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Travel Tips Not In Your Average Guidebook

French Polynesia- 11 Unique Travel Tips

Written By: Tonya - Feb• 24•11

Ahhhhh, Tahiti. The word alone conjures up all sorts of amazing images… deserted beaches, clear turquoise water, colorful fish, and lush forests. I was lucky enough to be able to visit this gem in the South Pacific about two years ago, and the islands of French Polynesia have left a lasting impression on my brain. So for all of you out there who are thinking of visiting Tahiti one day, I thought I would make a little list of tips from my trip, that may help you on yours….

  • Consider taking a cruise– This is actually what we did in Tahiti. All of the islands are different and beautiful in their own way and definitely worth seeing, and a cruise was really the best way to hop from island to island. I am normally not a cruise girl for a couple reasons, one, I get motion sickness (no fun!) and two, I find them to be a little cheesy sometimes…but because of the closeness of the islands, there is very little rocking of the boat, and the Paul Gauguin cruise was absolutely perfect for this trip! So if you are wondering what the best way is to see the most of French Polynesia, I would highly recommend looking into this.
  • Raddison Resort- Tahiti is far. (especially from Germany) So for jetlag purposes, you might want to relax on the island of Tahiti before jetting off to the other islands. For this I highly recommend the Raddison Resort. (pictured below) This hotel was amazing, and one of the cheaper ones actually on the island. (Not cheap by any standards, but for Tahiti we are talkin’). The rooms are beautiful and have balconies facing out toward the black sand beaches ( view pictured below). Also, if you stay here, be sure and have the coffee. I know it may sound like a strange thing to recommend, but they really had the best coffee I’ve ever had. Ever.
  • Take a Truck Tour on the Island of Tahiti- We did a few truck tours on our trip, but my favorite was on the Big Island of Tahiti. There were a few waterfalls and incredible green, lush landscape. The roads leading into the center are pretty bumpy but make for a fun ride, and while Tahiti has no known poisonous snakes or spiders, they have mosquito’s!  Our guide seemed to be immune to them, I think they might have a taste for tourist blood…so maybe put on some repellent before ;)
  • Watch a sunrise- While the sunsets in Tahiti were some of the most amazing I have seen in the world, the sunrises were equally as beautiful, only quieter. I am not going to lie, I am not an early bird, but I did make the effort to get up and see a sunrise in Moorea and I was very happy I did. There was hardly anyone around and something about seeing the sun come up is a very calming way to start your day.
  • Eat Poisson Cru- This is a typical Tahitian dish made from raw fish (usually tuna) , lime juice, and coconut milk. You can get it almost everywhere and it is really really good. My husband was hesitant, but loved it as well once he tried it.
  • Visit a Motu- (pictured above) Motu’s are tiny islands around the big islands of French Polynesia. Bora Bora has the most I believe. If you really want to get the deserted island experience, take a trip to one and spend the day snorkeling and relaxing on your own little bit of paradise!
  • Snorkel in Bora Bora- Or do something that involves being in the water. The water around Bora Bora is the bluest and clearest water I have ever seen in my life. So do yourself a favor and if you are on this island snorkel in the real life aquarium that they call their ocean and you will be happy you did. (pictured below)
  • Learn a few Tahitian wordsI was happy to see when we visited Tahiti and her surrounding islands that the locals were extremely friendly. Even people on the street wave to you, “Nana!”. It was nice to learn a few easy phrases while we were there, and the people really seem to appreciate that you try to understand a tiny piece of their 11 letter alphabet! Click the link before to learn a couple of sayings before you go.
  • Visit a local Supermarket- Ok, this may sound like a strange suggestion, but it’s something I always do when I’m in a new place. I somehow find it fascinating, and Tahiti was no let down. Not so much were the products as interesting, as they get many of their goods shipped in from the US, but it was the store workers that made my day. Just goes to show you that the Tahitians don’t take anything too seriously when you see the store manager stocking the shelves in his underwear. Awesome.
  • Learn to wear a Pareo- These beautiful wraps are hand painted in Tahiti and the women of the islands know how to tie them in a million different ways. I was shown about twenty different ways and I remember about 5. But I look mighty good when I put one on, and so does every other women I think. They are colorful and comfortable and thats hard to beat!
  • Parasail in Moorea- Ok, you could parasail over any of the islands and it would be amazing, but we did it in Moorea and I found the view of this particular island breathtaking. The bays and mountains together with the blue water surrounding the island is absolutely unforgettable. Just be sure and bring your camera up with you, because you won’t want to miss these shots!

So are you ready to go yet? It is by far one of the most beautiful places on earth, and no matter what you do here you will most likely have the trip of a lifetime. I hope if you are planning a trip I could be of a little help in advising. I personally can’t wait to get back there one day!

So until next time…Nana!

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  1. Jan says:

    OMG!! Brought tears of joy to my eyes. WOW, what else can I say. I want to go back.

  2. Katherina says:

    Wow….how beautiful pictures! Tahiti really is like paradise. I keep on trying to convince people to come go with me, but no success so far! By the way, the Poisson Cru sounds delicious!

  3. Elmar Haker says:

    Thanks for this useful post! Especially the Pareo’s seem interesting. Can’t wait to be there!

  4. Great Websie…

    I loved this good post I saw today….

  5. JoAnne says:

    Thanks for all this great info. We are planning a long trip that starts in Tahiti and this was very helpful. I hadn’t thought of a cruise. I also always go to the local grocery stores on our travels, they are such a great snapshot of every day life. Happy travels!

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