Ia Orana! (yo-rah-nah) That’s Howdy in Polynesian. French is the official language in French Polynesia, however everyone likes to say Ia Orana. Mrs. RB40 loved listening to all of the folks round us talking French. She mentioned it’s such a fairly language. Visiting Tahiti and Moorea was attention-grabbing. French vacationers enormously outnumber all different nationalities. We heard French continuously. I’ve by no means seen so many French folks and baguettes. I assume it’s a simple vacation spot for them to go to, type of like Hawaii for Individuals.

Mmm… I miss Tahiti already. It was so enjoyable there. The climate was excellent from Christmas to New Yr. It was principally sunny and the temperature hovered round 80 levels. We had a couple of showers, however they handed shortly. Earlier than we left, I used to be nervous as a result of the forecast predicted rain for the entire week. However the rain was principally confined to the height (middle of the island). We spent most of our journey on the coast. In distinction, we’re having a uncommon snowstorm in Portland. It’s 19 levels and snowing this weekend. I’m glad we saved up some vitamin D whereas we may.

Our journey was a ton of enjoyable, however we additionally had a couple of issues as a result of I didn’t plan the journey that effectively. We hardly ever journey throughout Christmas trip as a result of the airports are too busy. Nonetheless, I turned 50 final 12 months and needed to rejoice it by going someplace memorable. It was a spur-of-the-moment resolution to go to Tahiti and Moorea. In hindsight, I most likely ought to have paid a bit extra and gotten some type of packaged journey. However we all the time traveled independently so I didn’t even think about that choice. Immediately, I’ll share what we did proper and what went flawed.


Was communication an issue? French was the official language and the one phrase we knew was Bonjour. Luckily, nearly everybody within the tourism trade speaks some English. Even after we went to a neighborhood restaurant, one of many waitresses spoke a little bit English. We didn’t have any drawback in any respect.

Flight: $4,050

I booked the flights in October. We flew out on December twenty fifth and returned on January 1st. The flight to Tahiti was nice. We had a 3-hour layover at LAX, however the worldwide terminal was nice. The airports had been very quiet on Christmas day. There have been a couple of empty seats on the Tahiti flight and a few folks had been in a position to stretch out. We arrived in Faa’a at 11 pm and bought by immigration fairly shortly. I booked a rental automotive on the airport forward of time to make life simpler. The drive to Papeete (the capital of French Polynesia) was straightforward and we arrived at our pension round midnight. The employees was ready for us and we checked in with none points. This primary a part of the journey was smoother than I anticipated. Most vacationers had resort pickups or had been ready for a taxi after we left the airport.

The return flight was extra problematic. Our flight out was at midnight on New Yr’s. I’ll discuss extra about this later. We arrived at LAX round 10 am. The large problem was the 8-hour layover. Luckily, Mrs. RB40 was in a position to transfer us to an earlier flight and decreased the layover time to only 3 hours. We paid $50 every for that association and it was completely price it.

We paid $1,300 every for the round-trip flight to Tahiti. So $1,350 every with the flight change. I believe the flight tickets had been very costly, nevertheless it was most likely regular for 2023.

Rental automotive and fuel: $650

I booked a tiny Kia Picanto with Hertz on the Faa’a airport. From what I learn, it may be troublesome to guide an computerized transmission automobile so plan forward for those who want one. I can drive a stick shift, however I’m not very assured with it in difficult conditions. I deliberate to drive up a steep street to a Belvedere (viewpoint) and didn’t wish to stall out on a steep one-lane street. Additionally, I took the rental automotive on a ferry from Tahiti to Moorea. The ferry was comparatively small and required cautious maneuvering. Anyway, I bought an computerized transmission to make life simpler for myself.

Rental automobiles are fairly costly in Tahiti and much more so in Moorea. We paid $600 for 7 days for this tiny Picanto. It took us the place we needed so it labored out fairly effectively. We packed gentle so the automotive was simply large enough.

Driving in Tahiti was nice. The principle roads had been nice they usually drove on the precise. The one adjustment I needed to make was for the roundabouts. The visitors was gentle so negotiating the roundabouts was straightforward. We didn’t go off the paved street in Tahiti.

On Moorea, the ring street was excellent as effectively. Nonetheless, the dust street to our rental wasn’t maintained as effectively. There have been some very bumpy patches, however our little Kia bought by it.

Renting a automotive was costly in Tahiti, nevertheless it was completely price it. We loved having a rental automotive. It gave us the liberty to discover. Gasoline was $50.

Ferry: $155

Moorea is the closest island to Tahiti. You possibly can fly there or take a ferry like we did. The ferry trip took about half-hour, however the automotive tickets can promote out shortly. It’s simpler for those who stroll on. There have been loads of empty seats for passengers.

