Hotel La Maroto is a gem hidden deep in the heart of Tahiti. After arranging with the hotel for an airport pick-up we were on our way in an old pickup truck with a staff member. The hotel is about an hour from Tahiti Faaa International Airport, and the drive will take you east through downtown Papeete, past Point Venus and into Papeno'o where the truck will drive up the valley. I say truck becuase this route is not accessible by a taxi or rental car, only a 4x4 truck will make it. The road up the Papeno'o Valley is stunning and very rough. Along the way expect to see a dozen waterfalls and a few excellent vistas. This ride would be tough for someone with back problems, the road is gravel and riddled with potholes. Along the way the truck drove through at least 5 rivers (or the same river 5 times).
Upon reaching La Maroto we were excited to see that it sits on a hilltop in the middle of the valley so the mountain views are astounding in all directions. It was a bit rainy along the valley while we were there so it was mesmerizing to watch the clouds stream off the tops of the mountains around us. At one point it rained and the rainbow it produced was the most beautiful, bright, and closest I've ever seen.
La Maroto is very remote. There are no stores or restaurants nearby, so expect to purchase anything you need and didn't bring with you from the hotel. The remoteness is the best attribute of the hotel. Nights are wonderfully dark and quiet. The hotel itself is quite old and rough looking. We had reservations for the hotel but were the only guests at the time so they upgraded us into one of the 3 bungalows on the grounds. The bungalows are a great little place to stay; fairly new, and comfortable. We spent most of our time out on the bungalow's deck enjoying the quiet and watching the clouds interact with the mountains. There was no air conditioning or screens on the windows, but the bungalow cooled down enough at night to make it a comfortable rest. There are plenty of mosquitoes so be sure to bring some repellant and keep the windows closed as it gets dark.
If you want an authentic Tahitian experience this is a great choice. The staff only spoke a little English so there was a bit of a communication problem, but we got everything we needed. There is literally nothing to do there except to hike to the nearby waterfalls or marae. We were only there for a day but we walked to a nearby cascade and had fun wading in the pools and walking upstream. It felt as if we were in the middle of a rain forest far from anything... probably because we really were! The road to the hotel is paved for the final stretch, but very steep so we needed to stop and rest a couple of times as a result.
The restaurant is typical for Tahiti: delicious and expensive. It's the only choice in town, so they have a bit of a monopoly if you want to eat. We only stayed one night and had arranged transportation with the hotel to take us back to the port to meet our cruise ship. After finding out about my interest in seeing Tahiti Iti, my wife asked the owner if we could go around the island the other way (Clockwise, the longer way) and visit Tahiti Iti. For an extra expense the owner arranged for her cousin, who lived in the USA for 18 years, to join us as a tour guide. The driver doesn't speak english. They drove us all the way down to Teahupoo and then back to Papeete. Our guides spent the majority of the day driving us around their island, visiting the interesting sites, and telling us stories and history along the way. It was a special cultural experience and worth the extra expense!
Overall, staying in a bungalow at Hotel La Maroto was a unique and sincere experience that many people who visit Tahiti will never even hear of. We feel extremely grateful that we had the experience and it ended up being one of the highlights of our trip. Open Google Maps and paste these numbers to get a look at La Maroto's excellent location:
Stayed February 2014.
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- Also Known As:
- Relais De La Maroto Tahiti/Pirae