Ia Orana! (yo-rah-nah) That’s Howdy in Polynesian. French is the official language in French Polynesia, however all people likes to say Ia Orana. Mrs. RB40 loved listening to all of the individuals round us talking French. She stated it’s such a fairly language. Visiting Tahiti and Moorea was fascinating. French vacationers drastically outnumber all different nationalities. We heard French consistently. I’ve by no means seen so many French individuals and baguettes. I assume it’s a simple vacation spot for them to go to, form of like Hawaii for Individuals.
Mmm… I miss Tahiti already. It was so stress-free there. The climate was good from Christmas to New 12 months. It was largely sunny and the temperature hovered round 80 levels. We had a couple of showers, however they handed rapidly. Earlier than we left, I used to be anxious as a result of the forecast predicted rain for the entire week. However the rain was largely confined to the height (heart of the island). We spent most of our journey on the coast. In distinction, we’re having a uncommon snowstorm in Portland. It’s 19 levels and snowing this weekend. I’m glad we saved up some vitamin D whereas we may.
Our journey was a ton of enjoyable, however we additionally had a couple of issues as a result of I didn’t plan the journey that effectively. We hardly ever journey throughout Christmas trip as a result of the airports are too busy. Nonetheless, I turned 50 final yr and needed to have fun it by going someplace memorable. It was a spur-of-the-moment choice to go to Tahiti and Moorea. In hindsight, I in all probability ought to have paid a bit extra and gotten some form of packaged journey. However we all the time traveled independently so I didn’t even take into account that choice. Right now, I’ll share what we did proper and what went flawed.
Was communication an issue? French was the official language and the one phrase we knew was Bonjour. Luckily, virtually everybody within the tourism business speaks some English. Even once we went to an area restaurant, one of many waitresses spoke a little bit English. We didn’t have any downside in any respect.
I booked the flights in October. We flew out on December twenty fifth and returned on January 1st. The flight to Tahiti was nice. We had a 3-hour layover at LAX, however the worldwide terminal was nice. The airports had been very quiet on Christmas day. There have been a couple of empty seats on the Tahiti flight and a few individuals had been in a position to stretch out. We arrived in Faa’a at 11 pm and obtained by means of immigration fairly rapidly. I booked a rental automotive on the airport forward of time to make life simpler. The drive to Papeete (the capital of French Polynesia) was simple and we arrived at our pension round midnight. The employees was ready for us and we checked in with none points. This primary a part of the journey was smoother than I anticipated. Most vacationers had resort pickups or had been ready for a taxi once we left the airport.
The return flight was extra problematic. Our flight out was at midnight on New 12 months’s. I’ll speak extra about this later. We arrived at LAX round 10 am. The massive challenge was the 8-hour layover. Luckily, Mrs. RB40 was in a position to transfer us to an earlier flight and lowered the layover time to simply 3 hours. We paid $50 every for that association and it was completely price it.
We paid $1,300 every for the round-trip flight to Tahiti. So $1,350 every with the flight change. I feel the flight tickets had been very costly, however it was in all probability regular for 2023.
Rental automotive and fuel: $650
I booked a tiny Kia Picanto with Hertz on the Faa’a airport. From what I learn, it may be troublesome to e-book an computerized transmission automobile so plan forward should you want one. I can drive a stick shift, however I’m not very assured with it in tough conditions. I deliberate to drive up a steep highway to a Belvedere (viewpoint) and didn’t wish to stall out on a steep one-lane highway. Additionally, I took the rental automotive on a ferry from Tahiti to Moorea. The ferry was comparatively small and required cautious maneuvering. Anyway, I obtained an computerized transmission to make life simpler for myself.
Rental vehicles are fairly costly in Tahiti and much more so in Moorea. We paid $600 for 7 days for this tiny Picanto. It took us the place we needed so it labored out fairly effectively. We packed mild so the automotive was simply large enough.
Driving in Tahiti was nice. The principle roads had been nice they usually drove on the correct. The one adjustment I needed to make was for the roundabouts. The site visitors was mild so negotiating the roundabouts was simple. We didn’t go off the paved highway in Tahiti.
On Moorea, the ring highway was superb as effectively. Nonetheless, the filth highway to our rental wasn’t maintained as effectively. There have been some very bumpy patches, however our little Kia obtained by means of it.
Renting a automotive was costly in Tahiti, however it was completely price it. We loved having a rental automotive. It gave us the liberty to discover. Gasoline was $50.
Moorea is the closest island to Tahiti. You possibly can fly there or take a ferry like we did. The ferry trip took about half-hour, however the automotive tickets can promote out rapidly. It’s simpler should you stroll on. There have been loads of empty seats for passengers.
