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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Tahiti & a recipe for the Cooks
David Stanley's Moon Handbook, Tahiti: Including the Cook Islands, is one of the most depressing books I have read. As a travel writer myself I picked up the book to help prepare for an upcoming trip and this guide is so good, the world certainly doesn't need another one from me. However, having lived in Vanuatu and traveled many times to Fiji, I'm familiar with David's...
Published on Dec 28 2003 by Ian

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3.0 out of 5 stars An average travel guide
Comparing this guide with other guides for Tahiti, it's just great!!.. It's far more accurate then the others, but those others it's often plain bad.
Most guides are correct about weather, currency, number of inhabittants etc. But when it comes to accomendations, guiding companies etc. it's a completely different story.
I went to Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas...
Published on May 23 2004 by Christian Halle


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Tahiti & a recipe for the Cooks, Dec 28 2003
By 
Ian (Queensland, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Moon Handbooks Tahiti: Including the Cook Islands (Paperback)
David Stanley's Moon Handbook, Tahiti: Including the Cook Islands, is one of the most depressing books I have read. As a travel writer myself I picked up the book to help prepare for an upcoming trip and this guide is so good, the world certainly doesn't need another one from me. However, having lived in Vanuatu and traveled many times to Fiji, I'm familiar with David's other guides and I anticipated excellence.
It is a comprehensive guide on what to see, where to eat, how to get around and where to stay (for all budgets), which is what you expect from a good guidebook - but it's David's personal stamp that makes it so rewarding. It's informative, honest, and sometimes opinionated with a deep understanding of Polynesian history, culture and lifestyle. There are excellent practical tips on things like health & safety, where to get internet access and even toilets where you should take your own paper - but it's more the personal tips on how to make the transition from 'tourist' to 'traveler' that I appreciated...
"A wise traveler soon graduates from hearing and seeing to listening and observing. Speaking is good for the ego and listening is good for the soul."
This book is a shortcut on the road to becoming a wise traveler. This doesn't mean it is all about getting off the beaten track. Tracks become beaten because there are worthwhile things to experience and they should be taken. David provides the 'must see' highlights as well as information for those willing to explore further. Being a wise traveler is more about attitude than itinerary. As David says, "If things work differently than they do back home, give thanks - that's why you've come. Take an interest in local customs, values, languages, challenges and successes."
Another undercurrent is David's realism and commitment to the environment. He pulls no punches, whether they are aimed at the countries who used this region for nuclear testing (particularly the French) or at those who pillage the Pacific for piscatorial pleasure - "spearfishing (is) like shooting a cow with a handgun."
Allow a few extra dollars in your travel budget for this book and it will be an investment. The reward you will gain from your travels to this wonderful part of the world will be enhanced immeasurably.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential guide to French Polynesia by David Stanley, May 27 2004
By 
Sally Reid (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Moon Handbooks Tahiti: Including the Cook Islands (Paperback)
As a producer researching filming locations throughout the Pacific Basin, I have found David Stanley's Moon Handbooks guide to Tahiti and the Cook Islands to be of tremendous value. Having travelled extensively throughout the world, I've often had trouble finding guides that are thorough and accurate. In Stanley's book, I've found just that. Rich with historic, cultural and practical information, along with numerous illustrations and maps, Stanley provides his readers with all of the necessary and critical information required in order to get the most out of a travel experience. To anyone planning a trip to this region, I would highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE handbook to have about Tahiti, Dec 17 2003
This review is from: Moon Handbooks Tahiti: Including the Cook Islands (Paperback)
I've learned not to travel without a handbook, and this is THE handbook to have about Tahiti.
All superlative adjectives are deficient in describing this book. It is a bible, a self-contained encyclopedia of information about Tahiti for the visitor to the islands.
This is the fifth edition, and author David Stanley and the Moon Handbooks editors have refined it to perfection, unless a volcano necessitates a new island chapter.
A list of categories of information it provides would be endless. One can only write that it covers every category imaginable, including the basics of transportation, lodging, activities, and personal caretaking. Radio stations, yup. Language glossary, yup. Metric conversion, yup. Comprehensive coverage.
