10 useful tips
A few tips written by travelers like you and I, to get the best out of Tahiti and her islands as soon as you arrive.
1. Landing in Tahiti take immediately a connecting flight to the islands
The ideal way to travel, is to take off again with a connecting flight to the Leeward Islands or the Tuamotu right after landing in Faa'a (Tahiti's International Airport) or to catch a ferry to Moorea. This way, you avoid losing a day or two in Tahiti (that you will visit anyway on the your way back) and you'll be able to immediately recover from your trip in some idyllic small islands: a guaranteed get away.
Some International flights land in Tahiti very early in the day (between 4 and 7 AM). Air Tahiti's schedule is planned to take international passengers and fly them to the outer islands the same morning. They often wait for the arrival of the international flight if it is delayed. Beware: These early morning flights are often full, it is therefore a good idea to reserve in advance. Do not forget to take advantage of your quick visit at the Faa'a Airport to exchange currency or to take cash from the ATMs (VISA and MASTERCARD credit cards are preferred).
You can visit and sleep in Tahiti on the last few days before flying back home. You can also totally avoid Tahiti and catch directly your international flight back home (if it departs in the afternoon or evening), but it would be a real shame, and be aware that there is a great risk of missing your International flight if the Air Tahiti flight is late or canceled. Of course, this could give you an excuse to extend your stay in paradise, but it may also cause some unpleasant problems with your airline. In conclusion, believe in our experience: spend at least your last night in Tahiti !!!
2. Time difference / jetlag
After a long plane trip, you will feel a little drowsy during the first 2 days and you will have the compulsive need to go to bed around 5 PM. Plan to start your vacation with an island for " average budgets " rather than with an island for " high budgets ". In other words: save Bora Bora and its luxurious lodging accomodations for the middle or the end of your trip. Also, take advantage of the time difference to adjust immediately to the local pace with is more like that of an early bird: get up early (around 6 or 7 AM), keep active before it gets hot (until 11 AM), lunch and nap (11 AM to 3 PM), one last outing then have a cocktail at sunset (around 6 PM), have dinner and go to sleep around 8 PM.
3. Each week = no more than two islands
Even if inter-islands flights last about an hour in the average, it is always relatively tiring to move from one hotel to another (especially when it is hot) to be on time for the plane or the boat, to catch a bus or a taxi, to pack and unpack your luggage, to settle and get familiarized with the new place, etc. Overall, any move inside the same archipelago will take you at least 3 hours. Our tip is therefore to try and stay at least 3 or 4 days in each island (except for Tahiti which you can visit in 2 or 3 days at the end of your trip), and to limit your trips to 2 per week. And if you feel like you have not visited enough islands, it will be an ideal excuse to come back on a second trip. As they say, it is not good to discover everything the first time!!!
4. To go from the Leward islands to the Tuamotu
There are several Air Tahiti direct flights from Bora-Bora to Rangiroa (Tuamotu) without flying back through Tahiti. However, these flights do not save you any plane change if you wish to go to an island in the Tuamotu that is less touristy than Rangiroa, an island like Manihi, Tikehau, or Fakarava. Our advice: Change planes in Tahiti, which is the central hub for all Air Tahiti flights. More
5. Take time to live
In Tahiti and even more in the outer islands, time often seems to stop... Perhaps because of the breath-taking scenery. You should not be surprised that even the locals take the time to admire it, as it deserves. Do not rush, leave your stress at home and follow the local pace of the Tahitians who sometimes are a little "fiu" (tired), but always friendly and very kind. In the tourism activities business, however, service providers are generally on time and very well organized. However, in some remote islands, you may get the impression that everything happens in slow motion. Butthen isn't that also truly paradise?
6. Shells, are they full or empty?
Here is an infaillible method to find out if the pretty shells you picked up on the beach are inhabited or not: At night, to make sure they are empty, leave them on the ground next to each other along a straight line, by the next morning, some will have disappeared all by themselves, others will have moved a few centimeters. Remember that there are no earthquakes in tahiti and her islands!
7. Sunbathing: monoi and still more monoi!
Be VERY careful with the sun, especially the first days and, especially if you are on a motu on some burning hot atoll in the Tuamotus. In Polynesia, the sky is often loaded with clouds, which gives the impression that you are protected from the sun, well, you are not! The same is true about sunbathing under the trees, they offer no protection. Do like the Vahine do, wear pareos and cover yourself entirely with Monoi cream or oil, which also smells very good while protecting your skin More
8. Where are the best beaches?
It is impossible to mention them all as they all compete for beauty. The biggest surprise is that, except for Tahiti and Moorea, beaches are usually practically desert, which after all is normal with only 7,000 people in the most populated islands The best beaches are in...
The most beautiful beach... will always be the beach you found by chance around a promontory or on the back of some rocky islet, a beach that had been waiting for you all these years.
Sand fanatic? The immaculate sand of Bora-Bora is one of the main reason for the numerous nuances of blue colors in the lagoon...
Good news, we have collected some sand for you... More
9. Geckos (lezards)
There are a lot of them in the islands, but they are totally harmless. The only way to competely avoid them is to stay in an overwater bungalow or on a boat. Otherwise, one way to get rid of them is to spray insecticide along their paths. This is not fool-proof, but they stay away for a few hours.
10. Exceptional "poisson cru"
Fresh fish is of exceptional quality in Polynesia. Do not hesitate at all to enjoy "poisson cru" ("raw" fish) served in all snacks and restaurants at any time: either local style, Tahitian style "poisson cru" marinated in lemon juice and coconut milk with fresh crunchy vegetables, or Japanese style sashimi. If you prefer cooked fish, do not forget either to taste Mahi Mahi (dolphin fish) with vanila or coconut, or Moon fish: absolutely fabulous!