White sands, small islands, turquoise waters and endlessly blue skies: yes, that exactly how you would expect a paradise on Earth, also known as French Polynesia.
Part of the French republic, it is composed of 118 geographically dispersed islands and atolls stretching over an expanse of more than 2,000 kilometres in the South Pacific Ocean.
As you can imagine, life over there is quite relaxed, everything is slower paced and generally you don’t get stressed a lot. It seems easy right? And it is: the only drawback is the price, more than what you can imagine!
Being this touristic place, the economy is based on 1) tourists and 2) fishes/coconut agricoltures.
Pro tip: if you are flying from New Zealand to Tahiti, you will live the same day twice. The time difference is from +12 UTC to -12 UTC summing up to the same hour but 24h before.
So, we landed in Tahiti and we decided to stay a bit down the road, outside central Papeete, preferring a quiet beach over the more touristic stuff. Got into this lodge which is perfect for relaxing – Marama Lodge (around 100$ per night) – but you will definitely need a car, or a bike, because you will be far away from basically everything. Our host Marama was incredibly helpful though: he even let us use his paddle board and his snorkeling gears. And the view from their beach..
Pro tip: bring a pair of wet shoes, corals are not forgiving any mistake. And by the way – Polynesia is also home of this ultra poisonous fish.
But Tahiti wasn’t our only stop. We decided to experience THE Polynesia, the one you usually see everywhere – this one:
Look epic ah? And also as expensive as it may seem, or maybe not.
Pro tip: these over-water resorts will start their price in the right end of 600 Euros per night (breakfast not included). Most of them are 5 stars in Bora Bora, Taha’a and Moorea, but, if you want to spend less, search a bit more in not conventional islands.
Indeed, the usual price was a bit too much for us.
So we did our homeworks and we searched in a lot more (way less touristic) islands and we found Huahine, a wild, local and not too tourist biased island: they call it the wild cousin of Bora Bora.
And there it was – this 3 stars resort called Royal Huahine – with overwater bungalows for less than half of the usual price. We managed to stay there, with direct access to the waters and corals + some good kayaking for 4 nights.
Yep, that’s us. We were doing our sunset aperitifs everyday like this:
Not bad ah? Definitely recommended.
Pro tip: the breakfast is really expensive – we managed to get our own breakfast from the only shop of the island and we did it in-house every morning. I mean, with that view, why would you even exit the room.
We did exit though, to discover a bit more the island.
Underwater with Mahana Dive
And overwater/around with Huahine Nautique
Most epic thing? Swimming with these guys – blacktip sharks!
And when I was droning a bit – that was even more than just epic.
One more stop was still to be done before leaving these islands – Moorea. We took the ferry and then a random bus to get to a pension in the middle of nowhere, so much in the middle of nowhere that we had to hitchhike our way back to the ferry. I guess we should have planned this a bit better, but hey, this was still worth it!
Pro tip: when planning, take in account that everything in Polynesia moves slowly, plan accordingly. It was the first time in my life that I arrived to an airport (Huahine) 30 mins before the plane and we boarded 5 mins before departure. Take it easy, don’t stress like me.
Leaving French Polynesia was tough, really tough – slightly tanned and thinking that was the best ocean we could have ever seen in our life.
Oceans are life, they are beautiful and in need of protection. We wish these pics have helped you to understand a bit better why we are trying to save them.
Now, toward the Nevada/Arizona deserts -> US incoming!