Get Out of Town: The South Pacific
Summer travel often brings us to warm tropical locations, beckoning us with sandy beaches, long sunny days, clear blue water and vibrant sunsets. I’ve always had an affinity for water, spending my summer days as a child in the waves at Zuma Beach and visiting my grandparents’ lake homes in Minnesota. Most of my dream vacations are near the ocean, too, something I just realized this week while looking longingly at my ‘Visit’ Pinterest board!
After our wedding in 2009, my husband and I traveled to the South Pacific. It was there on a small boat in the Bora Bora lagoon where we met another honeymooning couple: Autumn and her husband, Jesse! It must have been written in the stars, as that chance meeting four years ago has now led to an incredible friendship, shared pregnancies, and two two-year-old boys who get along swimmingly. Talk about kismet.
If you’re headed to Bora Bora, here are my top five favorite things to do:
The tropical islands of South Pacific are pretty far south, so after sitting on an airplane for upwards of nine hours, you’ll surely be ready to stretch your legs. Once you’ve gotten settled at the hotel, head to Vaitape, the only town on the island of Bora Bora, to rent bicycles. A single paved road encompasses the small island, stretching nineteen miles, and offers incredible views of the lagoon, Mount Otemanu, and the vast coconut plantations. Give yourself the entire day to cruise the island. You’ll surely want to hop off to take in the splendor and snap a few photos.
Along your bike ride, stop for a bite to eat at Snack Matira, located on Bora Bora’s southernmost peninsula. The omelet sandwich might sound a little unconventional, but was one of the tastiest things I’ve eaten. The seafood is unbelievably fresh and delicious, too. Order a couple cans of the local beer, Hinano, to sip in the sunshine as your eyes drink in the clear blue skies.
Swim with the fishes. Take a morning or afternoon snorkel trip with one of the many guided tours available. Submerge and search the coral gardens for brightly colored parrotfish, giant clams with electric blue mantels, and moray eels lurking in undewater caves. If you’re particularly adventurous, take the shark and ray snorkel trip, where you can feed and pet the manta rays and swim just a few feet away from black-tipped reef sharks.
Do nothing but relax. Find a shady place to lay and clear your mind. Breathe in the sweet ocean air, exhale and let go. Watch the palm fronds sway in the breeze and the clouds pass by overhead. Close your eyes and listen to the water wash upon the shore. Drift into a blissful seaside snooze.
While in Vaitape, make a trip to Chin Lee, the only super market on the island. Pick up a bottle of local rum and a carton of Tahiti Drink for tropical cocktails. Tahiti Drink is a blend of pineapple, passion fruit and orange juices, with vanilla and cane spirit added. It can be drunk by itself, or used as a mixer. And it’s pretty darn tasty. Or, keep happy hour simple and pop of bottle of bubbly to celebrate the pure beauty of the South Pacific. Sit back, kick up your feet and sip as the glowing sun sinks into the horizon.
Your summery retreat may be seaside, lakeside, or poolside, but no matter your location, be sure to take a moment to drink in the beauty around you. Savor the vibrance of the sky, the flowers, the water. It’s easy to let your days be consumed by lounging in the sun, but make time to take an outing or two to experience some local customs. And make a friend or two. You never know where a simple “hello” might lead.
As summer begins, we’re sharing adventures near and far. We invite you to experience the transformative power of travel with us.
info on tahiti drink: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahiti_Drink