Written by catsholiday on 13 Dec, 2010
TahitiTahiti is the largest of the French Polynesian islands and is a volcanic island with black sand not the lovely white sand you imagine on a South sea island. The island is 45 km across at its widest point and covers an area of 1,045…Read More
TahitiTahiti is the largest of the French Polynesian islands and is a volcanic island with black sand not the lovely white sand you imagine on a South sea island. The island is 45 km across at its widest point and covers an area of 1,045 km2, so it is not huge. We were staying on Tahiti Nui (big Tahiti) which is the bigger part of the island which has a thin bit about half way down the island. The smaller southern part is called Tahiti Iti or small Tahiti.When we booked our trip to the South Sea islands we were both very keen to see Tahiti as this was the island the epitomised the South Seas through Gauguin’s beautiful paintings. His paintings were full of bright colours and exotic people and this is what I was expecting. I was hoping to see colourful tropical gardens and friendly smiling local people rather like we had seen in Samoa, Fiji and then later in the lovely Cook Islands. How wrong can you be?Tahiti is miles from anywhere except the other French Polynesian islands and even these are often an hour or so flight away. To give you an idea Tahiti is 4,400 km to the south of Hawai'i, a whopping 7,900 km from Chile and a good six hour flight and 5,700 km from Australia.We arrived at Faa’a airport which was quite tiny and were welcomed with singing and all the formalities like passport and collecting luggage went very smoothly. Once outside we found our name on the board for our meeting and the person took us to check in and gave us lovely fragrant leis to wear then we waited while they sorted out which car would take us tour hotel which was the Radisson this time. After about ten minutes sitting in the mini bus with another couple they finally decided to take us to our hotel. This was a bit disorganised and as we were quite tired from a night of travel we were a bit peeved at the wait as we had paid some decent amount for an airport transfer to save us fussing at the airport in the middle of the night. As I said it was very late at night and we were feeling quite tired so I can’t say I noticed too much on the way to the hotel. We passed through or by Papeete (pop 131,695) which appeared to be quite a small town beside the sea and not a large capital city by most standards. The road pretty well followed the coast all the way to the hotel and we discovered later that this was because the middle of the island is not inhabited at all. It is quite hilly being a volcanic island and most of it is still overgrown vegetation. The majority of people live on the fringes of the island of Tahiti and very few live inland or on the southern blob of Tahiti Iti. The entire population of the island is only about 180.000 so it is a very small island in so many ways.Tahiti is part of French Polynesia and the citizens and French; they have all the benefits of being French with none of the downs sides it seems but more of that later! They are part of France but not part of the EU. They have their own currency which if called the French Pacific Franc (CFP) and this is fixed to the Euro at 1 CFP = EUR .00838. The main language spoken by all is French and the Tahitian language is definitely a second language. During the 1960’s it was forbidden to teach Tahitian in schools but today it is taught once again. All this seems to have removed a lot of the feeling for a Tahitian culture from the people which I found quite sad. I felt that Tahiti was exactly that, France in the South pacific, the people have full political and civil rights of French citizens.This is the part that we found staggering. They pay no income tax at all yet their education is free through to university. They pay only 20% of any medical costs and there is brand spanking new hospital just built in Papeete. Tahiti has its own assembly, president, budget and laws and the previous president of Tahiti was pushing for independence from France but obviously only about 20% of the population were supporting this. I am amazed that 20% supported it as France is keeping the country afloat. Franch money pays for the roads, the education and most of the health care of Tahitians. Presumably it must also pay for the assembly and the President as well as the police as the local people pay no tax so this is the only funding coming in. The only industry producing much income is tourism and that is mainly on the islands of Bora Bora and Moorea which is adjacent to Tahiti.We looked in to spending a couple of nights on Bora Bora until we found that the cost