Wednesday, December 29 - PAPEETE, TAHITI

Paofai Gardens
A landscaped waterfront park with a canoe launch and children's play area, you'll find plenty of activity to take-in during your stroll

Place Toata
The outdoor amphitheater hosts concerts all year and also the national dance competition during the huge Heiva Nui festival in July. Next door, on the banks of Tipaerui River, stands the Office Territorial d'Action Culturelle, Tahiti's cultural center library.

Papeete Market (Le Marche) - one block inland
The colorful public market hustles and bustles downstairs with vendors selling flowers, fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, and baked goods, as well as small gift items. Upstairs, you will find pearls, jewelry, larger handicrafts such as wood carvings and quilts, and a cafeteria where you can listen to local musicians at lunchtimes. 

Vaima Center - Boulevard Pomare

The chic shops in Papeets' first shopping mall are a mecca for Papeete's French and European residents (the Municipal Market still attracts mostly Tahitians).

Bougainville Park - Boulevard Pomare
Located near the Post Office, this small park offers an oasis of greenery in the heart of the city. Throughout the year, floral, cultural, and artistic exhibitions take place here.

Thursday, December 30 - HUAHINE, TAHITI

Fare is the main town on Huahine, consisting of a row of stores, a wharf, and a swimming beach. Starting at the Restaurant New Temarara, follow the promenade north along the waterfront to the Fare Public Beach, which runs along the west side of the main street. Bora Bora lies in the distance.

Located on the shores of Lake Fauna Nui, the village of Maeva was the major cultural and religious center of Huahine. More than 200 stone structures have been discovered from the water's edge to the overlooking Matairea Hill. This outdoor museum contains over 40 marae (temples) and other archaeological sites built by ancient chiefs, with a one-mile trail leading up Matairea Hill. On the western edge of the area is Fare Potee, a replica of the original 1925 communal meeting house destroyed by a hurricane. On the lake and to the east of Maeva are several old fish traps. When the tide is high, fish swim into the traps and are caught as the tide goes out.

Faie and Belvedere Lookout
Along the east coast, about two miles south of Maeva is the small village of Faie. Sacred blue-eyed eels live in the river running under the bridge in the center of town. They respond to feedings, and fish can be bought for them at the red kiosk. Further along, the road heading south is the Belvedere Lookout on the slopes of Mt. Turi.


Friday, December 31 - TAHA'A, TAHITI

Picture yourself in French Polynesia on a brilliantly sunny morning. You step out onto your private balcony aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin to a balmy breeze and view the almost uninhabited Taha'a, with its carpet of greenery, rising out of a cerulean sea. Just offshore lies Motu Mahana, Paul Gauguin Cruises' private South Seas island, where you'll spend a day doing exactly as you please.

There's no end to the indulgences of our private island paradise. Go for a swim in the warm waters. Snorkel with colorful tropical fish among the green and purple blooms of coral. Or paddle out farther on one of the kayaks that have been brought to shore from The Gauguin's watersports marina.

Ashore, you might engage in a game of volleyball or watch as your hosts, Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins, demonstrate how to open a coconut or tie a pareo. Perhaps you'll treat yourself to an overwater massage. And when the time comes for refreshments, delight in a sumptuous barbecue feast-complete with cocktails from our floating bar.

Saturday, January 1 - BORA BORA (OVERNIGHT)
Sunday, January 2 - BORA BORA

You may have seen countless photos of Bora Bora island from travelers who have gone on Bora Bora vacations. Where is Bora Bora you may ask? The island is northwest of Tahiti in the South Pacific. With a lagoon resembling an artist's palette of blues and greens, and castle-like Mount Otemanu piercing the sky, the beautiful island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia has inspired romantics from around the world. Like a priceless Paul Gauguin painting come to life, Bora Bora is one of the world's top honeymoon destinations.

The island of Bora Bora is famous for its luxury resorts with overwater bungalows. Lush tropical slopes and valleys blossoming with hibiscus delight the eye, while palm-covered motus (islets) circle the illuminated lagoon like a delicate necklace. In this South Pacific paradise, on one of these motus, lies our own Bora Bora private beach.

