We just got back less than a week ago from our honeymoon, and while we miss waking up every morning and jumping in the ocean to snorkel.. we’re also happy to be home!
We worked with a travel agency and got the adventure honeymoon package. We love relaxing, but while we’re in the tropics we also wanted to take advantage of all the activities you could do among the exotic scenes. Plus, we figured we’d be bored if we just laid around all week.
Our trip included Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora. We started in Tahiti for a night, because that’s where the international airport is. The beach in Tahiti had black sand, which was pretty cool to see since most sands are a beige or tan color! Our hotel in Tahiti was pretty cool with a balcony and a jacuzzi tub with big windows, but it didn’t compare to the overwater Bungalow in Moorea.
Moorea is a little island in the French Polynesia near Tahiti. It takes about an hour and a half to drive through the whole island, and you typically take a ferry from Tahiti to get there. Moorea, was actually our favorite. We stayed at the Intercontinental resort and got an overwater bungalow. We loved this hotel because our room was right next to their dolphin center, so we got to see the dolphins every day. Also, they have a turtle clinic for turtles that got hurt in the ocean or hit by a boat and needed help healing and feeding themselves before they could go back into the wild. Frank also loved it because he could look out every morning from our bungalow and see the fish swimming in the ocean. We even saw sting rays and reef sharks right outside of our room a few times! It was amazing. We were early risers in the islands, probably because of the time change which worked in our favor, so we woke up around 5-6am most mornings when the sun came out. Then every morning before our scheduled activities, we’d go swimming and Frank would snorkel. It was amazing to be able to do this.
Moorea is also the place to go if you want to do activities. We went on an ATV tour in the mountains, rented a little car for the day called a Roadster, went on a helmet dive, and went ziplining. We also went on a glass bottom boat tour where we snorkeled with sting rays, turtles, shy reef sharks, fish, an eel, and got to have a picnic with a fresh ceviche, fish and chicken shishkabobs, rice, and a tropical fruit salad all made differently in front of us by the tour guide. I didn’t have high expectations for this, but this was by far my favorite experience! The food was amazing, and I loved swimming with the animals. The sting rays were like puppies and would get excited to come up to you, meet you, and give you kisses (especially for the guy who brings them food every day) and the reef sharks were like cats. They stayed close by, but they wouldn’t approach you. I didn’t risk trying to pet them either. There was a mountain we were going to hike and a waterfall on the island we wanted to see, but after doing one activity in the morning we’d usually get tired and just want to hang out by the resort. Most nights, we’d be in bed before 9pm.
Our last few days of the trip, we spent in Bora Bora. You had to get there by plane. Bora Bora was more populated, seemed to be a bit more luxurious, and definitely more chill. As soon as we got to our hotel, they gave us cocktails and a pearl each. There weren’t as many activities on our island, but we did get to go on a jet ski tour there. Otherwise, they kept talking about going to the main island for other things like shopping. You had to take a water shuttle to the main island, but we didn’t check it out so I couldn’t tell you whats there. There were obviously a lot more honeymooners there than at the resort we stayed in Moorea, and also groups of adults. I feel like if you want to be more social with people and just relax by the beach, then Bora Bora is the place to go. If you want to be more active, then Moorea has more for you. Bora Bora also has luxury hotels too, like St Regis and Four Seasons if you want to invest a bit more in where you’re staying.
So as a quick summary, here are some pros and cons about the islands in my opinion!
French Polynesia Favorites
- Beautiful scenery
- Extremely clear water
- Waking up every morning to snorkel
- Relaxing vibe but also adventurous vibe if you want that
- Nautical wildlife
- Sting rays, sharks, dolphins, turtles, eels, coral, right yellow fish, rainbow fish, other colorful fish and supposedly whales and octopus! We didn’t see whales or octopus, but there are so many beautiful things you are guaranteed to see if you just step into the ocean!