of two nights and the flights was in the region of £3000 for the two of us. So this is a destination for the seriously wealthy as we found Tahiti itself expensive enough. Once we were in Tahiti we enquired about getting to Moorea. It appears that there is a ferry between the islands which goes hourly but there were no trips organized from Tahiti to get to Moorea picking you up from your hotel. The shuttle from the hotel to Papeete only left at 9am or 1pm returning at 5pm so we would have had to catch a local bus and no-one was very helpful about times. Trips around Moorea could be arranged from the ferry port in Moorea but you had to get there. In the end it was going to be so complicated and also quite expensive as every time you did anything in Tahiti it was expensive so we decided not to bother.I think considering how much the people rely on tourism as an industry it is appalling how poor it was. Nothing was easy and transport was also unreliable. We had a spent a morning on our island tour of Tahiti and been monumentally unimpressed so we were reluctant to spend more money getting to Moorea to find that it was another disappointment. The other main industry in Tahiti or French Polynesia is the farming of black pearls and these were eye wateringly expensive. Most of the pearls are exported to Japan, Europe and the US. Tahiti also exports vanilla pods, fruits,( not sure which as we didn’t enjoy many fresh fruit while we were there) flowers, monoi, which is an infused oil made from soaking the petals of Tahitian gardenias (tiare) in coconut oil. fish, copra oil, and noni fruit which is supposed to have health benefits but tasted disgusting, a cross between molasses and vinegar.We didn’t see much evidence of anything being farmed at all and a lot of food is imported from Australia and New Zealand. I am sure more could have been grown as the soil is fertile and the weather perfect for growing but I think the people have got used to being kept by France. They will have a big shock if France decided to give them independence and cut off their funds. I was quite shocked that a nation could be allowed to sit back and just take with no encouragement for them to do something about their own up keep. This ‘handout’ receiving is not good for self esteem and the lack of pride was evident as we drove around. There was graffiti everywhere on every flat surface someone had scrawled untidy graffiti and it looked awful. All the houses had walls or corrugated iron fences so you could not see in and all that was visible were ugly scribbled on walls I various states of repair. This was not how I had imagined this tropical island was going to look, I was very disappointed.Hope this has been of some interest to you and save you spending the money to find out for yourself how underwhelming this island is. Close
Written by Two For the Road on 19 Apr, 2009
Prior to our cruise starting, we booked two nights in an over-the-water bungalow at the InterContinental Resort in Papeete. The room was expensive ($475 per night) but it was worth the treat. I highly recommend starting your cruise holiday early by a couple of days…Read More
Prior to our cruise starting, we booked two nights in an over-the-water bungalow at the InterContinental Resort in Papeete. The room was expensive ($475 per night) but it was worth the treat. I highly recommend starting your cruise holiday early by a couple of days on land – especially if you are starting your cruise such a long way from home.Tip: Your cruise will leave without you. If your arriving flight is delayed or cancelled, your vacation will be ruined. Plan to arrive at your first port a couple of days early to avoid such a disaster occurring.It was a short cab ride to the Resort from the airport. When we arrived, our luggage was loaded into a golf cart by the bellman who was in traditional Tahitian dress and once checked in, we were taken to our bungalow.Our bungalow was roomy and featured a king size bed, air conditioning, ceiling fan, and a two tier deck. A modern washroom completed our thatched roof home for the next two nights. We instantly noticed the soft sound of the ocean lapping underneath us. After a long day of travel, it was very easy to fall asleep to this soft rhythmic sound of the waves.We awoke early and immediately donned our snorkel gear and launched ourselves off our lower deck into the very warm water. The water was about six feet deep, crystal clear, and remarkably warm – almost heated swimming pool warm. The islands of the French Polynesia are surrounded by reefs that break the ocean waves, as a result the shallow waters inside the reef are very calm and home to an abundance of coral gardens.We snorkelled for about an hour before hunger