This popular spot in French Polynesia comes alive with a guided tour of the west coast of the island. The breathtaking cliffs and tropical flora, along with the possibility of enjoying a deserted strip of beach or private swimming hole, are worthy shore excursion endeavors. You can also feed sharks (if that’s your type of fun!), and take a tour of the world famous pearl farms. These cultured gems known as Black Pearls also come in glistening colors of blue, green, eggplant, and pink.
While you may be unfamiliar with this island in French Polynesia, it is a location of importance in the region. As ‘the sacred isle,’ it holds significance as a religious and cultural center through history. Temples, petroglyphs, and local guides immerse you in the traditions (that even included human sacrifice). You can also visit a sea turtle preserve, stroll the botanical gardens, and/or take a river tour through the lush rainforest.
If you’re looking for tropical chic, this is your best French Polynesian shore excursion. Celebrities have long stayed on this island rumored to cost upwards of $15,000 per night at some resorts – wow! It is known for active outdoor pursuits, and is perfect for snorkeling, diving, and cycling on the island. Be sure to get an up-close view of the twin peaks, Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, of the island’s extinct volcano.
Located in the Cook Islands of New Zealand, a shore excursion on Rarotonga will be a change of pace from the French Polynesian destinations. The shopping is cheaper; the island is more tourism-centric; and there are no poisonous insects, snakes, or wild animals. It’s easy to hop a public bus and tour the island at your own pace. There’s a fantastic lagoon for glass-bottom boat tours, diving, and windsurfing.
In the Melanesian region, no cruise to the South Pacific would be complete without a shore excursion on Fiji. Exotic flora and fauna are the ‘must see’ attractions here. The Garden of the Sleeping Giant will envelope you with native plants and Asian orchids. Also, see the Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple in Nadi. You will recognize this architectural landmark as the ‘star’ of many films.
In Micronesia, you must plan a shore excursion at the US territory of Guam. One of the most popular activities is to take a submarine ride to view sunken ship wrecks from two world wars. You’ll want to listen to local storytellers recounting 4,000 years of history, followed by a meal of chicken kelaguen and red rice beneath a shady palm.
When trying to decide which of the best cruise shore excursions to take during your cruise in the South Pacific, read your ship’s daily newsletter. These contain inside information about the upcoming port of call. So pay attention to the hints to maximize your travels and find adventures onshore.
*The Tahitian people refer to the “life force and spirit that surrounds and connects all living things” as Mana.
Angela is a professional freelance travel writer and published indie author – AngelaMinor.com
Photo Credit: Samuel Etienne via Wiki Creative Commons 3.0