tour. With luck, you’ll see schools of spinner dolphins while listening to informative commentary about their remarkable society. Dolphins are found on 95% of the tours, but the engaging narrative and magnificence of Moorea’s coastline ensure a rewarding time. Guests visiting between July and early November may also view humpback whales in their annual mating and calfing rituals.
Coral Gardens Drift Snorkeling - After a short ride by motorboat, walk across an uninhabited motu off the coast, where your guide will lead you as the current carries you through the shallow lagoon on the way back to the boat. You will be delighted to find that this area abounds with a spectacular variety of tropical fish and amazing coral. This shore excursion is available from both Raiatea and Taha’a.
Exploration of Taha’a - You’ll drive via a safari off-road vehicle across one of Taha’a highest mountains. Visit a scenic viewpoint, learn the traditional use of local plants and trees, and learn the tamure, a Tahitian dance. Then tour a local vanilla plantation and a black pearl farm to learn how these treasures are cultured and harvested.
Golf in Paradise at the Moorea Green Pearl -Enjoy magnificent mountain and ocean views while playing this 18-hole championship course. The Nicklaus Design team created the course around the natural beauty of the island. Amateurs and professionals alike will find the Moorea Green Pearl Golf Course to be both challenging and inspirational.
In Paul Gauguin’s Footsteps - Take a walk in the footsteps of Paul Gauguin and explore the museum that bears his name during this scenic tour of Tahiti.
Raiatea Highlights Island Tour - Explore the interior of this picturesque island, climbing the hillside through untouched forests of bamboo, balsa and rosewood. Then pass pearl farms, local agriculture and conclude at the Botanical Garden with a guided nature walk.
Snorkel and Black Pearl Farm - Discover the Motu Pearl Farm, where you’ll learn all about the magnificent black pearl. Continue to a small motu for some snorkeling in the crystal clear lagoon of Taha’a and get acquainted with the myriad of tropical fish there. You’ll also find a small lagoonarium where you can swim with turtles, rays, and fish enclosed in different pools.
Tahiti - Off the Beaten Path - Explore a side of Tahiti not commonly seen by visitors during a scenic off-road journey through this idyllic island. Depart the pier with your guide in an off-road vehicle for the scenic drive through Tahiti’s pristine interior.

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Thank you for all of your assistance with our Maui weddingmoon!

May 11, 2009

humback whale - maui coastlineAloha Teresa -

I was just thinking of you yesterday. You really came through for us last Friday when we were turned around due to the fire on the road while trying to make it to our return flight after the wedding on Maui. We missed getting through to the airport by about 10 cars and the fire was right there by us.

It saved us a tremendous amount of time and stress to fly directly from the small Kapalua Airport to Kahului Airport. Some people on our flight did the long drive and said it was tedious and one lane in parts. We really appreciate your extra effort in putting that all together and changing our flights within an hour. Great job! It really helps to have a “Travel Agent friend on Maui”! [Read more]

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Maui - I love where I live!

July 27, 2008

Maui - I realize this island is a dream destination for many people and I am blessed to live here for the last 20 years…I love the tropical warm island breezes that make it possible to have my door open year around, I love waking to the sound of melodic birds singing (all a different tune).

I love the slower pace of life, where people stop for each other in traffic and greet each other with a smile and a “shaka bra” hand signal (whether they know them or not). I love the different cultures co-existing harmoniously - just experience a school pot luck dinner and you will find dishes from at least a dozen different cultures.

I love the idea that weekends are for beach barbeques and the parks are always full of families enjoying the ocean and each other. I love that our favorite annual visitors, the Humpback whales bless us yearly with their presence to birth their calves in our warm, calm, safe waters and we get to watch the Mothers teach them how to breach, slap their tales and mingle with the other whales and dolphins.

Maui No Ka Oi - Maui is the best!

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