To all honeymooners with small budgets: Tahiti is within reach! The key is to keep the trip short and use Traveler's Joy!
Each of us owned our own homes prior to living together and had many of the housewares that newly engaged couples typically needed. And while there were a few household items that we registered for at the local department store, we wanted our guests to be a part of our honeymoon journey. Traveler's Joy fulfilled that desire and allowed us to get even more out of the once-in-a-lifetime vacation that was starting to take form.
Our helicopter tour on the big island of Hawai'i was one of the highlights of our trip, complete with a bird's eye view of both fuming volcano crater and lava flow not far from the pit.
Anyone traveling to Tahiti knows in advance that it is an expensive place to visit. The rooms, food and tours all add up quickly. Traveler's Joy allowed us to do more.
We registered for every one of our excursions, which turned out to be a very wise decision! This enabled us to see and do so many activities without constantly worrying about the credit card bills piling up.
Our honeymoon registry was so popular with our wedding guests that we got basically everything we asked for and then had to figure out how to fit it all in. In the end, we received almost $4,000 toward honeymoon activities. It really made our honeymoon the dream vacation we wanted it to be.
The view from our bungalow was the island of Bora Bora since the hotel sits on a motu across the lagoon. The view was breath taking. One morning we ordered our breakfast delivered by outrigger canoe. It arrived on time and the Tahitian waitress put out an amazing spread complete with decorative flowers.
When we landed in Papeete, I was so excited to see the crystal-clear blue waters that my exhaustion faded instantly. We were shuttled to the ferry dock and then ferried over to Moorea for a four-night stay in a beach bungalow at the Sofitel Resort. The beach bungalow was literally about 12 feet from the water and had this wonderful covered porch area, which came in handy when the daily one-hour rain shower rolled in. During the rain, we would simply play hand after hand of gin rummy and drink Hinano Beer until it cleared up.
Our favorite activity on our dream honeymoon, thanks to our Traveler's Joy, was swimming with the dolphins. This was definitely an experience that our budget definitely would not have allowed without our friends and families generous gifts through our registry.
One marvelous night we had dinner on our private deck courtesy of our Traveler's Joy registry. I think that was my favorite night. How could you not love having a three-course dinner with your own server on your own private patio?
Deciding on the French Polynesian Islands of Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora for our destination was a choice we did not regret! Traveler's Joy was a perfect opportunity for us to get exactly what we wanted for our wedding gift and do more than we had ever dreamed we could do.
Tahiti, Moorea, & Bora Bora — island names that evoke a wonderful state of mind, seducing honeymooners looking for escape. There is no better place to celebrate your new life together. Each of the many islands of Tahiti is a tiny paradise. Some isles are crowned with jagged peaks soaring magically out of the ocean in an explosion of green velvet while others appear as if gracefully tossed upon the ocean — barely floating above the breaking waves. Intimate resorts, small peaceful villages, and miles of quiet pristine beaches explain why Tahiti is ranked #1 in the world for "alone time."
Tahiti & Her Islands cover over two million square miles of the South Pacific Ocean and is comprised of 118 islands spread over five great archipelagos. As far south of the equator as Hawaii is north, Tahiti is halfway between California and Australia, on the same side of the International Date Line as North America, and in the same time zone as Hawaii.
Many islands are crowned with jagged peaks while others appear to barely float above the breaking waves. Spread over an area as large as Western Europe, the total landmass of all the islands adds up to an area only slightly larger than the tiny state of Rhode Island.
The three archipelagos most sought by visitors are the Society Islands, comprised of Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Raiatea and Taha'a; The Tuamotu Atolls or "Tahiti's Strand of Pearls", include the atolls of Rangiroa, Manihi, Tikehau, and Fakarava; and the Marquesas, or "The Mysterious Islands."
The two other archipelagos, the Austral Islands and the Gambier Islands, lie to the south and the southeast, respectively, of the Society Islands. While very few travelers venture to these remote islands, those that do are not disappointed by the pristine environment.
Around 4000 BC, a great migration began from Southeast Asia across open ocean to settle the Pacific Islands. Many researchers conclude that Tonga and Samoa were settled around 1300 BC and from here colonization voyages were launched to the Marquesas Islands in about 200 BC. Over the next several centuries, great migrations to colonize all the Tahitian islands and virtually the entire South Pacific took place.
The era of European exploration began in the 1500s when "ships without outriggers" began to arrive. In 1521, Magellan spotted the atoll of Pukapuka in what is now the Tuamotu Atolls and, in 1595, the Spanish explorer Mendaña visited Fatu Hiva Island in the Marquesas. More than 170 years later, Captain Samuel Wallis and the H.M.S. Dolphin was the first to visit the island of Tahiti during his journey to discover terra australis incognita, a mythical landmass below the equator thought to balance the northern hemisphere. Wallis named the island of Tahiti "King George III Island" and claimed it for England. Soon after and unaware of Wallis' arrival, French navigator Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, landed on the opposite side of Tahiti and claimed it for the King of France.