Mere examples of some of the details, each expounded in detail, provided in this book would be email access, ferry schedules, dolphin-watching...and illustrations of the Tahitian dance movements for "perfumed" and the essential "to love." The Tahitian dance movement for "to love" is "here," which is appropriate to such a paradise, although if you travel to Tahiti you may come to apply "to love" to "this handbook."
The typeface is small but readable, which enables such an information-laden volume to be compact and lightweight for your pack or purse. Organization and presentation could not be any better, and I have copyedited more than one hundred books, so my opinion is meaningful.
Searching the Internet for information about Tahiti is both inefficient and deficient, drastically, compared to using this handbook as a guide.
Rob Kay's foreword states that Stanley has been visiting French Polynesia for more than twenty years. The "About the Author" section reveals an important point, that he does his "research" (oh, if all jobs entailed such labor) incognito, not identifying himself as a travel writer--to avoid atypical treatment--when he visits restaurants, hotels and hostels, tour operators, etc. This approach serves his readers--us--rather than serving the vendors and himself. Other travel writers should give up their gimmick of getting special service and strive for such professional honor.
Consider the retail price to be one-third of what you actually pay, because you will use it thrice. Once to plan your trip. Once as a traveling companion which has answers to all the questions that arise during your vacation. Finally, as a guide to your memories when you have returned home and want to regale others or yourself with descriptions of the paradise that is Tahiti.
I'd give this book one hundred stars if I could. It's all you need. Look no further for information about Tahiti.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great information e-book, May 16 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This e-book has a lot of local information on Tahiti and all of the islands you would want to visit. It lists hotel, restaurants, excursions with company contact information, local information on what to expect and attractions in each area, etc. Quick to read through. Much better then other available travel books like Lonely Planet.

The only dislike is that it is only available as an e-book. I don't usually carry my iPad around when I am travelling during the day so it will have its limited use. The maps are difficult to read.

It is still worth purchasing to help plan a great trip. I am sure I will find a map once I arrive in Tahiti.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Information you can trust, Dec 20 2007
By 
Dan Gordon - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Moon Tahiti (Paperback)
My wife and I are frequent travelers to the South Pacific. Every time we have relied solely on Internet web sites, travel brochures and some travel handbooks we have been consistently disappointed in our accommodations. David Stanley's travel books have always steered us in the right directions. The new Tahiti handbook contains clear maps, contact information, traveling tips and pictures. This book is full of well researched practical information and advice. Most importantly it is information you can trust.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Moon Tahiti, Feb. 15 2008
By 
Tami Brady "Tami Brady: Transition-Empowermen... (Calgary, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Moon Tahiti (Paperback)
I'm dreaming about a trip to the French Polynesian Islands. With 118 islands and atolls this area has all the enjoyment of a tropical island paradise without all the tourists. There's a lot to do, everything from swimming with the dolphins, scuba diving, hiking, and mountain climbing. Plus with only an average of only 200, 000 visitors a year (as compare to the seven million that go to Hawaii each year), I know I'll actually be able relax on the beach and enjoy my vacation.

About the only issue I have with the French Polynesian Islands is the cost. Prices can be a little expensive, especially in the larger more touristy islands of Tahiti and Moorea. Fortunately, Moon Handbooks Tahiti has come to my rescue.

As I looked through Moon Handbooks Tahiti, I quickly realized this guide was going to save me a lot of time, frustration, and money. The author shares reasonable ways to save a few dollars like making use of discount air passes, camping on the beach, staying with locals on the smaller islands, and buying groceries. When the savings aren't worth the extra effort, the author candidly tells the reader. I like that because I may be willing to make a little effort to save money but I want to enjoy my vacation too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best guidebook for any kind of trip to Eastern Polynesia, July 14 2004
By 
W. Adamse (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Moon Handbooks Tahiti: Including the Cook Islands (Paperback)
During my two big trips through the South Pacific, I always had one of David Stanley's guidebooks in my backpack. Stanley has been writing guidebooks to these islands for almost 25 years. Like his other Pacific guides, this fifth edition of Tahiti Handbook (which includes the whole of French Polynesia, the Cook Islands and Easter Island) is completely packed with information for the traveller.