took over and we needed to think about breakfast. A nice feature of our Bungalow was a fresh water rinse station, so that we could rinse off our gear as we exited the ocean.At the InterContinental, you can have your breakfast delivered to your room via an outrigger canoe but we decided that we didn’t want to wait for room service.The main hotel complex is quite large and quiet. There is a massive pool area with a waterfall and plenty of deck chairs. There is also a small sand bottom pool Infinity pool with a swim up bar that is located away from the main pool area.We walked the hotel grounds and then exited the hotel and walked towards the Sofitel Hotel to see what we could see. After 20 minutes along a pretty busy roadway, we came to a small shopping area. Found a small restaurant in the shopping center and enjoyed a fresh sea food lunch. The food was good and the service was great…the cost however, was huge! Our lunch included two basic fish entrees a coffee and a glass of juice and it cost us $85.00. This restaurant was where the locals ate, not a tourist spot taking advantage of hungry travelers. Good thing the food on the ship is included! Close
Written by jenandfrank on 28 Jan, 2005
PK2 Cote Mer Auae Faa'a, Tahiti, (689) 864848
Located only a few minutes from the airport, this hotel has great views of the Pacific and the Papeete Harbor. Renovated in 1999, the hotel has 200 rooms, although I doubt you’d know it with the very…Read More
PK2 Cote Mer Auae Faa'a, Tahiti, (689) 864848
Located only a few minutes from the airport, this hotel has great views of the Pacific and the Papeete Harbor. Renovated in 1999, the hotel has 200 rooms, although I doubt you’d know it with the very well-planned layout of the building. It has a very open lobby with a huge and very beautiful all-shell chandelier (one of at least three that we saw in the hotel). Behind the lobby is a huge double set of cherrywood stairs that brings you to a large, random-shaped pool, Jacuzzi, indoor and outdoor seating areas (with a TV), and the restaurants. There are three dining choices here: The Moevai, which means "quiet water" and is the hotel’s main restaurant, Heepuemi, which means "to sit under a cloudless sky" and is located off the pool area, and Quinn’s Bar, which was named after an early explorer and boasts live music and fresh, fruity cocktails.
The hotel tries to keep you in a tropical mood, despite the fact you are just outside of a small city. Thatched roofs everywhere, lots of palm trees, the entire staff dressed in native attire, and beautiful blue-water views from just about everywhere is what you can expect here. The walls have beautiful local art, and there are carved wooden statues everywhere as well. This hotel is the perfect place for people using Tahiti as a stop-over before continuing on to other islands. I say that because there are more luxurious hotels in the area. We just felt it was silly to pay for a five-star resort when we were only going there to sleep and tour the city for a day and a half. Regardless, the hotel was beautiful (you are in Tahiti—how bad can it be?), and there were several great areas to sit and relax, read, or just to gaze off.
The staff was excellent, as was our mini-suite that we were upgraded to. Rooms were air-conditioned and always kept immaculate by housekeeping with a minimalist, but very Tahitian theme. All rooms were equipped with the basics: iron, hair dryer, coffee maker, satellite television, safe, and minibar. I know sometimes the hotels say satellite TV, and what you get is CNN, and that’s it. To be honest, we just flew 16½ hours, and the last thing either of us were thinking about was TV. That said, they said they have it–-how extensive it is, I haven’t the first clue. They had a computer with Internet access off the main lobby, which was done on the honor system.
After checking in, we were greeted with a container of Tahitian vanilla, fresh flower leis, and a wrapped and engraved shell. We found the concierge to be very helpful, and she spoke perfect English, which made our lives much easier. She suggested going to dinner at Le Roulottes, which turned out to be the best meal we had in town, and she also showed us how to catch Le Truck, which cut our transportation cost down to almost nothing. There was a beauty salon off the lobby and an activities desk right next to the concierge. This hotel also offers nice meeting facilities and plenty of outdoor function space. Overall, we had a great experience at the Sheraton, and it’s a place I would definitely go back to if put in the same situation. Side note: While we were there, the "Miss French Polynesia" beauty contest was in town AND the event was being held at the Sheraton—of course.
