I think we were thinking about going back to French Polynesia from the moment we took the plane back the last time. This lost paradise in the middle of the Pacific has the power to enchant everyone who visits it and feels what the Polynesians call the Mana. Indescribable energy emanating from its unique landscapes and from its people who smile at you from the soul. And certainly, a place that will steal their hearts will be the island of Moorea.
We invite you to discover this second travel to Tahiti and some of their islands.
Earlier this year we were about to go to Asia and in the end, we said why not repeat a trip to French Polynesia, because that’s what we did. This time we decided to plan the trip well in advance and see if that changes anything regarding the offers, also that would allow us to better share the expenses, and the truth went very well.
Effectively you can get better early book, early bird offers as they also call you in the middle. We consulted several agencies unlike last time, but ended up working with it because it offered us the best price and the best conditions. It should be noted that the other agencies aligned the price, but we prefer both the terms of payment and possible cancellations (never known) of Yestahiti. The organizational work they did was impeccable, and we had an even better trip than the first.
In all honesty we were afraid that the second trip would disappoint us, because there was no longer the enthusiasm of novelty, surprise and discovery, but that beautiful land that is French Polynesia always has something to marvel at us, and even, when you have already seen the landscape, only the change of light or weather conditions makes you discover new things.
We spend less time in Tahiti, and add time to Moorea, and add 2 more islands: Raiatea and Tah’aa. We did more days in total than last time and never felt that it was too much or that we was wasted time.
14-NOV: Flight to French Polynesia… an Air France strike in Papeete almost prevents it
We are usually following if there is any Air France strike when we are going to travel because we are lucky enough to catch them all, but at the same time, we always emerge victoriously. The fact is that the day before we received a message telling us that our flight between LA and Papeete was canceled and that we were being put on another flight, from Air Tahiti. We said it’ll be an opportunity to try this line.
The problem was the stress in L.A., very short time to change, we had to retrieve the luggage and check it back (actually, and to our luck, just give it to someone).
Anyway, all in a very short time, and we came to think that we would miss the plane, and consequently a day of vacation. But finally we find ourselves on the Air Tahiti plane, waiting for other passengers in equal condition, and taking off with delay.
It should be noted that Air Tahiti Nui is a very good line, the plane is made to make you already feel like you are on vacation, and this is great. The photos of the entrance, the colors, the decoration, the luggage uniform, the food, the videos. You’re already in French Polynesia when you get on that plane.
On arrival in Tahiti we opted for accommodation for a safe value, the Intercontinental Tahiti, which great was to meet again there, in those gardens that in all honesty did not remember them so careful and immaculate, but that well. As this time we arrived directly to the hotel, we did very early, around 7:30am, even the room was not ready.
After the usual welcome with fruit juice, we were given the keys to a private room to change and shower, quite comfortable and with everything we needed. Once in the swimsuit, we went to the sandbed pool which offers an excellent view of Moorea, the weather was in our favor and we were able to see it completely clear.
They gave us a mobile phone that they would call us when our room was ready, which happened around 10:30 in the morning. By that time until a beer we had had, and very relaxed. We went to retrieve our key and headed to the room that was in the opposite wing of where we were previously, which surprised us.
We were followed by the guy carrying our bags. When we opened the room that great surprise, a completely renovated room between modern and traditional, which more beautiful room, was at ground floor level and had access and view of the garden, and not only, but sea view, and what view, we could see Moorea from the room. We were very happy, the journey started well.
We were very hungry, so we went to see that we could eat at the restaurant. We find an excellent option, there is a salad buffet and wok, you can choose between the two. And the salad is ”volonté’,’ that is, whatever you want and can eat. The wok you compose it yourself but you can’t serve yourself again, but with a lap it’s more than enough. In any case we did very well because we were very hungry and took advantage of eating and liking each other.
The afternoon passed between the terrace of the room and the Lagoonarium, where we felt the thrill of finding again those colorful fish that impressed us so much the first time and that we wanted to see again.
In the evening we met our friend Tepu, who took us to eat to a well-local place, where we savored an excellent tuna sashimi.
At the beginning of the night, tiredness and the change of schedule was made, we said goodbye at the entrance of the hotel, leaving to see us when we would be back to Tahiti. Thus the day ended, not before admiring from our room how beautiful the gardens of the Hotel looked with the night lighting. Gratifying bath after sweating a little over dinner, and heading to the comfortable bed.
Moorea Island Tour and The Moorea Beach Lodge
On this trip, we decided that we wanted to explore a ‘wilder’ Moorea, away from the big hotels. We choose to stay in a place on the west coast of Moorea Island. We thought it was a bit of an agritourism style that we usually stay in when we go to Italy, but we really were a little disenchanted.
