Polynesian Cultural Center is one of those “don’t miss” attractions that a lot of people miss. Most vacationers who travel in groups see it because it’s on their itineraries, and it’s easy enough to sign on for a tour at your hotel.

If you’re traveling on your own, however, it’s the kind of thing you put off and put off until suddenly it’s time to go home and you’ve missed it. The problem lies in the location – the North Shore of Oahu – and the fact that you need commit a full day to explore it.

Still, it’s the top paid Hawaii attraction. What you get is seven native villages that give you the chance to participate in the daily adventures of Hawaiian and other South Pacific cultures. The Center also stages what they claim to be “Hawaii’s most authentic luau” and “The world’s largest Polynesian night show.”

Let’s take one of the villages – Tahiti — as an example of what you’ll see apart from the entertainment and food.

Tahiti is the name of the largest island and administrative center of French Polynesia. A hundred-plus French Polynesian islands surround Tahiti.

More than any other group of Pacific islands aside from Hawaii, Tahiti, with its fast hip-shaking dances and compelling wooden drum rhythms, characterizes Polynesia in the minds of people around the world.

In the village, you’ll meet the warm, inviting Tahitian people and gain insights into their fascinating culture. You’ll learn both the women’s and men’s movements in their exciting dances. You’ll learn why the Tahitians make both fragrant flower and beautiful shell lei, sample Tahitian coconut bread, tour the garden and even give your kids the opportunity to try some fishing.

The large “celebration house” is the central location for the presentations, “grass skirt” and shell work production and the dance platform. The kitchen area is where the earth oven is located, surrounded by the plantation, and there’s also a fishing hut on the edge of the lagoon.

That’s a handful of Tahiti, but remember that there are the luau, the show and six other villages to visit: Hawaii, Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Fiji, Tonga and the Polynesian Triangle.

Obviously, there’s plenty to see and do, but you’ll enjoy every minute of it – even if it does occupy an entire day.

Pick an agent from the Hawaii-Aloha Web page (hawaii-aloha.com), or call 1-800-843-8771. We’ll help you work a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center into your vacation plans.

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