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South Pacific Islands Insider Tips

Cook Islands I recommend exchanging money in Los Angeles before leaving for the islands. There are some places, such as the shops and open-air markets, which do not take U.S. dollars or credit cards. ~ Malia Amelita, Destination Specialist

Cook Islands, Rarotonga The open air Market in Rarotonga has the best deals on shopping and great food! It's only open on Saturdays from 7am to noon so get there early to stroll the many aisles. Be sure to bring sunglasses and hat as it gets pretty warm around 10am. You can get a ukulele at the market for half the price, instead of buying one while on an excursion. ~ Malia Amelita, Destination Specialist

Cook Islands, Rarotonga No rental car ... no worries! The best way to get around the island is to rent a scooter, it's so much fun! Also, ADA rooms are rare in the Cook Islands and most hotels and villas do not have elevators, however the largest tower is approximately three flights of stairs. ~ Malia Amelita, Destination Specialist

Fiji | To truly immerse in to the Fijian culture a church service is a must. Vatusogosogo Village Church is located high on the hill overlooking the water and guests are welcome to attend the service on Sundays. Held in Fijian, the majority of the service is filled with a beautiful choir and the congregation singing.

Fiji | When visiting a Fijian village, it is customary to remove your hat, wear modest clothing and leave your shoes at the door if you enter a private home.

Fiji, Northern Islands | After a day of fishing off Savusavu Bay, the chef at Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort - Fiji will carefully prepare your catch of the day into a tantalizing dinner.

Fiji | Discover Cloud 9, a floating pizza bar in the middle of the South Pacific. Cloud 9 bobs above Roro Reef in the Mamanuca archipelago, about 45 minutes off the west coast of Fiji. The two-story floating restaurant sits atop two pontoons, just a few miles from the Cloudbreak swell, ideal for surfers. Travelers will enjoy large day beds, shaded communal tables, bar seats and sun-soaked reclining chairs. Then delight in snorkeling, swimming, onboard music and of course, delicious wood-fired pizzas.

Fiji, Northern Islands | Namale Resort & Spa has been a vacation hideaway to a list of celebrities including Russell Crowe, Donna Karan, Meg Ryan and Quincy Jones. Unwind in an oasis of total indulgence at the award-winning Spa & Sanctuary at Namale Resort & Spa or enjoy a private romantic meal anywhere your heart desires.

Fiji, Mamanuca Islands | I would recommend helicopter transportation from Viti Levu to the Mamanuca Islands as this is quickest and most private way to reach the islands. ~ Katie Thingstad, Destination Specialist

Fiji | With a reverence for tradition and a sign of appreciation, guests may try a cup of traditional Kava drink, made from the root of a pepper plant and said to have relaxing qualities.

Tahiti, Cruise | Not enough time for a pre- or post-stay while on your Tahiti Windstar Cruise? Windstar's schedule allows guests the opportunity to experience a stunning overwater bungalow at Le Meridien Bora Bora, as the ship ports from 8am in the morning to 9pm the following day in Bora Bora. It's a great way to enjoy the romance of an overwater bungalow experience, especially when you are on a tight schedule. ~ Tyler Boynton, Cruise Specialist

Tahiti | With a variety annual events, Tahiti is the ideal destination for runners, sailers, fashionistas and more. Usually held in March, more than 1,500 runners participate in the International Moorea Marathon, held since 1988. Celebrate the 15th annual Tahiti Pearl Regatta, one of the South Pacific's largest sailing competitions typically hosted mid-May. A three-day Tahiti Fashion Week usually takes place mid-June highlighting Polynesian culture, local artists and designers' unique pieces. And, for more than 125 years, Heiva i Tahiti, one of the most important cultural events in the islands takes place from in mid-July.

Tahiti | In celebration of Tahiti's 50th anniversary of the original overwater bungalow, which took place in 2017, follow us on Facebook for 50 exciting things to see and do on the islands. From riding in a traditional outrigger canoe and helping to rehabilitate turtles to learning about the Polynesian culture at the Museum of Tahiti and her Islands or trying an authentic Maa Tahiti (a traditional food cooked underground), we'll provide a variety of ideas for you and your clients.

Tahiti | Reassure any nervous clients who want to try the Sharks and Rays combo excursion - they remove the barbs from the ray's tails to protect the travelers. If they are still apprehensive or do not feel comfortable going in the water, they can still have a crystal-clear view from the boat. ~ Veronica Gonzales, Destination Specialist

Tahiti | Some of the world's best vanilla comes from Tahiti. You'll find vanilla in a variety of dishes ... from shrimp in a coconut-vanilla sauce to vanilla cake or delectable creme brulee. While in Tahiti, be sure to sample the fresh seafood - tuna, mahi mahi, bonito and grouper. And, Tahiti's national dish, poisson cru, is a must. Similar to ceviche, this dish comprises raw red tuna marinated in coconut milk and lime juice.

Tahiti | When planning excursions, try to avoid anything on the day cruise ships are in port as activities may be more crowded. Instead, use those days to enjoy your resort and pre-book excursions before leaving the United States to ensure the best availability.

Tahiti, Bora Bora | Bloody Mary's in Bora Bora offers a unique dining experience. Plan your meal alongside the chef, choosing from fresh locally sourced ingredients. Each evening, the local catch is brought out and displayed on ice. Upon arrival, your server will explain what is available and assist you in designing for meal. With each visit bringing different selections, Bloody Mary's always offers its patrons a unique experience.

