While I could write for ages about my experience in French Polynesia, I want to tell you a story of Tahiti through the lens of my camera.
Flying from Toronto to Pape’ete was a JOURNEY! Well worth it, don’t get me wrong… but nonetheless, a journey. From Toronto, we flew to San Francisco, then from SFO to Pape’ete with a budget airline, French Bee. Honestly, a really great airline for the price.
Once we landed in Pape’ete, we took one last flight to Bora Bora, where our paradise adventure began. We actually had no idea we were headed to Bora Bora, as it was a last minute itinerary change by the tourism board. Honestly, it was probably the best change we could of asked for, because Bora Bora was breathtakingly beautiful. The water was crystal clear, and the volcanic mountains were large and vast.
With our luggages, we boarded a water taxi and headed to a nearby beach for lunch.
aaaaaaand had myself some fresh coconut water… when in Tahiti, right?
Of course, I had to give myself a peachy Bora Bora moment once we got to our accommodation for the night. While most people stay on the water in over-water guest houses (which can be VERY expensive), we got the opportunity to stay at a bed & breakfast called Villa Rea Hanaa.
Listen, I understand the hype with over-water guest houses… but I mean COME ON. The view from my room was spectacular, the art was local, and their accommodation is a fraction of the price of over-water guest houses.
But before we left Bora Bora, we took a ride to a top lookout point on the island, and enjoyed the views. Breathtaking. My favorite thing about Bora Bora is the island’s diversity in terrain. There’s vast mountainous spots that capture your attention, yet flat and accessible areas where local’s come together to share their culture.
All I have to say is that Bora Bora is far more than a luxury vacation spot; it can be a destination for true adventure, without breaking the bank.
With a 1-hour flight from Bora Bora, we arrived in Mo’orea (Air Tahiti is the primary flight service throughout French Polynesia)! We stopped at a nearby resort for lunch, which was a unique experience, as most of our trip revolved around staying in local guest houses. It was really cool to see the over-water guesthouses up close, pictured above.
Here are a couple drone shots from Mo’orea. The incredible thing about flying a drone in French Polynesia is that the wind is almost non-existent; which, if you own a drone, you’ll know that wind speed is a big factor in restricting flight. If you’re planning to visit French Polynesia, I would highly recommend investing in a consumer drone! Your shots will be AMAZING.
Later that day, we checked into our Mo’orea accommodation, Hotel Hibiscus. It’s labeled as a 2-star hotel, but honestly felt more like a 3.5 star. Don’t get me wrong, the accommodations at Hotel Hibiscus are quite simple, but you didn’t come all the way to Mo’orea to hang out in your room. The accommodation offered everything I needed (hot running water, clean room, simple breakfast), in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
This is when I learned that the coral reef is very sharp… I landed myself many cuts on the bottom of my feet. If you’re going to swim in French Polynesia, bring water shoes. Lesson learned.
Also, you can now call me Queen Mikey.
At the end of our second day in Mo’orea, our Tahitian tour guide took us to try-on traditional Tahitian Grand Costumes. I was hesitant to call this a costume, but our guide (and the locals we spoke to) reassured us that these are called Grand Costumes. They’re made using the fibers of the hibiscus tree, and can take weeks to make. Since the hibiscus tree’s fibers are so strong, each Tahitian Grand Costume has a lifespan of about 50 years!
Next on our itinerary was visiting the remote island of Ahe. The island is so remote that it only has 2 accommodations (we, of course, stayed at one of them). Our accommodation was called Pension Chez Raita, and was by far the most memorable part of my trip. I mean… check this place out…
HOW IS THIS PLACE REAL??? The water is calm and still, and the water doesn’t make much sound. Everything is quiet and peaceful.
By far, one of the highlights of visiting Ahe was fishing my own lunch! YUP! We went to the middle of the lagoon, fished our lunch, and had it prepared for us about an hour later. It doesn’t get more fresh than that!
The island is shaped like a hollow circle, surrounded by the ocean with the lagoon in the middle. For lunch, we simply travelled by boat to another point on the island. All I have to say is that there were palm trees EVERYWHERE! It was spectacular.
All in all, visiting Ahe was like entering a postcard. It didn’t feel real, because everything felt perfect. In our digitally-driven lives, it can often feel difficult to unplug and enter a quiet space (especially on vacation!). In Ahe, there was limited internet connection, and quiet spaces were practically everywhere. It made relaxation easy!
I would totally recommend visiting Pension Chez Raita in Ahe with your romantic partner. If you’re looking for a getaway, away from the modern world, Ahe is the place to go.
With a budget airline out of San Francisco, and accommodations that don’t have to be luxury, French Polynesia is getting more and more accessible for the average traveler. With that in mind, I can honestly recommend the Islands of Tahiti as a must visit with your romantic partner. The remoteness offers the perfect balance of beauty & disconnect from the modern world.
Happy traveling, friends.