One of a half dozen or so murals when getting off the train from just after security to the D terminal
A mere 8500 CFP / US$80 for the day, inc one tank of gas (which we nearly bled dry). The 50cc scooter laboured up the handful of hills near the center of the hibiscus shaped island.
The scooter was delivered to us at the boat dock, and picked up at our restaurant prior to sunset, so we never had to go to their office.
Clockwise from top left:
– sunset from waterfront dinner resto Chez Louise
– tasty seafood dinner (lobster, parrotfish, curried non-local shrimp, raw fish Tahitian style – parrotfish, not tuna, this time), 5500 CFP /US$50 pp plus drinks(but tax and tip included)
– cows with Raiatea in the background, on our 15 min hike to a semi-deserted beach
– helmets required!
– one of the bays at center of the island
– view to Raiatea from the southern tip of Taha’a
– drying tamanu nuts (used for skin products) at the vanilla farm… this is the Vanilla Isle after all
– Joe Dassin beach with snorkeling just offshore, inc a dropoff
We also visited a pearl farm, had a tasty lunch on the bay at Taha’a Maitai resto, and tried to see rescued turtles at Hibiscus hotel but they no longer do that (the danger of an LP guide that is 2 years old
Tip: most places have hard to see road signs
I’ve been having trouble uploading posts with photos due to slow connections since leaving Moorea on Thursday for Huahine, after doing a power snorkel with a Bond-like device that pulls you along.
It was actually sunny for the morning, the flight, the minivan + boat shuttle to the hotel (how cool is that?) to our charming overwater bungalow. Then the wind picked up again, clouds moved in and it rained occasionally.
It cleared a bit on Fri afternoon, then partly sunny on Saturday for our interesting anthropology tour, and finally sunny for our Sunday lagoon day boat trip.
On Monday we flew via an hour stop at Bora Bora airport code BOB! which is on a motu with light blue water and transfer boats) to Taha’a for our final island and fanciest hotel.
The resort provided boat transfers (35 min) directly from the airport, literally 30 steps from baggage claim (even cooler than previous island!).
And now sit on our gorgeous overwater bungalow with a cooling breeze over turquoise water, and a view of Bora Bora. We saw stingrays and puffer fish snorkeling below our deck.
And lots of sun
More details and photos to follow…
On Thursday we moved to Huahine. After a short flight, we had a minivan + 15 min boat shuttle to the hotel (how cool is that?). Btw, there are no metal detectors, no security, no long waits in boarding interisland flights in these one room airports. Check-in cutoff is 20 minutes before the flight.
The hotel was quite empty, maybe 8 bungalows occupied. The food was good, but dinner portions were huge, so even though we had half board meal plan including appetizer, entree and dessert each, we scaled it down. The tuna appetizers (sashimi, carpaccio, tartare, and raw Tahitian style) were super tasty.
We moved bungalows the second day to have wind protection on the deck, and then the sun came out again for a while.
On Saturday we did a super interesting half day road trip with an anthropologist.
On Sunday we did a fun all day boat trip around the lagoon.
More on those in later posts.
Yesterday we do a boat trip (sing along: a 3 hour tour) which culminated in an amazing swim/pet stingrays in waist deep water (photos to come after trip, on the waterproof camera).
We rented a car for 2 days (sometimes it’s sunnier on the north shore) which gave us some freedom, sightseeing without a tour, and local restos.
Clockwise from top left: view of two bays from Belvédère, Susan in rain at viewpoint, northwest corner of island, near stingrays stop, a waterside church, spearfish in the Champion grocery store, a public beach on the north shore, boat trip, turtle statues covered in oyster shells at Hilt@n lobby
Today should be the last day of rain… tomorrow we change islands and get our first overwater bungalow
From 9:00 to ~16:30, 4 couples and 2 friendly crew on a fast boat with a bimini for shade.
– La Ferme aux Mantas, a manta ray cleaning station by a former pearl farm on a little island in the lagoon; we saw one (none in recent days, so we were lucky); had to swim hard to follow him to get a close up look
– a deep water snorkel spot where crew spearfished fish for lunch
– Motu Puarua (bird island), where 4 species of birds, inc red footed boobies, nest on land
– delicious lunch on a private motu, inc Tahitian raw fish, coconut milk rice (best rice ever!), bbq’d fresh fish, beer and water; plenty of time to soak in the shallow water (like a natural swimming pool) before and after eating, and feeding the fish carcasses to the many sharks in the hot tub warm shallow water of the channel where the boat was parked
– Eden Island, a bizarre hippy-ish organic island paradise founded by some Taiwanese Christians who followed some prophet here
– another check for manta rays (none) so we snorkeled at the other end of that island
The lagoon is roughly a 25km diameter circle (slightly oval, really), and the trip takes you from one end almost to the other.
– take water, hat, sunscreen, chapstick with spf
– wear a rash guard or T-shirt for sun protection
– apply sunscreen often, esp on face after each bout of snorkeling
– did I mention sunscreen?
… Or your face will look like this (see my cheeks below the eyes. ouch):
Cost: ~$105 pp
Definitely worth it.
Will upload photos after the trip, as I didn’t take my phone on the boat.
Our resort on a private motu runs a free shuttle boat to the village (same motu as the airport) of Tuherahera, pop. 500, four times a day.
– you can ask for a free bicycle rental at reception, and they’ll load it onto the shuttle boat for you
– ask reception for a village map (not critical, as it is small)
– hit the store before returning, not on arrival
– bottled water is 1/6th the price compared to the hotel
– there is a bakery near the boat dock
We missed the bicycle opportunity (we had read that pensions in the village provide them, but it hadn’t occurred to us that an island resort would have them). Apparently there is a nice sandy beach on the ocean side of the motu, and a dirt road to cycle on…
So we walked around in the heat, taking one of two parallel roads to the west end of the motu where there was a nice soft coral beach and we met that fisherman with the dogs and circling sharks.
We passed an elementary school, several churches, two snack bars, and friendly locals who waved or said ia ora na (hello; sounds like yora-na)
On the way back, we stopped at the little grocery store which had more mosquitoes than produce
We picked up cold drinks, and a few larger water bottles to take back to the hotel.
Funny story: we were at reception (next to the boat dock) booking our lagoon excursion and fancy massage) when I look around to check the time and notice the boat has already left (early). Not sure how we missed the commotion, oops. The receptionist tried to radio the captain unsuccessfully, however she did arrange for the captain to ferry us over as soon as he returned (it’s only a 7 minute ride each way).
The massage ended up being outside on a massage bed standing in the water near shore, which felt nice with the sound of the ocean, refreshing breeze, a brief rain shower, then late afternoon sun.