Happy with French Polynesia?

Old Apr 11th, 2004, 05:24 PM
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Happy with French Polynesia?

My fiancee and I are planning a honeymoon next May and we both want to do something luxurious and indulgent that was relaxing and adventurous (with diving, beautiful views etc). We had finally settled on a trip to Bora Bora and some other islands in French Polynesia when friends of ours told us that it is totally not worth the money in their opinion. They felt that the people they encountered were rude and that the food was average at best and, even outside of their resort, the islanders seemed tired and frustrated with visitors. This is the first time I have ever heard any of these complaints about what seemed like a perfect destination- has anyone experienced this as well?
Thanks so much.
Alli
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 06:38 PM
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Bora Bora and other islands in French Polynesia are quite idyllic in many ways, but they suffer from excessive tourism, prices, and beauracracy. We have spent quite a bit of time in French Polynesia, and have enjoyed most of our time there. It is true that some locals can be indifferent or rude, but it depends on where you go. We tend to prefer less-trammeled locations, and the people we have met have been quite friendly (specifically, in Tahaa, Raiatea, and Rangiroa). I am not gourmet, and we rarely eat at 'fine' restaurants, but we were well-satisfied with the food quality. Prices are outrageous everywhere in FP, which is biggest problem for us - in general, you can get a similar experience for significantly less in other island chains. If you like diving, I'd recommend Rangiroa, where there are some spectacular drift dives through the passes into the main lagoon.

Many people think of Tahiti and French Polynesia when they imagine romantic tropical locales, but there are many other choices. If I were looking for a honeymoon spot, I would look at the Cook Islands and Fiji before French Polynesia.

The Cook's Aitutaki Island competes with Bora Bora in terms of a spectacular lagoon ringing a mountainous central island. There are several small resorts on the main island of Rarotonga which are much quieter and out-of-the-way, compared to most FP resorts.

There are several luxurious resorts in Fiji, many of which are quite remote and romantic - and the best diving sites I've ever seen are in the Somosomo Strait, between Vanua Levu and Taveuni.

If you must have one of those overwater bungalows sticking out over a turquoise lagoon, then French Polynesia is for you, but you are sure going to pay for the privelege.
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 09:50 PM
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Hi Alli1
Unfortunately I would have to agree with your friends' experience of Bora Bora. We went there for our honeymoon (for the same reasons you are) and found the food very "average" indeed. Yes, I found the people at the resort rude and not interested in making the place friendly to guests.

The landscape of course was breathtaking - but I believe people who have been to the Cook Islands say its just as nice (I have never been to Cook islands so can't compare). I also have heard that Yasawa in Fiji is also very beautiful and luxurious.

You could also look at some islands in Thailand (if you want to venture there) or even Mauritius.

Personally - I still joke with my husband that we still haven't have our honeymoon, thats how disappointed we were.
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Old Apr 12th, 2004, 06:19 AM
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Agree with the others. While French Polynesia is more beautiful, the Cooks are actually our favorite destination. Nearly as lovely as FP but with a much more friendly and less jaded population and much more affordable. No true overwater bungalows though and a bit cooler during their "winter".

Ken
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Old Apr 14th, 2004, 09:42 PM
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I also agree with the others, if you absolutely have to go to FP then go to Moorea or one of the other islands. If you are still undecided then look into the Maldives, Mauritius or even the island of Sentosa (Singapore) the Shangri La Rasa Hotel there is just beautiful. Even Hawaii (not Honolulu) would be better than Bora Bora... looks aren't everything!
 
Old Apr 27th, 2004, 11:16 AM
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We had the exact opposite experience. We just came back from 10 days in Bora Bora. Found the people were warm, happy, and hospitable!

Maybe it had something to do with the resort we stayed at, the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort. The times when people weren't taking their time to talk with us, etc., was usually due to a language barrier (we don't speak French or Tahitian!)

Also, may be the time of year we went - right before the busy season. (We always avoid busy seasons whether it be Disneyworld or Bora Bora!)

Food was great at the BB Pearl resort; we only ate twice outside the resort. Lots of fruit, fish, and bread. Definitely a French influence.

Like all islands in the Pacific, including Hawaii, etc., it's more expensive then places where importing is cheaper to do. We definitely had to save some $$$ for this vacation! But worth every penny. We really were able to relax and enjoy the culture. Found Bora Bora very unspoiled despite the high tourism (no McDonalds in sight!) and incredibly beautiful.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 05:34 PM
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Alli my husband and I went to FP for our honeymoon in Sept 03. We went to Bora Bora, Moorea and Rangiroa. We are divers, foodies and love romance. Our trip was fantastic but we both agreed that we have no desire to return to Bora Bora. Moorea... YES, Rangi.... DEFINATLEY. In fact you should consider a few days on Savauge. No electricity, 12 people max on a deserted island across the lagoon from Rangi proper. That was heaven and we only wished we spent more time there.
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Old Jun 12th, 2004, 12:29 AM
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I spent a week on Moorea last year and loved it! We ate most meals at restaurants in "town" run by locals and met some of the nicest people. One restaurant owner, let us stay after they closed to join his birthday party. What a blast! He personally drove us back to our hotel later that night. Everything is expensive, but we were able to find reasonable meals away from the resort. I'm not big into French food, so that got a little old, but I'd go back there in a minute!
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Old Jun 12th, 2004, 05:24 AM
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Alli1: Have you looked into Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef? Luxurious, indulgent with fantastic diving.
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Old Jul 15th, 2004, 09:32 AM
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Just got back from the honeymoon in Moorea and New Zealand. LOVED it! We were a little hesitant for the same reasons but were not disappointed at all. I inquired with a lot of people that toured all the islands and most everyone came back with the same response...Moorea was a great choice (we heard the term 'Boring Boring' more than once in reference to Bora Bora).

We took a couple tours, left the resort for dinner, took some taxi rides and were surrounded by very pleasant people and staff.

We did a motu picnic (feed sharks and sting rays) and did an island tour. I highly recommend both.
Moorea is very luxurious (and expensive) but totally worth it, especially for a honeymoon. It's not something you'd do every year that's for certain.
We stayed at the Sofitel Ia Ora in an overwater bungalow looking out at Tahiti (ask for one of the huts at the end of the pier if you stay here) and sat in awe of the views. We were sure to be up at the crack of dawn everyday to watch the sun rise.

Good luck to you and congreatulations!
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