Before our honeymoon, I had never even heard of Moorea. My mother-in-law is a travel agent and suggested it as an alternative to Bora Bora, which was our first choice but wasn’t working out with our schedule. Moorea turned out to be the best suggestion ever! Mike and I couldn’t wait to go somewhere we had never visited before. After seeing images on the Internet, we couldn’t believe a place this beautiful even existed.
We left San Francisco on October 14, five days after our wedding. Ten hours later after a short layover in Los Angeles, we arrived in Tahiti’s Papeete Airport. We spent our first night in Tahiti in a nice hotel. Well, at least we thought it was nice until we saw the Hilton Moorea Lagoon and Spa, where we spent the next five nights.
The second day we took the ferry from Tahiti to Moorea, which was about 30 minutes. Just seeing the beautiful mountains towering over the ocean is such a surreal experience. I felt so incredibly lucky to be there with the person I love the most. I just couldn’t wait to get on land and to see our hotel.
When we finally reached our hotel we were bursting with excitement. Even though it was pouring down rain, as soon as we got to our room we changed into our swim suits and jumped off our overwater bungalow and right into the ocean. All we could do was hold each other and laugh because we were both so incredibly happy.
Our hotel accommodations were amazing. There was a glass panel in the floor so you could view the ocean below you. How cool is that? My personal favorite besides the patio was the open shower with a view of the ocean.
The ocean water below us was so clear you could see all the way to the bottom and all our little fish friends swimming lazily in their coral clusters surrounding us. We began every morning with a snorkel before breakfast and spent the days lazing around our private patio or on the resort’s private beach. Coming from San Francisco, where the Pacific is cold and treacherous, it was hard to believe we were swimming in the same ocean. A few times we shuttled into town to pick up supplies: coconut rum, orange juice, Tim Tams (imagine cookie-sized Kit Kats), bread, peanut butter, water and local beer.
Each evening we took free shuttles to local restaurants and thoroughly enjoyed the French Polynesian cuisine. Mike especially enjoyed all the fresh seafood. 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? Afterwards, we went for a night snorkel around our bungalow. I wanted to swim out in the darkness, but Mike wanted to stay near the light. Looking back on it, it was probably a good idea since the following day we spotted a huge stingray hanging out close to shore.
The following day we rented a scooter, again courtesy of our registry, and drove all the way around the tiny heart-shaped island, taking in the amazing scenery. The ocean is shallow surrounding Moorea, but once on shore, it juts up into steep mountains and is astoundingly beautiful. At one point during our scooter trip, my new husband almost killed us. He took a downhill curve a bit too fast and just at the apex of the turn, a big truck was coming the other way. He somehow stopped just in time and got us back on the correct side of the road. Trying so hard not to lose my temper, I shouted, “We almost died!” (Instead of “You almost just killed us!” which is really what I was thinking) Thankfully, we didn’t die. Plus, what’s life without a little danger, anyway?
The very last day on the island we did something daring and got tattooed in the traditional style by a genuine Polynesian tattoo artist. Using a sharpened boar’s tusk tied to a long stick, he tapped in the ink with another stick. Yes, it was painful (especially mine, I got it on the upper inside of my arm – ouch!), but the authenticity of getting tattooed the traditional way in the birthplace of tattooing in a hut in the jungle was probably one of the coolest experiences of my life. The best part was that it was Mike’s first tattoo ever!
Despite the weather being windy and sometimes rainy during our stay and me suffering from a bad head cold (and a fresh tattoo on the trip home), I couldn’t think of a better way to start our married life together. I definitely wouldn’t change a thing, except maybe if could afford to stay much longer.
I would recommend Moorea for the “chill by the beach type of traveler.” There were a few activities such as jet skiing, kayaking, 4x4 riding, and deep-sea fishing, but these can run up your hotel bill rather quickly. One thing that surprised me was how expensive the food was. This was one reason we went into town to get some basic food items, so we wouldn’t have to eat every meal out. And you must drink bottled water. While the tap won’t make you sick like in Mexico, it did give me a bit of a tummy ache when I tried.
Our total for the honeymoon came to be about $9,000, a very pretty penny indeed! But for how close it is from the West Coast and how far away it feels, I think it was well worth it.