Tips for travellers
While planning, Tahiti Handbook will help you find out which islands will be more interesting, easier or cheaper to visit. Stanley gives a good idea of what to expect in the islands, while you can still have a great adventure and discover things on your own.
In the Pacific, this guide will save you money and trouble. Following Stanley's advice to sleep at Tahiti's airport when arriving at night, to wait for the early morning bus instead of taking a taxi to your hotel, will already save you the cost of the book. Accommodations of all categories are described, often including critical commentary. The same applies for restaurants and organized activities. Stanley identifies with any kind of traveller. He answers almost any possible question to arise on other travel matters.
Incognito
I haven't used this edition of Tahiti Handbook in the field yet, so I can't say much about the accuracy of the travel information inside. However, during my trips through the islands, Stanley's information usually proved reasonably up-to-date. You can never expect everything to be correct, Stanley admits that. For every new edition of his guides, he makes a research trip to check the places listed in his book. On these trips Stanley arrives unannounced and tries to identify himself as little as possible. This way he is better able to experience a place like any other traveller. For this fifth edition of Tahiti Handbook, the Marquesas and Easter Island were visited in addition to more regular places. It would be nice to know what islands were exactly visited. If you feel some information is incorrect or missing from Stanley's guide, you can write him and he will seriously look at your comments.
Lively and critically
The chapters on history, people and places and the references in Tahiti Handbook are an excellent starting point to learn more about Eastern Polynesia. In my opinion, some more attention could have been given to the language section: an extension of the Tahitian and French section and adding Cook Islands Maori, Spanish and Rapanui.
The biggest problem with this book, as with Stanley's other guides to the Pacific, is that you'll want to go to almost every island he so lively introduces. With every new edition, Stanley not only updates travel information, he also perfects his writings. Stanley won't bore you. It's obvious he loves the islands. Still, he does so without writing over-positive about it. Stanley will tell you about the French nuclear testing at Moruroa and Papeete traffic jams. As he puts it on page 3: 'Through this book we've tried to show you the best of the region without ignoring the worst. Paradise it may not be, but it's still a remarkable part of our planet.'
Three in one
Since the previous edition of Tahiti Handbook, the Cook Islands and Easter Island are also included, without making the guide too thick or expensive. The only I only place I miss in Tahiti Handbook is Pitcairn. Since it lies between French Polynesia and Easter Island, you would expect it to be included. It does receive more visitors than islands like Puka Puka or Maiao these days. For information about Pitcairn, you need to get Stanley's South Pacific Handbook.
Maps and photographs
You can find 56 maps in Tahiti Handbook, including ones of more remote islands. Of the main islands; there are detailed maps of towns to show accommodations, restaurants, offices and more. The atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago are a bit underrepresented. But since these are mostly thin necklaces of land, this is not really important. In general the maps in Tahiti Handbook are fine. Only the coloured map and the index map at the beginning of the book could be better: the lagoons of the coral atolls have all been coloured in like land.
There are not many photographs in Tahiti Handbook: two coloured ones at the beginning of the book and a handful of black and white ones throughout the book. Without doubt this helps to keep the price of the book down. Also, you don't really need photographs here: Stanley's writing will bring Polynesia to life for you.
Take it!
Despite some small critical notes, I still give Tahiti Handbook five stars. There is nothing to match this guidebook. Take it when you go to French Polynesia, the Cook Islands and/or Easter Island no matter what your budget or style of travelling is.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An average travel guide, May 23 2004
By 
Christian Halle (Oslo Norway) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Moon Handbooks Tahiti: Including the Cook Islands (Paperback)
Comparing this guide with other guides for Tahiti, it's just great!!.. It's far more accurate then the others, but those others it's often plain bad.
Most guides are correct about weather, currency, number of inhabittants etc. But when it comes to accomendations, guiding companies etc. it's a completely different story.
I went to Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands 3 years ago. I stayed at a pension which Stanely recomended. The pension was a joke and the owner was the sleaziest guy I come across my 5 weeks in the South Pacific.