Written by incrediblejoycey on 29 Mar, 2008
On my last visit to Tahiti I had to experience the interior of the island. I have driven around the island many times but always wanted to take a 4 x 4 adventure so I could experience Tahiti's rugged beauty. I had heard about Tahiti…Read More
On my last visit to Tahiti I had to experience the interior of the island. I have driven around the island many times but always wanted to take a 4 x 4 adventure so I could experience Tahiti's rugged beauty. I had heard about Tahiti Safari Expedition being the top tour company to take on a 4 x 4 adventure and booked my trip before leaving the states (they are typically sold out weeks in advance). I opted for the full day excursion which traverses into the heart of the island, dissecting the mountains by a tunnel so you actually pop out on the opposite side of the island. Our guide was very informative as he spoke about the different foliage we saw along the way. The indigenous plants were the most interesting as we were told how the ancient Tahitians would use the different petals of flowers or leaves for medicinal purposes. Our guide pointed out the main volcano and explained how the other peaks were formed and that at points in time we were driving on the rim of the volcano quite near the crater. Of course, we spotted numerous waterfalls all along the way as we bopped in our new and well equipped open air Land Rover. One of my favorite stops was at a natural swimming pool complete with the quintessential tropical waterfall. While I floated in the cool waters I watched all the young studs climb the face of the rocks and jump into the refreshing pool below. This was the perfect way to start the adventure. You see, the road was only paved up to the Moroto Hotel, and from then on it was a true 4 x 4 journey. Tahiti Safari Expeditions had two vehicles with tourists, ours was the English speaking group, and the other group was the French speaking group. Both drivers watched the weather with a keen eye `cause if it looked like heavy rain then our course over the mountains would become unnavigable. Now it goes without saying that I am extremely afraid of heights! And there were quite a few places were there was not much between us and the 3000 foot plus drop off - this was just a one way road!!! But no worries, I knew we were in capable hands and this was supposed to be an adventure, right? In our group were three Russian men who had on GPS monitors so we could determine our elevation at different points along the way. For awhile, and towards the end of the climb, we were all hoping the next turn would bring us to the top of the mountain. Finally upon reaching the highest peak of 4800 feet - and after I breathed a sigh of relief - I was able to snap lots of photos; the views were incredible! It really was something of an engineering feat to cut a road into the rainforest and then blast a passageway through the mountain. On our descent, which was equally as thrilling as our climb, the vistas were just stunning. Along the way we came across a large lake (no swimming allowed) and a car going up the way we just came. All I could think was, "What if we encountered this car going up the mountainside!" YIKES!!! I highly recommend spending an extra day or so exploring the youngest of the Society Islands - Tahiti, and experience Tahiti beyond the beaches! Close
Written by jenandfrank on 29 Apr, 2005
French Polynesia is famous for black-pearl shopping. More so than any of the other Polynesian islands, Tahiti is where you’ll find the best price due to the overwhelming amount of competition in town. Tahiti is also where you will find the largest selection.…Read More
French Polynesia is famous for black-pearl shopping. More so than any of the other Polynesian islands, Tahiti is where you’ll find the best price due to the overwhelming amount of competition in town. Tahiti is also where you will find the largest selection. Far and away the French Polynesian’s most valuable export, there are shops everywhere, from the airport to your hotel. True Tahitian pearls are created by huge black-lipped oysters (pinctada margaritifera) that thrive in the lagoons here. The pearls generally vary in color from shades of light gray to really dark gray (almost black), with green and pink hues. Some people are confused; they believe a "black pearl" is really black. These pearls are not black, and you’ll find that most stores outside of the French Polynesia correctly refer to them as Tahitian. On the islands, however, all of the stores appease the customers and refer to them as "black." What really makes these pearls special is that they vary in shape, color, quality, luster, surface, and size. Luster is determined by the quality of light that reflects from the pearl’s surface. The shinier the pearl, the better the luster – it’s really that simple. Spotting (blemishes) also diminishes the aesthetic quality of the pearl and the value as well. Since the late 1960s, Tahitian pearls have been cultivated on pearl farms here. Although most oysters can produce pearls, only the pinctada margaritifera, which grows naturally in French Polynesia, can produce the black pearl. Pearl cultivation is basically a "man-made" mimic of the natural growing process. A mother-of-pearl mussel shell bead is grafted into the tissue of the black-lipped oyster and placed back in the lagoon. After over a year underwater, the pearls are retrieved, cleaned, sorted, and given grades.