There are two principal ferry firms, Aremiti and Terevau. Aremiti has larger ships, however the automotive ferry tickets had been dearer. I believe it was round $80 every method. Terevau is cheaper ($50 every method), however their ships had been smaller. You possibly can solely match about 9 automobiles in there. Therefore, Terevau bought out shortly. We dropped by the Ferry Terminal and booked the tickets a couple of days forward. Nonetheless, I ought to have booked on-line as a result of the ferry trip again from Moorea was nearly bought out. The one automotive ticket left was at 6 am or 8 am. It was New Yr and a Monday so perhaps that had one thing to do with it. I needed to return again to Tahiti at 4 pm. That method, we’ll have extra time on Moorea. Anyway, we got here again on the 8 am ferry on January 1st. Extra on this later.

The round-trip ticket for the automotive was $100. We additionally bought 2 grownup and 1 little one passenger tickets for $55.

Cellphone information: $17

I bought a sim card from Vodaphone in Papeete. It labored effectively all through the journey. Essentially the most helpful app was Google Maps. Having instructions to varied sights was nice. It was additionally useful for trying up which eating places to strive.

Pension on Tahiti: $530 for 4 nights

We stayed at Pension Pare Lodge Tahiti. It was a mattress and breakfast. We bought a room in the primary residence, however in addition they had standalone bungalows. That they had a pleasant small pool and good AC. We had an satisfying keep. They served scrumptious native fruits, baguettes and jams, tiny croissants, espresso, and juice for breakfast. The mango was superior. That they had 2 mango bushes loaded with fruit which had been completely ripe. Fruits within the US are usually not nearly as good as a result of they spend an excessive amount of time on delivery. The pool was nice, too. We normally get again to the pension round 3 pm and spent the remainder of the day lounging across the pool. The employees was very pleasant. Additionally they supplied 4×4 excursions and different actions.

I believe this was a good deal and we loved our 4-night keep. Most guests solely keep for one evening earlier than transferring on, although. The pool was nice for RB40Jr to follow snorkeling.

Bungalow on Moorea: $520 for 3 nights

I had a troublesome time discovering a midrange lodging on Moorea. There have been many costly resorts and several other low cost hostels, however I couldn’t discover a good midrange place for 3 folks. I settled on a 2 bed room bungalow close to the Tamae public seaside. This was a preferred native seaside and had a pleasant snorkeling space.

Our bungalow was good and clear. It appears prefer it was constructed just lately. The bedrooms had been an excellent dimension. They’ve a pleasant TV in the lounge with Netflix. My principal criticism is that they solely have one AC in one of many bedrooms. It might have been method higher to have 2 AC or one massive AC for the entire bungalow. We left that bed room door open and the AC needed to quiet down the entire bungalow. Many lodging on Moorea haven’t any AC so I assume we had been fortunate to have one.

This place was okay, however I used to be not impressed. I felt we paid a bit an excessive amount of for what we bought. I didn’t see something higher for below $200/evening, although. It was the New Yr’s weekend so that may have made it tougher to seek out lodging on Moorea. Additionally, the proprietor requested for a money cost. I withdrew some XPF from the ATM in Papeete so it wasn’t an enormous drawback. I heard the ATMs on Moorea aren’t very reliable.

Subsequent time, I might splurge a bit extra on lodging.

Meals: $500

Mockingly, meals was extra inexpensive in Tahiti than in Portland. We spent about $500 on meals on this journey. We didn’t go to any fancy eating places, although. We ate on the market, meals vehicles, native eating places, grocery shops, and at Burger King. The meals was good on the Island. Seafood was contemporary and cheaper than in Portland. We ate a ton of uncooked fish. Poisson cru au lait coco, marinated uncooked fish in coconut milk, is the nationwide dish of French Polynesia. Apparently, Chinese language meals may be very fashionable in Tahiti. Apparently, Chinese language males got here to work on the plantation within the late 19th century and lots of stayed.

Papeete market

Papeete Market was an ideal place to select up lunch earlier than heading out for sightseeing. We tried the $3 baguette sandwich. A small baguette was crammed with fries and a little bit strip of beef patty. Mrs. RB40 appreciated it, however I wasn’t impressed. It was an excessive amount of carb for me. The baos (Chinese language steam buns) and samosas had been scrumptious, although. I additionally tried a $7 hen rice bowl. That was good.

Chinese language meals

We heard the meals vehicles had been good in Tahiti so we visited a pod at Place Vai’ete close to the Ferry Terminal. There have been 4 meals vehicles there, three Chinese language and one crepe truck. They arrange round 6 pm. The Chinese language meals prices $15 to $25 for every dish. We ate at a Chinese language truck and it was good. The serving dimension was big. We ordered 3 dishes and couldn’t end it.

The dish on high was the Poisson Cru Chinese language fashion. Mrs. RB40 and Junior cherished this dish. It was candy and a little bit salty. The fish was very contemporary. Most eateries serve their model of Poisson Cru. It’s wonderful. We ate this dish nearly each day whereas we had been there.

Seaside meals shack in Moorea

I used to be on the lookout for lunch on Google Maps and located Snack Teanahei. It had 4.9 stars and it was wonderful. This was my favourite lunch spot on our journey. Take a look at this view!

