Thursday, June 20, 2013

Photo Journal: Tahiti Part 3

Ugh, sorry....
I really had not intended to let 2 weeks pass since my last post but needless to say I've been pretty busy with life/work since my return from Tahiti. I hope to be back to a somewhat "normal" blogging schedule now.

So here's the final "photo journal" of our May vacation to French Polynesia. A follow up trip is already in the beginning planning stages. Carlos is hooked. Gotta love Hawaiian Air miles.

{ Beautiful Triton, found by Carlos }

{ Roasting Breadfruit }

{ Hapiti Coast }

{ Fan Palm }

{ The famous Tahtitian Black Lipped Oyster }

{ Rush Hour }

{ Taro }

{ Carlos's new friend }

{ Pineapple Beach }

{ Crispy French Rose }

{ Simple Salad Vert }

{ The Vegetarian Pizza I practically lived on at "Le Sunset". So Good!! }

{ insane techni-colored lagoon }

Well there you go...and that was just from my camera. Carlos still has over 1000 pics that we haven't even had a chance to look at!

Where we stayed:
Le Meridien on Tahiti Island and The Hotel Hibiscus on Moorea.

How we got there:
Hawaiian Airlines via Honolulu ( only one flight a week on Saturdays ) and the Aremiti Ferry 5 out of Papeete ( to Moorea ).

 I don't like doing any "planned" excursions on vacation. I don't know, that's just me. Maybe I've watched way too many tourists over the years on Maui jam pack their vacays with too many planned and $$$ excursions? Anyway, We just brought a bunch of books, our snorkle sets, our surfboards ( cost $300 r/t to bring from Maui!! ugh...but worth it. No surfboard rentals on Moorea that I know of?). We rented a car for half the trip ( $$$ but again, worth it ) and bikes the other half ( great idea!! ). We used our surf boards to surf and criss-cross the lagoon to get out to the outer motus ( small islands ) instead of a boat. I wouldn't recommend this to everyone. I delt with some of the strongest currents in Tahiti than in all my years in the ocean. Please be comfortable and very familiar with the ocean before attempting something like this. Besides the strong currents there are sharks ( only saw chill reef sharks from 4' to 6' but there were a lot of them) eels ( super big ones!! ) barracuda, stone fish and fire coral so mindful of your surroundings. We also rented Stand Up Paddle Boards a few times. $$$ but so also, soooooo worth it. What an amazing lagoon to SUP in. We will be bringing our own the next trip. I would have SUP paddled daily if it wasn't $40+ an hour (cash!) for 2 boards.

Best meals:
Les Tipaniers - spectacular view, great pasta, salads and fish dishes. Went there almost every morning for coffee and baguettes. Serves breakfast and lunch
Le Sunset - Wonderful pizzas and pastas. Serves breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Snack Mahana - Carlos says, "best poisson cru on Moorea"! Everything thing here looked wonderful. Not much for vegetarians though. I would usually just order a glass of rose and pick at his french fries. Prices were really good considering how big the portions were! Serves lunch and cash only!
Le Mayflower - Great vegetarian options ( I loved the vegetable ravioli and the super simple dressing on the blue cheese/walnut salad was delicious! ) Le Mayflower is famous for their Lobster Ravioli and  decadent Profiteroles. Small and crowded. Reservations needed!! Serves lunch and dinner.$$$
Le Carre - This is located at the Le Meridien on Tahiti Island. This uber romantic restaurant over looks the lagoon and over the water bungalows. This was hands down the best dining experience during the entire trip. The menu is heavily Asian influenced and had some of the most incredible gourmet vegan dishes I have ever had. We went there 2 times on our last 2 nights on Tahiti. Amazing.

Helpful Tips:

Bring bug spray! Mosquitoes were a problem on both of my trips down to French Polynesia. There was ( and still is ) a Dengue Fever Epidemic on Moorea, Tahiti, and Fakarava. There is no medicine or shot you can get to prevent this "Malaria like" virus so bug spray and mosquito nets are a must. I've found that screen doors and screened windows are very rare in French Polynesia.

Bring cash - We ordered about $500 in Polynesian Francs for petty cash before we left Maui ( I had it delivered to my bank ). I really wish we had ordered more. Many places didn't except credit cards for purchases under $20. The ATMs run out of money often, esp over the weekend and the exchange is always horrible at the ATMs. That being said, having a credit card with NO INTERNATIONAL fees is the best way to go for everything else. I found that I got the absolute best exchange rate this way ( close to the bank rates ).

No need to dress up.....Seriously. I knew this from the last trip. I didn't bring any heels this time and just paired my cotton maxi dresses ( brought 2 ) with flip flops and newly purchased Tahtitian pearls for fine dining. I kept make-up to an absolute minimum. Mostly just mascara, gloss, highlighter and sheer powder. I didn't blow dry my hair once. Lucky for me, packing for this trip was super easy. Tahiti's climate is similar to Hawaii so my suitcase was full of the same things I wear year round at home.  I brought 6 bikinis and used every item of clothing I brought. This was nice for a change.

Tahitian Pearls - Wow. Do some research before you go but the prices and quality of the Cultured Tahitian Pearl in Tahitian shops are like nothing I've seen before. I'm a junkie if you didn't know that already but the luster, size and colors of these pearls were just off the charts.

French language - In case you didn't already figure this out, French Polynesia is very French. I am grateful that I was able to remember as much highschool/college French as I did because it came in handy. Especially dining out as a vegetarian/vegan!!  English is widely spoken but not everywhere. Study up or bring a dictionary.

Tahiti is very expensive ( duh ) - Yes, even compared to Maui. We knew what we were getting into before we booked the trip a year ago but we saved, saved, saved for it. We knew we could have gone to Bali or Central America for a fraction of the price but it was really important to me to have Carlos experience the South Pacific in French Polynesia. Especially because he has lived in Hawaii for so long. There is definitely a beautiful connection between Hawaii and Tahiti and I wanted him to see that first hand. And we even got to surf there, what a treat...

The Tahiti Explorer Forums - If you are ever considering a trip like this, I highly, highly recommend this travel forum. I can't even began to tell you how helpful, nice and passionate these members are about Tahiti and her beautiful islands. I used this board for help back in 2005 and again this time. These people are wonderful and any question you might have will get answered promptly!! Many many mahalos to you Tahiti Junkies!!! Website HERE

Much Aloha!


  1. Thank you for the travel tips!

  2. GREAT travel tips. I definitely am adding this to my vision board!