Planning a trip to Tahiti/ Bora Bora. Any suggestions or advice?
Bring lots of sunscreen, and don't sleep under a coconut palm. Seriously.
Have a look through Lonely Planets Tahiti and French Polynesia web pages for starters: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/tahiti-and-french-polynesia
And I'd recommend getting the guidebook.
If you are staying in a resort, stay as close to the ocean as possible. The breeze pushes the mosquitoes further into the property. Also, little sand crabs live in the sand so don’t be surprised when they scurry around.
Take a boat ride or ski jet ride tour away from the coast. The view of Bora Bora from that perspective is breathtaking.
Trying to knock out the top bucket list regions and the Polynesian islands have been at the top of my list for a long time. But I've been reading some things that make me think it just might not be the paradise I dream of for several reasons. I understand the beaches themselves, while the water is beautiful, aren't that great. We love the sand in the Destin and Cayman Islands, along with many Caribbean islands, so I was wondering if that was true. Also understand the food is ridiculously expensive. I expect expensive food in some areas and am not going to be on a super strict budget (but can't afford Four Seasons), but I'm wondering about this whole package---not great beaches, food expensive for what you get, some of the resorts need upgrading (specifically Intercontinental Moorea), etc. After being in Santorini, I'm wondering if just taking a cruise (there is a Princess cruise from San Diego that hits some of the islands) would be the best in the long run. Any advice? We would be targeting Moorea and possibly Bora Bora. Thanks in advance!
I am cruising in the South Pacific right now..........We have not yet visited Fiji or the Cook Islands, but have been to Bora Bora, Tahiti, Moorea, and Raiatea, and Moorea right now wins in my mind for the most beautiful island to relax and enjoy. Raiatea is also beautiful, but as it has no beaches, it's not very tourist-oriented and you'd have to be a bit of an adventurer (or sailor) to vacation there - there are no hotels or the luxurious types of accommodation as on many other islands. But I think it's kind of underrated.
As for beaches.......Tahiti has some gorgeous beaches, as does Moorea. But - many are volcanic islands, so some beaches won't have much soft, white sand (though Maui beach on Tahiti Iti is white sand, and there's soft sand on Moorea too.)
NCL has a cruise from Hawaii that goes to Nuku Hiva, Moorea, Bora Bora, ending in Tahiti. Decent price. United Airlines has some decent fares from Tahiti to the west coast.
We went to Tahiti on an Oceania Cruise. It was a good way to see these places but have no need to return.
Susan, can you share why? I'm just concerned that while I love gorgeous water and scenery (and beaches) that it might not be that much more beautiful than Kauai, Santorini, etc. to justify the high prices. A cruise sounds the way to go to get to see the islands without staying there. Just want to make sure I wouldn't regret not staying in Bora Bora or Moorea for a couple of nights. Thanks all for opinions!
We spent a week in French Polynesia - 3 nights on Moorea, 3 nights on Bora Bora, last night on Tahiti. Stayed in an AirBnb on Moorea that was wonderful, a great value, and within walking distance of the best beach on the island. Splurged on Bora Bora with a cabin over the water/resort experience.
The snorkeling on both islands was wonderful. The resort experience insulated us from the culture on Bora Bora, but we knew that going in. Being in a neighborhood with the AirBnb on Moorea made up for that.
A cruise sounds the way to go to get to see the islands without
Well, do you want to just see a tiny piece of an island for a few hours or do you want to actually experience as much as possible in the time you have? Cruises are great. But the majority of your time is spent on the ship, not on the islands that were your original desire to visit.
I don't care a fig for revisiting Hawaii or Santorini. But I'd go back to French Polynesia in a heartbeat. But if all you want is a white sand beach and cheap food, perhaps the Caribbean would suit you better.
C.Jean, thank you for your response, you are very insightful. I am not looking for just white sand or cheap food (particularly cheap food), as this will be a very expensive trip (as much as $20K, compared to our return a few weeks ago from Poland & Germany for ~$9K), as compared to going to Europe, for example. I just was looking for an opinion as to whether French Polynesia was stunningly more beautiful for the cost. We've traveled the world and am in our mid 60s---we have limited big trips (long distances) left to finish our top bucket list (Africa & South America---then will simply travel back to our favorite places in Europe & Middle East), so resent your comment about maybe we are just cheapos who should go to the Caribbean.
Kathy, I'm sorry if my post upset you, but your posts did express concern about the French Polynesian beaches not living up to those in the Caribbean, and the cost of food there. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Value for money varies from one person to another. And no one can say whether any given place will live up to the expectations of a stranger.
As for the pros and cons of cruising vs land vacations - again, a topic of much debate with no right or wrong and entirely dependant on the individual's expectations for that trip. Case in point - Susan mentioned upthread that she was one and done after a cruise, while Chiara reported a much more positive experience with theirs. And my 3 week land vacation on Tahiti and Moorea still stands out as one of the best I've ever had. YMMV.