This time we arrived with very few people to Moorea, we were 6 in total that we stayed to pick up the bags, which once recovered we delivered immediately to the Moorea Explorer transport, and we headed to our accommodation that remained on the other side of the island, that served as an Island tour, because the road was more than long, and after cook’s Bay we passed through places that we did not know; actually it was very nice. From Moorea airport to Hauru, the town where we stayed, it’s about 40 minutes.
So we arrived at Moorea Beach Lodge, which gave us an excellent impression upon arrival, a very nice garden, and the main house in white and wood decorated very aptly and that opens with sea view. First of all the very good impression, even if I must confess that I felt that I felt that we were somewhat isolated and that there was nothing or almost nothing to do in the place apart from lying in the sand. They gave us our usual pineapple juice and after a while, they accompanied us to the bungalow.
Arrived at the bungalow, bad surprise, the bungalow seemed not ready to welcome us, the air conditioning off and towards a hell of heat, the place riddled with mosquitoes, dark, and did not give a feeling of clean. We tried to find a place to light the air and we didn’t find the remote, when we went to get the girl who brought us, this one was already gone.
We went for a walk to see if we could get the owner, but nothing, we went back to the bungalow and realized that the roof was in bad shape and that there was a tarp covering it on the outside. We felt ripped off. We called our agency, after several go and back discussions with the site manager, we were changed to a garden bungalow in many better conditions, the agency arranged a refund because this one was cheaper.
The place has great qualities but is lost in the details, then it must be understood that at least at this time of year, on this side of the island does not blow much the wind and the heat is felt, and so do mosquitoes. Despite our precautions, we were stung a lot.
We didn’t care much because we would only spend 2 nights at this place and the next day we had an all-day hike. We took it with philosophy, laughed a little bit about things that didn’t work or didn’t inform us about and we said we were on vacation and this was part of the adventure. We changed with the intention of tasting the sea, but when we left, almost when touching the sand, it started to rain.
But what luck!! it would be destiny not to try that beach, because for one reason or for another we never did. Very quiet we sit on the porch to contemplate the rain, without pressure, we are on vacation and everything can wait, until the good weather. When the rain hit a bit of a truce, we gave up the dip and decided to go for a walk to explore the area a bit, and we saw that there were several places to eat not far away, and a small supermarket.
In the evening we went to eat at Coco d’Isle, a site with rustic air, with sandy floors, which serves dishes not very elaborate but good. There we tried the Uru, or the fruit of the bread tree, which we had not been able to prove on our previous journey. It’s interesting as a taste, it’s like a potato, but firmer, with less starch, pretty good, and it fills a lot. We ate it like it was chips.
Back we wondered if we would have the lighted road, and in the end, yes, we had light without a problem. We weren’t far from the Lodge. Upon arrival, we used the badge we were given to open, aaand, surprise!! it didn’t work!! We had seen others staying in the same place, ate in the same restaurant as us and we told ourselves that in case of problems we would return to the restaurant.
When we arrived; I started hitting the gate and one of the guests under the avatar tree (the only place where you could connect to the internet) listened to us and came to open us up. He explained that the badge did not work and that there was a code to open, he gave us the code, which the manager of the place had not done.
A new encounter with Sharks and Stingrays in Moorea
By the 17th we had booked a tour to see the sharks and rays again. It is true that we had already done it, but this time we decided to choose the excursion ourselves and do it in a small group, and what a success!!!. We did it with Moorea Miti Tours, a frankly great and very convivial excursion when you meet in a small group. We were about 10 people.
We were picked up at the hotel and boarded next to Manava Beach Moorea. The mix boat between traditional and modern, very new, in excellent condition. Very clean, very tidy. Getting on gives you an excellent feeling.
The tour was the usual, you will be strolled through the two bays. Time was super covered, and we feared we weren’t going to have a good day. Luckily, after strolling through the bays the weather was getting better.
We made the stop for swimming with the sharks and rays, and there the weather was unbeatable. The clear sky made us discover all the colors we couldn’t see last time. The fact that it was fewer people also allowed us to have a much more crystalline water because there was not all the mass moving the sandy bottom. That doesn’t take away from the scratches I don’t like at all, but I enjoyed swimming among the sharks.
After a while there, we went to what they call the coral garden. There you can swim in a deep part where there is plenty of coral and a lot of marine life. On the last excursion we did not do this activity, we went straight to the motu and let us swim in the garden right in front of the shore.
The advantage of going with the boat is that you already find yourself in the deep area and do not care much about corals. The amount of fish is much higher and you enjoy the place much more. The colors are equally more intense and enjoying good lighting as was our case the colors intensify even more.