In 1880, following the queen's death, King Pomare V was persuaded to cede Tahiti and most of its dependencies to France. In 1957, all the islands of Tahiti were reconstituted as the overseas French territory called French Polynesia. Since 1984, a statue of autonomy was implemented and, in 1998, French Polynesia became an overseas country with greater self-governing powers through their own Assembly and President. With these powers, the country is now negotiating international agreements with foreign states in matters of commerce and investment.
Overwater Bungalows — The world's most perfect hotel room! Sleep above the turquoise lagoon waters in your thatched-roof hideaway with all the amenities and service of a first class hotel room.
Polynesian Spas - Experience true relaxation and rejuvenation at one of the many luxurious Polynesian spas while nurtured by the tropical ambience.
Cruising - The world's most romantic voyages depart every week for Tahiti's most beautiful isles. Voyage within the legendary South Pacific aboard luxurious cruise ships and super yachts that travel between Tahiti's most beautiful islands.
Culture - The Tahitians of the modern era maintain their heritage and traditions of their Maohi ancestors. Oral history recounts the adventures of gods and warriors in colorful legends where javelin throwing was the sport of the gods, surf riding was favored by the kings, and Aito strongmen competed in outrigger canoe races and stone lifting as a show of pure strength.
Marae - The open-air sanctuaries called Marae were once the center of power in ancient Polynesia. These large, stone structures, akin to temples, hosted the important events of the times including the worship of the gods, peace treaties, celebrations of war, and the launch of voyages to colonize distant lands.
Heiva I Tahiti - In celebration of ancient traditions and competitions, the annual Heiva festival has been the most important event in Tahiti for the past 122 years. For visitors, there is no better place in the world to be during July than surrounded by this pure display of Polynesian festivity. Tahitians gather in Papeete from many islands to display their crafts, compete in ancient sporting events, and recreate traditional and elaborate dance performances.
Music and Dance - The beauty, drama, and power of today's Tahitian dance testify to its resilience in Polynesian culture. In ancient times, dances were directly linked with all aspects of life. One would dance for joy, to welcome a visitor, to pray to a god, to challenge an enemy, and to seduce a mate. Dance is still accompanied by traditional musical instruments such as thunderous drums, conch shells, and harmonic nasal flutes. Modern Tahitian music is enjoyable as well, with a sound that often blends Polynesian rhythm and Western melody.
Handcrafts - The skills of the ancestors' artistry are kept sacred and passed on by both the "mamas", the guardians of tradition and the matriarchs of Tahitian society as well as by skilled craftsmen. Items include weaving, quilting, wooden sculptures and bowls, drums, tapa, carvings, and hand-dyed pareu.
InterContinental Resort & Spa Tahiti - This idyllic resort is surrounded by 30 acres of gardens and even a fascinating lagoonarium. While two wings of the hotel divide most rooms, there are also 31 overwater bungalows to choose from. Resort amenities include a pair of infinity pools, white-sand beach, water sports, fine dining, and more.
Hotel Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort - Nestled on a private white-sand beach on the edge of Bora Bora’s incredible lagoon, Sofitel’s standout resort features 55 bungalows with a mix of modern and Polynesian decor. Highlights include a restaurant, outdoor pool, poolside bar, fitness center, spa, and numerous water sport activities.
Le Meridien Bora Bora - Recently renovated, Le Meridien Bora Bora features six categories of bungalows and offers Polynesian touches everywhere. Enjoy air-conditioned bungalows, walk-in showers, and thatched roof accommodations. Overwater bungalows also features glass flooring for underwater views, plus a private deck with ladders to easily slip into the warm waters for a swim or snorkel excursion.
Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa - This 120-unit gem features 72 overwater bungalows equipped with tapa cloth, intricate bamboo, and shell detailing. Rooms exude rustic elegance and have marble bathrooms, glass floor panels to view the active sea life, and flat-screen TVs. Plus, with four restaurants, a spa, private beach, and relaxing pool, there’s plenty to keep you busy.
La Villa Mahana - Tucked inside a Mediterranean-style villa, La Villa Mahana is known for its fine international cuisine and terrific ambiance. Be sure to save at least night for a romantic dinner at this special restaurant.
Bloody Mary’s Restaurant - An American-style barbecued fish and steak joint where the day’s catch is what’s for dinner. Terrific for lunch, dinner, and drinks.
Bora Kaina Hut - A standout dining spot that’s both laid-back and uniquely Tahitian. We think you’ll find the atmosphere particularly enchanting with its wooden furniture, tables candlelit tables, and sandy floor.
With daily nonstop flights, Tahiti is easier to travel to than you might imagine. Tahiti's Faa'a Airport is under 8 hours by air from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and there are multiple flights a week.