Costco Travel buyer
By Cynthia Dial
WHEN ONE DESCRIBES the Tahitian
islands, one hears them: bird songs at dawn,
trade winds rustling through palms, the beat
of drums at day’s end.
O;cially called French Polynesia, this
collection of 118 islands and atolls lies in the
South Paci;c—seemingly close to nowhere
but in actuality less than eight hours from Los
Angeles and within Hawaii’s time zone. With
an average temperature of 79 degrees and a
beckoning blend of Polynesian and French
customs, these French-governed islands are
year-round magnets for visitors.
Ringed by coral reefs, punctuated with
lush mountains and enclosing clear aquamarine lagoons, they’re magical, they’re mystical
and they beg to be explored.
Tahiti: the queen of the Paci;c
Moorea: the magical island
The Costco Connection
Costco Travel offers a variety of packages
featuring Tahiti and Her islands. Click “Travel”
at Costco.com or call 1-877-849-2730.
at sunset, a dolphin encounter, the Belvedere
lookout’s dramatic view of the mountainous
terrain, o;en draped in clouds.
Bora Bora: the romantic island
Huahine: the garden of Eden
Rangiroa: the endless lagoon
Although Moorea and Bora Bora are at
the top of the paradisiacal chart, Huahine is a
signi;cant rival. Far enough o; the tourist
track to retain its authentic roots and resist
modern-day pressures, the island is best
described as laid-back. Cherished for its jungle setting and lack of nightlife, Huahine
lures visitors with such attractions as the
archaeological site and royal village of Maeva
and 6-foot-long eels, deemed sacred by locals.
THE TAHITIAN islands are a magical
place. I’ve discovered a few ways to
save money and time and make the
most of the experience there.
• Travel during the slower seasons
(November to May). Off-season travel
usually means fewer visitors and more
opportunities to engage with the locals.
• Short on time? Fly Air Tahiti Nui
in the evening. Their short-stay fares
offer a lower fare if you stay only five
nights. Arrive on Tahiti in the early
morning, enjoy a full day on the beach
and get six full days of vacation.
• If you’re traveling to and staying
on more than one island, consider a
garden, pool or beach bungalow on
one island and an over-water bungalow on the other island.
• Explore the lesser-known islands
of Tikehau, Manihi, Raiatea and Taha’a,
which all offer unique, off-the-beaten-track experiences.
• Eat local. Try locally caught fish
and Tahitian Hinano beer.
• Stop at a bakery in one of the villages and get fresh croissants or breads.
• Discover the evening roulettes
(food trucks) located on the Papeete
waterfront for a colorful dining experience.
• Split a meal, as portions are
• Pick up the wonderful local
coconut soap or scented coconut oils
that will soften your skin and keep
your memories alive with the scents
of Polynesia long after you have
returned home. C
water is just a little bluer, the mountains a bit
greener and the sand a touch so;er. C
MARCH 2012 ;e Costco Connection 63
Cynthia Dial is an internationally published
journalist whose addiction is travel.