Recently, I flew Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles to Papeete Tahiti. We were picked up by South Pacific Transport and taken to the Tahiti Pearl Beach Resort. This is a nice resort on the windward side of the island. They have a wonderful spa, sit on a black sand beach (not really black, more like dark grey) have gorgeous views, a wonderful pool and good food. We spent 2 nights there in a suite that was spacious and roomy enough for 4. The Pearl Beach resort offers a free shuttle into town twice a day except on Saturday which only goes in the morning. The staff is very friendly there.
Next we boarded the Paul Gauguin for a 7 night cruise around the islands. In my opinion, this is the best way to experience Tahiti. The ship only holds 332 guests, which make it more intimate. Cabins are spacious, there is a good variety of dining options and they don’t charge you extra to eat in the specialty restaurants, they embrace the local culture with their own Polynesian entertainers, it’s a wonderful all inclusive experience.
The star of Society Islands is the water. Such a beautiful color, warm and clear. you can snorkel off the beach, but you’ll experience more fish if you take a snorkel or dive adventure. Paul Gauguin gives you snorkel gear that you keep with you the entire time. I was lucky enough to get a prescription mask.
We arrived in Huahine on Sunday morning and took Le Truck to the public beach. Le Truck looks like an open air bus placed on a flat bed truck. You have wooden benches lining the side and one down the center. It’s the way to get around the islands. We were told that the stores will close at noon on Sunday, so if we wanted snacks for the beach, go there first. There were a couple of restaurants open near the beach.
Monday brought us to Taha’a. Paul Gauguin has a private Motu there. It was raining that morning, so we never made it to the mainland of Taha’a, instead we went to the Motu. On the Motu, they had a BBQ lunch, had a Poisson Cru demonstration (a ceviche style dish), hollowed out coconuts and made drinks and had various craft projects. There were hammocks, volleyball nets, a special wedding area, a bar on land and a floating one in knee deep water and of course snorkeling. The Gauguines and Gauguins were there entertaining and hanging out with the guests.
Tuesday, we arrived in Bora Bora for an overnight stay. I can’t say enough about how beautiful the water is in Bora Bora. We were picked up at the pier and whisked off to the Le Meridien resort through a variety of stunning colored water, from light turquoise to a deeper blue. Arriving at the Le Meridien was breathtakingly gorgeous. We were giving a tour of the property including the over water bungalows, the wedding chapel, and their Turtle Center. They rescue and rehabilitate turtles and release them back when they are ready. We had a nice lunch in the restaurant, had access to a lovely room and even saw a wedding couple get taken across the lagoon in the special wedding raft. We had a sunset cruise back to the pier.
Wednesday we had a wonderful snorkel tour. We went swimming with stingrays and sharks, next to an area with manta rays. We snorkeled over a coral garden and went to an area with special sand to exfoliate your skin. It also worked wonders in my hair. Can you imagine, being in the waters off Bora Bora enjoying a spa experience? We ended up at our captain’s private Motu where he gave us fresh fruit and sang and played his ukulele. I’ve heard from our companions that our captain has ridden on the back of the sharks on past adventures. Sadly, we went back to the dock to take the launch back to the ship and shortly there after, left Bora Bora for Moorea.
Thursday we arrived in Moorea for another overnight stay. Paul Gaugin doesn’t have a beach in Moorea and the public beaches do not have facilities. We opted to take a rental car around the island with another couple. We went to the Belvedere lookout, stopped at the Agriculture school and got a tour since Bob is with Driscoll Berries, we stopped at archaeological sites, the juice factory and a couple of beaches. We had lunch at the Hotel Hibiscus which is on the beach and had charming bungalows. You can easily drive around the island in just a few hours.
Friday night we arrived back into Papeete and disembarked on Saturday. Since our flight went out close to midnight, we had the day in town. We had dinner at the Roulottes. It’s a collection of food trucks with a variety cuisines. It’s fun, festive and economical. I left Tahiti and her islands overwhelmed by all the beauty. The water, the people, culture and dance. Ahhh until next time.