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Family trip report: Tahiti, Huahine, Bora Bora and Moorea

Family trip report: Tahiti, Huahine, Bora Bora and Moorea

Jul 11th, 2017, 09:37 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 225
Family trip report: Tahiti, Huahine, Bora Bora and Moorea

We (me, hub, 11 year old son) were in FP 2 1/2 weeks in June/July.

We flew Southwest from DEN to LAX. Flew into terminal 1, had to get our luggage and walk to terminal 4 for Air Tahiti Nui. Rechecked our bags there and went through security. Loved Air Tahiti Nui! Free checked bag, assigned seats, meals and drinks. Because our son is under 12, we got a special ticket for him, that was really cheap. I think we paid a little more for one adult ticket, then his was just taxes or something. If you're traveling with kids under 12, check their website for specials. Air Tahiti (not the same as Air Tahiti Nui) offers package deals for interisland flights, so unless you're just flying to one island, the packages are a better deal. They also offer special prices for kids under 12. Both airlines allowed one free checked bag, but I think the weight for Air Tahiti is slightly lower, at a max of 50 pounds. Carry on for Air Tahiti was also smaller, more like backpack size. As you know, you can't carry on liquids greater than 3 ounces on the international flight, unless you buy them after security. On Air Tahiti interisland, from Tahiti, the same rule applied (no liquids over 3 oz in our carry ons). But flying interisland from Tahiti was the only time that rule applied; flying interisland from other islands didn't involve security checks (so open bottles of liquids in carry ons was ok). For best views on the interisland flights, ask the flight attendants when you board, but they may not always be right, and maybe you get some views from either side. Some of our flights were mostly empty, and some were full and had through passengers already on board.

- Villa Taina on booking.com. Downstairs of a house with 2 bedrooms, a/c, view of the ocean and Moorea, kitchen outside on the patio, pool. Loved it! You need a car to stay there. The manager is a lady named Estelle who was wonderful to deal with. Huge Carrefour nearby in the Moana Nui shopping center. Also a nice little café there, Chocolatine.
- Ecocar – I read lots of bad reviews but it was so much cheaper, I took the chance. #1 piece of advice: get their extra insurance for about $10 a day. Still cheaper than Avis and it covers the deductible. When we returned the car, the guy looked it over with a microscope (not really, but he was looking for ANYTHING). Have to fill up right before returning and give them the receipt.
- Le Marche and downtown – Several paid parking lots nearby so it's easy to park and wander around. Le Marche (upstairs) is the best place to buy t-shirts and souvenirs. You'll see the same stuff other places, but more expensive. I loved wandering around Papeete. If you like to explore foreign cities, that's what it is!  We were there midday and I didn't feel at all unsafe.
- Le Meridien – Stayed there for about 8 hours on our last day before our midnight flight to LAX. We're not usually resort people, but it was good for our last day. Nice enough pool, beach access, walking distance to a small shopping center with a grocery store and wonderful French bakery. It was a good place to relax for the day. Very nice and helpful staff.

- Franky's Fare on airbnb.com. Loved it!! It's a little house on a residential road, walking distance to the little town of Fare. No a/c but screens on the windows and a great breeze. Lovely owners, Jocelyn and Smitty, live next door.
- Europcar – We didn't reserve ahead. Got a discount for staying at Franky's. Dumpy car but it worked for the day as we explored the island.
- Huahine Yacht Club – Casual restaurant with 2 for 1 happy hour, right by the water.
- Huahine is laid back, slow, quiet and beautiful. There's a really nice stretch of beach right next to town. It's a great place to unwind!
- Huahine Nautique – Their all day lagoon tour was great! Snorkeling, boat around the island and motu picnic.

