Exotic Vacation Help

Apr 15th, 2004, 09:55 AM
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Exotic Vacation Help

Hi everyone. This is my first time on this board - I'm usually on the caribbean board. Wondering if you could help. My husband and I are looking to plan an exotic vacation for 2005 and could really use some ideas. We've been to Bermuda and the caribbean (Anguilla nad Antigua) and are looking for something different - a once in a lifetime trip. Our total budget is around $10000 including airfare from Upstate New York and we would like to stay 7-8 days. Looking for a beautiful, exotic, lush, mountainous island with lots of water activities, incredible beaches and friendly people. I've always been intrigued by the South Pacific and was thinking about Bora Bora, Moorea or the Cook Islands. Have seen a lot of mixed reviews about BB, so we are not sure if it is worth it. Too touristy? We don't have kids, I'm in my late 30s and hubby is in early 50s, so we'd like something romantic and not overrun by kids. Also intrigued by the overwater bungalos. Any suggestions of islands that meet this criteria and places to stay (looking for intimate, elegant and upscale)? What should we plan for an overall budget - 10,000 or less? How about food - are there any AI places available? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Apr 15th, 2004, 10:12 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,044
FYI - No AI places that I know of in either FP or the Cook Islands, except for the Bora Bora Club Med - though many places in FP do offer meal plans.

Overwater bungalows can be found in many locations in FP, and also in Samoa (Coconut Beach Resort), in the Maldives (Maldives Hilton), Panama (at the Punta Caracol resort), in the Philippines (the Lagen Island Resort). Partially overwater units are at the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort in the Cooks.

LordBalfor is offline  
Apr 15th, 2004, 12:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 526
Type in "Vatulele" in the search window & you'll see several of my responses. I have stayed in the overwaters in BB and Coconuts in Samoa (great location, not real upscale)& the partial overwaters in Aitutaki (again great location, nice interiors, not ultra private), and my favorite place was Vatulele, Fiji (very private, fabulous location, food, service). Of course, I had the other experiences behind me so the overwaters were not the priority though the ones in Bora Bora, if you can get one that is not so exposed to all the neighbors, should be experienced. Cook Islands are a great destination but personally I wouldn't call it a once in a lifetime trip. If you have the cash, IMO go to Vatulele or Turtle or Yasawa Island Resort. Anyway, good luck, you would have a good time at any of the locations you mentioned! P.S. Moorea & BB & Rarotonga are mountainous, Fiji Big Island interior is but not the outer islands.
PeggyE is offline  
Apr 16th, 2004, 01:11 PM
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Thanks for the responses. I will check out Vatulele. Not so sure about the communal dining, though. In the meantime, I'm also interested in Taha'a. Has anyone been there and if so, how does it compare to Bora Bora, Moorea and even Fiji? The private resort looks amazing. If you were to choose going to Taha'a and one other island, what would it be?
Apr 16th, 2004, 01:17 PM
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One more thing - which island offers the most authentic tahitian experience? I'd really love to go somewhere that we can experience the culture.
Apr 16th, 2004, 09:54 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,530
Hi Bosco..May I suggest you look at a couple of places in my country? They are Bedarra and Lizard Islands near the Great Barrier Reef..upmarket and I suspect could be what you would be happy with. Enjoy what ever you decide on!
Peteralan is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 07:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Just to let you know, we did not do much communal dining. Breakfast was at our bure & dinners were either in the wine cellar, the gazebo on the cliff, on the beach, on a private island etc. We had a few group lunches & they were actually fun and attended a wedding & the festivities & that was great! Have not been to Tahaa, last time we went to FP it was not an option but considering how commercial the more populated islands were getting even then, I'd opt for a less traveled one for sure.
PeggyE is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 10:54 AM
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Can anyone tell me what the best vacation suppliers to FP are. I've looked at Brendan Worldwide, Pleasant Vacations, and Happy Vacations. Who offers the best packages? Have found that many don't offer vacations to Taha'a.
Apr 19th, 2004, 02:41 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 87
My husband and I visited Huahine in march very quiet and beautiful. The Te tiare is the best resort I checked all the others out. I met a couple who went to Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahaa and they stayed at the pearl resorts. They said all were great but Tahaa was the best.
sandyca is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 06:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,283

I can help you with the suppliers, as I use all of them, and are very familiar with them, especially Happy Tours, and Pleasant, both are located not too far from my office. Actually, all three that you mentioned are fairly "new" to providing tours to the area you're wanting to travel to.

Pleasant changed their name from Pleasant Hawaii (their owner, Ed Hogan, was very very knowledgeable about Hawaii and that's all the company did for years and years, and did it well). Then they branched out to Mexico and changed their name to Pleasant Holidays, and it's only been in the past 2 years that they've added Tahiti and Australia. The same is true for Happy Tours -- same thing -- changed their name to Happy Vacations -(they used to only do the Caribbean). Brendan's speciality (until recently) was the UK.

I would suggest that you work with someone who specializes first and foremost with Tahiti (and surrounding areas); an operator that has a long-standing track record. (one suggestion would be Tahiti Vacations www.tahitivacations.net). The other thing would be to go to the Tahiti Tourism website and look for a travel agent (a Tiare Specialist) who has gone through the course of study, visited the islands - they can be a great resource. I have a friend who is very knowledgeable in this area (as well as Fiji) - she's accredited by both Tourism Boards. I'd be happy to give you her email address - feel free to email me if you'd like her email address.


Certified Aussie, Kiwi and Tasmania Specialist
wlzmatilida is offline  
Apr 20th, 2004, 07:41 AM
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Thanks everyone for your replies and assistance. I'm now looking into both Taha'a/Moorea or Vatulele in Fiji.
May 5th, 2004, 02:13 PM
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DOn't know if you have decided yet but you won't find the locals in French Polynesia very friendly. They generally disdain Americans so unless you can pass for European and are good at speaking French, steer away from FP for your once in a lifetime vacation.
May 6th, 2004, 07:51 AM
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Thanks, Sabine. Interesting comment on FP. You've certainly confirmed my thoughts. We much prefer places that are laid back and friendly (regardless of the atmosphere). Fiji looks more to be what we're looking for. Especially since we don't speak a word of French. Thanks so much for your input.
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