A ‘Vanilla’ Experience on Taha’a
PHOTO: The island of Taha’a (Courtesy Tahiti Tourism)
The Islands of Tahiti, French Polynesia are made up of a whopping 118 tinier islands and one of them, Taha’a (pronounced Ta-ha-a), seems like it could have been ripped right out of a fairy tale. This flower-shaped isle has bright sand beaches and, unbelievably, the smell of vanilla in the air all of the time.
The nickname "Vanilla Island" is thanks to its many vanilla plantations that make up 80 percent of Tahiti’s vanilla harvest. When you arrive at this aromatic isle, take a tour of these plantations, which include walking among the orchids and a demo of the pollination and curing process.
To plant your feet on this gem, you have to first fly into Raiatea’s airport and then take a water taxi to Taha’a. Once you’ve settled in, you can tour Taha’a by either car, bus or 4X4 Safaris. Stop at the villages where you’ll meet botanical experts and black pearl farmers. If you would prefer to get around by foot, you shouldn’t miss a hike to the Temehani Plateau and to Mount Temehani to stop and smell the Tiare Apetahi flowers. These are floras that are so rare they can only be grown on this island.
The islands are always all about the water, and vacationers will enjoy diving off the caverns and drop-offs of Taha’a as well as snorkeling to get a bird’s eye view of the fish and plant life, including eels, tunas, red runners and sharks. Shoppers will love Haamene, a village which has pearl farms and a turtle preserve.
If you’ve ever dreamt about having your own private island where you can be romantic with your honey, then Taha’a might be the perfect vacation destination. You can rent any of the tinier ‘motu’ around the islands for your picnics and charter a private yachts, with or without a captain and crew.
Other special treats for loving couples includes breakfast served on a private beach, three-hour Spa treatments and Jacuzzi sessions for two, and wedding ceremonies on a tiny motu or on a catamaran at sunset with dancers and music performed by the island's best musicians.
Taha'a is served only by water taxi from Raiatea's airport and guests of the Le Taha'a Island Resort and Spa can also arrange for a helicopter transfer from Bora Bora airport.
Accommodations include the high-end resort, Le Taha'a Private Island Resort & Spa, located in a lagoon surrounded by white sand beaches. You’ll need to take a 14-minute flight to get here to enjoy the bungalows on the island, but during your stay you’ll also enjoy views of Bora Bora. Even with the thatched roofs and wood furnishings, cabanas and outdoor showers, you’re still not removed too much from civilization here. The resort includes flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi (fee).
More by Lisa Iannucci
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