0 comments on “Paradise Found: The Allure of the South Pacific
 

Paradise Found: The Allure of the South Pacific
 

When you sail to far reaches of the shimmering South Pacific aboard our ships, you leave the routines of everyday life behind for adventures that elevate your travels to a whole new level. Dreamy atolls, blue lagoons, remote villages and virgin rainforests only begin to scratch the surface of the gems in the South Pacific.

Experience the paradise of the region firsthand and enjoy up-close encounters with Polynesian culture and cuisine. Revel in having Tahiti’s soaring volcanic cliffs, the sapphire seas of Moorea and the pearlescent sands of Fiji’s flawless beaches in your backyard. Uncover the lasting legacies of author Herman Melville and painter Paul Gauguin, who were so inspired by the stunning South Pacific islands. Travel further back in time at an ancient temple on Tahiti for a glimpse of sacred Polynesian traditions. On the list of seasoned travelers everywhere, our explorations of the South Pacific reveal paradise landscapes, ancestral traditions and unique insight into the local life. Here’s a brief look at what you’ll find in a few of our top South Pacific destinations.

QUEEN OF THE PACIFIC
Papeete (Tahiti), French Polynesia
Known as one of the most romantic islands in the world, Tahiti invites you to fall in love with island time as the tropical breeze over the sea carries the scent of fragrant hibiscus flowers. In the heart of the South Pacific, admire the surrounding lagoon and mountain peaks during a catamaran cruise, or take a stroll through the waterfront Jardins de Paofai. At Venus Point, walk the exact location where Captain James Cook once recorded the passage of Venus to calculate the distance between the sun and Earth. During a off-road journey, explore an uncommon side of Tahiti deep in Papenoo Valley, which brims with waterfalls and verdant flora. Crown your experience by heading to the beach for the sunset.

OCEANIA PARADISE
Suva, Fiji
Set on a hilly peninsula at the southeastern end of Viti Levu, Suva is the thriving multicultural and cosmopolitan capital of Fiji. Here you can enjoy everything from boutique shops and upscale restaurants to island adventures and cultural explorations. Spend the afternoon at an aromatic spice farm and gardens full of medicinal plants and then learn the secrets of native Fijian cooking. Take a longboat cruise along the Navua River, admiring mountain ranges and the surrounding tropical rainforest replete with exotic birds, dramatic gorges and cascading waterfalls. Meanwhile the Arts Village of Fiji offers an immersion into the evolution of the island’s fascinating ethnic history and art, including a performance by Fijian firewalkers.


THE MAGICAL ISLAND
Moorea, French Polynesia
Moorea is home to the often-overlooked bright blue lagoon and volcanically formed island that inspired the mythical Bali Hai from James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific. Take in splendid views during a hike along the Sister Island’s three coconut trails or swim with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in a natural lagoon. Perhaps take a dip in the clear lagoon of Moorea with beautiful views of the island’s sharp mountain peaks, lush valleys and picturesque coastal shoreline. Then relax on a paradise beach and enjoy the warm tropical waters of French Polynesia.

Wanderlust sparked? Explore our top South Pacific voyages now.

0 comments on “How To Eat Your Way Through the South Pacific
 

How To Eat Your Way Through the South Pacific
 

French Polynesia serves up a bevy of mouthwatering specialties, exotic dishes and delicious delicacies – and one of the best ways to delve into the local island culture is through food. Whether you’re exploring Bora Bora and Moorea or Nuku Hiva and Tahiti, the flavors of these islands are meant to be savored. Here’s our guide on what not to miss when it comes to trying local foods and South Pacific culinary experiences.


Try the region’s many iterations of
poisson cru: French Polynesia’s version of ceviche, this dish features local raw fish marinated in coconut milk and lime juice, often with vegetables. You’ll have plenty of chances to try it on a variety of excursions, such as motu picnics, and you’ll see it on local menus everywhere.


Visit a vanilla plantation:
You can do this when you visit Raiatea since more than 70% of the vanilla grown in French Polynesia is from the nearby island of Taha’a. Here you’ll learn about the intricate hand pollination process and have a chance to see fragrant vanilla pods curing in the sun. You’ll soon understand why Tahitian vanilla is so precious – It takes nearly two years for a vanilla vine to grow and produce flowers, which then produce a sole vanilla pod. You’ll have a whole new appreciation for the vanilla sauce that’s drizzled over your mahi mahi or po’e.

Be adventurous when it comes to seafood: On islands like Nuku Hiva, you’ll have the chance to taste mama, raw clam-like mollusks usually prepared in coconut and lime juice; toetoe river crabs and other seafood you might not normally. In Tahiti, you’ll see exotic lagoon and deep-sea fish such as sea urchin, parrotfish and barracuda on menus.

Have lunch at Bloody Mary’s in Bora Bora: a bit of an institution in Bora Bora, the thatched-roof restaurant has served everyone from Jimmy Buffet and Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones to Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. With your feet resting on the sand floors, try their mahi mahi burger and a mai tai – it’s an experience to remember.

