I’ve just had an amazing 48 hours in French Polynesia! Made up of many many islands, the most well known are Tahiti, Moorea & Bora Bora and on my brief trip I got to experience two of these.
We arrived at 10pm and were greeted by the friendly Tahitians and transferred to the beautiful Le Meridien, our hotel in Papeete, which has a huge sand bottomed pool!
After starting the day with a good buffet breakfast, we headed out mid morning and took the 30-minute ferry ride from Papeete on the mainland to Moorea. It wasn’t long before we were checking into the Sofitel Ia Ora Beach Resort Moorea.
The biggest decision I had to make was what to do for the afternoon…. did I want to swim in the infinity pool, snorkel in the lagoon, relax on the beach or get a massage??
The resort has that island feel we all love with standalone garden/lagoon view bungalows and those ever popular over water bungalows complete with glass bottomed floor panel & direct access from bungalow to sea below.
Moorea is very lush- big mountains with all sorts of greenery adorning them. The island offers plenty to do if you like to get out & about as well as relax at the beautiful resorts – from island tours, diving, snorkelling, golf, safari tour, even hire a bike or a car, or go skydiving!
The afternoon that we arrived, we got to see how the locals open coconuts and make coconut milk, as well as weaving baskets with the palm fronds, and how to make their famous raw fish/coconut dish. I also attended a talk about pearls and how they get them as Tahiti is rather famous for these around the world.
In the evening we were treated to the most beautiful dinner in the romantic ‘K’ restaurant at the Sofitel where the ground is all sand… so barefoot dining it was!
The following morning we headed out for a day of swimming with rays & lunch on a motu – or little island - not having any idea what was in store for us.
We headed out in a little boat to a bay in Moorea and saw many pods of dolphins… it was spectacular! It was also amazing to see the water colour change from aqua to teal blue depending on where you were in the lagoon. So beautiful. We jumped into the water and swam with stingrays (safe ones – no poison!) and baby reef sharks! They happily swam around us and the sting rays were quite friendly and happy to let us pat them! Thankfully I wasn’t scared at all!
The surroundings were unreal with a bright blue sky, sun beaming down on us, that stunning aqua coloured water, and the mountains in the background. I probably took 50 photos of all this alone! Arriving at the motu, lunch was served – an array of meats & salad. We spent time relaxing; some went for a snorkel or like me, stood knee deep in that beautiful water and had a stingray swim right at our feet!
After our outing we got the ferry back to Papeete. Later that evening, we got to experience something the locals do for dinner known as ‘Roulottes’, basically ‘food trucks’ or ‘caravan/trailer restaurants’. From 6pm the locals set up their trailer (where they will do the cooking) and plastic table and chairs in front. There is many different options to chose from – chow mein, crepes, seafood or even just steak & chips. You can look at the menus, decide where you want to eat then sit down & they come & serve you! Here’s a tip: Go early on Friday and Saturday nights as there are more options and it fills up quickly with locals. This is a unique and cost effective way to dine in Papeete.
When we arrived back at The Raddison, our hotel for the last night, we saw a Tahitian Wedding reception in progress & they let off fireworks!
On my trip I learnt so much about French Polynesia and can’t wait to go back, explore more and check out the other islands. Thanks Air Tahiti Nui for the awesome experience, and what a great airline to fly with!