Blog repost from reneeroaming.com
Blog post by Renee Roaming
The islands of Tahiti: finding paradise in Moorea, Taha'a, and Raiatea
I just returned home from a 12 day trip exploring The Islands of Tahiti and let me tell you… they are the epitome of PARADISE! I’m talking white sand beaches, crystal clear blue water, epic mountains, lush forests, delicious food, and the kindest locals.
In this blog post I am sharing what we got up to during the first part of our trip, specifically on the islands of Mo’orea, Taha’a, and Raiatea. Don’t forget to also check out my French Polynesia packing guide and my post specifically on our week-long stay on Bora Bora.
This trip was in collaboration with Tahiti Tourisme North America for their Pick Your Paradise campaign. They have made it really easy to choose adventures focused on your preferred style of travel – click here to unlock your own custom itinerary for exploring The Islands of Tahiti!
Located in the Pacific Ocean, The Islands of Tahiti are home to the most idyllic island paradise imaginable. I am kind of embarrassed to admit that prior to this trip I had no idea that French Polynesia is made up of 118 islands. In fact, I had only really heard of Bora Bora and knew little about the other islands. So if you’re a newbie like I was, here are some quick stats!
Country: French Polynesia (also referred to as The Islands of Tahiti)
Location: South Pacific Ocean, halfway between California and Australia
Climate: tropical with an average ambient temperature of 27°C (80°F)
Peak Season: May – November
Size: 4,167 sq km (1,609 sq miles)
Languages: Tahitian and French
Currency: CFP franc
DAY 1: ARRIVAL & TOUR RAIATEA
Our trip began in San Francisco when we boarded a flight to Fa’a’ā International Airport, on the island of Tahiti. We flew direct from the US with FrenchBee, a low-cost French airline that flies between Paris and Tahiti 2-3 times each week (with a stopover in San Francisco). This was a small group trip consisting of some new and old friends (plus my hubby!) You can check out everyone’s work here: Garrett King, Cas Sheridan, Slater Trout, Matthew Hahnel.
We arrived in Tahiti at 5 am, quickly freshened up and boarded another flight to the island of Raiatea. Our flight had a short stopover at Huahine Airport, a total travel time of about 1 hour, and some beautiful window views! (Tip – always get the window seat for any flight taken in French Polynesia!)
Previously named Havai’i, the island of Raiatea means “faraway heaven” and is considered the homeland of ancient Polynesians. From here it is said that in 1000 AD Polynesians ventured in outrigger canoes to places like Hawaii and New Zealand, with Raiatea now recognized as one of the most sacred places in all of The Islands of Tahiti.
We took a half day tour of Raiatea with Tahiarii Pariente from Polynesian Escape, including touring cultural sites and learning about Polynesian voyaging. Lunch this first day was at Fish & Blue, a beachside restaurant serving a combination of delicious local and French flavors.
After exploring Raiatea, we caught a boat from the north part of the island over to Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa. Situated on a private island, Le Taha’a is a 5-star property home to some of the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen. This was also our first time staying in an overwater bungalow and the whole experience was truly amazing. After shooting sunset that evening we all jumped into the warm ocean and swam beneath the stars. There is minimal light pollution out at Le Taha’a so we were treated to some epic Milky Way views… such a magical sight!
Sadly we dropped our camera’s memory card in the ocean at the end of day 1 and subsequently lost all of our photos from Raiatea… That’s the first time something like that has ever happened to us and naturally we were pretty bummed out about it! We did however manage to savor some photos from Le Taha’a and figure it’s now just a good excuse to return to Raiatea someday 😉
DAY 2: SCENIC FLIGHT & EXPLORE TAHA’A
Day 2 exploring The Islands of Tahiti was EPIC! It all started with a canoe breakfast delivered to our bungalow by the lovely staff at Le Taha’a Island Resort. Jean, one of the staff, even offered to take us around for a little paddle before leaving. What a surreal start to our day! To top it all off, we were treated to views of the most incredible double rainbow over the Pacific Ocean… (yes, we were definitely pinching ourselves!)
See the whole article here.
After breakfast we straight away headed on a seaplane excursion with Tahiti Air Charter. This wasn’t my first time encountering views from a seaplane, but flying in the tropics was a whole different experience to the flights I’ve taken in places like Alaska! We flew over Raiatea, Tupai, and Bora Bora, which were all out-of-this-world beautiful. My favorite part was probably seeing Bora Bora’s famous Mount Otemanu from the air, which got us all very excited to visit the island a few days later!
Our next adventure for the day was exploring the island of Taha’a with Terainui Tours. We visited a local vanilla farm, rum factory, and a family-run pearl farm. It was fascinating to learn about the island’s natural resources and see first-hand what beautiful exports Taha’a is producing. Before this tour I had NO idea there was such a in-depth process to pearl farming!
We ended the day with a paddle around the crystal clear waters of Le Taha’a, with Garrett helping Matt and I capture some fun aerial shots. Oh, and we couldn’t help ourselves but have another night time swim under the stars! It’s always fun being in the Southern Hemisphere and spotting the Southern Cross, a constellation I grew familiar with as a kid in Australia.