Don’t pass on the breadfruit: Called uru in Tahitian, this strangely versatile starch will appear on the table prepared in more ways than you keep track of and is quintessentially French Polynesian. Fried, mashed, boiled, roasted, broiled…you’ll likely come across them all. A staple form on Nuku Hiva involves roasting it over hot coals and then mashing it with coconut milk to create a dish called kaka.

Stroll the daily market in Utoroa, Raiatea: Avocado, coconut, bananas, passion fruit overflow from the stalls. Pause to sample fresh rambutans, pomelos and pineapple. Venture upstairs too if you have time – you’ll find more stalls filled with jewelry, pareos, fragrant bottles of coconut oil, vanilla sugar and the like.

Inspired to sail away to the dreamy South Pacific? Have a look at these top voyages.

 

 

0 comments on “3 Top Island Adventures in the South Pacific
 

3 Top Island Adventures in the South Pacific
 

French Polynesia, South Pacific

 

When you travel to the South Pacific, the travel experiences become as exotic and epic as the locale. Outdoor adventures are in towering virgin rainforests on remote islands, cultural excursions invite you up close to traditional ways of life few ever get to experience and the lagoons offer the kind of bliss that makes you wish you were a professional photographer or travel writer. Here are our Destination Specialists’ top picks for unique adventures in the South Pacific, a corner of the world where island life reigns supreme.

Kava Ceremony & Village Luncheon | Suva, Fiji
Travel to the remote village of Raiwaqa on a longboat cruise up the Navua River to experience the local flavors and ancient traditions of Fiji on our “Navua River by Longboat” excursion. Take in soaring mountains, dramatic gorges and tropical rainforests abundant in birds and wildlife. Upon arrival, join chiefs and villagers in a kava ceremony, which is an important and sacred element of the traditional Fijian welcome ceremonies. Later enjoy lunch as well as a unique chance to mingle with the locals, browse handicrafts and even join in on the village entertainment.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

 

Thrilling Off-Road Adventure | Bora Bora, French Polynesia
While Bora Bora’s famed lagoon is at the top of every traveler’s list, so many of our voyages offer an overnight on this iconic island so you can experience even more. Don’t miss the rugged and beautiful island itself. You can experience the wild side of Bora Bora on our off-road excursion which takes you to pristine locations only accessible via off-road equipped vehicles. With exhilarating ascents and rolling descents, exotic foliage, beautiful vistas and plenty of stunning photo stops – including a World War II cannon location – this is an excursion you won’t forget. There’s even a stop at a local pareo house where you can find some unique souvenirs and enjoy tropical fruit.

Snorkeling in a Blue Lagoon | Moorea, French Polynesia
Moorea tops Islands.com’s list of top 5 places to snorkel in the South Pacific – here you can see dolphins, sting rays, blacktip reef sharks and more up close in the crystalline waters. Enjoy the best of Moorea’s marine life on our “Snorkel & Stingray Safari,” which sails along Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay to two different islets for snorkeling, or try our “Motu Picnic Escapade” for a blissful afternoon on a gorgeous sandy islet where you can enjoy a barbecue luncheon, swimming, snorkeling and time to soak up the paradise vibes.

Inspired? Start planning your South Pacific adventure for this winter!

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Unexpected Culinary Adventures in Nuku Hiva
 

Nuku Hiva

By Oceania Cruises Guest June S.

Nuku Hiva, filled with paradise valleys, sacred tikis, dramatic waterfalls and Robinson Crusoe beaches, is the kind of spectacular South Pacific island that seems too dreamy to be real. In fact, I didn’t think a place like this really existed until we arrived at the dock via tender and were greeted with tribal conch shell blowing, rhythmic chanting and locals in colorful traditional dress. It quickly became evident that Nuku Hiva, one of the largest and most isolated French Polynesian islands, did not receive many visitors and when they did – it was a very special event. Even better, I was set to experience otherworldly Nuku Hiva through a Culinary Discovery Tour led by Chef Instructor Noelle Barille and our local guide, Ani. I could go on for pages and days, but below are a few highlights from our tour, “Traditional Polynesian Culinary Experience.”

 

Traditional Underground Oven Demonstration
We took an incredibly picturesque drive to the Taipivai cultural site, nestled in the heart of Taipivai Valley, for this unique demonstration and to enjoy a traditional Polynesian lunch. The literary nerd in me delighted in the fact that this was the area where Herman Melville lived for three weeks with locals when he deserted his ship, and had experiences that eventually inspired his novel, Typee. Here, we learned how the Ahi Ma’a, the traditional underground oven covered with banana leaves, is opened after the food has been cooking over hot volcanic stones – in this case, for more than two days. This method of cooking imparts an earthy flavor to the food and is found throughout the South Pacific.

