honeymoon with my honey
le taha’a, Bora bora, mo’orea & Tahiti
Favorite part about French Polynesian culture: This is pretty literal, but two words describe their culture… French and Polynesian. There is more of a French influence than you would assume given that you are on an island chain in the middle of nowhere, the South Pacific, closer to Australia than anywhere else. You will eat croissants and French puff pastries with breakfast. And then there is the Polynesian culture that you would imagine. Beautiful luaus, tropical fruity umbrella drinks, and the kindest people. It’s quite the mix, and it’s quite perfect. They have their own lovely Tahitian language that is so upbeat and so fun to learn! They constantly intertwine their Tahitian dialects with French.
3 keywords that are must-knows:
Hello: Io ora na
Thank You: Mãuruuru
So you will hear “Io ora na, monsieur…Io ora na, madame.”
You will assume I filtered the heck of these photos with how breathtaking the water is, but I didn’t. I have NEVER EVER EVER seen water anywhere else in the world like I have seen in the islands of French Polynesia. Sleeping on a hut on stilts above that perfectly calm and turquoise water is a DREAM. You will see wildlife surrounding you 24/7, because even inside your bungalow there are cutouts where you can see directly under your hut.
Relaxation. Relaxation. Relaxation. This is an island that lots of people don’t know exists, and that’s a shame because it is VERY special and VERY exclusive. It was our absolute favorite island. It is a tiny private island off of Taha’a. (Fun fact: Taha’a is known as the vanilla island and produces tons of vanilla, leaving a beautiful fragrance in the air). This was the most secluded and relaxing island we visited, and we totally vegged out. Our biggest worry was making sure we woke up in time for breakfast! Their spa was spectacular. Every staff member knew your name and your drink preferences. I have never seen any resort more attentive or individualized. You literally eat breakfast and dinner in a tree house. The water was absolutely breathtaking everywhere in French Polynesia, but the water surrounding this island was somehow even more breathtaking.
We had a blast in Bora Bora! We sat on our private overwater bungalow deck 24/7 and had the time of our lives. We swam, drank, blared music and repeated. If we felt like leaving our humble abode we would walk to the beach and paddle board, or go pig out on their delicious food. The restaurant is a hut with a sand floor– no walls.
swim with the sharks
(use RaaNui tour)
This is a MUST-DO!! Our guide was Raanui himself. I’m convinced he was born underwater and is one with every aquatic animal. He was a young guy who barely spoke English and his mom drove the boat…they made the perfect team.
We went to 5 locations during our day trip.
We swam with hundreds of blacktip reef sharks and stingrays. There was chum all around us drawing the many sharks closer in – – it was scary, invigorating, and one of the coolest experiences all at the same time.
We went to a beautiful coral reef and snorkeled around tons of beautifully vibrant fish.
We swam with massive manta rays and found octopus.
We went to a private island and walked around soaking up its stunning serenity.
Then Raanui’s dad hopped on the boat with us and played local original music while we were given beers. So naturally we thought we were done and celebrating that we survived! We were wrong… we were given beer so we would have the guts to go to our last location!
We went way past the breaking point and the second we stopped the motor on the boat, big lemon sharks started swarming us. Yes, we jumped in. Yes, it was crazy scary. Yes, it was awesome.
This island is of course absolutely stunning as well. It was the only island where we stayed in a garden bungalow instead of an overwater bungalow because we heard in advance that the water at the other islands was prettier. This advice was correct, however the water is unbelievable everywhere, so it’s really comparing apples with apples.
We swam with dolphins (and if you’ve read my bio, you know how obsessed I am with dolphins so this was a fabulous experience for me!) We went paddle boarding, kayaking, ate, drank, relaxed and repeated. What more can you ask for?
You will most likely have a very long layover in Papeete when you come from the US and are waiting to go to your destination. This happens frequently so there is a place at the airport where you can store your bags for hours – – it’s very helpful! Go explore the city! We walked around forever, bar hopping and strolling beautiful gardens. It was a great experience getting to see the capital’s city life because it is vastly different from the other islands cultures.
french polynesia transportation
There are over 100 islands that make up French Polynesia. We went to the main island of Tahiti, as well as Mo’orea, Bora Bora and Le Taha’a. You will fly into Fa’a’ā International Airport (PPT) in Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia, located on the island of Tahiti. To get to the rest of the islands you will take tiny puddle-jumpers. It reminded me of an airplane taxi. For instance, for us to get to Le Taha’a we stayed on the airplane for multiple take-offs and landings at different islands where others got off, before we got to our respective island. Once you get to your destination via plane, you will then take a boat to actually get to your final location. There is tons of traveling involved and it is very worth it!
leaving thoughts… Tahitian coconuts are delicious and really fun to make smiley faces with.
Where we stayed:
Le Taha’a: Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa (This is a Relais & Chateaux resort)
Bora Bora: Conrad Bora Bora Nui
(This is owned by the Hilton. Yes, this is also where the Kardashians stayed on the episode they went to Bora Bora).
Moorea: Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa
Where to eat:
I highly recommend eating at the delicious restaurants on resort property.
Where to fly into:
PPT (The main island of Tahiti) then island hop to…
BOB (Bora Bora) This airport is it’s own island with no car access. You have to have a boat arrange to pick you up at the airport to bring you to your hotel/resort. If you’re staying at a nice resort, this will be included.
To get to the private island of Le Taha’a you fly to RFP (Raiatea) and the island’s resort will boat you 35 minutes to their island.
–Air Tahiti Nui is the main carrier of choice to fly into PPT and then you fly Air Tahiti domestically from island to island.
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