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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
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
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
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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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)   
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)   
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
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
(REAL NAME)   
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Concise, thorough book for planning/traveling to SP islands, Feb. 3 2004
By 
Herman Yost (Hinsdale, IL USA) - See all my reviews
Two years ago we went to the South Pacific and covered ten islands, starting in Tahiti and ending in Fiji. In the process, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to meet David Stanley. As a result, when I learned that he had issued the 5th edition of the Moon Handbook, titled 'Tahiti, Including The Cook Islands,' I was intrigued and wanted to compare my experiences and the places and establishments I was familiar with to those of this handbook. The handbook covers six of the islands I visited, three in the French Polynesia group, and three in the Cook Islands - varying from the largest, Tahiti, to the smallest, Palmerston.
I can only summarize my review by saying that I am amazed at the breadth, depth, and current accuracy of this handbook. I am particularly impressed by the manner in which David collects his data in an incognito fashion. It allows him to be factual and not influenced by preferential treatment. I, myself, can not imagine the amount of work and organization it takes to compile all of the facts and data in the book. I agree that since it is the 5th edition that a lot of the material can be brought forward from one edition to another. But the meticulous effort it takes to keep it current is amazing to me. I went through the six islands we visited and could not find an error in the data or a lack of current status.
I particularly found the history section and the sidebars well worth reading and helpful in understanding the people and their culture. Whether it was the life of Pouvanaa A Oopa in Tahiti, of Hinano Beer, or the use of Monoi Oil on Moorea, it helped to understand the culture. Someone might not care about the Tahitian Dance Movements or the Internet Resources - but the book is replete with interesting sidebars.
All of the usual handbook assets are all there, like the range of hotels and their prices, how to get there, etc. But there are added touches such as a glossary of local terms, a dual names section, suggested reading list, and contact information for information offices.
Do I have any negatives? Only a couple. David does not mention that the Papeete harbor, which is the waterfront for the Sheraton and several upscale resorts is badly polluted. I wondered why the resorts wouldn't ban together to at least hire a couple of guys and a rowboat to pickup the floating debris and plastic bottles. My other negative is the title of the book. I don't know who at Moon picked the title, but Tahiti is far from being the only island in the many beautiful French Polynesian Islands. And the Cook Islands and Easter Island should be equally recognized.
In summary, I found the David Stanley book to be the one and only handbook that I will enjoy using for learning, planning and taking for use on trips to that area of the South Pacific. Would that I could have a small, lightweight, equally great handbook for all of my regions of travel!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A travel guide that takes you away to a fun adventure, Dec 23 2003
By 
M. Cheek (Morgan Hill, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
David Stanley's Moon Handbook: Tahiti brings this island region of the South Pacific to life for the adventurous traveler -- or even an armchair traveler like myself. The thorough research and detail of information makes this wonderful book a truly great read. It far surpasses Lonely Planet's guide on Tahiti which skimps on giving color to this tropical Eden.
It's obvious Stanley really knows the region. He gives readers a thorough and clear background on a variety of natural history subjects such as the growth of Pacific coral development and the animals of the Tahiti area such as sharks and jellyfish. We also get a profound examination of the region's human history starting from the prehistoric adventurers who braved the ocean to establish their cultures on the various islands.
Moon Handbook: Tahiti provides travelers with an extensive amount of information to make a trip to these islands memorable. It offers details on shopping tips and transportation resources, advice on how to find the best and most economical accommodations, and suggestions of the best restaurants to try out. The book also is filled with a good number of highly detailed maps that provide readers with a splendid geographic perspective of the Tahiti and Cook island systems.
I read Stanley's book during a rainy week in winter, and it definitely helped me to escape the winter grey of California to soak in the sun of this beautiful paradise on the other side of the world.
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Moon Tahiti
Moon Tahiti by David Stanley (Paperback - Dec 28 2010)
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