The Ubiquitous & Essential Breadfruit
We quickly learned that Uru, or breadfruit, is a Nuku Hivan staple and is one of the island’s essential trees. In fact, locals love building with breadfruit wood because it’s one of the few types of wood termites don’t like. Breadfruit makes its way into everything culinary on the island and can be prepared a variety of ways – fried, roasted, steamed, boiled, sliced into chips or mashed with coconut milk, which is called Ka’aku. Before lunch, we watched as one of the local women mashed the breadfruit and later had a chance to sample it with coconut milk.

 

Polynesian Goat Stew & Purple Bananas with Traditional Music
As a former vegetarian for many years, meat dishes are not typically the courses I’m most excited about, but the goat stew, cooked in coconut milk of course, was delicious – savory and not at all gamey. The roasted bananas, which turn a surprisingly vibrant shade of purple when roasted, were another favorite – they were tropically sweet with just a bit of tartness to balance it. The roast suckling pig was a hit with all as was the poisson cru, a fresh South Pacific-style ceviche. We enjoyed it all in characteristic island-style, to the relaxing beat of traditional Polynesian music thanks to a local band that cheerfully played throughout lunch.

Family Taro, Manioc & Honey Plantations
After lunch, Ani and Chef Noelle accompanied us to Ani’s uncle’s farm, which was lush and full of taro, manioc, sugarcane and many other crops. Amongst the dense tropical foliage, Ani’s uncle showed us how they don’t need any tools other than the taro stalk to help plant the next round of taro and manioc plants. We learned that each taro plant takes about 8 months to grow and that these root vegetables make up an essential part of the local diet. We also sampled fresh sugarcane and spotted a prized noni fruit tree. Next up was a honey farm in another village where we received an insider’s look at how local honey products are made and tasted the local floral honey – deliciously sweet with a tropical fragrance.

 

Needless to say, at the end of the day I was thrilled to have one more full day to continue exploring this incredible island in the middle of the deep blue South Pacific.

1 comment on “Our Destination Experts’ Insight: The South Pacific in 2019-2020”

Our Destination Experts’ Insight: The South Pacific in 2019-2020

Overwater bungalows surrounded by bright turquoise water, verdant fern-lined valleys, locals donning blooms of tiare flowers and grass skirts, the strum of a ukulele in the distance. Even if you’ve not yet had the delight of traveling to the storied islands of the South Pacific, the paradise of the region is likely alive in your mind from myriad photos, videos and films. With the blissful South Pacific voyages featured in our new 2019-2020 Tropics & Exotics Collection, you will discover that the real thing far exceeds your imagination. Delve into Polynesian culture, and uncover the lasting legacies of author Herman Melville and painter Paul Gauguin, who were so inspired by these stunning lands. Glide above vibrant coral reefs, smell the sweet perfume of hibiscus, and listen to the rustle of palm fronds over an impossibly white beach. Shaped by an array of native cultures and fascinating geological history, the South Pacific islands certainly beckon for a deeper exploration to truly appreciate all they have to offer. Below, we share more on one of our exciting new ports, plus featured voyages to inspire your travels.

 

New Port Spotlight: Maré Island, New Caledonia
Given its proximity to other popular islands of New Caledonia, it is remarkable that Maré Island remains so untouched by the outside world. Ancient tectonic forces lifted this coral atoll above the sea, creating a striking landscape where lush forests suddenly plummet into limestone caves encircling natural freshwater pools. Swaying palms and feathery pines adorn
ragged cliffs that soar into the air and then plunge into grottoes and hidden lagoons. White swaths of sand lie along waters that appear the brightest shade of turquoise from a distance, but upon approach become so clear as to almost disappear. In this pristine paradise, the arrival of a ship is a major event, and the island’s small population will welcome you with traditional songs and impromptu markets offering local wares. Embrace their friendliness and learn where to find the most scenic spots on the island.

Destination Specialists’ Featured Voyages
Sublime South Pacific | November 17, 2019Papeete to Sydney aboard Regatta | 18 Days
On this voyage that includes an overnight in Bora Bora and off-the-beaten-path ports such as Port Vila, Vanuatu and Noumea, New Caledonia, you can completely let go of your cares and surrender yourself to the relaxed lifestyle of the South Pacific before returning to the excitement of the Australian cities of Brisbane and Sydney.

Stunning South Pacific | February 17, 2020Auckland to Papeete aboard Regatta | 18 Days
On this alluring voyage that takes you from New Zealand’s lush Bay of Islands and one-of-a-kind Maré to South Pacific legends such as Fiji and Bora Bora, you’ll be very glad for the chance to repeat a date as you cross the International Date Line – it means more time to feast on the exquisite panoramas and heavenly colors of the South Pacific.

Legends to Lagoons | March 5, 2020Papeete to Papeete aboard Regatta | 10 Days
This journey through the legendary islands of French Polynesia will make you want to linger awhile and will leave you with memories of island adventures for a long time to come. From Papeete and Bora Bora to lesser-known treasures like Fakarava and Nuku Hiva, warm breezes, fragrant flowers, delicious local foods, laughing voices and stunning panoramas abound.

 

Isn’t it time you lived your South Pacific dreams?