Back, the boat left us on the beach near our hotel. We just walked a little on the beach. Back we went hiking to something that was a kind of shopping mall, although there was no big movement.
There were several places to eat but we had already planned our evening, and we had decided to dine at the Mayflower restaurant which was not far from the hotel and from which we had read good reviews.
This restaurant surprises, from the outside it looks like a beach bar that passes without sorrow or glory, as soon as you enter you find a room of rustic elegance, which overlooks a garden illuminated with hanging lamps that gives a good aesthetic result. The tables are elegantly dressed, and the food is of very good quality and great. For the drink we opt for beer as always and the cocktails that in this restaurant are particularly good.
Back we enjoyed our return on foot, in a much more lenient climate than the previous day, in which the heat and humidity were very intense. The night was rather fresh and pleasant. We thought we’d have a few beers that we had bought during the afternoon, but we were tired. Thus we end this day which for us represents a very special date.
Back at Sofitel Ia Ora Moorea, a day full of colors and emotions
Today we changed hotels, go to the other side of the island, and for us is to meet again at Sofitel Moorea that we liked so much on our previous trip. In principle we had planned to stay the 5 days on this side of Moorea Island and not go to sofitel, but luckily we changed plans because we would have been bored with many days on the West Side.
We had a transfer at 10:50 in the morning, so we took the start of the day very calmly, went to breakfast after 7:30, and enjoyed it a little more than the previous day when we were very aware of the time they came to pick us up for the tour.
About 10 a.m. my husband proposed to have the beers to return the bottles and retrieve the slogan. That’s what we did and with what we recovered, we bought anti-mosquito spirals because we knew they would be useful on the terrace of The Sofitel’s bungalow.
The transport arrived on time, our bags were raised and we went to Sofitel. We were happy to change places. Moorea Beach Lodge lacks a bit of atmosphere and living. It’s okay for up to a couple of nights, or more if you want to lead a half-chic Buddhist or camping life.
On the way to Sofitel we stop at the Intercontinental, which from above is seen to be located in front of some bays that give extraordinary colors. Then at the Hilton and last the Manava (former Pearl).
The tour allowed us to see the island again, and by the way, see the lobbies of other hotels. We were a little disappointed by the Hilton, with a fairly small lobby, and neither nice nor luxurious. Full of people to the top, waiting or rooms or transfers, the truth invited nothing. It may be very nice inside, but the first bite doesn’t make your hunger open up.
Then stop at the airport, until we finally reached our destination, Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora. We were just staying, and that gave us the chance to receive in the intimate. Welcome with a flower necklace, fruit cocktail, and one of those fresh Tiaré-scented wipes.
They brought us the usual document to complete, and when asking the girl if she had received a message from the agency with our room application, we were told immediately, siiii, have the same room. Uff we were already happy, because we really liked the location of that bungalow. It took no time to take us, as we were told that the room was ready even when it was not yet noon and the rooms delivered them at 14h00 (2pm).
Golf cart tour to take us to the room, the best of surprises when opening the door, where a smell of Tiaré envelops us, just like the music that came from the TV, and the bed and the whole room full of flowers, we were super excited. A few minutes later we were knocked on the door to give us a plate of fruit for attention. How happy we were, apart the day was beautiful and the colors of the lagoon we saw from the room was spectacular. Definitely an arrival that would be stamped in the memory.
Soon we changed and put on our bathing suits. Having already towels in the room we could go and buzz directly into the water. Those colors of the Lagoon on Moorea Island gave us an immense desire to enter the water. While we were bathing we planned our dinner at the Moorea Beach Café, a reservation we arranged with the hotel concierge.
Our personal excursions around Moorea Island!!
So relaxed the afternoon passed, and in time we went to shower and arrange to go to dinner. For these days at Sofitel we had not planned excursions, we wanted to enjoy temae beach and the hotel’s excellent coral garden. Maybe going out the surroundings, anyway, this time we felt more adventurous and less organized hiking tourists.
The next day the sun began to abandon us a little, came and went, so we had short rainy moments that alternated with clearings and sun. In the morning I got up early as usual to do my own body balance session, until the mosquitoes attracted by my sweat made me flee into the shower. Being bathed and ready I only thought about breakfast, we knew that at Sofitel it is very good.
We walked into the breakfast room, recalling emotions from our previous trip. It had rained during the night and the wet flowers gave a very nice spectacle, it was a little cloudy and you could see that on Tahiti there was falling heavy rain.
In search of a traditional mass
Since it was Sunday, we had the plan to go to a traditional mass, and I asked at the concierge about the nearest church, which I was told 5 minutes walk (then I would know it wasn’t 5 minutes but it matters!!). They told me it was at 9 in the morning and they were a guy minus 20. I went quick to the bungalow and informed my husband quickly, who told me to venture in the same way seen as rainy weather as it was.
