A Conversation with Camille Cuaresma
Our goal with this blog is to offer an insider’s perspective on all things related to travel in the South Pacific. We are fortunate enough to have a treasure trove of seasoned professionals in our offices and partner with some of the most well-known hotels in the world, each with their own extensive set of impressive employees. As such, we want to bring their knowledge and expertise directly to you!
And what better way to kick off this series than with a conversation with one of our most esteemed travel consultants, Camille Cuaresma. Camille has an impressive career selling Tahiti and the South Pacific for more than 30 years, and visiting destinations much more than the average gets to in a lifetime! Her dedication, rich knowledge, and enormous passion for the destination make her an invaluable member of our team and we are thrilled to be featuring her today.
How did you get your start selling travel to Tahiti?
My obsession for travel to the South Pacific started in 1977 with Ted Cook’s Islands in the Sun. Ted Cook was the pioneer who started tourism to Tahiti and I worked for him for almost 20 years. From there, I joined Alain Bernard at Tahiti Legends in 1996 and have been here ever since!
How has the industry changed since then?
Technology and social media has made it easier for travelers to access information on all destinations. With so much information out there, a specialist’s knowledge in the destination, properties and activities are an important tool in planning a unique and worry-free adventure. So I feel that although there is a wealth of information now available to anyone wanting to travel, our job has become that much more important to filter through all of the information for our clients.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Planning a new adventure! I love getting to know my clients and using my expertise to create a trip that suits them best. And one of the fun things about staying in this industry for so long, you get referrals and start to work with previous clients’ friends and family which is a real treat! The ultimate “thank you” for me is when I get to work with those friends and family members.
Most memorable experience you planned for a client.
It’s hard to pinpoint just one, truly. I really feel like each trip I plan has its own memorable experiences! I take my client’s trips on as if they were my own. And each trip is so uniquely tailored to my clients, it’s difficult to rank the different experiences. However, I did plan a 50-day trip for a single blind man to the Society, Marquesas, Austral, and Gambier Islands which was just the trip of a lifetime for him. It really was so special to be able to help him experience that.
Favorite experience you have had on your travels to our destinations.
Again, how can I pick just one? There are so many experiences that I would do again in a heartbeat! Sailing through the islands is such a great way to experience the region - whether it’s on the Paul Gauguin, Windstar, Haumana, South Seas Cruises, Tahiti Yacht Charter or Archipels. You really can’t go wrong with any of those! Diving with a school of hammerhead sharks and wreck dives in Vanuatu is amazing. And speaking of diving, drift diving in Fakarava and the Namanu dive in Savu Savu are both fantastic. Deep sea fishing on Taravana and the Luna Sea are great. I’d be remiss to leave out golfing in Moorea and Fiji. The Heiva celebrations and dance competitions in July are a wonderful way to experience the culture of the islands. And I really enjoy just the local cuisine and music too - it doesn’t have to be an over-the-top, extravagant excursion. Soaking up the local culture while you’re there is what makes each trip so unique and memorable!
How many times have you traveled to our destinations?
100+, I stopped counting years ago.
What is your personal travel style/philosophy?
Every trip is an adventure. Try as many activities as you can, participate in the culture, taste the food, embrace the dance, song, and spirit of the location. Interact with the locals for a truly authentic experience.
Best picture spot.
Well that’s impossible to pick one. Everywhere you turn is a magnificent picture spot! I’ll give you my favorite picture from my travels instead - diving and sailing with my mom.
What destination/experience is still on your bucket list?
Easter Island, Maupiti, Rurutu, Maldives. I’ve yet to go on the Aranui 5 in Tahiti and would love to do that at some point!
Best piece of advice to people planning their own dream vacation.
Do your homework and check out what the destination has to offer. Decide on priorities, expectations, and budget. And most importantly, be open to new ideas!
We hope this conversation with one of our very own legends has inspired you in your travel plans! Feel free to ask Camille more questions in the comments below. Or if you’re looking for someone to help you with your Tahiti travel plans, feel free to contact her here.