French Polynesia has long been on the list of places I want to visit and Jen’s been staring at photos of Bora Bora since I’ve known her. Although it stretched our budget, including it on this trip wasn’t really a question for us. Flights to Tahiti are expensive and only depart from six places in the world, none of which are close to our former home in Boston. With enough AA miles to book two one-way tickets on Air Tahiti Nui from Auckland to Tahiti, we set out for paradise.
We booked 5 nights using points (more on this in a separate post) at a resort on Bora Bora but otherwise made up our itinerary as we went. In the end it looked like this: 2 nights on Tahiti, 15 nights on Bora Bora, 12 nights on Rangiroa, 4 nights on Tahiti, 5 nights on Moorea, final night on Tahiti before an early morning flight to Tokyo. Five and a half weeks of ukulele music, poisson cru au lait du coco, baguettes, and trying to improve our French.
As you can imagine, we spent a fair amount of time here reading, napping, admiring the views, and otherwise relaxing. Since none of that makes for interesting blog posts, we’ll cover a bit here and roll out a few more in the coming days plus throw in one about Bora Bora on a budget.
Our time here at the start and end was brief and consumed by handling logistics for onward travel. Our days on Tahiti before Moorea were rainy, dreary, and a time of rest after a bout of sickness on Rangiroa. All of which means we really didn’t see much of this island but we know the bus routes and our way around Papeete pretty well.
“The most beautiful place I’ve ever been,” is what Jen says when anyone asks us about Bora Bora. I’m not good with superlatives but I’ll agree it’s spectacular.
Our AirBnB host on Tahiti said he likes Moorea better than Bora Bora and I can understand the preference. All of French Polynesia is expensive but Bora Bora is outrageously so. Given its distance from Tahiti, food selection is limited and as tourism is the island’s primary source of income, nearly all the work is in hospitality and related industries. Moorea, however, is a short ferry ride from Tahiti; large enough to claim pineapple fields, a juice factory, an agricultural school, and multiple archaeological sites.
But it’s still small enough to explore in one day – excluding diving, that is.
Also an improvement over Bora Bora: there are hostels. We stayed at both and recommend Camping Nelson over Pension Motu Iti as the former has a kitchen, beach, wifi, a better location, and a more social atmosphere than the latter. It’s a little more expensive but well worth it.