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reviews from recent trip: tahiti, moorea, huahine, raiatea...

chicago
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reviews from recent trip: tahiti, moorea, huahine, raiatea...

just got back from a couple of weeks in FP.

couple of things that you might already know by reading this page:

1. in the US we call it tahiti but french polynesia is way more appropriate - things are very french

2. life outside of the resorts and hotels can be a little suspect. this is true the islands are NOT one giant resort. it's no worse than most US cities (and clearly better than detroit, gary, florida) but the difference is that you wouldn't drop $5000 to go to the south side of chicago

3. everything costs extra

4. most US cash station cards will not work in FP

5. le trucks are great

on tahiti we stayed 2 nights at the Sofitel. we paid $140 USD per night. the hallways were mildewy after it rained but the room was clean and fine. the pool was nice and the beach was okay. the showers were fantastic. if you don't feel like paying $5 for water and cokes there is a gas station (a BP) about 200 yards down the road from the sofitel. most people at the sofitel were in transit

on moorea we stayed at residence linareva. the following things sucked: it was a $35 taxi ride, i got eaten by fleas, they had free bikes but the bikes were awful. everything else about the place was great. the people, the bungalow (except for the fleas), the snorkeling, the landscape, the very popular (yet expensive) restaurant was great

on huahine we stayed at motel vanille. this was a little more "low budget" than the $110 price tag would indicate. the rooms were filled with bugs and no additional perks (no tv, no air, no mosquito nets, smelled bad, i actually didn't fit in the shower). this was our only mistake during the trip. also, i don't know what the appeal of huahine is - we were on the "traditional" side of the island. the other side had the resorts - we drove a scooter there but i still didn't like it as much as moorea or raiatea.

on raiatea we stayed at the hawaiki nui. this was amazing. we had an overwater bungalow and we paid $200 per night. the bungalow was amazing, the snorkeling, diving, tours were fantastic - the restaurant was very nice and fair priced. the town was a long walk away but offered shopping, groceries, and even public free concerts. the hawaiki had a europcar and even free water aerobics classes. the island had lots of opportunities for boating, scooter riding, bicycling - it was wonderful. the only bad comment i have is that the employees were pretty surly - even rude - it was the only hotel we ran into coldness and laziness. but at $200 per night for an amazing room i would stay there again without hesitation.

i still have all my receipts and pricings if you want to contact me

milwaukee,wi
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1. Re: reviews from recent trip: tahiti, moorea, huahine, raiatea...

Hello,

My husband and I are about to book a trip to bora bora and Tahaa. I just want to know is going to these islands worth the $$$$$$? Every picture I see it looks like it but what was it like in person?

Let me know I'm cheap and spending this kind of money makes me nervous.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: reviews from recent trip: tahiti, moorea, huahine, raiatea...

Can you provide an opinion on number of days necessary in each island? I know you didn't hit all of these, but I am thinking 4 nights Moorea, 5 nights BB, and 3 nights Tahaa. Enough to relax and see the island?

santa barbara,CA
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3. Re: reviews from recent trip: tahiti, moorea, huahine, raiatea...

nickopolis:

shame about the bugs...most of these small properties don't spray for bugs and the accomodations are very basic.

glad you liked the Hawaiki Nui...this is an old property and needs some renovation to be up to par with the other high end resorts in my opinion...but it is an excellent value as you pointed out!!

Did you explore Huahine at all? The archeological history and sites are really facinating in my opinion. This island is unspoiled by tourism and is quite traditional still.

so glad to hear you had a nice time overall..

sunny regards,

shully

S.F.
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4. Re: reviews from recent trip: tahiti, moorea, huahine, raiatea...

Malec, don't feel ashamed for questioning the expense. Nickopolis did it cheaper than I could have imagined, but she stayed in many lower end places. 4-5 star places are horribly expensive. Do you like to lie on the beach and snorkel? just plain kick back? Well it's the place to do it but as much as Iloved it I do question it's worth now. Vahine Island resort has a stay 9 pay 6 deal for a good part of the year. Check them out. Pub

Australia
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5. Re: reviews from recent trip: tahiti, moorea, huahine, raiatea...

Hi Nickopolis..

hawaiki nui sounds great!! Would love to stay at an overwater for round $200. May I ask where u found the price??

U can email me @ djromantick@yahoo.com

thanx and all the best..

S.F.
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6. Re: reviews from recent trip: tahiti, moorea, huahine, raiatea...

nick and Jimmy, I'm starting to wonder if this place is not on the site of the old Bali Hai Raiatea? That is a fantastic price and an OWB would be it as there is no beach, unless they made one. Shully, am I correct? Pub

chicago
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7. Re: reviews from recent trip: tahiti, moorea, huahine, raiatea...

okay, i can't quite figure out the reply feature here so let's see if i can reply to all at once.

malec: yes, it's worth it if you have the time and energy and money. i woke up in the morning and dove into the ocean (9 feet from my bed) and snorkled and floated and then kayaked and it was only 10 am. the pictures on a clear day are exactly like the postcards. i think your bio says that you're from milwaukee - the ocean is better than lake michigan.

the people i talked to loved tahaa. i only took a boat tour around the island we stayed on raiatea - which was excellent. the tough decision was whether or not to spend $250 per person for the plane fare to get to the smaller islands - it's a lot cheaper to stay on moorea. and you might be able to stay on moorea and tahiti if you plan on going back to FP a few times but we don't plan on making FP a regular trip - i'm glad we got to the little islands and really like raiatea.

