It’s the second edition of 10 on Tuesday, and hopefully you’ll like this one as much as you liked the first.
Bora Bora. It’s my heaven. In fact, when describing it to people I often say, “I hope my heaven looks like that.” Yes, it’s a long way from home and yes, it’s expensive. But seriously, if you love the ocean, nature and a fabulous beach, do consider booking it as your next vacation destination. So here we go (as always, in no particular order):
While I am all for earning and redeeming frequent flier points, you have to be realistic. Some people don’t mind sacrificing comfort for expense. From the moment you board Air Tahiti Nui, you know you are on vacation. The relaxing turquoise blue textiles and Tahitian gardina flowers on the wing tips set the tone for the flight to come. The crew, comprised of beautiful Polynesian women and buff men, take extra special care of you during your 8 hour flight from LAX to Papeete. All beer, wine and spirits are complimentary in First, Business and Coach classes as well as a delicious hot dinner and cold snack throughout the flight. Your seat has a personal TV which allows you the opportunity to watch at least 6 different movies, play poker, Tetris and golf against other passengers on the plane.
2.) Bring a fabulous underwater camera.
You’re going to need it! Better yet, you’re going to want it! The wildlife in Tahiti in exceptional– you’ll see sea turtles, whales, fish, sharks and more. You’re going to want to have proof to tell your friends and family back home that you swam with lemon sharks outside the reef! I’m aware I need a better underwater camera. That’ll be my next investment!
3.) Don’t be afraid to try the local fare.
Poission Cru is one of Tahiti’s staple dishes, and man, is it delicious! Consisting of fresh Tuna, cucumber, onion, lime, tomato, coconut milk, etc., your mouth is in for a treat. Not to mention, it’s a welcome cool treat after a hot day on the beach. You can get the recipe here. Oh, and the island had the best chocolate croissant I have ever had. Period.
4.) Book an “Overwater Bungalow” if you have the option.
Even if your budget is prohibitive, consider choosing a different property that has more affordable overwater bungalows. The experience of sleeping over the water, hearing the waves underneath you and waking up to vast electric blue water is indescribable. You can stay in a hotel on land anywhere. Very few areas of the world offer these types of options… and the saying rings true– “When in Rome…”
5.) Do your research on excursions.
As with many areas of the world, hotels have certain alignments with local restaurants and excursions. Just because the hotel recommends it does NOT mean it is the best option. I recommend Patrick’s Tour as it encompasses all that is Tahiti without being commercialized. AND you can’t be the lobster and champagne lunch in the lagoon!
6.) Look into a cruise.
Paul Gauguin is an experience unlike any other. The boat, crew, food and itinerary are impeccable. (You can see my review on the whole cruise here.) More often than not, the hotels in Bora Bora cost quite a bit of money. Paul Gauguin’s all inclusive fare (they even include airfare for free from LAX to Tahiti!!) allows you the ability to get to Tahiti, see many of her islands, eat, drink and be merry, all for a set price. You can splurge on extras as much or as little as you like– it’s up to you! Not to mention, you can pay off your trip at your leisure up until a couple months before you set sail. PG’s itinerary allows for an overnight stop in Bora Bora which is perfection. Trust me, you’re going to want the extra time there!
7.) Don’t be afraid of exploring on your own.
I have been to many a destination that you feel a constant need to look over your shoulder and hold your purse tight to your body. While I’m not advocating letting your guard down in Tahiti, I am saying you will likely feel very comfortable there. The people were described to me as “Gentle Giants.” Tahitians are happy with life, thankful for the tourism industry, and proud to be Tahitian.
8.) Only pack your flip-flops.
Trust me, even at the nicest places, all you will need is flip-flops. Give your toes a break!
9.) Splurge on a Black Pearl.
Tahiti is known for their pearls. In fact, the “black diamonds” make up the majority export for French Polynesia. These gorgeous trinkets are a special reminder of your incredible trip and even more importantly can be more afforable when purchased in the islands.
10.) Go for at least 10 days.
While not everyone can do it, try to spend as much time there as possible. The relaxation in Tahiti is unparalleled and you’ll want to sit on the deck of your overwater bungalow or cruise ship balcony and reflect. There is no need to rush anywhere in Bora Bora or Tahiti. Soak in the sun, sea air, happiness and return to your home rejuvenated.