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Posted March 11, 2011
This is a great book! Although the title is Tahiti, this excellent 359-page paperback covers all of French Polynesia. Beginning with a five-page detailed index (from "accessibility" to "yachting") Moon Handbooks Tahiti then has a one-page listing of maps for the locations listed in the book. Although printed on recycled paper, the maps in the first 24 pages are on high-quality glossy paper with some gorgeous color photos interspersed between brief sections entitled "the best of French Polynesia, underwater in the Tuamotu Islands, the life aquatic, romance on the south seas, tikis and treks in the Marquesas, ancient temples and sacred sites, and back to nature." These 24 pages could be printed out and sold separately as a stand-along brochure, since they are so detailed and informative.
This current, well-written, informative, and well-researched publication is excellent for several reasons: the first edition with this title was published in 1989 and David Stanley has been researching and updating the information that he publishes ever since. Pacific travelers surely recognize Stanley's name from his other quality publications, such as his 2004 8th edition of Moon Handbooks South Pacific (the first edition published in 1979) as well as Moon Handbooks Fiji. In brief, Moon Handbooks Tahiti is a great book because David Stanley is a great writer, traveler and provider of information that enhances any trip to the South Pacific!
My perspective in reviewing this book comes from 37 years of teaching at the university level, with a specific interest in peoples and cultures of the Pacific. In 2009 I retired from California State University, Chico and am now a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and for the past seven years I have been providing lectures on various cruises throughout the Pacific. My first visit to Pape'ete, Tahiti was in 1971, returning to North America after research in the Polynesian Kingdom of Tonga. My wife and I have been to numerous islands in French Polynesia since 1971, most recently three times to Pape'ete in 2010, and have always carried all (or parts of) David Stanley's publications with us. His writings are valuable sources for all sorts of information concerning the islands and islanders and one would miss so much to travel anywhere in the Pacific without one of David Stanley's excellent publications! If French Polynesia is on your "bucket list" do purchase the 7th edition of Moon Handbooks Tahiti to enrich your travels! You cannot go wrong!! (Charlie Urbanowicz)
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Posted May 13, 2011
Moon Tahiti, the 7th edition of renowned traveler David Stanley's work in the Moon Handbooks series, is as comprehensive, up-to-date and enlightening as ever. Containing 47 detailed and easy-to-use maps, the guidebook describes the must-see sights, activities, restaurants, and accommodation available not only on Tahiti, but on all the other islands in French Polynesia as well, including invaluable insights into tourist highlights on Moorea, as well as on the Leeward, Austral, Tuamotu and Gambier, and Marquesas Islands. In addition, in his inimitable environmentally aware way, he provides an informed analysis of the land itself, its flora and fauna, its history and government, its economy, its people and culture, and the arts and entertainment opportunities granted by French Polynesia, so that the book is a valuable source of information for tourist and armchair traveler alike. For the former, he supplies a chapter on such essentials as transport, visas and officialdom, customs, and health and safety, while for those who wish to approach their trip with the added insight to be gleaned from other sources he provides a glossary, phrasebook, and a list of suggested reading and Internet resources. That Stanley truly loves these islands is clear from start to finish. His intimate knowledge of the islands is rivaled only by the fluency of his writing. His balanced outlook on French Polynesia allows him to retain an objective stance throughout, enabling him to pinpoint both the merits and the demerits of the islands. For example, he doesn't hide the fact that the cosmopolitan city of Papeete becomes a ghost town on Sunday afternoons, as "life washes out into the countryside," so best avoid at such times. Stanley's style is concise and factual-he provides you with a great deal of information in a limited number of words. His main intent is to give a complete picture of each place so that you can make informed decisions about how you wish to spend your time in the islands. Stanley consistently keeps the primary focus of the reader in mind, so that no matter whether you are more interested in sports, culture and the arts (his references to the leading French Post-Impressionist, Paul Gauguin, are numerous), the natural beauty of the islands, or the more historic and religious aspects of French Polynesia, you are bound to find much that appeals to your palate. Moon Tahiti is well illustrated throughout with black-and-white photographs of local architecture and scenes, in addition to maps of many of the 118 islands and towns that form part of this archipelago set in the South Pacific Ocean. Stanley also provides a great deal of background information on various cultural practices, aspects of island lifestyle and fascinating biographical overviews of outstanding local characters that he sensibly sets aside in text boxes scattered throughout the main text, so that they do not disrupt the flow of his central argument. If you have ever dreamed of listening to the rustling of palm trees swaying in the breeze while watching islanders gyrate their sinuous bodies in time to the rhythm of exotic melodies, this book is for you. As Stanley writes, "Welcome to paradise!"Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 23, 2008
Again, another informative and comprehensive guidebook from the number one South Pacific expert. The 6th edition of David Stanley's Tahiti Handbook contains everything you could possibly want or need to know about travelling around Tahiti and French Polynesia. This is the most comprehensive guide of its sort on the market, with detailed maps and accurate, up-to-date information on anything you could possibly want to look for, from getting there to getting around, where to stay, from budget to luxury, where to eat, what to see and do, activities on or off the beaten path, useful words and phrases and travel tips. As well, there is a very helpful section on the best places to snorkel, dive, or surf. I found the general discussion section on accommodation, as well as the more specific-area accommodation information, to be particularly useful. It is full of thoroughly researched and practical information and is a delight to read regardless of whether you are planning a trip to Tahiti or French Polynesia or not. It is the definitive guide for everyone, from the luxury traveller to the backpacker to the adventurer to the armchair dreamer.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 20, 2007
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 26, 2008
Tahiti and the rest of French Polynesia consists of 118 islands and atolls scattered over thousands of square miles of ocean. I cannot think of a more challenging place about which to write a travel book, yet author David Stanley appears to have the inside scoop on every one of these places. The book conveys a wealth of information, the high-end places to stay as well as more modest ones. Interspersed among the travel facts and seasoned advice are interesting stories about the famous residents of the islands, such as artist Paul Gauguin, singer Jacques Brel, and Marlon Brando. Stanley first flew to Tahiti 30 years ago, he's been writing about this area since 1979, and this is his sixth edition of the book. You don't find his extent of knowledge and experience much in travel books anymore. Stanley's Tahiti is a model of what a great guidebook should be.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.