The phrase "Tahiti Cultured Pearl" is used exclusively when a pearl has been grafted and cultivated by man. In ’93, the FP government created the GIE (almost like the GIA for diamonds). The Groupement d’Interet Economique Perles de Tahiti was formed to promote Tahitian pearls overseas. Although many tourists will complain that the GIE certificate that accompanies most pearls is bogus, the nonprofit organization tries to streamline what they believe to be quality and different grades of pearls. Many shops will use the GIE as a guideline, but at the end of the day, they are trying to make the sale, and if the pearl looks good and someone is in the market to bargain, they will bend the truth a bit. The GIE certificate does not hold the same weight (or formality) that a GIA does. Pearls average in price from $100 to $10,000. There are so many factors involved. I would definitely recommend shopping around before buying anything. The majority of what you will see are pearls that range from 8 to 14 millimeters. Generally speaking, the darker the pearl and the more luster and cleaner surface it has, the more expensive. If the pearl is so dark that it has almost a navy-blue shine, it is very rare. Another thing to note is the shape. Most people believe if the pearl is not completely round, it is a defect and cheaper… NOT the case. In fact, you will find that many of the oblong or odd-shaped pearls are more expensive and harder to come by. Another thing to note is that many people think they can come here and buy a cheap black-pearl necklace. Not the case. In fact, we found that black pearls were cheaper in Maui than here – of course, with a smaller selection. If you are looking for a black pearl mounted on platinum, you will be disappointed. Platinum here is very hard to come by, and therefore, you will find most jewelry is set in yellow or white gold (if not silver).
Overall, the experience of shopping for the pearls is very interesting and could easily pass a day. If you really want these pearls but find that they are too expensive or can’t find it set in something you like, buy the pearls loose and have it set at home. It is a much cheaper option, especially if you have a jeweler at home you know or have done business with. As a general rule of thumb, bargaining is "allowed" and encouraged while shopping for pearls (only). This is recommended if you have time to spare or if you are in the market for Tahitian pearls.
Le Belvedere - Fare Rau Ape Valley, 42.73.44
The restaurant boasts the "best views" on Tahiti, due to its location on the top of the highest peak there. They offer a private van for those who make reservations. You can get reservations for either a…Read More
Le Belvedere - Fare Rau Ape Valley, 42.73.44
The restaurant boasts the "best views" on Tahiti, due to its location on the top of the highest peak there. They offer a private van for those who make reservations. You can get reservations for either a sunset or a moonlight dinner. We chose sunset and that began at 4:30 pm (5pm, depending on the season). The night we went, it had just poured, and the roads were very slick. Add to that the fact that the roads are about the width of my arms extended and not well-maintained, and you can imagine the anxiety I had on the drive to dinner. I guess it's also worthy to note that the driver didn't seem to think driving slowly or carefully was necessary, as my heart was in my throat the entire ride. After reaching the top and convincing myself not to get sick, we enjoyed the beautiful views their location had to offer—perfect for sunset dining and very romantic. Luckily, we were able to secure one of the three best (only) tables outside on the patio (I guess that is partly due to the fact that we were only one of three couples there.) Le Belvedere has a bar and a large indoor dining room with panoramic views of the surrounding bays and the island of Moorea. The restaurant itself was not as fancy as the concierge at the Sheraton claimed it would be. We found it rather casual, in fact. They had colored Christmas lights as decorations (we were there in May). The waitstaff spoke English, but they were very slow on the "service" part, so if you come from a city, like we do, you must have patience—a lot of it.
