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I've been to Tahiti and would like to go either to Fiji or the Cook islands. Which ones are more like Tahiti?

I've been to Tahiti and would like to go either to Fiji or the Cook islands. Which ones are more like Tahiti?

Jan 5th, 2004, 02:37 PM
  #1  
maletas
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I've been to Tahiti and would like to go either to Fiji or the Cook islands. Which ones are more like Tahiti?

Ive been to Tahiti twice and have been spoiled forever I am afraid. Since then I;ve been to Hawaii, St Martin and Playa del Carmen. They all were nice but nothing like Tahiti. Price matters so I am considering Fiji but are the Cook Islands prettier. I love the lagoons and mountains. Can someone shed some light on what Fiji and the Cooks have to offer? Thank you
 
Jan 5th, 2004, 04:53 PM
  #2  
 
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Hi - why not try Vanuata - the islands are gorgeous - with Yasur active volcano on Tanna island - food is mostly better than Fiji - probably due to previous French influence, when at one stage these islands which were then known as New Hebrides were governed by British/French condiminium. From Australia and NZ we can fly direct to Port Vila, I think from US and Europe you need to fly via Nadi, Fiji.
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Jan 5th, 2004, 09:48 PM
  #3  
ALF
 
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The Cook Islands are physically similar to French Poly's Society Islands; Tall rugged interior highlands, lagoons, fringing or barrier reefs. Fiji's islands are much less rugged - the interiors are more accessible. There are some very nice reefs here and there, but not as many classic motu-ringed lagoons like the Society or Cook Islands.

I consider myself spoiled too - by the Cooks. I consider them to be friendlier, smaller, far less-developed versions of Tahiti (and the rest of the Society chain). They are also cheaper than French Polynesia, but then again, just about everything is! You can rent a nice seaside bungalow for about US $100/night. No, you are not going to find ritzy over-the-water resorts here, but there are plenty of picturesque places to stay, and plenty to do.

Fiji is far more diverse, there are far more choices of everything, in terms of accommodations, activities, trips, islands, etc. You can find incredibly remote and inexpensive places, as well as upscale 5-star resorts. We enjoyed ourselves there as well, and would choose it over French Polynesia, but the islands themselves tend not to be as spectacular.
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Jan 6th, 2004, 02:48 AM
  #4  
maletas
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Thank you for the responses! I was just in Playa del Carmen last week and although the beach was pretty, it was nothing like Moorea or Bora Bora!!! It sounds like the Cooks would be more to my liking. A big concern is the falling dollar which has even dropped considerabley against the New Zealand dollar but at least its cheaper than Tahiti. Im not into big glitzy places and I would not go for the over water bungalows. I'd rather spend that kind of money on excursions and food.
I live on the east coast so I suppose 2 weeks would be about the right time to spend there? Any recommendations on where to stay for about $100. US or less?
 
Jan 6th, 2004, 06:31 AM
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Pat - just returned in November from a cruise through the islands of Vanuatu and New Caledonia. In Vanuatu we stopped at the islands of Efate, Espiritu Santo, Pele, Ambrym and Tanna. On Tanna, we hiked to the top of the volcano. My favorite was Ambrym where the captain had to hold a tethered pig for slaughter before we were allowed ashore. It is considered the country's sorcery center. We were treated to a traditional "Rom" dance which was amazing. The islands are beautiful and lush even though the rainy season had not yet begun.
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Jan 6th, 2004, 06:31 AM
  #6  
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Mid-priced accomodations on the main island of Rarotonga include Club Raro (http://www.clubraro.co.ck/), Castaway Villas (http://www.castawayvillas.com/), Shangri-La Cottages (http://www.shangri-la.co.ck/), and Aro'a Beachside Inn (http://cookpages.com/aroabeachsideinn/).

Elliot Smith, the owner of Shangri-La frequents travel boards (usually Lonely Planet), usually under the pseudonym, 'Raro'. We really liked his place, and he (and his Web site) are a good source of info. Last time we were in Rarotonga, we stayed at Aroko Bungalows, a small property with small shoreline bungalows not far from Muri Beach. These aren't as nice as the above places, but the price was right (about NZ $100/night). They don't have a Web site, but you can see it on http://gohawaii.about.com/cs/cooklodging/
This site features just about every lodging in the Cooks.