Bora Bora
- Sunset Hill Lodge – You can read my review once it's posted. Cheap for Bora Bora but I wouldn't stay there again. Gotta be cool with lots of bugs to be happy there.
- Lagoon Service – Good all day lagoon tour. Snorkeling out of the reef with sharks, in the reef with rays, coral garden and motu picnic. Our guide, Aro, was hysterical. 
- Snack Matira – Great casual restaurant on Matira Beach.
- Bora Bora's lagoon is the big draw, so make sure wherever you stay, you spend plenty of time on it, in it, or looking at it. 
- Vaitape is touristy. Most things on Bora Bora were more expensive than on other islands. Heiva was going on and that was really cool!

- Club Bali Hai – We stayed in the 2 bedroom OWB and loved it! It isn't like the OWBs of Bora Bora, but it's still cool, and the setting on Cook's Bay is fabulous! Nice little hotel, quiet and laid back.
- Voila lagoon tours – Wonderful!! They have a sailboat and take a max of 8 people on half day snorkel excursions and sunset cruises. We did both and totally enjoyed them.
- Carmeline – Best little café! Great lunch stuff, pastries, ice cream, etc. Everything we had there was wonderful!
- Snack Mehana – YUM! And a great location right on the water.
- Hilton's creperie – The food was ok, but the setting was great! In the middle of the Hilton's OWBs, they turn on the lights at night and you can watch the sharks.

cell phone
- I got a SIM card at VINI for about $8 for 17 minutes of local calls and 20 texts (or something like that), just for quick calls to hotels and such. We saw VINI stores inside grocery stores, in shopping centers, etc. You can find the list of locations with a quick google search.

- We drank mostly bottled water but used tap water for coffee, washing fruit, etc. I think the tap water is probably mostly ok to drink.

- We used credit cards when possible, but some places don't take them and some have limits (like you have to charge at least 2000 xpf). Plenty of ATMs around. I found that it's cheaper to get cash advances on my credit card than use my ATM on my checking account. Depends on your card. Make sure your CC's don't have foreign exchange fees for purchases abroad.

Overall, a big thumbs up! People were friendly, laid back and helpful. Great food, beautiful scenery. I speak a little French so that was helpful, but a lot of people spoke English. I wouldn't call our trip 'budget' considering we stayed 18 days, but we didn't stay at any high end resorts and basically planned it the same as I plan all of our trips. It's a great location for a family trip!
Tally is offline  
Jul 11th, 2017, 09:38 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 225
My reviews are on tripadvisor, btw.
Tally is offline  
Jul 11th, 2017, 04:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,966
Thanks for your report. What did you do for transportation on Moorea and Bora Bora?
Patty is offline  
Jul 11th, 2017, 05:24 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 225
We rented cars. On Moorea, Albert car rental has the best prices and they were fine to deal with. Car had NO get up and go, but it was only about $70 per day. On Bora Bora we used Avis, arranged by our hotel there, for $80 per day, plus $20 per day for extra insurance. We were happy we had that as someone backed into us in a parking lot.
Tally is offline  
Jul 12th, 2017, 12:36 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,871
Thanks for your trip report. What a lovely family trip.

I was relieved to read that Huahine is still "laid back, slow, quiet and beautiful." We traveled there many years ago, loved it so much we recommended it to friends, who also loved it.
Diamantina is offline  
Jul 12th, 2017, 01:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,966
Thanks for the additional rental car info.
Patty is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2017, 10:44 PM
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 5
Thanks for sharing your family trip experience. Soon i will also plan for thew same.
rajithajohnson is offline  
Jul 24th, 2017, 06:56 AM
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 414
"- We drank mostly bottled water but used tap water for coffee, washing fruit, etc. I think the tap water is probably mostly ok to drink."

When were on Moorea 16 - 17 years ago, I remember seeing a guy filling those plastic water bottles from the hose behind his store. Didn't hang around long enough to see if he then tried to sell it as bottled water, but I wouldn't have cared if he did. Thanks for sharing your experiences and evoking those memories from what seems like decades ago. We're very fortunate to be heading back to FP in 2 months to make some new ones.
FaceInTheCrowd is offline  
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