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Featured Destination - Tahiti

Catherine McLellanTAHITI - My Favourite Tropical Destination

Catherine McLellan, CMEatSEA Host


Blue takes on a whole new meaning in Tahiti - sheer incandescent wonder of blue waters in shades of aquamarine, turquoise and sapphire. A tapestry of blue found nowhere else in the world.

Unsurpassed natural, unspoiled beauty, striking Polynesian history, fascinating culture of myths and legends, wonderful Polynesian and French cuisine, inviting tropical breezes and friendly people.

For me, Tahiti is the ultimate vacation destination - a true paradise that we all dream of escaping to at least once in our lives. Since my first visit in 1999, I have returned several times to bask in the timeless beauty and magic of Tahiti. It is the only place I've ever visited that is even more incredibly beautiful than the pictures you see in brochures. Being in this business, I've been fortunate to do a lot of travelling and cruising, more than 200 cruises alone, but there is no place I would rather return to, or that I've enjoyed more than Tahiti.

While Tahiti seems to be a tranquil hideaway from civilization, there are plenty of activities to explore. Diving and snorkeling are favourite for most visitors, and you don't need to be an expert. On a visit to The Aquarium in Papeete, I dove in and was immediately surrounded by a multitude of fish. They were in every colour imaginable. Tahiti's coral reefs and drop-offs are home to many small species - damselfish, butterfly fish, Moorish idols, surgeon fish, triggerfish, and schools of blue-strip snapper. One of my more adventurous excursions involved riding out to Bora Bora's legendary turquoise lagoon in a traditional Polynesian outrigger canoe to swim with the stingrays. We jumped into the shallow water and suddenly the rays were swimming around and between us, looking for their fish treats. These amazing creatures were actually quite gentle, like aquatic cats brushing up against me.

Of course no trip to Tahiti would be complete without a visit to Pearl Farm to see Mother Nature's most perfect gem. Tahiti is world-famous for its black pearls, but their colours cover the full spectrum from dark-black to silver-white, and nearly every colour in between, including the most popular green and peacock.

If you have some time before or after your cruise, I highly recommend a visit to the day market and Les Roulottes in Vaiete Square down by the waterfront, where the cruise ship docks. The festive food trucks attract hundreds of people each night. For the locals, it has been a way of life, a regular gathering of friends and family. Affordably priced, the food ranges from Peking duck and steak frites to chocolate crepes and Belgian waffles, but nothing beats a simple meal of grilled local fish like Moonfish, or the Tahitian specialty "poisson cru" - marinated raw fish in coconut milk - delicious!

While taking a flight to Tahiti is a great way to see the islands, taking a cruise adds an entirely different experience to your trip.

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