As you are aware, Matt and I became an engaged couple in the French Polynesia and, in particular, in Tahiti. Now, not only can the Tahitian Islands claim the No. 3 spot in Modern Bride Magazine’s “World’s Best Honeymoon” survey, but they could easily start marketing themselves as the place to get engaged.
It is much easier and cheaper to take advantage of the Tahitian Islands than people think. From time to time, you can find some great deals on Air Tahiti Nui’s website. For example, our deal was for around $1200/pp we received flights from LAX –> Tahiti –> New Zealand –> LAX and, on top of the flights, our deal even included 3 nights at the Radisson Resort in Tahiti. We ended up extending our stay in Tahiti and purchased one extra night at the Radisson for the price of less than $100/pp. You could do the trip even cheaper by purchasing one of Air Tahiti’s discounted flights to Tahiti and staying at an even cheaper hotel. We wanted to keep our black sand beach.
Now I do realize that we are a bit spoiled in the fact that $1200+/pp is not a cheap trip for all people. However, considering we were quoted over $2000/pp for one week in Ireland, considering we were able to visit three destinations (LA, the Tahitian Islands, and New Zealand), and considering this is one of those “once-in-a-lifetime trips,” the cost was well worth it.
Before I left for Tahiti, I had asked around about what we should do there. I also checked out a couple of books from the library, but those were not so helpful. The two recommended tours I was told to take are: 1) a boat tour around Moorea and 2) a jungle tour. The first one is a definite. Moorea has the dreamy beaches and crystal-clear water where you step into the water and can clearly see your feet. Moorea is also where you can take feed stingrays and sharks, which is what we did with Hiro’s Tours (http://www.hirotours.com/). We started our day early with a taxi ride to Tahiti’s port, a ferry to Moorea, and then another taxi to a hotel from which Hiro’s Tours’ boat launched from. The boat took us around the island to see the mountains of Moorea, a ship wreck, and the different bays. We were also able to take a look at those famous bungalows over the water. After cruising around the island for a while, the boat stopped at a location from which we were to play with sting rays and stand in the water while sharks were fed right next to us. Although no one had ever been bitten on Hiro’s Tours, I still did not feel completely comfortable swimming in water with 4-5 foot black tip sharks. I sucked it up though and went into the water like a champ. The boat assistants make you feel comfortable being in the water with the stingrays and sharks. They will even bring the stingrays right up on you. You are not able to be as friendly with the sharks, but boy did they get close. At one point, one of the guys on the tour was surrounded by a group of them. The sharks just left him alone.
The shark/stingray tour in Moorea is probably the best tour I have ever been on. I will never forget this time when I swam with sharks. The jungle tour, on the other hand, is not such a memorable tour. The jungle tour guide picks you up, he drives you through the forest, you look at a lot of waterfalls, and you play with some leaves. This tour can be skipped. Granted it was pretty cool to play with leaves the size of me, but I would have also enjoyed playing in the water at our resort’s beach.
All in all, the Tahitian islands are a must see destination. Tahiti can be skipped over, but Moorea, and I imagine Bora Bora, are the islands people dream of.