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Thinking of visiting Tahiti

DaveNV

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It's always been a bucket list thing for me, and as my retirement rapidly approaches (FINALLY!!!), I'm looking into planning a trip to Tahiti within the next year or two. For those who have been there, what do you recommend as the best way to plan a vacation there? Did you start with airfare choices, and then look for a place to stay, or the other way around? Did you travel among the various islands, or stay in the same place the whole time? Do you have a recommendation on a place to stay? This could be either timeshare or hotel - it's much more about the location than where I sleep, although the trip MUST include at least a few nights in an overwater bungalow.

Anybody have experienced advice?

Dave
 
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RNCollins

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Hi Dave,

I can’t give you any advice about Tahiti, but if you are interested in sailing on a catamaran Tradewinds offers sailings for French Polynesia, Fiji and Tonga.
 

DaveNV

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Hi Dave,

I can’t give you any advice about Tahiti, but if you are interested in sailing on a catamaran Tradewinds offers sailings for French Polynesia, Fiji and Tonga.


I'd love to do something like that. I'll add that to my list. Thanks! :)

Dave
 

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heathpack

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A cruise is a good bet. Food and drink are so expensive that it makes sense to fix your costs somewhat. However excursions are a necessary expense if you do a cruise, since much beach access is privately controlled.
 

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DaveNV

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A cruise is a good bet. Food and drink are so expensive that it makes sense to fix your costs somewhat. However excursions are a necessary expense if you do a cruise, since much beach access is privately controlled.

Good to know. Thanks!

Dave
 

DaveNV

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Costco Travel offers several Travel Packages to Tahiti. Several are multi Island and at least one includes some time in a bungalow over the water.

I checked there earlier before starting this thread. I couldn't get firm pricing to come up. The one price I saw had to be booked by last month.

Dave
 

geist1223

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This is not "twisting numbers." This was simply to avoid creating two classes of members, in violation of California corporate law.

Cue: @ecwinch
I checked there earlier before starting this thread. I couldn't get firm pricing to come up. The one price I saw had to be booked by last month.

Dave

It looks like for a 7 to 9 day package from Seattle is about $4,000 per person.
 

Ken555

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I will also agree with using Costco Travel or American Express travel or even AAA travel to book this trip

Or...a proactive, responsible, and intelligent independent agent. Personally, I’m avoiding all the large agencies since I dislike the inherent bureaucracy.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

jkrich

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Dave

It's been a quite a few years since we went to French Polynesia, but our approach was to stay in an over water bungalow for three nights on Moorea take the ferry back to Tahiti and pick up a cruise to see more of the islands. Unless you are trying to get business class seats using air miles (which can be difficult for this destination) I'd plan the ground and cruise first and take care of the flights later. The other island that has a lot of over the water bungalow options is Bora Bora.

Our stay on Moorea was at the Pearl Resort based on our travel agent's recommendation. It's not the most luxurious resort on the island, but was very nice and a relatively reasonable value among prices for over the water bungalows that are uniformly unreasonable. As to the cruise, although Windstar is on the small side for us, it would be good to stay with a smaller cruise ship, less than 1000 passengers for sure. Although I'm sure there have been changes since we were there, some of the out islands would feel overrun with some of the larger cruise ships.

I hope it works out for you and you have a great time.

Jerry Rich
 

klpca

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We went last year and I highly recommend it. We did a Tradewinds sailing trip. We loved it but I think that you either love them or hate them. You can get a cheap week via RCI (I paid $350ish) then you also have an all-inclusive of about $2,500 per couple. We thought that it was worth every penny.

We started with three nights at the Intercontinental on Moorea, then ferried back to Papeete and flew to Raiatea to meet up with the catamaran. Our itinerary included 3ish days in Bora Bora, then sailed to Ta'aha Island for a few days, and finally back to Raiatea. We also spent one day on Tahiti Island before we flew home. (FYI, the residents refer to the collection of islands as "the archipelago". Tahiti is just one island in the archipelago. I had it all wrong in my head and thought that the collection of islands was called Tahiti). Tahiti was fine and there were nice things to see, but I wouldn't personally use it as a base - at least get to Moorea. I also heard that Huahine was nice but we ran out of time.

