Real Honeymoon: Tahiti

After a gorgeous wedding in Healdsburg last year, my friends Christin and Sam decided to wait a few months before going on their ultimate honeymoon in Tahiti. Worried that their photos wouldn’t do the islands enough justice, they also put their GoPro camera to good use and made a little highlights video that they could share with their friends and family. Check out the awesome video below (nice editing work, Christin!), as well as their thoughts on their amazing Tahitian honeymoon:

When and where did you honeymoon?

Tahiti (Moorea and Bora Bora) [January 2014].

Moorea honeymoon

How long was your trip?

9 fabulous days. 4 days in Moorea at the Sofitel Ia Ora Beach Resort and 5 days in Bora Bora at the Intercontinental Thallaso Resort and Spa.

bora bora hammock

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

Sam and I had quite the hectic engagement year (as do most couples), but to top it off we also did a cross-country move from San Francisco to Chicago. Needless to say we decided to postpone our honeymoon until after our June, 22nd wedding. Because Chicago is so gorgeous during the summer, we decided to schedule our trip for the dead of winter to escape the cold. Our ultimate goal was to have the most relaxing honeymoon in the most beautiful place we could find. Bora Bora is obviously one of the first destinations that came to mind.

A good friend of mine was planning her honeymoon around the same time and also looking at Bora Bora as a potential option. Fortunately for me she is much more of a planner and researcher than I am when it comes to travel, and she tipped me off to a great travel agency, Pacific for Less, who specializes in travel to Tahiti and Hawaii. I’ll share more about them later. Ultimately we decided on Bora Bora because of its reputation as one of the most beautiful honeymoon locations in the world, and we both agreed it was probably not a place we’d be going on family vacations ☺

tahiti beach

The best part about our honeymoon was…

There were so many incredible meals, excursions, and hotels but truly the best part was the location. The entire trip we kept looking at each other with that “is this real life?” look because it honestly felt like you were living a dream. At one point we met a cute Australian couple who was there with their 2 daughters (I suppose this rules out our rationale that Bora Bora is not a family destination). They had traveled to nearly every tropical destination in the world: Fiji, Maldives, Seychelle Islands, Bali, The Caribbean, Hawaii, Australia, and New Zealand. You name, it they had been there. We asked them which one was their favorite and without hesitation all four of them said Bora Bora. Between the crystal blue water, the amazing reef, and the over-water bungalows, Bora Bora took the cake for them. Perhaps they were just appeasing us or high on Bora Bora’s beauty, but regardless it made us feel great about our decision!

moorea view

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

Without a doubt we would not have planned on going during their rainy season (which is December – March). As much as we wanted to coordinate our trip around escaping our first Midwest winter, there is nothing as disappointing as rain in paradise (especially when you’re traveling that far). We were fortunate that our first 4 days in Moorea and the first day in Bora Bora were absolutely beautiful. The last 4 days in Bora Bora rained for the majority of the time. As with most tropical locations, it was still warm so it didn’t keep us from doing what we would have normally done, but if we had known we definitely would have booked prior to, or after, the rainy season.

tahiti paddle boarding

How much planning did you do in advance?

We started planning shortly after our wedding, so about five months’ worth. We used a travel agency, Pacific for Less who literally did everything for us so the planning process was really easy. We booked our flights from Chicago to LA, and they took care of the rest. Like I said, Sam and I are not planners when it comes to travel, so besides physically getting ourselves to our honeymoon (or at least hiring someone to get us there), we only planned one dinner reservation at Villa Mahana and a snorkeling excursion with the Sharks and Stingrays (see below). Everything else we scheduled once we got there.

tahiti honeymoon

  • I highly recommend dinner at Villa Mahana! It is the exclusive restaurant on the island, run by two French guys. There are only 7 tables which fill up fast so you’ll want to be sure to book your reservation in advance and ask for the VIP table that overlooks the property.
  • Also the Shark, Manta Ray and Sting Ray snorkeling excursion is a must do. I had been on several snorkeling excursions before but none quite like this one. Again because I’m not a planner, I did not fully realize what we were getting ourselves into. Our first stop was the Manta Rays. Unfortunately the water was murky and we couldn’t see them so we moved onto the next stop, which was the Reef Sharks and Sting Rays. When we got there, there were hundreds of Sharks and Sting Rays circling the boat. Somewhere along the line I had convinced myself that the Shark part of the excursion was just us viewing them from the boat. Oh no! You can imagine the shock that came over me when they told us we were jumping in. I think the fact that I didn’t have time to think about it was a good thing and with a little encouragement from my husband (and the fact that an 8 year old jumped in first) I took the plunge. I can confidently say it was one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done and when it came time to jump in with the Lemon Sharks (p.s. they were 3x the size of the Reef Sharks), I didn’t bat an eye.

sharks

What was your biggest honeymoon splurge?

Because of the rain the last couple days in Bora Bora we ended up buying a 3 day honeymoon spa package. I’m talking 3 days of massages, peels, body wraps, deep ocean water detoxification baths, you name it, we did it! Normally, I’m not one for spending too much time at the spa in tropical locations as I’d rather be outside enjoying the sun, but it was the perfect thing to do given the weather. The Spa at the Intercontinental Thallaso is Ah-MAZING! My favorite part was the glass floors in the massage lounge so you can watch the fish swimming underneath you as you’re getting your massage. Talk about relaxing!

sunset

Where do you want to go on your next big trip?

Sam and I have had our fair share of tropical vacations over the past couple of years, from Mexico (twice) to Hawaii, and capping it off with Bora Bora. We’re ready to hang up our swimsuits and do something a little more worldly. Sam had the fortune of living in Europe in his late twenties and travelled all over, but I on the other hand have only been to London and Spain, and am craving a serious dose of cultural exploration. We are talking about doing a European trip in August starting in England followed by France and Italy and if we have time Greece.

bungalows


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