Sun-kissed Getaway to Motu Mahana’s Unspoiled Beauty
The name alone conjures up exotic images: Motu Mahana. In case you didn’t already know, motu is a Polynesian word meaning “small island.” And this particular small island packs a ton of fun into every inch of its area. Let’s take a virtual exploration of Motu Mahana so that you’ll understand what makes it such an enticing vacation destination.
Where to Find Motu Mahana
Motu Mahana is one of the Taha’a archipelago of Society Islands in French Polynesia. Specifically, it’s tucked into the Taha’a lagoon in the Pacific Ocean, about 230 kilometers northwest of Tahiti. Unlike some of the more well-known tropical islands, however, this gem of an island is only accessible by tender boat.
The Taha’a lagoon is virtually uninhabited, which adds to its allure. The remote location and the restricted access make this an ultra-private getaway. Those who are lucky enough to gain entry have nothing but praise for the clean water, gorgeous flora, and pristine beaches.
A Brief History of Motu Mahana
Though the motu is indeed small, it has a rich history. It’s best known for its production of vanilla beans, and numerous plantations can be found on the island. In fact, you might hear it referred to as “Vanilla Island” before you even arrive.
Vanilla is a popular ingredient, especially in desserts and baked goods. It’s also quite expensive, as you’ll know if you’ve ever been in the market for vanilla beans. During your visit, you’ll be able to learn all about this exotic spice, including the growth and harvesting processes.
Marae are another common sight on the island. These are holy areas that were once designated for religious gatherings and social meetings. If you’re interested, you can take part in a guided tour of the marae to familiarize yourself with their historical significance.
Memories in the Making
If the aforementioned history lessons don’t appeal to you, never fear. There are plenty of other things to do on Motu Mahana—or not do, if relaxation is your top priority.
Swimming in the clear cerulean waters is a must. Visitors from cooler climates will be astonished at how warm the water is. To take things up a notch, put on a snorkel and get up close and personal with the schools of tropical fish that dwell in the lagoon. The coral alone, in vibrant shades of emerald and amethyst, is sure to impress.
Can’t get enough of the water? Climb aboard a kayak from the watersports marina and take a leisurely paddle tour of Taha’a. You don’t have to be an expert—the water is calm enough to be accessible even if you’ve never been in a kayak before.
When you’re on shore, you can watch coconut-opening demonstrations or learn how to tie a pareo. The enthusiastic hosts love to share these skills with visitors. For something livelier, try to get together enough people for a spirited game of beach volleyball.
Those of you who’d prefer to keep things quiet can relax in a hammock with a book, schedule an overwater massage, or just use the time to take a leisurely nap. Just don’t forget to visit the floating bar for a tropical cocktail before you leave. Relaxing in the sea with a refreshing beverage is a quintessential activity when you’re on a cruise.
Frequent visitors to Motu Mahana advise keeping plans to a minimum. Once you’re there, you can let the sea breeze point you in the right direction. You’ll have plenty of options to choose from without plotting out every minute in advance.
Attention to Detail
The staff members at Paul Gauguin Cruises go the extra nautical mile to make your experience an unforgettable one. They’ll come ashore with you, concoct a delectable beach barbecue lunch, and ensure that the kayaks and snorkeling equipment are available for your enjoyment. There’s even a small market set up for those of you who would like to do a bit of shopping on your visit.
When you’re in this part of the Pacific, ukulele music provides the perfect soundtrack. The staff has you covered here as well, strumming and singing along to island favorites as the stresses of mainland life float away on the breeze.
If you need anything while you’re on the island (or even while you’re still on board), don’t hesitate to ask. With a crew-to-guest ratio of 1:1.5, your wishes will be transformed into commands in no time.
Most cruise lines include ports of call at privately owned islands. However, the Taha’a lagoon and Motu Mahana form a vacationer’s paradise. Whether this is the only cruise you’ll ever take or merely one of many, we would rate it as a can’t-miss destination.
Book your next cruise on the Paul Gauguin ship before it sets sail without you.