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Polynesian Cultural Immersion




Polynesia. This subregion of the Pacific Ocean includes over 1,000 islands, of which many are go-to destinations for travelers worldwide seeking solitude and serenity. Thankfully most of the islands within Polynesia have managed to avoid considerable sprawl beyond their individual capitals, and much of this can be attributed to generational insistence by local natives for permanent cultural preservation and environmental conservation. That said, every traveler should take the time to understand and appreciate the native cultures and traditions found within each island nation, especially when traveling with children.

    Floral lei making is a fragrant art that is taken very seriously in Hawai’i.

    Hawai’i

    As one of the most popular vacation destinations on Earth, Hawai’i - Opens a dialog has been very successful at maintaining its cultural heritage throughout its islands. Dedicated to the memory of Hawai’i’s King David Kalakaua, the annual Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo (on the Big Island of Hawai’i) is one of the most prestigious hula competitions in the world. Every April, participants are judged on such cultural benchmarks including dance, body and hand movements, chants/songs, presentation, etc. Floral Lei Making is an art that is taken very seriously in Hawai’i. Culturally, these fragrant garlands were once worn by Hawai’ians as a symbol of beauty, and status and a way to stand out from one another. While many hotels throughout the islands offer floral lei-making classes, you should consider classes with local florists that are outside of the touristy areas, as you may find them having an even more authentic approach to this time-honored craft (plus, their flowers will be a bit more robust, and you will be able to experience making a wider variety of floral leis).

      On the island of O’ahu - Opens a dialog , the 42-acre Polynesian Cultural Center offers a well-rounded cultural experience that focuses on many of the island nations within Polynesia. Throughout its six tropical villages (featuring Samoa, Tahiti, Fiji, Aotearoa, Tonga, and Hawai’i), you are transported to ancient times to experience Polynesian cultural heritage as it once was. A visit to Polynesian Cultural Center not only educates but also serves as an inspiration to visit other islands within Polynesia.

        Kava is known for its properties that promote relaxation and calm.

        Fiji

        Fiji Culture Village on Nadi is where you will find the rich traditional culture of Fiji - Opens a dialog demonstrated in living color. Within various bures (huts), your family will enjoy learning how Fijian pottery, woven mats as well as wooden artwork are made. Fiji Culture Village also entertains through its Meke show where you will experience lively singing and dancing that are unique to Fijian culture. You’ll also experience local cuisine such as: fish lolo (Fish soup prepared with coconut, rice, tomato and spinach), kokoda (think ceviche) and other native dishes. And if you are a participant on the night tour, you will enjoy some native cuisine that has been prepared in a lovo (earth oven) which will have flavors that are similar to BBQ, but with even smokier notes. And what’s a visit to Fiji without experiencing a kava ceremony and tasting? This natural beverage is known for its properties that promote relaxation and calm but be aware: drinking too much will make your mouth very numb. Technically Fiji is classified as Melanesian and less commonly Polynesian but has such a rich culture we thought it should be included.

          Fiji

          Fiji Culture Village on Nadi is where you will find the rich traditional culture of Fiji - Opens a dialog demonstrated in living color. Within various bures (huts), your family will enjoy learning how Fijian pottery, woven mats as well as wooden artwork are made. Fiji Culture Village also entertains through its Meke show where you will experience lively singing and dancing that are unique to Fijian culture. You’ll also experience local cuisine such as: fish lolo (Fish soup prepared with coconut, rice, tomato and spinach), kokoda (think ceviche) and other native dishes. And if you are a participant on the night tour, you will enjoy some native cuisine that has been prepared in a lovo (earth oven) which will have flavors that are similar to BBQ, but with even smokier notes. And what’s a visit to Fiji without experiencing a kava ceremony and tasting? This natural beverage is known for its properties that promote relaxation and calm but be aware: drinking too much will make your mouth very numb. Technically Fiji is classified as Melanesian and less commonly Polynesian but has such a rich culture we thought it should be included.

            Kava is known for its properties that promote relaxation and calm.

            Dancer wearing traditional folk costume from Tahiti, French Polynesia.

            The Islands of Tahiti

            On the island of Moorea - Opens a dialog , Espace Loisirs Kultur is a new cultural center which highlights the fine art, performing arts, music and culture of the islands of Tahiti. Additionally, you can experience music and dance classes to have a greater understanding and appreciation of traditional Tahitian culture. Located on the main island of Tahiti, the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands has long held the mantle of being one of the best cultural museums in the South Pacific. This museum focuses on regional geography and natural wonders as well as the history of Polynesia, pre-European culture and the effects of colonization. You will also be able to view artifacts from various periods of Polynesian history as well as a rare collection of Polynesian art carvings.

              As you can see, there is so much that you can experience culturally while visiting these idyllic destinations within Polynesia. There’s no better way to educate your children and yourselves than to experience local / regional culture firsthand from those that have it built into their DNA.

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                  Once You Are Ready to Travel Again, Costco Travel Can Help

                  We invite you to take some time to browse around and dream of your next vacation, rental car or cruise, whether you’re booking for next month or toward the end of next year.

