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-   -   Kauai or Tahiti- please help settle this arguement! (https://www.fodors.com/community/australia-and-the-pacific/kauai-or-tahiti-please-help-settle-this-arguement-223229/)

Momof5 Jan 5th, 2006 12:47 AM

Kauai or Tahiti- please help settle this arguement!
 
Hi
My hubby and Ilove Kauai. But I want to go to somewhere new like Tahiti. Anyone have a opinion on this? We love the rainforest feel of Northern Kauai, and the relaxation. My hubby say s that Tahiti is no comparison to Kauai Hawaii. Help!
Thanks for your time.

LordBalfor Jan 5th, 2006 07:31 AM

OK, a couple of things to keep in mind:

1) When most folks say they went to Tahiti, they don't really mean that that just went to the island of Tahiti. French Polynesia, which Tahiti is part of, is made of several island chains and covers a HUGE area. The main chain is the Society Islands, of which Tahiti is the largest. Though the island is lovely, it is not the main tourist destination of the Society Islands, but usually just serves as a gateway to the other nearby islands of the chain (Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine etc). That's because the "beaches" (actually not really beaches, but rather lagoons) are far nicer on the other nearby islands.

2) French Polynesia is EXPENSIVE (think really high-end in Hawaii). The overwater bungalows that French Polynesia is so famous for generally go for over $500/night up to around $1000/night (OUCH!). Resort restaurants too are very pricey and you need to plan on around $100/day/person if you plan on eating at the main resorts. There are some smaller "mom & pop" type resorts that are more reasonable, but level of accomodations there can sometimes be a bit basic. The biggest issue with these places is usually just trying to find out about them. Fortunately people like ALF and TikiinTahiti have pretty good knowledge about these places.

3)French Polynesia in general and the Society Islands (the main place in FP where folks go) in particular are best known for their fabulous lagoons (with lovely calm water conditions and generally superior snorkeling) and overwater bungalows. These lend a much more exotic (and I think beautiful) atmosphere to the islands than Hawaii has. The islands just seem to have a bit more of a tropical paradise feeling to them than Hawaii - this in part is whay French Polynesia is such a mecca for honeymooners. Personally, I don't think that there are more romantic destinations anywhere on earth. Of the Hawaiian Islands I've been to (Oahu, Maui & Kauai) the north shore of Kauai comes closest, but still not quiet up to the level of the Society Islands (though I still love it).

4) These islands are MUCH smaller than any of the main Hawaiian Islands, with much less choice in regards to what to do, where to stay, where to eat - though most folks do find enough to keep them occupied. Other than the nighly Polynesian Dance Shows at the various resorts, there is NO nightlife outside of Papeete (a rather large city on Tahiti) so folks looking to party generally do not like French Polynesia as it is just plain too quiet.

5) Though French Polynesia is the place most associated with these beautiful lagoons, they are found throughout the South Pacific region. Unlike Hawaii which is known for their big wave conditions, places like the Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa and numerous places in Micronesia etc all offer the ideal calm clear snorkeling conditions found in French Polynesia. Personally, I actually prefer the Cook Islands to French Polynesia, which are very similar to - but much cheaper. Especially if you are open to the idea of renting a house rather than staying in a resort, the Cooks can be a real bargain - espcially when compared to nearby French Polynesia. Aitutaki has a lagoon similar to Bora Bora's, while Rarotonga is somewhat similar to Moorea. There is not a single traffic light anywhere in the Cooks and Avarua (the capital) on Rarotonga reminds me very much of Hanalai on Kauai's north shore. One description often stated about the Cooks is that they are "like Hawaii was 50 years ago". Probably about right in my opinion. In general, I can safely say that if you love Kauai best of all the Hawaiian Islands (as I do), then you will likely LOVE the Cooks.

I've actually seen the question you ask come up a lot, so much so that I decided to write up an Epinions article about it, called "Hawaii, Tahiti, or the Cook Islands... Where You Should Go - and Why". If you are interested in reading more detail about the comparison, you can find it here:

http://www.epinions.com/user-lordbalfor

Note that I have many other articles on the region on some of the follow-up pages to the web page above.

Photos of all of these places (and a few others), so you can actually see what they look like:

http://community.webshots.com/user/lordbalfor

Any other specific questions, feel free to ask.

Ken

PS: Take note of the weather section in the linked article above> Americans can sometimes find the Cooks to be a bit cool during June-October (their winter) - still summerlike, but sometimes cooler than where Americans are coming from at that time of year.

Abby43 Jan 6th, 2006 12:34 PM

Been to both-most recently Moorea this past summer. Loved em both but felt there was much more to do and much more beautiful on Kauai. However, I'm a big fan of trying new things so I would take LordBalfour aka Ken up on the Cook Islands. I've seen his posts and he has helped me with an aborted trip there and it sounds like paradise! I also went to Fiji which is also fun and pretty.

These islands are all lovely but none really stand out as "I MUST GO BACK" except Kauai. I couldn't believe how beautiful it was and how much there was to do. If you want to mellow out and read go to Moorea or Bora Bora. If you want some other things to do I would suggest Kauai or another Hawaiian Island.


Debden Jan 9th, 2006 02:45 AM

Yes Kauai is a beautiful island.I've been five times.Then I decided it was time to try another island.So we took our first trip to Tahiti.We went to Moorea and Bora Bora and it was as beautiful as everyone says it is.The stunning beauty of the islands and the lagoons just leaves you in awe.And as the above poster says there's not as much to do on the Tahitian islands as there is on the Hawaiian.Tahiti is more quiet and serene with the beauty of the mountains and the blue lagoons that go on forever.They do offer water sports,island tours,hiking,biking,snorkeling,diving and depending on where you stay there are tons of fish around the coral reefs.
I spent lot's of time sitting on my deck feeding the fish.
It just depends on what your looking for in a vacation.I liked Kauai when I started going in 1988 but since then it's become very commercialized and busy.
Tahiti offers the feeling of solitude and quiet that I like....kinda the Hawaiian islands of old.
Debbie

jackiehammond Jan 19th, 2006 02:43 PM

i stayed at pearl beach reosrt in bora bora in may of 2000 for my honeymoon and it was truly breathtaking. i've also been to maui and kauai. in my opinion, they pale in comparison. but i like shallow, turqoise water that i can snorkel in from the shore. the beachfront and overwater bungalows are amazing. if you want a quiet, romantic getaway, bora bora all the way! :)

andydee Feb 18th, 2006 01:38 AM

Have been to Kauai, Maui and Oahu a couple of times and the North Shore of Kauai is my favorite of those. It would still rank behind Aitutaki, Rarotonga, Tahaa, Huahine, Raitea, Moorea and Bora Bora for me. That is because these places, with the possible exception of Bora Bora, are relatively unspoiled compared to Hawaii and of course, they have those stunning lagoons.
It depends what you are looking for. HAWAII HAS A LOT MORE TO DO AND IS QUITE A BIT CHEAPER TOO.


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