I asked Stanley after the trip if he had been at the pension which was not the case. This pension is still recommended in the last edition.
Lucky for Stanley that very few tourists travel to Nuku Hiva..
It's just incredibil, that's not possible to trust the correctnes of infor- mation from a guy who has been travelling in the South Pacific for 20-30 years.
I will use Stanley's guide this year too, but only as a basic tool. Getting an honest and accurate answer, I use the web-forums.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't leave home without it!, April 21 2004
By 
Oksana (California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Moon Handbooks Tahiti: Including the Cook Islands (Paperback)
Every time I plan a visit to Polynesia (4x) or Fiji, the first thing I do is buy the most recent version of David Stanley's Moon Guide because they are the most reliable & comprehensive. David travels incognito & he actually visits the pensions & hotels; unlike other travel writers who rely upon the reviews of others. While Fodor's is aimed at what I would term the 'average American tourist', David's guide includes comprehensive reviews of different classes of lodging, detailed village, island & trail maps that are invaluable to those who like to go off on their own. Since he's a diver, he's assessment of dive shops are invaluable, but most importantly, since he doesn't accept 'freebies' he's not adverse to slamming a resort for bad service or advising you not to eat some place. If all you're looking for is an insular vacation at a 5 star resort with hotel arranged excursions, then just take the advice of your travel agent. But, if you want a truly special, individual experience then Moon Guides' Tahiti is for you. Every book has extensive sections on the history, culture & religion of the islands... with extensive reviews of lodging, excursions & restaurants, so you don't just have to accept the opinion of your travel agent. Many times, travel agents push clients to resorts that pay the biggest commissions, instead of attempting to match the traveler's personality & lifestyle to a hotel that might pay a smaller percentage in commissions. I've found David's Moon Guide to be more reliable than the Lonely Planets books in the categories of hotel reviews, his review are more informative & his maps are far more accurate. If you're buying one guide book this is the one... If you want the best FP vacation possible, then read this book before you call a travel agent...David also advises readers on how to book it yourself or get the best deals.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another fine work from David Stanley, Feb. 4 2004
By 
Kenneth Klein "LordBalfor" (Seattle, WA. USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Moon Handbooks Tahiti: Including the Cook Islands (Paperback)
The 5th edition of David Stanley's "Tahiti" guide is a terrific reference for anyone planning a visit that little corner of the world. Covering not only the languid lagoons of French Polynesia, but also those of the beautiful Cook Islands and the barren windswept hills of Easter Island, the book tells you pretty much everything you need to know when preparing yourself for a trip to paradise. Island by island, David takes you through the sights and attractions each location has to offer. This is followed by a "Practicalities" section devoted to providing you with the things you need to know in order make your dream visit become reality (such as accommodation, dining, transportation and shopping choices as well as the legal requirements needed to secure entry). There is also a great selection of maps so you can get an idea of where the various resorts, restaurants, and attractions sit in relation to one another. Furthermore, there's a fine selection of hints and tips designed to make every aspect of your trip more pleasant and enjoyable. All, in all, this book can pretty much do it all for you.
On a purely personal note, I feel I have to add that the authors love for this part of the world is truly evident. The South Pacific is a fine mistress, and as one who has dallied with her a couple of times myself, I understand fully the intoxication these idyllic islands can leave you with. David is smitten, as were Paul Gauguin, Herman Melville, James Michener, and countless other artists, writers and poets before him. Still, despite the obvious infatuation, David maintains a sense of balance and so you hear the bad with the good, so that you might arrive in paradise prepared for both.
Just from the research I've done for my own little write-ups on Epinions.com, I know just how much work can go into even a small travel article, so I can't even imagine how much effort must have put into a book with this much substance. If you are traveling to (or even thinking of traveling to) any of the areas covered by this book (especially French Polynesia), this book deserves a place in your collection.
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Moon Handbooks Tahiti: Including the Cook Islands
Moon Handbooks Tahiti: Including the Cook Islands by David Stanley (Paperback - Aug. 21 2003)
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