What is the must-have item for the islands?
The pareo is the Tahitian word for a wrap-around skirt. In other parts of the world, it is known as a coverup, sarong, or wraparound. It refers to women’s skirts as the men wore an item known as a loincloth or maro. Today, a pareo is best known as an item you wrap around your body.
Seen as a symbol of the island, the pareo is worn by men, women, and children. It’s beautiful coloring and cool comfort makes it a staple piece of clothing among island inhabitants. One’s imagination only limits its versatility in wear. During a recent visit to Moorea, we were fortunate enough to run across one of the locals at the bar at the Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa. He took the time to demonstrate just some of the many ways to wear a pareo. Click on the image below of my dear travel colleague and friend Sarah Bush of Bali Ha’i Dreams to see a video of our lesson.
More than being the most versatile piece of cloth you have ever worn, the pareo is a work of art. While many pareos are mass-manufactured now, there are still artists in the islands’ hills that hand paint the beautiful and colorful designs. You can actually visit the artists in their home/workshop during a 4-wheel drive tour and select your very own one of kind hand painted pareo.
Are you ready to adorn the islands? Tie on a pareo, put a tiaré flower behind your ear, rub on some monoi oil, add a puka shell anklet, and voila!