We had an umbrella and walked. It was 5, 6, 7 and up to 10 minutes and nothing that came, time changed and began to stick the sun and heat, but we had fun walking aimlessly, seeing the landscape and the houses of the place with its infinite variety of flowers.
We decided to give ourselves a deadline, and we saw from afar walking a lady with the traditional hats that lead to Mass, we followed her, and to surprise our church was not what we expected and we ended up in front of a kind of very small communal hall that was accessed by the makeshift altar. Since the Mass aside he was Protestant and we didn’t know the ritual, we were a little embarrassed to interrupt and we decided to return.
The sun began to shine brightly during our return, and with it the heat began to be overwhelming and we did not see the time to arrive to take a swim on the beach. We saw on the way who sold pineapples, and one that we never understood if he sold mangoes or gave them away, because they were simply arranged there, with no one, on a table.
Near the hotel we found a nice pearl shop that we said we would go to the next day when it was open. In fact there I bought an earring with a pearl at a very good price.
Sofitel Lagoon Tour in Kayak
Back the plan was beach, sun lounger, beers, snorkeling and more beach. A little ping pong and rest time on our terrace. That day we didn’t go out for dinner, we had eaten so much of what we already had that we didn’t feel like more. We only went for cocktails to the hotel bar during happy hour.
By Monday we had told ourselves that this time we would do a lagoon tour in Kayak in what we said would be another excursion organized by ourselves. To our surprise, this time the Kayaks were not paid and the one-hour tour was free. The very hard truth of enduring more than an hour in the inclement sun of Polynesia. More than once we wanted it to be clouded again.
At one point we had to go to the shore to take a bath, not to stand the heat and the sun. We strolled over hundreds of corals of all kinds, especially trees, full of multicolored fish.
The truth is something to do if you are at sofitel. Paddle is also possible if you prefer, but the kayak paddling facilitates the ride and allows you to stand and comfortably contemplate the corals in the background and the clouds of multicolored fish.
With paddle you have to calculate well the time to come and go, because the return can be complicated with the wind against.
For dinner, we decided to stay at the hotel and try the food from the pool bar. The truth comes more than dining in the main restaurant, by price, by quantity and by quality, and for the view over Tahiti when the sun goes down. We’ve eaten before at the main restaurant and were a little disappointed.
Obviously we arrived early to enjoy the happy hour of the bar and have another couple of cocktails.
As the last night spent at the Sofitel, we felt nostalgic for leaving it, during that super clear night, which allowed us to see an impressively star-studded sky. Phenocone that we saw more pronounced when walking back to our bungalow, there was a blackout of a few seconds that left us as only light the stars of the sky.
Last day on Moorea Island, we will meet another island: Raiatea!!
Our last day on the island of Moorea dawns, the day is beautiful, the sky is completely clear and in the distance at last Tahiti shows its relief with great clarity. The colors of the lagoon at the foot of the overwater are beautiful and the water totally crystal clear, like a postcard. What more can you ask to enjoy this last day in Moorea.
We’ve got the plane late, after 4:30 p.m. They come to pick us up at 15:30 so we can still enjoy these wonderful colors and this exceptional beach day. After breakfast, we go snorkeling, we want to visit again the clown fish that we had very close to the shore and we did not know. With the light that there is visibility is exceptional.
After the day takes place in the usual, beach, sun lounger, birras… The mini bar included every day is really great. We packed our bags, which we gave a little order to. They spend their time searching at 11am as indicated, and we can leave the room at noon. Without suitcases to think about we sat on the terrace to admire for the last time on this trip the view from our terrace. What nostalgia to leave this bungalow! We’re just thinking about coming back again!
We go to the lobby, and since there were a lot of people and a problem with the payment point, we are told that we can check out later that there is no concern. We go to the beach and return around 14am to take a shower and change in the Sofitel area behind the lobby.
We check out and as I signed up for the accord program, we are invited for a glass of wine or a beer at the bar. We head to the bar and opt for the first thing, there spends our last part on the island of Moorea and we try to treasure forever the views and sensations that this place gives us.
We’re intrigued to know what Raiatea will be like and if we’ll like it.
They come for us and curiously the perfect day begins to change and cloud. When we arrive at the airport we are hungry, there is only a small foodtruck outside the airport and there we eat a ham sandwich that was for one person (according to the Polynesian standard) and that cost us very little.
So it’s time to board, and as soon as we put our foot inside the plane, it starts to rain super strong, impressive. We take off and we have 45 minutes by plane ahead to get to Raiatea Island.