What you should know before booking a trip to Tahiti15 March 2014
Now grab yourself a drink, this one's a novel.
tourism is on the decline) I do want to offer my best advice on how to see the very best French Polynesia has to offer.
But that’s not Tahiti.
It’s Moorea, Tahiti’s lesser-known sister island and a crucial detail missing from the big picture.
But that photo is precisely what the BF and I envisioned when we booked TravelZoo’s recent Air Tahiti Nui deal, offering one hell-of-a deal: a 5-day Tahiti getaway for just $1298. It wasn’t until we settled into our hotel at Le Meridien Tahiti that we learned otherwise.
To us, Tahiti did not live up to the hype. And yet, Moorea blew us away!
We absolutely loved beaching ourselves on a remote island in the middle of the South Pacific for six days straight—don’t get me wrong! Our getaway was lovely. It’s just that our expectations of Tahiti were more on par with Moorea, and we wish we would have known that before we booked.
Having read great things about lagoon tours in the area, we booked a day trip on a whim through local operator Paradise Tours. They picked us up at the hotel the next morning and dropped us at the ferry, where we cruised 30 minutes to Moorea. (And by cruise I mean flew—those high-speed ferries do not mess around.) This is where our vacation truly began.
Albert Moana’s Lagoon Tour boats and plenty of other travelers awaited us. The rest of the day was pure bliss, and we enjoyed every second of it sailing and swimming through those gorgeous, pristine blue waters our hearts were set on. It was our very favorite day in French Polynesia—and yet Tahiti was nowhere in sight.
We were disappointed with Tahiti. We hoped what it lacked in attractions (and aqua-blue shores) it would make up for in local experiences or cultural cuisine. Sadly, we didn’t feel taken by any of them. That is, until we reached Moorea. Moorea boasted a gorgeous coastline, beautiful scenery, incredible resort offerings, lively coral reefs perfect for snorkeling, delicious food, and a never-ending list of exciting excursions.
continues to decline. Hotels are closing their doors, companies are losing business, employment is suffering, and the people are growing frustrated. This was pretty obvious, yet equally unsettling. French Polynesia’s greatest money maker is tourism.
Although we weren’t overwhelmingly impressed with Tahiti, we absolutely fell in love with Moorea. In fact, I haven’t stopped talking about this island gem since we left. I highly recommend to friends dreaming of a Tahitian vacation to book the bulk of their trip on Moorea, where endless blue lagoons (with incredible resorts and bungalows to boot), a long list of excursions, and jaw-dropping scenery will just blow them away. I urge you to do the same.