There used to be a timeshare on Moorea but it is now gone. If you want to do something timeshare related, Tradewinds is your only choice. We are planning on going back but won't be staying in a hotel next time but will look for an airbnb. While we had very nice service at the Intercontinental, the tourist vibe there was not my cup of tea. I observed a lot of entitled behavior plus everyone smoked everywhere at the resort. It was just like the old days. We enjoyed ourselves much more once we were off of the property, doing things on our own. Ymmv, of course, but the people are friendly and the islands are easy to navigate by car.

We booked everything on our own. Tradewinds first, then airfare.
 

CalGalTraveler

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We traveled to Tahiti in the late 1980s so I am sure things have changed a lot. We stayed on Moorea and Bora Bora which I highly recommend. Both islands were very different. We flew to each island. Papeete was much more commercial so don't recommend much time there. Scuba and snorkeling are a must.

Food is very expensive. I remember $18 hamburgers, and $50 breakfast buffets in the late 1980s. I shudder to think what it must cost now. Eat local fish and fruit. French influence significant with people carrying baguettes everywhere you go.

I am very tempted to return and try a Tradewinds cruise as our "overwater bungalow" because that's a killer deal and this would be a different way to explore the islands. @klpca was your boat air conditioned? If not, was it comfortable to sleep at night?
 
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klpca

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I traveled to Tahiti in the late 1980s so I am sure things have changed a lot. We stayed on Moorea and Bora Bora which I highly recommend. Both islands were very different. We flew to each island. Papeete was much more commercial so don't recommend much time there. Scuba and snorkeling are a must.

I am very tempted to return and try a Tradewinds cruise as our "overwater bungalow." @klpca was your boat air conditioned? If not, was it comfortable to sleep at night?
In French Polynesia all of the Tradewinds boats are luxury class with AC. We would have been fine though. It was early Nov and not that hot/humid. Most nights the fan was all we needed.
 

WinniWoman

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Wish I had been there, but can't help you. Sounds amazing! Good luck with your planning and your retirement!
 

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It's always been a bucket list thing for me, and as my retirement rapidly approaches (FINALLY!!!), I'm looking into planning a trip to Tahiti within the next year or two. For those who have been there, what do you recommend as the best way to plan a vacation there? Did you start with airfare choices, and then look for a place to stay, or the other way around? Did you travel among the various islands, or stay in the same place the whole time? Do you have a recommendation on a place to stay? This could be either timeshare or hotel - it's much more about the location than where I sleep, although the trip MUST include at least a few nights in an overwater bungalow.

Anybody have experienced advice?

Dave

Following. It's been on my bucket list too and I wouldn't know where to start.
 

natarajanv

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Last March there was an awesome sale for Tahiti , about $485 RT from the East coast. Once I booked the flight ticket, I checked to see whether Hilton Conrad Bora Bora and Hilton Moorea had any rooms for awards reservation. Luckily we found 2 nights at Bora Bora and 4 nights at Moorea available for Hilton Honors points. This trip was totally unplanned but all happened on a single day last March. I would recommend both the place.... At Moorea we paid an upgrade fee of $200/night to stay at the Overwater Bungalow. This was a July 4th week trip.


 
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turkel

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We traveled to Tahiti in the late 1980s so I am sure things have changed a lot. We stayed on Moorea and Bora Bora which I highly recommend. Both islands were very different. We flew to each island. Papeete was much more commercial so don't recommend much time there. Scuba and snorkeling are a must.

Food is very expensive. I remember $18 hamburgers, and $50 breakfast buffets in the late 1980s. I shudder to think what it must cost now. Eat local fish and fruit. French influence significant with people carrying baguettes everywhere you go.

I am very tempted to return and try a Tradewinds cruise as our "overwater bungalow" because that's a killer deal and this would be a different way to explore the islands. @klpca was your boat air conditioned? If not, was it comfortable to sleep at night?
We did the Tradewinds cruise just last August 19 and then spent 5 days at the Hilton on Moorea.

Tradeswinds does have AC......But it is up to the captain to run it. Our captain was beyond stingy. He only ran the AC at night when the first person went to bed. Think showering each night in a sauna. The AC also broke and we spent 1 sleepless night and then had to move to another boat. We did not have the normal crew. The base manager was our Captain.