Great things to do include: taking in an 'Island Nite' feast and dance performance at several locales (such as Club Raro); touring the Cook Islands Cultural Village (including a great lunch and dance performance); Hiking the steep rough trail to the base of Te Rua Manga ('The Needle', a tall spire in the center of the island); Snorkeling, sailing, swimming at Muri Beach (buy a 'Family Pass' to do all these things, as well as a motu lunch tour); diving (we really enjoyed diving with Pacific Divers).

On Aitutaki (a miniature Bora Bora), accommodations are more limited, and there seems to be big gap between luxury places and inexpensive places, with not much in the middle. Two nice mid-priced places where we have stayed are Paradise Cove (http://www.ck/aitutaki/paradisecove/index.htm) and Sunny Beach Lodge (http://www.ck/aitutaki/paradisecove/index.htm). Two more upscale places to consider are the Akaiami Beach Lodge (http://www.ck/aitutaki/ginasakaiami/index.htm) or Ranginui Retreat (http://www.ck/aitutaki/ranginuis/index.htm). The diving and snorkeling in Aitutaki's lagoon is wonderful.

If you really want to get away from the tourists, I would heartily recommend flying to the tiny island of Atiu. By my count, there are about a dozen rooms availablefor visitors. We stayed at the very remote Atiu Villas, which were quite delightful. You then rent a motorbike to travel the few dirt roads of the island. There is a coffee plantation, many farms, a beautiful native arts and fabrics studio, some very interesting caves, and you could probably get invited to a 'Tumunu', or 'Bush-beer school', a fascinating experience where you can meet villagers who have developed these sort of bush drinking clubs (word of advice from someone who learned the hard way: do not drink too much beer and then try to drive your motorbike in the dark on unmarked, unfamiliar roads to try to find your lodging!).
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Jan 7th, 2004, 02:45 AM
  #7  
maletas
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Is Vanuata part of Fiji? It sounds interesting. I am hoping to take another South Seas vacation the summer of 2005.
I like Hawaii but it was too American. Or should I say, not exotic enough. I am American but I like to feel as if I am really away. Hawaii just didnt do it for me. However, I would go back and it was pleasant for sure. Yet it didnt have that magic of French Polynesia.
 
Jan 7th, 2004, 07:58 AM
  #8  
 
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Maletas - Vanuatu is a republic 1,200 miles northeast of Brisbane and approximately 500 miles from Fiji. It consists of more than 80 islands with a total population of 200,000. It was originally a colony of the British and French and some areas are oriented either way. Didn't see much tourist infrastructure but then I was on the cruise.
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Jan 7th, 2004, 06:07 PM
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Hi Maletas - there's an inexpensive small resort on Erakor Island, a short distance from Port Vila which is the capital of Vanuatu on Efate (main island) - this little island is in the middle of Erakor Lagoon and has bungalow accommodation (all looking onto lagoon) and there is quite a good restaurant. There's a boat service regularly to the mainland - if the boatman is on the other side when you need him, you just hit a gong - the sound carries over the water and he putters over to collect you. The island of Espiritu Santo is where the US army at the end of WW2 dumped hundreds of tons of war surplus which makes for some pretty interesting diving. Pentecost Island is where (at certain time of year) young guys leap headfirst from 30' towers - attached only by vines tied around their ankles - to bless the yam crop.

Louise - glad you liked Vanuatua - what did you think of New Caledonia?
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Jan 9th, 2004, 12:19 PM
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Pat - how did I like New Caledonia? That's a hard question to answer. I loved the remoteness of Vanuatu so felt some disappointment leaving although I loved the rock formations of Hienghene Island, N.C. I would have liked to visit Ile des Pins but that was not to be. Noumea seemed to be quite a cosmopolitan city. In Vanuatu, we did have the opportunity to snorkel at Million Dollar Point but I opted not to as we were warned the water was very rough that day and I did not think that would help water clarity. Some of our group did though. We were very fortunate to have a captain who liked to dive so every opportunity, the expedition staff would find snorkeling for us while he would dive. I sure was fortunate to do this trip and couldn't have except for the fact it came up for half price.
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