There are two most important ferry firms, Aremiti and Terevau. Aremiti has larger ships, however the automotive ferry tickets had been costlier. I feel it was round $80 every approach. Terevau is cheaper ($50 every approach), however their ships had been smaller. You possibly can solely match about 9 automobiles in there. Therefore, Terevau bought out rapidly. We dropped by the Ferry Terminal and booked the tickets a couple of days forward. Nonetheless, I ought to have booked on-line as a result of the ferry trip again from Moorea was virtually bought out. The one automotive ticket left was at 6 am or 8 am. It was New 12 months and a Monday so perhaps that had one thing to do with it. I needed to return again to Tahiti at 4 pm. That approach, we’ll have extra time on Moorea. Anyway, we got here again on the 8 am ferry on January 1st. Extra on this later.
The round-trip ticket for the automotive was $100. We additionally obtained 2 grownup and 1 little one passenger tickets for $55.
Cellphone information: $17
I obtained a sim card from Vodaphone in Papeete. It labored effectively all through the journey. Essentially the most helpful app was Google Maps. Having instructions to numerous sights was nice. It was additionally useful for trying up which eating places to attempt.
Pension on Tahiti: $530 for 4 nights
We stayed at Pension Pare Lodge Tahiti. It was a mattress and breakfast. We obtained a room in the primary house, however in addition they had standalone bungalows. That they had a pleasant small pool and good AC. We had an fulfilling keep. They served scrumptious native fruits, baguettes and jams, tiny croissants, espresso, and juice for breakfast. The mango was superior. That they had 2 mango bushes loaded with fruit which had been completely ripe. Fruits within the US are usually not nearly as good as a result of they spend an excessive amount of time on transport. The pool was nice, too. We often get again to the pension round 3 pm and spent the remainder of the day lounging across the pool. The employees was very pleasant. In addition they provided 4×4 excursions and different actions.
I feel this was a good deal and we loved our 4-night keep. Most guests solely keep for one night time earlier than transferring on, although. The pool was nice for RB40Jr to follow snorkeling.
Bungalow on Moorea: $520 for 3 nights
I had a troublesome time discovering a midrange lodging on Moorea. There have been many costly inns and a number of other low cost hostels, however I couldn’t discover a good midrange place for 3 individuals. I settled on a 2 bed room bungalow close to the Tamae public seashore. This was a well-liked native seashore and had a pleasant snorkeling space.
Our bungalow was good and clear. It appears prefer it was constructed not too long ago. The bedrooms had been measurement. They’ve a pleasant TV in the lounge with Netflix. My most important criticism is that they solely have one AC in one of many bedrooms. It will have been approach higher to have 2 AC or one massive AC for the entire bungalow. We left that bed room door open and the AC needed to calm down the entire bungalow. Many lodging on Moorea don’t have any AC so I assume we had been fortunate to have one.
This place was okay, however I used to be not impressed. I felt we paid a bit an excessive amount of for what we obtained. I didn’t see something higher for underneath $200/night time, although. It was the New 12 months’s weekend so which may have made it tougher to search out lodging on Moorea. Additionally, the proprietor requested for a money fee. I withdrew some XPF from the ATM in Papeete so it wasn’t an enormous downside. I heard the ATMs on Moorea aren’t very reliable.
Subsequent time, I might splurge a bit extra on lodging.
Mockingly, meals was extra inexpensive in Tahiti than in Portland. We spent about $500 on meals on this journey. We didn’t go to any fancy eating places, although. We ate on the market, meals vans, native eating places, grocery shops, and at Burger King. The meals was good on the Island. Seafood was contemporary and cheaper than in Portland. We ate a ton of uncooked fish. Poisson cru au lait coco, marinated uncooked fish in coconut milk, is the nationwide dish of French Polynesia. Apparently, Chinese language meals could be very fashionable in Tahiti. Apparently, Chinese language males got here to work on the plantation within the late 19th century and plenty of stayed.
Papeete Market was a terrific place to choose up lunch earlier than heading out for sightseeing. We tried the $3 baguette sandwich. A small baguette was crammed with fries and a little bit strip of beef patty. Mrs. RB40 preferred it, however I wasn’t impressed. It was an excessive amount of carb for me. The baos (Chinese language steam buns) and samosas had been scrumptious, although. I additionally tried a $7 rooster rice bowl. That was good.
Chinese language meals
We heard the meals vans had been good in Tahiti so we visited a pod at Place Vai’ete close to the Ferry Terminal. There have been 4 meals vans there, three Chinese language and one crepe truck. They arrange round 6 pm. The Chinese language meals prices $15 to $25 for every dish. We ate at a Chinese language truck and it was good. The serving measurement was big. We ordered 3 dishes and couldn’t end it.
The dish on high was the Poisson Cru Chinese language model. Mrs. RB40 and Junior beloved this dish. It was candy and a little bit salty. The fish was very contemporary. Most eateries serve their model of Poisson Cru. It’s superb. We ate this dish virtually daily whereas we had been there.
Seaside meals shack in Moorea
I used to be searching for lunch on Google Maps and located Snack Teanahei. It had 4.9 stars and it was superb. This was my favourite lunch spot on our journey. Try this view!