The Hilton OTW bungalow was nice ish. The price outrageous. For the price I did expect the resort to be in better condition. If we ever return we would pick a less expensive option.

We got a great deal on airfare on Air France/Delta partner and we used Costco travel for the Hilton, inter island air fare and all our transfers. Definitely would recommend Costco, they made a complicated itinerary a breeze.

We stayed 1 night at a 3 star hotel on Raiatea called the Raiatea Lodge. We got 5 star treatment in a modest, clean, acceptable hotel. Which we preferred to the Hilton believe it or not. They had great snorkeling out in front of the hotel. We wished we had stayed 2 to 3 more days here.

We spent our last night on Tahiti at the Manueva. ( I think, I will have to check arranged by Costco) it was a dump, buggy, and just gross with bad food. We essentially just slept there before our flight. In hindsight we should have payed for the Intercontinental. It worked but we would not do it again.

Will we return? Not sure. It was gorgeous and definitely a bucket list item. The overall expense was 10 k for 2 people for 2 weeks. We discussed how we could have spent a month in Hawaii or St Martin for the $$ But we saw and did somethings we will never forgot. YMMV
 

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Agree with @geist1223 , @DazedandConfused & @turkel on the Costco travel recommendations, I went last year (2019) in January for my honeymoon! The whole trip cost me ~$6.5k (including flights which were ~$1300 for 2 on Air France) and we had 6 nights in Moorea at the Sofitel Moorea in a beautitful "luxury overwater bungalow" and 1 night in Papeete in a laggon view room (just a normal room) since our flight to return to the US required us to do this ($4.9k). Hotel included 2 meals per day (breakfast & dinner) and the package included transfers (catamaran) to Moorea and to PPT for the return. I highly highly HIGHLY recommend Costco travel! Their travel phone folks don't work on commission and are SUPER patient, not pushy, and super willing to look up whatever info you need!

On a (kinda) related note, the travel agent suggested I look at the Cook Islands also which would've been ~$2.5-$3k vs the $4.9k I paid for Tahiti... I have since met 2 separate people who have done Tahiti AND Cook Islands and both agree that Cook Islands is a "hidden treasure" and just as beautiful (if not more!) than Tahiti...

Have a blast planning your trip and come back to this post and let us know how it went!!!
 

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I do not have any experience with them, but Pleasant Holidays offers package deals to Tahiti, the Cook Islands and Fiji.
 

"Roger"

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I checked there earlier before starting this thread. I couldn't get firm pricing to come up. The one price I saw had to be booked by last month.

Dave
Haven't been there, but I talked to someone about two years ago who really encouraged a trip to this area. His firm recommendation was Bora Bora over Tahiti.

What surprised me in your response is that I have a number of times looked at the Costco (I think you are familiar with them:)) packages and have never had trouble seeing prices. Are you looking too far out? Their packages include both Tahiti and Bora Bora, but also airfare. If you look too far out, they can't give a price given the uncertainty at this time what they will be able to negotiate with the airline. Try some dates closer in to at least get a ballpark figure of what their packages will cost.
 

DaveNV

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Haven't been there, but I talked to someone about two years ago who really encouraged a trip to this area. His firm recommendation was Bora Bora over Tahiti.

What surprised me in your response is that I have a number of times looked at the Costco (I think you are familiar with them:)) packages and have never had trouble seeing prices. Are you looking too far out? Their packages include both Tahiti and Bora Bora, but also airfare. If you look too far out, they can't give a price given the uncertainty at this time what they will be able to negotiate with the airline. Try some dates closer in to at least get a ballpark figure of what their packages will cost.

I didn’t search Costco too deeply. I just remember seeing a quoted price there that said it had to be booked by December 19, 2019. I’ll check in more detail this weekend.

Dave
 

dmbrand

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The latest Windstar special has a Tahiti cruise in Jan 2021 that we are interested in booking. Cruise price is right, airfare from Chicago is good. Only thing holding me back is not knowing the weather in January. Does rainy season mean cloudy/rainy all day, or just brief showers that pass through on a daily basis? @Hobokie, you were there in January...would you go again in that month?
We sailed with Windstar, previously, on their smallest boat with 148 passengers, and loved it. The guests we met praised the Tahiti cruise so much that we want to experience it as well.
 
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