The food was okay. The sunset dinner includes a "special menu," which is a green salad, French-fried potatoes, an entree, house wine, coffee, and dessert. The entree choices were also limited (another thing the concierge neglected to mention): mahimahi, meat fondue, pepper steak, steak Marchand, and beef shishkebobs. As a non-meat-eater, my choice was clear. I had that "mediocre" feeling about the food on Tahiti overall (with the exception of the Roulottes). When all was said and done, I felt we spent a lot of money ($100) on a below-average meal, so we basically chalked it up to the view. I am torn about how to rate this, so I have decided to put "somewhat recommended" because it was romantic. American Express cards are not accepted.
Le Roulottes - downtown Papetee (waterfront - Vai'ete Square)
Although Le Roulottes is not a restaurant, it is the best food we had while in Tahiti, and I felt it had to be mentioned. Le Roulettes are a large group of food trucks (traveling kitchens), all lined up in an area off the main road by the waterfront in downtown Papeete. The trucks are set up nightly around 6pm and remain open until the wee hours of the night. Each truck serves a different type of food (with a full menu of options), and each has either a small outdoor table and chair set up or a "bar" (off the side of their truck) for their patrons. There must be at least 20 trucks--and they are all licensed with the city. Food ranges in price, but we ate like kings for less than $10 each. It’s also interesting to note that the area was packed, so we were lucky to get seats!
The food is fresh and prepared when you order. The service was great, super-friendly, and fast. They even had ice cream and crepes! While there, we had local pizza, which was very tasty and very different than your typical NY pizza. We tried some Chinese because, hey, we were in Tahiti—why not? I even got a Greek salad and a waffle! There is a pavilion (with a gazebo) setup that has local performers playing live music. If it sounds funny, it's because it's scary that the city's best food is served out of a truck (what we would call roach-coach dining). But it's the truth, and such a great experience, as you will find that most of the locals flock here for dinner as well. Definitely a different experience and a great place to go with an appetite and an open mind.
Note: Alcohol is not served, so if that is something you need, the bar is across the street. Save your money for the other islands and eat here every night–-you won’t be disappointed. Highly Recommended.
Written by jenandfrank on 22 Dec, 2004
Tahiti is called the Society Islands and has been a territory of France since just after World War II. Tahiti is the largest and the most populated island (150,000+) of French Polynesia (115 islands in total). For us, this was a huge trip--16½ hours, to…Read More
Tahiti is called the Society Islands and has been a territory of France since just after World War II. Tahiti is the largest and the most populated island (150,000+) of French Polynesia (115 islands in total). For us, this was a huge trip--16½ hours, to be exact--and Tahiti is 5 hours behind NY time. Needless to say, we were exhausted by the time we reached Tahiti. We knew from the beginning that Tahiti would only be for a stopover, and if we got the chance to go out and see the sights, so much the better. In retrospect, I’m glad we got out and did something. Who knows when we’ll ever be back there?!
The Polynesian people are so warm and welcoming. From the minute we got on the Air Tahiti flight, I knew we were about to have one of the best trips of our lives. The service on that airline was the best I’ve experienced to date. They distributed flowers to the women and were friendly and upbeat, and the airplane was in brand-new condition. They had freshly squeezed local juice when we boarded, and they were in Tahitian outfits throughout the flight. The airport was filled with men playing ukuleles and women handing out flower necklaces. There were plenty of taxis lined up outside the airport, across the street, and ours was relatively inexpensive (2000 CFP), since our hotel was so close by. There was also Le Truck (their bus) outside the airport, but considering it was our first night there and we had no clue, we didn’t want to take any chances.