The meals was superb too. We obtained grilled fish with rice and Poisson Cru. Each had been wonderful. You possibly can’t go flawed with fish in French Polynesia. The fish was not fishy in any respect. It was so contemporary. One other fascinating factoid, a baguette got here with each meal. Surprisingly, this meal price simply $16! The portion measurement was big too. This was lots for the three of us.
Tama Hau Opunohu’s Bay restaurant
This was one other good lunch spot on Moorea.
I ordered the uncooked black pearl oysters marinated in lime juice and coconut. It was nice. These remind me of scallops somewhat than oysters. I feel they solely used the abductor muscle tissue right here. This dish price $25.
Mrs. RB40 obtained the fish burger. It was good too. This one was $16. We additionally obtained smoothies to have fun our final day on Moorea. These price $12 every.
Why the heck would anybody eat at Burger King in Tahiti? Effectively, it was January 1st and all the pieces was closed! The one restaurant open was Burger King and the road was out the door. The one different choice was a bar close to the Ferry Terminal, which was packed, too. Even the grocery shops had been closed. The one locations open had been fuel stations and their mini-marts. These had been cleaned out as effectively. We couldn’t discover a lot to eat there. We snapped up the final pack of cream-filled croissants, however that wasn’t sufficient so we gave in and joined the road at BK.
Umami burger: $63
Mockingly, the costliest meal we had was at Umami Burger in LAX. It was okay, however approach overpriced. Not price it in any respect. $63 for 3 primary burgers. What a ripoff!
We had a number of simple meals from the grocery shops. We obtained a baguette, cheese, pate, wine, and snacks. On the Tahiti pension, we ate on the pool. In Moorea, we obtained ravioli, cassoulet, cheese, and bread for dinner. We didn’t wish to drive on the darkish bumpy highway when it was darkish. Additionally, Mrs. RB40 obtained sick and she or he wanted further relaxation on the second half of the journey. The groceries weren’t tremendous costly. Most gadgets had been imported from France. Wine and cheese had been scrumptious and inexpensive. Vegetables and fruit had been costly.
My plan for Tahiti was to drive across the island and cease at varied seashores and sights. Listed here are some sights we loved.
Arahoho Blowhole and Faarumai Waterfalls
The Arahoho blowhole was a neat cease. It’s an outdated lava tube that sprays water out… Okay, it doesn’t sound spectacular, however it was cooler in particular person. The Faarumai waterfall is only a brief drive away from the blowhole. That was very nice too. We additionally stopped to look at surfers at varied seashores alongside the drive from Papeete to the blowhole.
Belvedere de Taravao
One other day, we drove to discover Tahiti-Iti, the quieter aspect of Tahiti. We drove up a small highway to the Belvedere de Taravao. This viewpoint gave us a terrific view of Tahiti. The small paved highway had some steep sections, however we made it as much as the highest. There have been loads of parking spots and a number of other picnic benches. We had a picnic lunch there and relaxed for a few hours. Mrs. RB40 determined to go for a hike on the arboretum there. Junior and I didn’t go as a result of we didn’t have the correct sneakers. And we had been lazy…
This was the top of the highway in Tahiti-Iti. We walked to see the waves, however didn’t see any surfers out. I assume the situation wasn’t proper for giant waves. They’ll maintain the Paris Olympics browsing competitors at Teahupo’o this summer season. The drive to Teahupo’o was very good, although. It was stress-free and there wasn’t a lot site visitors.
Museum of Tahiti and The Islands
The museum of Tahiti and The Islands was nice. We loved the displays and studying extra concerning the Polynesian tradition. It is a good cease when you’ve got time.
Grottes De Mara’a
It is a grotto that’s crammed with chilly water. Mrs. RB40 was adventurous and went for a dip. That was a foul choice, although. She began to get sick from that time onward. The water was actually chilly.
We had been extra relaxed on Moorea. We went snorkeling on the public seashore close to our bungalow and frolicked on the seashore for a lot of hours. We additionally drove across the island and stopped at varied seashores and viewpoints. It was a soothing time. Sadly, Mrs. RB40 was sick so she needed to take a relaxation within the afternoon. We had been all a little bit sunburnt by that time anyway. Moorea was lovely and extra laidback than Tahiti. I’m glad we visited.
That is the Sofitel close to our bungalow on Moorea. We didn’t keep right here, however we snorkeled on the identical seashore. The over-the-water bungalows price $1,150 per night time for 3 individuals. Sometime…
Complete price: $6,441
Alright, right here is the full – $6,441. I assume that isn’t too dangerous for 3 individuals. We loved the journey tremendously and would love to go to once more sometime. We had lots of enjoyable driving round. Subsequent time, I’ll splurge for a a lot nicer resort in Bora Bora. A package deal journey in all probability could be higher for that event. This journey was introduction to French Polynesian. Hawaii is cheaper and simpler, although. For those who haven’t been to Hawaii, I might go to there first.
Have you ever been to Tahiti? Did you prefer it?
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