Tahiti 6-day itinerary04 May 2014
Moorea was truly the best part of our trip to Tahiti, and yet Tahiti was almost entirely out of sight. A high-speed ferry takes you from one island to the next in just 30 minutes. A round trip ticket puts you back about $27, and seats fill quickly, so it’s best to arrive with at least 30 minutes to spare. You can’t argue with a quick boat ride and barely a dent in your wallet.
Just as many other guests said to us, I’ll tell you that this was certainly a highlight of our trip! We toured the coastline of Moorea aboard a large pontoon and got to see various bays, restaurants and luxury hotels. It was like touring the set of a French Polynesia vacation commercial, seriously. We made a long stop at a shallow sandbar to swim with reef sharks (read: gentle puppies) and stingrays (read: terror. Kidding, Kyle loved it. I’m just a giant baby...). We made our way to a tiny island where we anchored for lunch. The captains cooked up a traditional meal of grilled chicken (not feral island chickens, they used the store-bought kind…which may or may not have once been feral), fresh ceviche, grilled blue marlin, ham and pineapple rice, and sliced melon. And they spoiled us with an open bar of rum punch and the beer of Tahiti, bottles of ice-cold Hinano.
A lot of people rave about the city market in Papeete. It’s a top tourist destination on travel forums and websites but, in truth, it’s really just another market. Strolling through it on an afternoon is a nice way to pass the island time, grab some lunch, and relax. Though, if there was one thing you just couldn’t squeeze into your trip to Tahiti, it wouldn’t be so horrible to miss this.
Papeete is known for its diverse, late-night food carts. In the city center, a few blocks from the market, Le Roulottes set up shop for their dinner crowd around 6 p.m. every night (except Sundays). Cash in on some of the best Chinese food, French crepes, and steak and potatoes you can find on the island. Locals and tourists alike just can’t get enough.
There’s no denying it. I’m a sucker for sweets. Around the corner from our hotel was a delicious French bakery with some of the very best pastries (Disclaimer: That’s not entirely factual considering I didn’t actually tour the whole island. But my taste buds know delicious, and I think I have enough Yelp experience to make these kinds of judgment calls.) Four out of the six mornings in Tahiti were spent at this little café. All but once we ordered the framogia crepe, a strawberry and cream layer cake wrapped in a crepe. If we ever return to Tahiti, it will be for that pastry and that pastry alone. We miss it every day.
One of my favorite days in Tahiti was spent atop the water paddling through the reefs on a stand-up paddle board (SUP). I’m a rookie SUPer, but not for long. I absolutely loved it! Unlike kayaking, you could peer through the blue waters right down into the black reefs. Kyle snorkeled alongside me with gear we rented for free from the hotel. The SUP came to us from an outside company, but Le Meridien arranged it for us at a rate of 1100 XPF for 1.5 hours. Not bad for some sunshine-y fun.
There’s a serious perk to being on an island without many attractions and tour operators around every corner. It forces you to appreciate the simple beauties of island life. No cash needed. Embrace your time under the sun! I think we earned back days of our lives just making the most of the R&R part of our Tahiti getaway. Relax, you deserve it.