The weather is warm and humid, but not like Florida humid. Tahiti is surrounded by coal reefs that break up the large waves so the island is protected from large-scale storms; instead they deal with heavy rain. Our hotel was beautiful and very well located for our needs. We spent one day doing the Circle Line Tour and the last half-day just walking around the marketplace (Le Marche) and soaking it all in. The marketplace is downtown, across the street from the waterfront. The marketplace was on two levels, smelled like vanilla (I believe it was the Manoi oil), and was filled with brightly colored shirts, fruits, black pearls, shells, carvings, etc. As with most marketplaces, the vendors were open to negotiation--even at the black pearl shops. If you like the smell and/or feel of the Manoi oil, buy it while on the islands, because when you get home the price quadruples via the internet. People kept telling us how great it was and we just didn’t get it, now we have a few samples left from Moorea, and we treat it like gold. Supposedly, this is the best place in French Polynesia to buy black pearls because there is so much competition. After having gone to Moorea and Bora Bora, I would say that this is probably true, but the difference is slight (meaning, if you don’t stop in Tahiti or don’t get a chance to shop there, it’s not like you’ll be paying double on another island). There is a huge selection, even for the pickiest of people. We found that platinum was very expensive on the islands, and thus, most of the jewelry was set in white or yellow gold. There were consistently beautiful ships docked in the marina, which gave us something to look at while we waited for the bus or while we ate at Le Roulottes.
The center of Papeete was hotter than the rest of the island. I think that had to do with the fact that there is often bottlenecking going on and a lot of exhausts are being emitted. Le Truck made it very easy for us to get around town and to and from our hotel (there was a bus stop across the street from the Sheraton). Le Truck basically looks like a small pick-up truck with a covering over the back part; they refer to them as "open-air trucks." You have to climb up but lean down to get in. No need for exact change ($1 per person)—the driver or the person driving with him is happy to help you out. The hard part about using Le Truck is that they aren’t tied to a schedule, so if you see one, you have to run for it. Also, if you aren’t sure where your stop is (luckily ours was hard to miss), you could just drive right past where you needed to go. When all is said and done though, still the best way to get around, provided you don’t mind rubbing shoulders with locals and other tourists. Although you will see a ton of taxis in downtown Papeete, good luck trying to hail one.
As far as activities go, there are several things to do, like helicopter rides, water activities, Circle Line tours, and 4x4 trips. We were too chicken to do the helicopter ride and heard the 4x4 was much better (more to see) in Moorea, so we stuck with the Circle Line tour and were happy with our decision. We were able to see such great things on that tour, and I highly recommend going. I believe they offer half-day tours, as well, if you are short on time. The entire island is less than 75 miles around, so even renting a car affords you the chance to have a beautiful day exploring on your own. If you aren’t planning on going to Moorea for a stay, you can also take a day trip from Tahiti. There are charter flights, as well as the ferry that leaves right from the waterfront in downtown. The ferry took us about a half-hour, and it was a great ride. We were able to get some great pictures/views, and there was indoor and outdoor seating. We found a lot of answers to our questions before our trip.
Written by aunty on 09 Jan, 2004
We flew from Moorea to Bora Bora for four nights to celebrate Steve's 40th birthday.
It's a 45-minute flight to Bora Bora and the airport there is on its own little island. We had booked to stay at Le Meridien, which is on its own island…Read More
We flew from Moorea to Bora Bora for four nights to celebrate Steve's 40th birthday.
It's a 45-minute flight to Bora Bora and the airport there is on its own little island. We had booked to stay at Le Meridien, which is on its own island just off the main island of Bora Bora.
You walk out of the airport and get on a boat to travel to your resort. The Le Meridian boat that collected us was huge, glamourous and we were the only guests on it. We felt like royalty!
We stayed in an overwater bungalow - with the glass floor through which you can see the fish swimming below. It had a spiral staircase on the balcony which you could climb down to swim in the lagoon.
The rooms are absolutely gorgeous - you'll never want to leave.
The Meridien has its own lagoon inside the island which is stocked with tropical fish and turtles. The resort breeds and protects turtles and you can swim freely with them in the lagoon.
The resort has two restaurants - one buffet style and one a la carte. I'd recommend the a la carte. The buffet restaurant is over the internal resort lagoon and is the location for buffet breakfast each morning. You can sit and throw bits of your breakfast to all the fish which absolutely swarm in the lagoon below hoping for a bit or croissant or bacon.
Written by aunty on 08 Jan, 2004
You really need to hire a car to take in the sights and activities on Moorea. Public transport is practically nonexistent, although taxis are available.
