Blog repost from Lee Abbamonte
Article by Lee Abbamonte
November 03, 2017
2 days in Taha'a
French Polynesia is so beautiful. It really is. Everyone has heard of Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora but there are so many other beautiful islands with amazing hotels as well. Taha’a is certainly one of those islands. I didn’t know much about Taha’a before this trip. In fact, it doesn’t even have an airport, you have to fly into Raiatea and grab a boat. But Taha’a punches above its weight. I loved my 2 days in Taha’a.
After arriving at Raiatea airport from Papeete, it’s a 35-minute boat ride to the Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa. It is certainly one of the top hotels in French Polynesia and would fit right in along the lagoon on Bora Bora. Le Taha’a is on its own little island atoll about a 10-minute free boat shuttle away from the main island of Taha’a.
I arrived around 7pm so my first night I just relaxed and grabbed a fantastic dinner at Le Vanille restaurant at the Le Taha’a Island Resort. There are 3 restaurants on property and Le Vanille has the largest selection of foods and everything I had was excellent. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I ate there twice. They have some excellent risotto, carpaccio, tartare and steak dishes. Plus the tomato and mozzarella salad was fantastic.
I stayed in a gorgeous overwater bungalow. Just like the ones you dream about. It was divine and just what you’d expect from a resort of the quality of Le Taha’a. In particular, I loved the bathroom, specifically the tub. Now I didn’t actually use it but if I did, that’s the kind of tub I would want to bathe in! That said, the bed was very comfortable and the pillows the perfect softness.
Outside on the deck there is a great view of other bungalows and a delightful sunset view. Plus you have an outdoor shower and a private ladder into the lagoon. That is a great way to wake up in the morning with a swim just below where you’re staying. Bungalow life is pretty cool!
After breakfast on the second of my 2 days in Taha’a I did a full day tour. I’m normally a little apprehensive about tours like this because they’re often geared toward shopping and souvenirs and I don’t shop nor buy souvenirs. But, it included a lagoon tour, swimming with sharks, snorkeling and a private island lunch. I was sold and it didn’t disappoint.
The weather during my stay was not great for most of my 2 days in Taha’a. This was true the morning of the tour. Luckily we started out doing some tour things inside like a tour of a local rum factory, a visit to a vanilla farm (Taha’a is very famous for vanilla), and a visit to a pearl farm.
I’m not usually a fan of things like these because I’ve done similar things in other places and once you’ve seen one distillery, you’ve kind of seen them all. But I did enjoy the pearl farm. I had previously visited one in Mangareva during my last visit back in 2012 before my expedition to Pitcairn Island. In the Gambier Archipelago they are famous for pearls so it was cool to see.
On Taha’a it was interesting to see a different set-up and a refresher course on how they do it. There is such detail and time involved. I wouldn’t personally have the patience for it but it’s a lucrative business and fascinating to watch the process. Of course you can buy pearls as well if you want.
Then the lagoon tour started and the sun came out just like my guide and driver from Teranui Tours said it would. Cruising around French Polynesia lagoons in a boat is the stuff dreams are made of. This is why you come to French Polynesia and a place like Taha’a. It is spectacular.
The water color of the lagoon is varied and dramatic. When the sun shines, the water can be anywhere from crystal clear to aqua to the deepest blue or green you’ve ever seen. Also, the lagoons are havens for snorkeling and swimming with amazing fish, sharks and rays.
Honestly, I could do this type of snorkeling forever. It’s amazing to just float around and dozens of big sharks come right up and around you. The bright colored fish are a great foreground to the lovely coral gardens behind. I loved every second of it.
For lunch, the tour brought us to a private island with a stunning beach and swaying palm trees. It’s the South Pacific paradise you dream about. Lunch itself was good but strolling around the island was tops.
After lunch it’s a scenic ride past small island atolls and more of the amazing water. I could honestly just stare forever. It’s moments like that where you realize how fortunate you are to be in a place this special.
I love French Polynesia and I loved my 2 days in Taha’a. Between a fabulous resort and amazing scenery, that’s what you want in a French Polynesian island experience. Taha’a feels more authentic than some other islands I’ve been to and I will forever have fond memories of my 2 days in Taha’a.
Disclaimer: I was hosted by Tahiti Tourism for my trip to Taha’a. Everything here was written by me based on my experience and has not been influenced in any way.
See the whole article here.