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.

poisson-cru jenhammock  beach-bora-bora waterfall

french polymap boramountain

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.

 jenhat   tahitisunset

Intercontinental Tahiti - thank you IHG points!
Intercontinental Tahiti – thank you IHG points!

Bora Bora

“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.

MJTropicalD jcoconutstick jcoconutopen

jetski4012  jetskibungalow


This is where the yoga scene in the movie, Couples Retreat, was filmed (St. Regis Resort, Bora Bora). This is Jen doing a terrible downward dog.
This is where the yoga scene in the movie, Couples Retreat, was filmed (St. Regis Resort, Bora Bora). This is Jen doing a terrible downward dog.
DCIM100GOPRO   marbreecoco paddleboard   JMdinner

One of our couchsurfing hosts let us use his scooter!
And he took us out on his boat!
And he took us out on his boat!











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.

mooreatrees mooreadolphin mooreaview

But it’s still small enough to explore in one day – excluding diving, that is.

 archaeology pineapple belvedere view hibiscus tiki vanilla arch2tropical garden

DCIM100GOPRO silhouette


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.

Sunset on the beach at Camping Nelson.



4 thoughts on “French Polynesia at a Glance

  • May 27, 2014 at 8:52 am

    This place is truly unreal! I can’t believe it. It looks like a paradise on Earth! Perfect place for a honeymoon!

    • May 27, 2014 at 10:06 am

      It IS paradise! Honeymooners are common on Bora Bora but we didn’t encounter any on the other islands we visited. Maybe they were too busy enjoying their post-wedding bliss to socialize with the likes of us!

  • August 2, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Lovely pics and narrative, Marbree. So glad you are documenting everything. Looks like you both are having the travel of a lifetime! Enjoy and let us know when you’re back.

    • August 2, 2014 at 10:11 pm

      Thanks, Erika! We’re having an incredible time and hopefully will continue to do so in the coming months. Hope all is well at home!

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