The most beautiful thing about Moorea is the water - it is an amazing blue and warm - wonderful to…Read More
You really need to hire a car to take in the sights and activities on Moorea. Public transport is practically nonexistent, although taxis are available.
The most beautiful thing about Moorea is the water - it is an amazing blue and warm - wonderful to swim in.
Make sure you drive to Les Tipaniers resort, park outside and walk through to the beach. Here you can hire a kayak and paddle across to two nearby motus (little islands). In between the two motus is a beautiful lagoon with crystal-clear water and lots of sea life. You could pull up to go for a snorkel; however, the motus are privately owned and you might get chased off by an owner or one of the resort companies that lease areas of the beaches to bring their tour groups to. We got asked to move along but ended up having a long and interesting conversation with a girl whose family owned one of the islands.
You can also hire small speedboats from Les Tipaniers and snorkeling equipment.
When you paddle back to Les Tipaniers stop for lunch at its cafe/restaurant. Reasonable prices and a view to die for right on the edge of the beach.
Written by Blue Angel on 20 Aug, 2003
I remember this day in January when I was talking with three friends and we just said, "why not going to Tahiti?" You know, the kind of thing you say but you know that it is only a dream. And then without knowing it, we…Read More
I remember this day in January when I was talking with three friends and we just said, "why not going to Tahiti?" You know, the kind of thing you say but you know that it is only a dream. And then without knowing it, we bought our tickets few months later, the adventure was just starting!
We took a flight from London via Los Angeles, the trip is quite long (about 22hours) but it worth every minute of it.
When you arrive at Papetee airport at 5am, you are surprised by the humidity of the air, and then you have Polynesian men playing Yukulele (little guitar) and women in local costumes welcoming you with necklaces of flowers. Then it is around 6am and you are already starting to sweat.
We went to our guesthouse just before Papetee and then drove directly to the local market. It is a 2-story market with local foods and crafts. Everything is so colourful and the people are so welcoming, we were just amazed. We bought fresh coconut and the guys who were selling them took the time to open them for us, and gave us few bananas to go with it for free!
Then we headed down to the marina where a little yacht was waiting for us to go to Morea. Morea is a little island just in front of Tahiti with an amazing lagoon. We spent all day on the boat, trying not to get sunburned and swimming around the yacht. The water is so transparent--it is about 3m deep but you have the impression you can touch the sand with your toes. Then back to Papetee to have our first night in Tahiti.
What is surprising is that the sun goes down at 5pm and then is up at 4am. Everybody leaves at its rhythm.
After a few days we moved to Punanauia, on the seaside in a bungalow directly on the beach (one of the only white sanded beaches of the island) and the lagoon of course. The main activity was snorkelling. I must admit I spent most of my holidays swimming between coral reef in the lagoon. There are fish everywhere, even if you have only water to knee level, you can see colourful fish all over the place.
We went back to Morea, taking the ferry, and we rented scooters over there to visit the island. Same story there--fantastic beaches, amazing lagoon, volcanoes in the middle of the island. . .sounds a bit boring when you say it this way, but it was not!
Back in Tahiti we rented a car to visit it. There are palm trees everywhere and most of the beaches have black sand because of the volcanoes. In the middle of the island there are no real roads, but you can cross it with a 4x4. You can only visit the amazing waterfall (be careful, the place is full of mosquitoes) and then visit all the local churches (blue, green, pink, or yellow!).
The best place to go out for eating is in Papetee. There is a place full of "roulettes" where you can eat lots of different food. The cuisine is Chinese oriented over there. For the first time in my life, I tested raw fish and I must admit it was gorgeous!!! I loved it. The other thing I loved were the fruit juices, they are so tasty!
THE thing to buy in French Polynesia is black pearl. They have green, pink, and blacks shade and are quite rare.
There are lots of things to do in all these little islands (about 100 of them) but you need money as it is quite expensive. The people over there are extremely nice and helpful. These holidays were the best in my life and I am sure I'll come back at one stage of my life. Any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me!