Tahiti, Bora Bora | Romance awaits at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa with their secret garden of love. Couples will find coconut trees with locks hanging from it, many of which are engraved with names and dates - they can add their own lock which can be brought with you or purchased there. I thought it would be a sweet and romantic gift for family members to give to the honeymooners. ~ Lauren Tavares, Destination Specialist

Tahiti, Bora Bora | Nestled on its own private island in The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort's lagoonarium, the 13,000-square-foot newly rebranded CLARINS Spa, features revitalizing Polynesian, Asian and CLARINS Touch treatments. From unpacking your garments, arranging coffee or tea service to a romantic flower petal turndown, St. Regis Butler Service ensures your preferences and desires are fulfilled for an enjoyable stay.

Tahiti, Bora Bora | Even though diving in Bora Bora is plentiful, Teavanui Pass is by far a favorite. Located between the islands of Motu Toopua (where the Conrad Bora Bora Nui is located) and Motu Tevariroa (where the Bora Bora Pearl Resort & Spa is located), a wall of stunning blue coral attracts black and white tipped sharks, barracudas, tunas, and even manta rays. Since blue coral is not found anywhere else in Tahiti, the diverse sea life is only a plus, as it is the natural beauty of the site which makes it memorable.

Tahiti, Bora Bora | I love the Conrad Bora Bora Nui. It's situated on the southern part of Bora' lagoon making it super quiet due to the absence of boats going to and from the property. The resort has been completely rebranded and renovated and the overwater bungalows are very modern, with a sliding door that completely opens to the balcony. There are two rope hammocks suspended from the wooden balcony that look down into the ocean, perfect for pure relaxation. Also, at the foot of the bed a TV is nicely hidden inside a box that comes up and swivels around, and can also be watched outside of the balcony. Very cool, but who would want to watch TV when you have such a beautiful view of that beautiful blue water? ~ Christina Liang, Destination Specialist

Tahiti, Moorea | Consider the scenic route when traveling to Moorea. Instead of catching a connecting flight, appreciate the beauty of the Tahitian Islands as you make your way to Moorea via high speed ferry. The trip generally takes about 25 minutes and is the perfect introduction to your stay on the Island of Moorea.

Tahiti, Moorea | An absolute must at the Hilton Moorea Resort & Spa is the Toatea Creperie & Bar, whether you're looking for a savory or sweet option, they are all delicious with Chef Gerard's secret crepe recipe from Britanny. The restaurant sits on a natural aquarium and the glowing lights attract a constant flow of blacktip reef sharks. It's the ideal place to enjoy dinner and dessert as the sun sets. ~ Nadine Lu, Product Director

Tahiti, Moorea | Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort boasts the longest stretch of natural white beach on Moorea. With unique lagoon views and silhouette of distant Tahiti, guests will enjoy the largest overwater bungalows on Moorea. Be carried away to the sounds of the to'ere at the only resort on Moorea to feature different Polynesian dance shows each night.

Tahiti, Moorea | Operating his own pearl farms in French Polynesia for more than forty years, legendary Robert Wan heads the world's finest pearl company in Moorea, featuring an onsite boutique shop with exquisite signature black pearls and other high quality South Pacific creations.

Tahiti, Rangiroa | Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa boasts the best dive site in the world, explore Rangiroa's wealth of marine life, including gray reef sharks, manta rays, turtles and colorful fish. Discover the joy of sport fishing, snorkel at Papiro Point, or watch playful dolphins frolicking at Tiputa Pass.

Tahiti, Rangiroa | Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa has prepared an assortment of special dishes which can only be enjoyed in Rangiroa. Savor fish dishes using fresh caught seafood including Marinated Rangiroa Scallops and Poisson Cru, Rangiroa honey - the only honey produced in Tahiti - and Rangiroa wine made from grapes cultivated on the atoll island. The honey is used for multiple dishes and two cocktails, however my personal favorite is The Rangiroa Honey Ice Cream ... it's to die for! ~ Nadine Lu, Product Director

Tahiti, Taha'a | La Taha'a Resort & Spa has the most beautiful coral gardens that are great for drift snorkeling. They offer complimentary snorkel gear and water socks. We went snorkeling with an expert guide from the resort who lead us on a small hike across the water and to a small motu at the beginning of the coral gardens. As the waves broke, we drifted along to see amazing sea life. Definitely a must do experience. ~ Denise DeCoite, Supervisor, Destination Specialists

Tahiti, Taha'a | While in Taha'a you may notice a mild scent of Vanilla in the air. This aroma comes from the abundance of vanilla pods curing in the sun. One of the main crops cultivated in Tahiti, Tahiti's Vanilla is mostly grown and harvested on Taha'a. Tour these fascinating vanilla plantations and learn how the vanilla plant is pollinated, grown, harvested, and cured. Even take home some Tahitian vanilla to add to your dishes back home.

Tahiti, Tahiti | Experience Hura Tapairu, which is the traditional dance contest taking place at the end of each year (typically late November) on the Island of Tahiti. Click here for additional information on the festival and each years dates.

Tahiti, Tahiti | Clients should stay one day in Papeete at the beginning or end of their trip. It's not something they should pass up. And make sure to make a stop at Roulette's, a Food Truck Court with different dining options. This is a must do!

Tahiti, Tahiti | The half-day Island Excursion on Tahiti begins at The Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands where guide Vivienne Rose, a museum curator and local celebrity takes you through the exhibits. She is known as one of the main activists who brought back the Tahitian culture. This museum is great for someone looking for cultural experience. They have the largest collection of Tahitian artifacts. However, remember to bring XPF, as this is the only form of payment accepted. ~ Veronica Gonzales, Destination Specialist

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