MEGAN, OWNER OF BRIDIE TRAVEL, AND DENISE FROM THE TAHITI TOURISM BOARD, SIT DOWN TO TALK ABOUT THE PERFECT 10 DAY HONEYMOON IN FRENCH POLYNESIA, THE CURRENT TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS, AND WHAT TRAVEL IN TAHITI LOOKS LIKE TODAY, IN THE MIDST OF THE PANDEMIC. DENISE SPENT MOST OF HER CAREER IN THE LUXURY CRUISE INDUSTRY, BUT DECIDED TO HANG UP HER LIFEJACKET, AND HAS BEEN ON THE TOURISM BOARD SINCE 2018.
What are the current travel restrictions and protocols?
Prior to leaving for your honeymoon in French Plolynesia, you have to get a RT PCR covid test within 3 days of your flight.
Then on day 4 of your stay, you’ll need to get tested again; you’ll be handed a packet when you get off the plane, and the government takes care of that one. It’s a self-test, you turn it in at the front desk of your resort. Less than 1% of people test positive on this test.
Note: Since travel restrictions are constantly changing, this may have changed by the time you read this blog. Be sure to visit the Islands of Tahiti Tourism website for the most up to date information.
Finally, the day you leave, you’ll be tested again. There’s a clinic at the airport with limited hours, or you can use one of the clinics on Moorea or Tahiti.
Insider tip: To speed up the carrying out of tests at the Covid testing center of Tahiti Faa’a airport, passengers departing for the United States, can now pre-register and pay for their test two days before departure. This will allow passengers to avoid red tape and access the airport’s screening centre as soon as they arrive through a priority line.
Click here for more details on how to schedule your appointment.
Both tourists and local residents wear masks while indoors, but outside, it’s much more relaxed. When you’re wandering around your resort, or sitting by the pool, you don’t have to wear a mask. If you’re on a tour with another couple, then it’s just common courtesy to wear your mask then.
But Tahiti was practicing social distancing even before COVID-19. It’s remote, most resorts only have spread-out bungalows, and there aren’t big crowds, making it an ideal spot for a Tahiti honeymoon.
Spending a day in Tahiti
Most couples on their honeymoon in French Polynesia only spend one night in Tahiti before traveling to Moorea or Bora Bora. Denise recommends at least one day on the island, either at the beginning or end of your stay in French Polynesia.
It’s a great introduction to Polynesian culture. Hiking in the waterfall-lined Papenoo Valley is breathtaking. And there’s ample food and shopping to be had.
Two things in particular she suggests for shopping and food:
- The marketplace with its ample opportunities for gifts for loved ones back home. Pearl necklaces can be found everywhere.
- Denise went one step further and had a necklace custom-made to her specifications, choosing each individual pearl, the type of string, and how it was to be strung.
- The Roulottes, a plaza where 12-15 food trucks gather every night at 5:30. They’re not just serving local food, either. Burgers, steak frites, and chow mein are on the menu.
- Denise particularly recommends the savory or sweet French crepes.
- For safety, the tables are spaced far apart, and there are dedicated people cleaning and sanitizing tables when diners vacate.
Taking the 35-40 minute ferry ride from Tahiti is the best way to get to Moorea. You could fly, but with an eight minute flight, you’d spend more time waiting in the airport! The ferry runs throughout the day. The air conditioned inside is nice, but the views of the green, mountainous Moorea from the upper deck can’t be beat.
The ferry makes port on the east side of Moorea, closest to the Sofitel resort. The Manava is next after the Sofitel. The Hilton is more in the middle.
The ferry that leaves from Papette and Moorea.
The 4×4 tour
One of my cute honeymoon couples, Joe & Vanessa, on the ATV tour.
The most popular Tahiti honeymoon activity on Moorea is the 4×4 tour of the island. The pineapple plantation and juice factory are fun stops. You can enjoy the freshest pineapple you can imagine, then purchase pineapple preserves and smoothies.
The lookout points you’ll stop at will provide breath-taking views of the island and its lagoons. While you can make an entire day of it, you’ll be more than happy with a 2½ to 3½ hour trip.
The view at the top of the mountain!
The lagoon tour
Another amazing tour is the lagoon tour. Once you’ve seen Moorea from the 4×4, you think you’ve seen Moorea. But you haven’t seen Moorea until you’ve seen it from the sea.
The lagoon tour makes several stops around the island. You can swim with Blackfin sharks and stingrays. Coco Island is a great opportunity for lunch along the way.
From late July to early November, you can go snorkeling with humpback whales. Just off the coast of Moorea, mother humpbacks take their calves out to learn how to navigate in deeper water. The boats have to stay a certain distance away, but you can snorkel closer for this not-to-be-missed sight.
Sunset at Intercontinental Thalasso
When you fly into Bora Bora on your Tahiti honeymoon, you’ll be met by your resort’s boat, be given a flower lei, and be whisked away by boat to the property. Only one resort, the InterContinental, has a location on the main island. The rest are on motu – the islets that surround the main island of Bora Bora.
Arriving in Bora Bora awaiting your boat transfer to your resort.
Since Bora Bora has only 12 square miles of land, there are far more water activities. Kayaking, jet skiing, paddleboarding, canoeing, and snorkeling are all popular around the island.
Bora Bora’s lagoon tour is different from Moorea’s. Bora Bora has a single iconic mountain, Mount Otemanu. It changes personality depending what part of the lagoon you’re looking at it from.
You’ll see a wide range of fish, sharks, and rays, especially around the coral gardens. In some places you can touch the ground; in others you’re in deeper water. Life jackets are available for anyone who wants one.
But there’s one new land activity that’s become quite popular: an ATV tour that takes you up into the mountains of Bora Bora. Fair warning, you will go off-road, and you will get dirty.
The famous Bloody Mary’s restaurant is closed as of this writing, but when they reopen, they’re a can’t miss destination. They’re open for lunch and dinner, and you’ll need to make a reservation. Check their website to see when they open back up and running.
You should also check out Lucky House for their amazing pizza. It’s a favorite of the locals, but a few tourists are finding their way there.
And wherever you go to eat, try the Tahitian national dish, poisson cru – locals eat this fish dish with lime juice and coconut milk for any meal of the day.
Boat transfers around the islands are expensive, so if you want more freedom, stay at the InterContinental Le Moana on the main island. This is the place to spend your money on an overwater bungalow to relax in. Make sure you see a Polynesian show while you’re on your honeymoon in French Polynesia.
How much does this amazing trip cost?
For your 10 night honeymoon in French Polynesia, you’ll want to budget around $10,000. That’s for one night in Tahiti, four nights in Moorea, four nights in Bora Bora, and one last night in Tahiti before flying home.
At the Pearl Resorts – kids are free (12 and under eat free).
With Air Tahiti Nui – kids fly free (under 12).
Resorts are offering specials right now, which is unheard of. Some are offering up to 40% off on their stays, Denise is shocked to see it. If you stay within the same resort brand, you can save more on combo rates.
All-inclusive, half-board, or just breakfast
To save on costs, include as many meals as possible. Every resort includes breakfast. Some do breakfast and lunch, others do lunch and dinner. The Brando is the only resort that is all-inclusive.
A hidden geM
One of Denise’s favorite things is the Moorea Hilton’s overwater creperie and champagne bar over the water, in the middle of the pontoons, in the center of several bungalows. Can you imagine an afternoon snack of a perfect Nutella crepe and a flute of Dom Perignon? Plus at night the lagoon is lit up so you can view the sharks and fish swimming around at night.
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