You can spend as much time as you'd like during the day on our private beach in Bora Bora. The specialists from our watersports marina will be on hand to help you enjoy kayaking or paddleboarding from the beach, or don your complimentary equipment and enjoy exceptional snorkeling to view tropical fish and manta rays in the azure lagoon.

Or you might simply stay on the warm white sand beach, sunbathing or engaging in a game of volleyball. But this Bora Bora island retreat especially speaks to those seeking that quintessential remote Tahitian beach with few signs of the outside world. A place to daydream, nap, read, or just be. A fair amount of time should be spent just marveling at the postcard-perfect views of Mount Otemanu towering over the main island in this exclusive Bora Bora gateway.

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Monday, January 3 - MOOREA (OVERNIGHT)
Tuesday, January 4 - MOOREA

Moorea Juice Factory - Pihaena, turn off the main road at PK 12
A factory and distillery, the Jus de Fruits de Moorea produces pineapple, grapefruit, and papaya juices using local fruit, as well as more than a dozen other juices available for tastings. Sample their brandies and liquors made with coconut, ginger, and vanilla and bring back beverages, tea, honey, and chocolates from their shop.

Tropical Garden Moorea - Northeast edge of Opunoho Bay
After touring the exotic flora of the garden and vanilla greenhouse, enjoy a smoothie or sorbet in this garden with exceptional views of Opunohu Bay. Tastings include jams mad eon site from fruit produced at the farm and are for sale along with other produce from Polynesia. Hike Magic Mountain (Approx. 2 hours from/to Papetoai pier). This loop-hike can be steep, but the pay-off of 360-degree views of the island's blue waters and dramatic mountain peaks is worth the trip.

Opunohu Valley
Agricultural School - At PK 18 at the base of Opunohu Bay, turn up Belvedere Road

Head into the Opunohu Valley by turning off the main road onto the paved Belvedere Road. After two or three kilometers, on the right is the Lycee Agricole d'Opunohu where hundreds of acres of flowers, fruit trees, coffee, vanilla beans, and vegetables are grown by high school students and staff. Here, students from all over French Polynesia can receive an agricultural education in crop and livestock farming, horticulture, the cultivation process, and landscape design.

Belvedere Lookout - end of Belvedere Road
Past the Agricultural School one kilometer further and just off the road, is Marae Titiroa, an archaeological and sacred site. Continue a hundred yards or so further along the road and look for two stone archery platforms amongst the Marae Afareaitu. The nobles' archery was for sport and competition rather than warfare. From here, the winding road steepens and climbs another kilometer to the Belvedere Lookout. At 720 feet (219 meters), this is Moorea's highest point accessible by car. Take in the breathtaking views of both Opunohu and Cook's bays, Mt. Rotui, and the surrounding green mountains and valleys. The lookout can be accessed by leaving the main road at either Opunohu Bay (paved) or Cook's Bay (unpaved).

Wednesday, January 5 - PAPEETE

House of James Norman Hall - Arue, PK 5.5
See the superbly restored home where the American novelist, pilot, and adventurer lived for almost 30 years. Hall coauthored Mutiny on the Bounty and other books set in the South Pacific. Enjoy family artifacts, beautiful grounds, and views of the bay. Lunch at Mama Lala's tearoom requires one day's notice.

Point Venus - Mahina, turn left at PK 10
At the end of a  peninsula just outside Papeete, this local park contains black sand beaches and Tahiti's only lighthouse (built in 1867). It is also the landing site of many early explorers including Captain Cook of the HMS Bounty.

Ara-ahoaho Blowhole (trou du souffleur) - near Tiarei, PK 22
The blowhole is right along the coastal road. When the swell is right, the geyser-like effect from water rushing through a cavern and out a hole in the rocks can be quite strong. Nearby is a beautiful black sand beach, perfect for picnicking. Just beyond the blowhole, take the road on the right and travel 1.3 km to parking for the three Fa'auruma'i waterfalls. To reach the first one (Vaimahuta Falls), walk 5 minutes along the path to the right across the bridge. Hike the 30-minute trail to the left to discover the other two falls (Haamaremare Iti and Haamaremare Rahi.)