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Greg P

Have You Ever Visited the South Pacific?

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I took a Hawaiin cruise in 1988. Havent been back since, but i'm thinking about a 2007 south pacific excursion... ideally, Tahiti.

Has anyone else been? Interested in hearing some feedback. Tahiti, Fiji, Hawaii, etc... anyone?

Edited by coltrane

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Thanks Alan.

It's nice to know we have a Travel forum here. I'll catch on evenutally. ::blush::

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My son and I spent a week and a half on the Big Island this past spring. Despite being unusually rainy, we had a splendid time. We decided to spend all of our time on one island so we wouldn't be overly rushed - aside from one night in a hotel, we divided our time between three charming yet inexpensive bed and breakfasts.

I'm pining to go back there again - the Big Island has a great mix of beaches, mountains (snow on Hawaii - whoda thunk it?), and volcanoes. Hilo is a funky little town, and there are very good restaurants to be found throughout the island. Next time I'd opt for less time in Kona, as the traffic and touristiness can be too much, with more time on the lovely, less-frequented northernmost finger of the island. Of the other islands, I'd personally vote for Kauai, for the breathtaking scenery and peace & quiet. From what I've heard, Oahu and Maui are a bit over-developed for my taste.

Please keep us posted on your decision-making process. (Why Tahiti, BTW?) And feel free to post or PM with any additional Hawaii questions - I'm more than happy to ramble on and on and on about my recent trip...

Edited by Andrew

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Thanks Andrew!

(Why Tahiti, BTW?)

Having lived in Miami most of my life, ive seen a good bit of the caribbean-- which is the most convenient choice for floridians looking for a "tropical island" excursion. St Thomas, St John, Jamaica, St Martin, Nassau, Bimini etc... Been to all of them, some of them more than once.

The problem I find in the caribbean is 1) many of the bigger islands are very touristy (annoyingly so) and 2) the scenery is not unlike what you find in the middle and lower Keys... which i can go see by merely jumping in the car and driving 90 minutes south... for a LOT less money.

One notable exception is St Lucia, which ive never visited. It has that more adventurous, exotic element that you dont find in most of the carribean islands-- rugged mountains, dense rain forests, etc... I had actually made tentative plans to visit this summer, but it just didnt come together. It's still a consideration.

But since i was a kid, ive felt drawn to the south pacific... cant really explain why. My hawaiian trip back in the late 80's only whetted my appetite. I have a couple friends who have visited in the last five years and they've told me many of the areas have changed for the worse. I have amazing memories of Kauai. Its about the closest thing to heaven on earth i have ever seen.

(snow on Hawaii - whoda thunk it?),

I'll never forget renting a car and driving to the peak of Mt. Haleakala one morning. When we started the drive it was a balmy 80 degrees. In about about an hour we were at the top with wind chills in the 30's. Wild!

In many ways Tahiti offers a similar beauty, just fewer tourists and a lot less development. I'm thinking Bora Bora, but good grief is it expensive! Another factor weighing against us is the flight time, because we may only have about five days "away from kiddie" time to play with. From Miami to L.A., from L.A. to Hawaii to Tahiti, you're talkin' 12-14 hours. So two days traveling, a day to recover from jet lag... leaving about two days to really enjoy oursleves. I'm game... But it's kind of a hard-sell with the wife who would just assume drive to Key West or take a no-fuss 90 min flight to St Thomas.

Edited by coltrane

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To be honest, I'd have a hard time buying 2 days of flying for 3 days of fun, too - but then again, in the past I considered doing the 'weekend in Paris' flight, so who am I to talk?

Given those time limitations, have you considered Belize? It's an English speaking country, so little worry about a language barrier, and you could choose between jungles, wild cats, and crocodiles (or are they gators? I forget), or the lure of clear waters, swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing. I haven't been there since 1987, and I hear it's been developed a fair bit in the intervening years - but I understand that if you stay on the mainland or go to one of the smaller keys, such as Caulker, it's not been much developped. When I was there, the mainland was still quite Third World, as a matter of fact - I don't know how much that has changed.

If you're serious about the Big Island, though, I'll be happy to jot my March itinerary here or answer any specific questions you lob in my direction.

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Belize. Yeah, it's come up. Specifically this. ::w00t:: I've been to Honduras about a half dozen times and have heard some great things about Belize. I'll keep you posted.

Bora Bora still has my full attention. The overwater bungalows are exactly what i'm looking for. Of course, the price tag is a little hard to swallow.

Edited by coltrane

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Hmm, if you have access to RCI (link), resort #5883 looks good (not as good as an overwater bungalow good, but still good). Resort website here.

Coltrane, what are you looking for? Tropical sun, sand, surf, lower level of tourist-i-ness? Nightlife? No nightlife? Looks like your days are limited, have you considered the southern coast of Portugal or Spain? The travel time would be a lot less than South Pacific.

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Coltrane, what are you looking for? Tropical sun, sand, surf, lower level of tourist-i-ness? Nightlife? No nightlife? Looks like your days are limited, have you considered the southern coast of Portugal or Spain? The travel time would be a lot less than South Pacific.

True. But if i wanted to immerse myself in latin culture, music and vibes while lounging on a beautiful beach, I could just cross the causeway to South Beach!

BTW Buckeye, have you been to Fiji?

There's a certain mystery and romance to the South Pacific, that I have not found anywhere else in the world. You also get a much more rugged, adventurous version of a tropical paradise. Andrew could probably "amen" this. The Caribbean falls short for me, particularly the Bahamas, which ive seen and done to death. Key Largo is about a 40 minute drive from my house and although it lacks a pristine beach, you can do all the same fishing, diving, watersports in virtually the same environment as Nassau or similar place. The South Pacific is like the Caribbean on steroids... Much more intriguing to me as a vacation spot.

Although, St Lucia comes pretty darn close. This is still an option.

Edited by coltrane

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Nope, never been to Fiji, but was in Hawaii in 76. Of course, I was only 10 months old at the time, so my memories of the islands are a little fuzzy... :)

South Pacific seems wonderful, though. One thought, just tossing it out there like spaghetti on a wall--maybe it will stick, maybe not. Let's say you're in the South Pacific vacation for $8000 US ($4000 in airfare, and $4000 in accomodations (600/night * 5 nights + 1000 miscelleneous)). A timeshare in the South Pacific can be purchased on the resale market for ~ $10000, plus $500/year for maintenance fees, $80 year RCI fees, and $150 year/exchange fees). The timeshare gets you a week in Fiji or Tahiti, or Moorea, that you can go one year, rent out one year, exchange another year, and for about $2000 more than a single trip. I do think you can find overwater bungaloes on the timeshare market, but not sure what that does to the asking price. Plus the timeshare becomes deeded and you can pass along to your oldest son when you, um, depart these mortal environs.

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Has anyone else been? Interested in hearing some feedback. Tahiti, Fiji, Hawaii, etc... anyone?

My father was stationed in the South Pacific during World War II. For the most part he thought it was beautiful, but the Japanese had a way of making the region unpleasant. :D

He was stationed on Fiji for two years with an Army medical unit. He thought about going back and visiting on a few occasions, but never made the journey. Last time he came back to the U.S. from Fiji was on the deck of an overloaded Navy ship in 1946. There were no quarters for a number of the passengers so he lived and slept on the deck, in the shade of one of the gun batteries.

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