And now onto Tahiti…
Day 61: Onto Mama Paradise, continued
A short flight from Maupiti and now we were in Tahiti! We picked up our rental car, which poor Ben hated because it was a manual with a ‘shitty clutch’, and followed our Airbnb hosts to the studio apartment we were staying at. We originally wanted to stay right near/on the beach, but we ended up with a place way up on a hill and I think it was the better choice–it made for some sweet views. It was late in the day by the time we got settled in, so after sending Ben up the hill to get some basic groceries 😂, we opted for delivery for dinner…and on the tiny island of Tahiti, you don’t have many options so we went with Tour de Pizza. No pictures to share because we were too hungry to bother, but it was pretty delish and I’d fully recommend if you’re itching for pizza while in Tahiti.
Day 62: Livin’ that #islandlife
We decided to fully embrace our #islandlife for a day and do…nothing. We hadn’t done much pre-planning for Tahiti so we used the time to research the island a bit and figure out how best to spend our couple of days there–plus watch Harry Potter. (I had just finished re-reading the books, so OBVIOUSLY I had to re-watch the movies too.) For a change of scenery, I decided to head down to the apartment building’s pool and was thoroughly rewarded with one of the best views of my life:
We did some proper grocery shopping that night so we could cook some dinner, and I hit the mini-jackpot and found AMERICAN Doritos–meaning exported, probably through Hawaii. They were way too expensive but who cares…it was real Doritos! What a great day 😬
Day 63: A tour of Tahiti
We took the car for a driving tour of Tahiti, with the goal of hitting just some of the key beaches and sights since one day wasn’t enough to thoroughly cover everything and we couldn’t justify a second day (our rental didn’t have unlimited mileage 🙄, plus we were technically leaving late the next day). First up, Plage Lafayette. It’s one of Tahiti’s many black sand beaches, and we just made a quick stop for pictures:
Next stop was Plage de la Pointe Venus, where we decided to catch some rays and take a swim for a bit. I can normally tan for hours but a black sand beach makes that difficult–gets way too hot! Taking a dip in the water was perfect. It’s odd, because the water looks so dark and murky from afar, especially compared to the water in Bora Bora and Maupiti, but then you realize that it’s completely clear and it only looks dark because of the black sand! So amazing.
After drying off, we made our way to Arahoho Blowhole, the largest and most famous of various blowholes along the coast of Tahiti. The water conditions were great and she did not disappoint:
By this time we had worked up an appetite and were on the hunt for some lunch–what better place than McDonald’s?! 😂 Poor Ben has been roped into my international taste test, plus there weren’t many other options that appeared to be open as we drove along the highway, and without proper internet, it’s not like I could Yelp something else. Sacrifices must be made! I thoroughly enjoyed my chicken nuggets, and based on this picture, Ben enjoyed his food just fine too:
We didn’t have the time or mileage to make it around the entirety of Tahiti Iti (I kid you not, that little island nubbin’ coming off of the main island of Tahiti is called Tahiti Iti), but we did make a pit stop at Plage de Maui given its stellar reviews. I will admit that I was a bit underwhelmed because the beach was a bit small, but after sitting there for a little while, I did see the magic in it. It’s quaint and the water is shallow, allowing you to easily sit in the water while getting some sun and sipping on a cool drink–plus you can park your car right on the side of the road and play music to entertain the masses (this idea came from a couple who did just that). A cute little beach worth the stop, I’d say.
Next stop was the Water Gardens of Vaipahi. It’s home to many of Tahiti’s common trees, plants, and flowers–both native and introduced–and has some cute ponds and a lovely waterfall. My favorite part? A roaming chicken with her little chicks–I kept trying to chase them down so I could cuddle a chick but they were too quick for me 😭
Last stop was one of the public beaches on the west side of the island (I honestly don’t know the name because they all blend together and Google Maps was no help). It was a white sand beach and much busier than any other beach we’d been to that day, so clearly we found everyone’s favorite spot. It was big beach, but it had no shade (which is essential for Ben) and the sand was rockier than I’d like, so I wouldn’t mark it as a favorite, but it’s still a beach in Tahiti so…
An hour later we headed back to our Airbnb to cook some dinner and watch more HP 🙂
Day 64: More Tahiti exploring
We started our last day in Tahiti with a visit to the Tahiti Museum. Most of the exhibits were in French so I had to work at it a bit, but it was interesting to learn more about how these islands came to be. One terrible thing I learned? Eventually these islands will disappear underwater! Not because of global warming, but because of something to do with the Earth’s crust underneath them slowly sinking? I don’t know. It was in French, so I apologize for my tragic explanation. But still! That said, at the current rate of movement, the islands are not ‘scheduled’ to be fully underwater for like 3 million years, so global warming will get us all before then anyway.
Afterwards, we made our way to downtown Papeete to acquaint ourselves with the capital of French Polynesia. We grabbed lunch at Star Studio, more out of convenience than anything else. I got the lasagna, which was their special of the day, and I’m sad to report that it was highly subpar. I’m a purist when it comes to lasagna, and this was not a proper Italian lasagna. Lessons learned I suppose.
Eventually we made our way to the Tahiti Pearl Market, as everyone says that you can’t leave French Polynesia without a Tahitian pearl. They definitely weren’t cheap, but you can pick a pearl of your choice (size, color, shape) and a setting, and they were patient with me throughout the process. I don’t have a chain for it yet (figured that would be cheaper and easier at home), but I’m looking forward to wearing it!
We headed back home to pack up our things and check out of our Airbnb–thankfully they were gracious enough to allow for a 6pm check-out given our 2:30am flight 😳 We eventually made our way to Restaurant Le Coco’s for a way-too-fancy dinner. We didn’t quite mean to have such a fancy meal–I mean I was wearing leggings so clearly I was unprepared–but it was one of the few places that was open, with good reviews, and near the airport. They offer 3 pre-fixe menu options–3 courses, 5 courses, and 7 courses. We opted for the 3 courses because 1) it was already too expensive and 2) the additional courses were basically all seafood so that counted me out anyway. Somehow we only took pictures of Ben’s drink, the fancy butter, and our desserts 😂
Despite a very leisurely dinner, we got to the airport like 5 hours before our departure time and ended up having to sit around in the sad little airport cafe for two hours before they would even open the check-in counters for us. Then, after checking in, we had to wait around in line for another hour before they opened up security so we could get through to the airport lounge (access via Priority Pass). Needless to say, my prior thoughts on the Tahiti airport stand…it’s a bit tragic.
The lounge wasn’t anything fancy but it had wifi and free booze, which I very much needed after 3 hours of slowly going crazy while waiting. Our flight out of Tahiti was on Air New Zealand (we had booked a roundtrip from Auckland since we had to go through there anyway to get to Fiji, our next stop), but this time we had booked economy plus with the hopes that the extra space would allow us to sleep properly (or as properly as you can in an airplane) given that it was a red-eye flight. The seat was quite good for economy plus, my only complaint was about the meal service. Given a 2:30am departure, you’d think they’d let you pass out right away and serve breakfast in the morning but no…they serve breakfast after take-off…at like 3:30am. Strangest thing of my life, and pretty stupid honestly. I just got some fruit and cereal to calm down my tummy before passing out. When we woke up, we had time traveled again back into the future 😂
More on our travels to and time in Fiji, next time!