                    Polynesia. This subregion of the Pacific Ocean includes over 1,000 islands, of which many are go-to destinations for travelers worldwide seeking solitude and serenity. Thankfully most of the islands within Polynesia have managed to avoid considerable sprawl beyond their individual capitals, and much of this can be attributed to generational insistence by local natives for permanent cultural preservation and environmental conservation. That said, every traveler should take the time to understand and appreciate the native cultures and traditions found within each island nation, especially when traveling with children.

                      Floral lei making is a fragrant art that is taken very seriously in Hawai’i.

                      Hawai’i

                      As one of the most popular vacation destinations on Earth, Hawai’i - Opens a dialog has been very successful at maintaining its cultural heritage throughout its islands. Dedicated to the memory of Hawai’i’s King David Kalakaua, the annual Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo (on the Big Island of Hawai’i) is one of the most prestigious hula competitions in the world. Every April, participants are judged on such cultural benchmarks including dance, body and hand movements, chants/songs, presentation, etc. Floral Lei Making is an art that is taken very seriously in Hawai’i. Culturally, these fragrant garlands were once worn by Hawai’ians as a symbol of beauty, and status and a way to stand out from one another. While many hotels throughout the islands offer floral lei-making classes, you should consider classes with local florists that are outside of the touristy areas, as you may find them having an even more authentic approach to this time-honored craft (plus, their flowers will be a bit more robust, and you will be able to experience making a wider variety of floral leis).

                        On the island of O’ahu - Opens a dialog , the 42-acre Polynesian Cultural Center offers a well-rounded cultural experience that focuses on many of the island nations within Polynesia. Throughout its six tropical villages (featuring Samoa, Tahiti, Fiji, Aotearoa, Tonga, and Hawai’i), you are transported to ancient times to experience Polynesian cultural heritage as it once was. A visit to Polynesian Cultural Center not only educates but also serves as an inspiration to visit other islands within Polynesia.

                          Kava is known for its properties that promote relaxation and calm.

                          Fiji

                          Fiji Culture Village on Nadi is where you will find the rich traditional culture of Fiji - Opens a dialog demonstrated in living color. Within various bures (huts), your family will enjoy learning how Fijian pottery, woven mats as well as wooden artwork are made. Fiji Culture Village also entertains through its Meke show where you will experience lively singing and dancing that are unique to Fijian culture. You’ll also experience local cuisine such as: fish lolo (Fish soup prepared with coconut, rice, tomato and spinach), kokoda (think ceviche) and other native dishes. And if you are a participant on the night tour, you will enjoy some native cuisine that has been prepared in a lovo (earth oven) which will have flavors that are similar to BBQ, but with even smokier notes. And what’s a visit to Fiji without experiencing a kava ceremony and tasting? This natural beverage is known for its properties that promote relaxation and calm but be aware: drinking too much will make your mouth very numb. Technically Fiji is classified as Melanesian and less commonly Polynesian but has such a rich culture we thought it should be included.

                            Fiji

                            Fiji Culture Village on Nadi is where you will find the rich traditional culture of Fiji - Opens a dialog demonstrated in living color. Within various bures (huts), your family will enjoy learning how Fijian pottery, woven mats as well as wooden artwork are made. Fiji Culture Village also entertains through its Meke show where you will experience lively singing and dancing that are unique to Fijian culture. You’ll also experience local cuisine such as: fish lolo (Fish soup prepared with coconut, rice, tomato and spinach), kokoda (think ceviche) and other native dishes. And if you are a participant on the night tour, you will enjoy some native cuisine that has been prepared in a lovo (earth oven) which will have flavors that are similar to BBQ, but with even smokier notes. And what’s a visit to Fiji without experiencing a kava ceremony and tasting? This natural beverage is known for its properties that promote relaxation and calm but be aware: drinking too much will make your mouth very numb. Technically Fiji is classified as Melanesian and less commonly Polynesian but has such a rich culture we thought it should be included.

                              Kava is known for its properties that promote relaxation and calm.

                              Dancer wearing traditional folk costume from Tahiti, French Polynesia.

                              The Islands of Tahiti

                              On the island of Moorea - Opens a dialog , Espace Loisirs Kultur is a new cultural center which highlights the fine art, performing arts, music and culture of the islands of Tahiti. Additionally, you can experience music and dance classes to have a greater understanding and appreciation of traditional Tahitian culture. Located on the main island of Tahiti, the Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands has long held the mantle of being one of the best cultural museums in the South Pacific. This museum focuses on regional geography and natural wonders as well as the history of Polynesia, pre-European culture and the effects of colonization. You will also be able to view artifacts from various periods of Polynesian history as well as a rare collection of Polynesian art carvings.

                                As you can see, there is so much that you can experience culturally while visiting these idyllic destinations within Polynesia. There’s no better way to educate your children and yourselves than to experience local / regional culture firsthand from those that have it built into their DNA.

                                  Sign Up for Costco.com Emails

                                  If you are interested in great deals Costco Travel has to offer, click here to sign up to receive emails. This will ensure that Travel and Costco.com values are sent directly to your inbox.

                                    Once You Are Ready to Travel Again, Costco Travel Can Help

                                    We invite you to take some time to browse around and dream of your next vacation, rental car or cruise, whether you’re booking for next month or toward the end of next year.


                                      Travel blogger Jason Gordon

                                      About the Author: The above piece was written by Jason Gordon, a guest travel blogger, and Costco enthusiast. Jason Gordon is compensated by Costco Travel to share his travel experiences.


                                       
                                       
                                       
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