i got mixed reviews from other travelers on bora bora - they all thought it was beautiful but many were spending 2 times what we were spending.

mk2006 - based on what i was just saying to malec. i think your plan of 5 nights moorea - 3 nights tahaa is good. but i might add more to the tahaa side - i'll explain below. flight times are funky so you'll probably spend a night or so on tahiti.

anyway, moorea for 3-5 nights should be relaxing. i'll break the island up into 4 sections for you. we saw no "nice" places to stay in the southeast part of the island. on the south west we stayed at residence linareva - this was very good and a little isolated but i'm not sure moorea is about being isolated. the more "social" corner of the island is the northwest - around where the intercontinental is. there are a bunch of shops and places to eat. around the docks in the northeast there were some places to stay but it is a little too congested.

one weird thing about moorea (and huahine) was the large number of vacated b&bs.

i really like linareva as far as the mid range hotels go on moorea. people we met also liked the tipiniers and the hibiscus - and tapu lodge.

also, there is an excellent pizza place called Tatourga on the west side. freakin' amazing. best food i had in FP.

REMEMBER: all beaches are public in FP so even if you wind up staying on the inside of the road - you can use anyone's beach but you usually don't need to - hotels aren't dying to be stuck in the middle of nowhere. but the beaches are available to everyone. the people at the intercontinental are used to people walking through their hotel to get to the beach - and it's quite nice.

but 3-5 days should get you plenty of relaxing, kayaking, snorkeling, and at least one trip to the lagoonarium (if you don't have a lot of experience with fish - go on a tour) (we went on a tour with a guy named Harold - $70 each but awesome)

the next big decision on getting to Tahaa (and definitely go) is how to get there. We got the Tahiti Air discovery pass $242 - it went to moorea, huahine, and raiatea. the crap of this is that a two way ticket to JUST raiatea costs like $238.

once you've spent $240 per person getting to tahaa you might want to take a day or two off of the moorea trip and add it to the tahaa trip. yes, tahaa might be more expensive but it's far away and you've just dropped some coin to get there so you might as well live it up. also, on raiatea/tahaa - real people live there. it's got schools and grocery stores and basic comforts are a little more accessible.

moorea should generally be cheaper but if you hit the groceries on raiatea - you can cut your costs dramatically. nothing is cheap at any hotel - so cut costs on things like taxis and spending cash at the hotel. save your cash for scooter rentals and boat trips

jimmyj: the deal we got at the hawaiki nui was "stay 2 nights - pay for one" it was available at travelocity and at a travel agency called "pleasant holidays". (although pleasant holidays were kinda slimey). the only problem i had with travelocity was that when i called to verify the legitimacy of the offer i couldn't communicate with their customer service reps in india so i wound up getting the same deal from pleasant holidays but it somehow cost $100 more...still over a bunch of nights it was negligible (but still a little slimey)

there are amazing deals out there. when we were on moorea we ran into a french couple that was paying like $60 per night at the hotel hibiscus.

exhaust all searches and play with the dates if money is a deal breaker - there are good deals out there - i promise

pub7: the hawaiki is about 5 minutes east of the "downtown" - it's owned by pearl now - it's sort of their "introductory" hotel so i wouldn't be surprised if it used to be something else or if they had bigger plans for it. the location was great - but just like most places in FP if you blink while you're driving past it - you'll miss it. the OWBs were recently redone but nothing extremely flashy but still amazing.

hope this helps.

milwaukee,wi
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8. Re: reviews from recent trip: tahiti, moorea, huahine, raiatea...

Hey There,

Thank you for the help. So you stayed at hawaiki nui and it was nice. I'm thinking about staying there to get my overwater bungalow expierence. I found a place in bora bora called eden beach. I'm worried its to far from things and if bora bora is really worth it? I know for sure I want to stay at Vahine. The whole taxi thing I thought hotels take to and from main island.

chicago
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9. Re: reviews from recent trip: tahiti, moorea, huahine, raiatea...

malec.

well, if you choose hawaiki nui - which i thought was really good - see if the 2 for 1 deal for the overwater bungalows is still available - it was listed on travlocity.

also, you (or any french speaker) might want to call pearl resorts directly if you can't find the offer online. they won't do the booking for you but they will tell you which travel agencies are privvy to their 2 for 1 offers.

hawaiki nui had like 8 overwater bunglalows and they had 1 or 2 beachfront bungalows that were nowhere as cool as the OWBs. the unobstructed view of boats and other islands on the OWBs is awesome.

i wish i could be of more help about bora bora -- it seems there are very few divisions between the islands once you're off of tahiti and moorea but there is a certain value in saying you've been to bora bora - friends have heard of borabora-- i don't know how much difference you'll experience between a resort on huahine/raiatea/tahaa/borabora - there might be differences but once you move up to the superior/deluxe experiences it sounds pretty much the same.

S.F.
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10. Re: reviews from recent trip: tahiti, moorea, huahine, raiatea...

Malec, Is Bora Bora worth it? If this was pre 1987 I would insist on you being flogged for even asking that question! I think for folks who have or are willing to spend that kind of money, and have never been before, I guess I would say yes. To lucky folks like myself who saw it when Hotel Bora Bora was 200 a night tops, was one of only two real hotels on the island, and the motu were pristine and devoid of all the resorts that are there now, the answer is a resounding no! go to Huahine or Vahine Island resort. My experienced two cents. Pub