The meals was wonderful too. We bought grilled fish with rice and Poisson Cru. Each had been glorious. You possibly can’t go flawed with fish in French Polynesia. The fish was not fishy in any respect. It was so contemporary. One other attention-grabbing factoid, a baguette got here with each meal. Surprisingly, this meal price simply $16! The portion dimension was big too. This was loads for the three of us.

Tama Hau Opunohu’s Bay restaurant

This was one other good lunch spot on Moorea.

I ordered the uncooked black pearl oysters marinated in lime juice and coconut. It was nice. These remind me of scallops relatively than oysters. I believe they solely used the abductor muscular tissues right here. This dish price $25.

Mrs. RB40 bought the fish burger. It was good too. This one was $16. We additionally bought smoothies to rejoice our final day on Moorea. These price $12 every.

Burger King…

Why the heck would anybody eat at Burger King in Tahiti? Nicely, it was January 1st and all the things was closed! The one restaurant open was Burger King and the road was out the door. The one different choice was a bar close to the Ferry Terminal, which was packed, too. Even the grocery shops had been closed. The one locations open had been fuel stations and their mini-marts. These had been cleaned out as effectively. We couldn’t discover a lot to eat there. We snapped up the final pack of cream-filled croissants, however that wasn’t sufficient so we gave in and joined the road at BK.

Umami burger: $63

Mockingly, the most costly meal we had was at Umami Burger in LAX. It was okay, however method overpriced. Not price it in any respect. $63 for 3 fundamental burgers. What a ripoff!

Grocery shops

We had a number of straightforward meals from the grocery shops. We bought a baguette, cheese, pate, wine, and snacks. On the Tahiti pension, we ate on the pool. In Moorea, we bought ravioli, cassoulet, cheese, and bread for dinner. We didn’t wish to drive on the darkish bumpy street when it was darkish. Additionally, Mrs. RB40 bought sick and he or she wanted further relaxation on the second half of the journey. The groceries weren’t tremendous costly. Most gadgets had been imported from France. Wine and cheese had been scrumptious and inexpensive. Fruit and veggies had been costly.

Tahiti Sightseeing

My plan for Tahiti was to drive across the island and cease at varied seashores and sights. Listed here are some sights we loved.

Arahoho Blowhole and Faarumai Waterfalls

The Arahoho blowhole was a neat cease. It’s an outdated lava tube that sprays water out… Okay, it doesn’t sound spectacular, nevertheless it was cooler in particular person. The Faarumai waterfall is only a brief drive away from the blowhole. That was very nice too. We additionally stopped to look at surfers at varied seashores alongside the drive from Papeete to the blowhole.

Belvedere de Taravao

One other day, we drove to discover Tahiti-Iti, the quieter facet of Tahiti. We drove up a small street to the Belvedere de Taravao. This viewpoint gave us an ideal view of Tahiti. The small paved street had some steep sections, however we made it as much as the highest. There have been loads of parking spots and several other picnic benches. We had a picnic lunch there and relaxed for a few hours. Mrs. RB40 determined to go for a hike on the arboretum there. Junior and I didn’t go as a result of we didn’t have the precise footwear. And we had been lazy…


This was the tip of the street in Tahiti-Iti. We walked to see the waves, however didn’t see any surfers out. I assume the situation wasn’t proper for large waves. They’ll maintain the Paris Olympics browsing competitors at Teahupo’o this summer season. The drive to Teahupo’o was very good, although. It was enjoyable and there wasn’t a lot visitors.

Museum of Tahiti and The Islands

The museum of Tahiti and The Islands was nice. We loved the reveals and studying extra in regards to the Polynesian tradition. It is a good cease in case you have time.

Grottes De Mara’a

It is a grotto that’s crammed with chilly water. Mrs. RB40 was adventurous and went for a dip. That was a foul resolution, although. She began to get sick from that time onward. The water was actually chilly.

Moorea Sightseeing

We had been extra relaxed on Moorea. We went snorkeling on the public seaside close to our bungalow and frolicked on the seaside for a lot of hours. We additionally drove across the island and stopped at varied seashores and viewpoints. It was a soothing time. Sadly, Mrs. RB40 was sick so she needed to take a relaxation within the afternoon. We had been all a little bit sunburnt by that time anyway. Moorea was lovely and extra laidback than Tahiti. I’m glad we visited.

That is the Sofitel close to our bungalow on Moorea. We didn’t keep right here, however we snorkeled on the similar seaside. The over-the-water bungalows price $1,150 per evening for 3 folks. Sometime…

Whole price: $6,441

Alright, right here is the whole – $6,441. I assume that isn’t too dangerous for 3 folks. We loved the journey tremendously and would love to go to once more sometime. We had a whole lot of enjoyable driving round. Subsequent time, I’ll splurge for a a lot nicer resort in Bora Bora. A bundle journey most likely can be higher for that event. This journey was an excellent introduction to French Polynesian. Hawaii is cheaper and simpler, although. If you happen to haven’t been to Hawaii, I might go to there first.

Have you ever been to Tahiti? Did you prefer it?

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Joe began Retire by 40 in 2010 to determine how one can retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved monetary independence and retired at 38.

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