We just spent 6 days in Tahiti and I have written down some thoughts (yes – because when you’re at a beach and have run out of reading material, some people write, 🙂
Anyhow, coming from New Zealand, my understanding of Tahiti as a destination is that it is bloody expensive and if you don’t speak French then you’re screwed.
Now, yes – it is bloody expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.
You can do it without remortgaging your house.
We booked our flights to Paris with 2 stops, Los Angeles on the way there and Tahiti on the way back, we got the fares directly from Air Tahiti Nui in Auckland and they were very accommodating with our changes and request for options. They offered the cheapest airfares. Awesome!
In Moorea, we didn’t stay in an over the water bungalow as you see in all the images, we opted for Hibiscus Hotel which was actually great, right on the beach with a large swimming pool, on site restaurant and access to shops down the road.
Of course, if your name is on the rich list then go for the Hilton…..for the rest of us, ….there are lots of options.
CATCH THE FERRY TO MOOREA
Before I went, I was very clueless about the proximity of islands…..so it was great to find that Moorea is only an easy 30 minutes away from Papeete in a really swanky new ferry….definitely a far cry from the Lady Samoa between Mulifagua and Salelologa.
Food is …yes, not cheap, but we had cooking facilities in the room, so we had breakfast and lunch in the room and then splashed out on dinner.
There’s a supermarket 5 mins walk as well, so it was cheaper.
In Papeete and other places, there is roulottes (food trucks where you order food from and then sit your muli down and eat until you fall over:) where you can get food cheaply. The one in Papeete was great because of the variety and great vibe in the evenings.
I love the shell art in Tahiti, and I love that the art of handpainting Pareo (lavalava/sarong/pareu) is well and alive, but my love ends there. I was really sad to see that like many touristy places, cheaper products from Bali and China as being passed off as ‘authentic’ produce. This problem is not specific to Tahiti. It is universal and everywhere you go – you will encounter cheaply produced goods which does nothing for the locals who work hard to create local products and struggle because they compete against cheap rubbish.
One of the items I looked forward to buying were yellow shell necklaces from the Australes islands, but at the market, MOST of the ones sold are cheap versions from the Phillipines. Shame!
I have a bit more confidence with my French having spent the last 6 weeks in Marseille and surrounds, but by no means competent,…I say this because when I converse in French my 7 year old cringes and says shyly, “Mom, you didn’t say it right” — but I found a lot of people were accommodating and attempted to speak English or speak slowly in French for me.
It was strange for me as a Pacific islander to see my fellow Pacific cousins speaking exclusively in French, instead of their own language.
What really irritated me during the trip was ordering fresh yummy tuna (sashimi) and the accompanying sauce was a disgusting sweet thick concoction. No Kikkoman soy sauce and absolutely no Wasabi!
So take your own if you visit.
Overall, I will definitely return to Tahiti and do it better, like:
– spend more time in Tahiti itself and visit the mare,
– see more of the island
-spend more time at the waterfalls
– eat more mangoes
– rent a car in Moorea
– buy fruit at the market before leaving Papeete
– go to Tahaa and to the Marquesas Islands.
– rob a pearl factory
– and much much more.
Post trip reflections
PRE PACKAGED CULTURE
Upon reflection, Tahiti presents a place which is perfect for the tourist who wants ‘culture’ on a silver platter and without the inconvenience. Tourism and the French influence has reduced much of the Tahitian culture to staged productions and orchestrated shows.
okay – I will stop here before I get told off again, haha.