- Water and mountainous activities
- Frank’s favorite parts were snorkeling and the jet skis! I think mine was the ATV tour and the glass bottom boat tour because we got amazing food and to snorkel with a ton of animals. I did love the jet skiis also though! I wish we could also went whale watching to see some of those!
- It was never too hot or humid, and it was never too cold. We came during the rainy season, but we didn’t have any problems with rain in Moorea. We did have some rain in Bora Bora, but it was on our last day when we just wanted to relax and watch some movies on our kindle anyway, so it didn’t bother us. Plus, it was intermittent usually lasting about 20 minutes.
- You’ll feel so much healthier being around the water and ocean
- Frank and I both had dry cracking lips (chelitis) before coming here, and within a day of swimming in the salty ocean water it was gone. We also had allergies back home which we never had in the islands and no hangovers despite being prone to them. I think we all tend to have some vitamin and mineral deficiencies, but the sun and ocean have a lot of vitamins and minerals to offer back to us. It’s incredible what a difference you feel while you’re there.
- Polynesian food
- I wouldn’t say there is too much variety, but if you like vegetables, fruits, and fish then it’s the perfect place for you! I had polynesian raw fish almost every day which was a raw tuna with vegetables and coconut milk- it was absolutely delicious!! We also had a breakfast buffet included with our stay, and I was able to eat vegetarian there everyday. I usually had rice, a vegetable of the day, baked beans, a salad, and then some papaya for dessert. It was the best breakfast buffet I’ve ever been to, but they also had typical American food too and a cook on hand to make eggs the way you like. My husband usually got eggs, sausage, bacon, hashbrowns, and crepes with nutella or french toast. And his typical lunch or dinner was cheeseburgers with fries or pizza. Haha we were pretty opposite in our food choices the whole time, but I will admit that I would regularly steal his fries.
French Polynesia Cons
- Food is very expensive
- Almost each of our meals would end up around $100 between the two of us. We walked about 20 minutes off the resort in Moorea to a local “cheap” cafe, and we still paid a little over $40. We even went to a grocery store one day and still paid $50 for a few things like cherry tomatoes, a cucumber, salami, chips, and a pretty gross $20 liter of pineapple rum lol (I don’t remember the brand we got- but I wouldn’t recommend it)
- Overly Bitter Margaritas
- Their margaritas and drinks in general taste more like martinis to me- strong and syrupy. I had a few though, and I had fun and didn’t get a hangover so it was worth it! That said, I think I’ve been spoiled by some damn good margaritas I’ve had before (especially in Atlanta) so everything else just doesn’t do it for me anymore.
- We actually didn’t get bit much in Moorea but after going to Bora Bora, we were COVERED. I literally felt like I had the chicken pox. TMI, but my butt probably had 50 bites just in one spot. Even Frank was asking what happened to it. I think it had a lot to do with the Garden Bungalow we had in Bora Bora.
- Garden Bungalow
- DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS! Our room was absolutely beautiful, because we had a canopy over our bed, a view of the ocean and a hammock out of our window, an outdoor shower next to a giant palm tree and a private hot tub… but DAMN DID WE GET BIT UP BY MOSQUITOS. We turned up the air in our room to 60 degrees F just so that the mosquitos wouldn’t want to come in or they would die if they did. Showering was awful because all the mosquitos congregated by the showers, sinks, and all the plant life next to that open space. Maybe we just got unlucky and other people have had better experiences, but I know I wouldn’t risk doing it again. I’m glad we tried it for the sake of diversity, but the excitement of the aesthetics wore off once the bugs killed the vibe for us.
Overall, we had a great time and loved our experience! It’s a beautiful place and if you get the chance and desire to go, then we definitely are behind it- just don’t get a garden bungalow. Go for the overwater experience! As for us, we’re looking forward to our next adventures. Hopefully Frank can visit my very first home in Belarus and we can check out his roots in Scotland.
Peace, love, and vacations