Our honeymoon destination was the French Polynesian islands! When deciding where we wanted to travel for our honeymoon, we both agreed that somewhere far away and exotic were essential elements in choosing the location! When we narrowed down our choices, we were left with a choice between the French Polynesian islands and Australia. We both were drawn to Australia initially based on a strong love to interact with animals. While I wanted to witness and photograph kangaroos and koala bears in their natural environment, Kyle had a nagging to go cage dive with great white sharks…. While I love animals and long for the day that we can both dive with Jaws (no, I really don’t ever long for that day), we were ultimately lured to the French Polynesian islands with the promise of white sand beaches, over water bungalows, fresh exotic fruit, pearl farms and the peace and tranquility of being in the middle of no where (and smaller sharks!). Our two weeks in paradise were more than we could have hoped for!
We left the states on October 8th and returned on October 23rd. The trip started with a catamaran ride from Tahiti to Moorea for four nights, we then headed to Bora Bora for five nights and finally ended our stay in Tahaa for our last four nights. In Moorea, we chose the Sofitel Moorea as I had stayed in the Sofitel chain throughout Europe. During these stays, I accumulated several hotel points and we utilized these during this first leg of our honeymoon. Moorea is a beautiful island and we are so happy we began our stay there. The locals were amazingly warm and the landscape included tall lush green mountain peaks that contrasted to the beautiful blues in the lagoons. We were so charmed by the scenery, that we woke up each morning in Moorea at 5am to enjoy and photograph the sunrise. In addition to the sunrises, we rented a buggy to explore the island, ventured out in the 4X4 safari to the interior of Moorea, and savored our last night on the island by visiting the Tiki Village for a dinner and amazing performance!
We both agree that the 4X4 excursion was a “must see” excursion on Moorea. Our guide took us to a pineapple farm, a flower plantation, the pineapple juice distillery, “Magic Mountain” (as it’s referred to by the visitors), a local market, Belvedere’s Point (a beautiful scenic viewpoint overlooking Moorea’s two prominent bays), and an ancient religious site. At the end of the excursion, we both appreciated Moorea for more than its stunning beauty and felt like we understood its people and the culture.
After our wonderful stay on Moorea, we were excited to head to Bora Bora! This is the island people hear so much about before venturing off to French Polynesia. When we landed, we were greeted by the staff of the hotel Thalasso and brought to our boat that would take us to the motu where we would spend the next 5 nights. We really adored this incredibly modern and chic hotel! After growing up in Florida and spending summer vacations with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, I was enamored with this hotels’ perfection of what I affectionately call the “Disney Factor”. From the moment we arrived at the hotel until the moment we left, the hotel staff was incredibly classy and professional. I truly felt like a kid in paradise!
We learned that the snorkeling at the Thalasso is still under development, so we enjoyed some of the exotic creatures that lived in the hotel’s lagoon (including stingrays, puffer fish and a really cool baby green eel) without the benefit of snorkeling. In addition, the hotel had a fabulous excursion that we really enjoyed. They took us to a private motu where we enjoyed some soothing sunbathing and incredible snorkeling. Just five feet from shore, there was a massive coral reef that was home to coral from every color in the rainbow. This coral, we learned, was home to a huge moray eel! I don’t think we shared equally in the excitement of this discovery, and I quickly made my way to shore to enjoy the picnic we brought with us. It was an amazing day spent on a private motu overlooking Bora Bora and taking in all the best that the island has to offer.
At the end of our stay on Bora Bora, we took the boat back to the airport at sunrise and had a fabulous send-off to our next stop, Tahaa, known as the Vanilla Island. Tahaa was not one of the islands that we had heard a great deal about. After arriving at the Tahaa Private Resort and Spa, we immediately noticed the change in tempo from Bora Bora. While Bora Bora was chic and contemporary, Tahaa still embraced the traditional Polynesian feel we loved in Moorea. The hotel encompasses its own private motu and offered us the final bit of seclusion, peace and tranquility that we were hoping for.
Tahaa is a huge island and we tried to explore it to the fullest during our four days. During our initial tour of the island, we visited a vanilla plantation to learn more about this illustrious plant that has made this island famous. We also visited a pearl farm to see the farming of the famous Tahitian pearl! We were lucky enough to catch one of the skilled artists who was extracting the pearls from their shells during our visit. Almost every afternoon, we enjoyed either kayaking or snorkeling in the coral garden adjacent to our hotel. The sea life was abundant and the coral garden was massive! Here, we met our first shark… and luckily he was just an infant.
Our honeymoon cost us about $18,000 and, although that is a substantial amount of money, we really planned for this. Our original budget of $11,000 was stretched in a number of ways. First, we immediately invested the money we had planned to use for the honeymoon. The growth from this investment allowed us to extend the length of our trip by two days! Secondly, we knew that a honeymoon registry would be a fabulous way to experience all of the excursions we had read so much about. 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. In addition, we had so much fun sending out postcards as thank you notes to those loved ones who had purchased each gift.
There was something magical about the French Polynesian islands that make this an incredible honeymoon spot! We would definitely recommend it for couples who enjoy peace, tranquility and a touch of captivating culture. If you travel to the ends of the earth and far off places, you hope to find something special awaiting you. We both agree that these islands are more than a little special and, even on the cloudy days, they will enchant you.