French Polynesia

Unforgettable French Polynesia

Our one week in French Polynesia was our best winter escape ever! The weather was perfect; only rained one afternoon throughout the one week. I usually had no luck in terms of weather but this time was definitely the best to start a new year. Seeing the overwater bungalows on the cover of magazines was jaw-dropping gorgeous but being actually there was mind-blowing! There are places that I have visited that was below expectation but French Polynesia was definitely way above expectation (except for Vaitape, the main town in Bora Bora). I usually afraid going to a small island we will be trapped in the resort and bored by the 3rd day but ended up we spent the most time taking photos and videos that one week was not enough! Here is the video I put together of our unforgettable French Polynesia trip:

Background music: Maps – Maroon 5, the video is for sharing our vacation clips in French Polynesia purpose only, we do not make any profit from it and it’s not for promotional purpose 🙂

Summary of Expenses:

French Polynesia, especially Bora Bora, is known for being a luxury destination. I was well prepared for the expensive food but to be honest, it was not as outrageous as I thought it would be. Of course it was not reasonable but I looked at it as I pay for the ultimate view, here’s the summary of expenses – food and activites:

Hilton Moorea Lunch 5530 xpf
Hilton Moorea Crepe Bar Dinner 5280 xpf
Hilton Moorea Take Out Lunch 2290 xpf
4×4 Safari Tour Tour 5000 xpf per person
Le Sands at hotel Dinner 10000 xpf
Matira Snack Lunch 3600 xpf cash only
Bloody Mary’s Dinner 11850 xpf
Raanui Tours Lagoon Snorkeling + Motu Snorkeling + Lunch 12000 xpf per person cash only
Mai Kai Dinner 12000 xpf
Le Sands Lunch 6000 xpf
Le Reef at hotel – Polynesian Show Dinner 16000 xpf
Le Sands Lunch 6500 xpf


What would I definitely do again on the next trip back to French Polynesia?

  1. I would definitely revisit Moorea and Bora Bora!
  2. Definitely will stay at Hilton Moorea again because of free breakfast, beautiful grounds, and excellent snorkeling off our overwater bungalow.
  3. Will stay at Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort and Thalasso Spa again if we have points. If have to pay in full with cash then depending on the price but will stay at the motu for the view of the lagoon and mountain peak.
  4. Will travel in low season again to avoid the crowds, we really enjoyed the almost empty resort – great for photos without others getting into the picture!

What would I do differently on the next trip back to French Polynesia?

  1. Stay more than a week (two weeks if I can afford it haha), will get the BORA BORA-TUAMOTU PASS from Air Tahiti to visit more islands: Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Rangiroa, and Tikehau.
  2. Extra days in Moorea to visit the Lagoonarium, its town, and rent a car to drive around the island.
  3. Bring more long maxi dresses if Chikungunya is still an issue.
  4. I brought 1 bottle of insect repellent for the one week trip and definitely was not enough, thankfully we bought an extra bottle in Vaitape.
  5. At least two snorkeling tours in Bora Bora, I’ll not hesitate to join Raanui Tours again and will book Reef Discovery.
  6. No need to bring our own fins and life jacket since tours have them to save room for snacks and clothes.
  7. Better underwater camera for still photos, GoPro only good for videos.

27 thoughts on “Unforgettable French Polynesia

  1. That is a very nice video, and thank you so much for sharing 🙂 I would love to visit there. May I ask if you would recommend 5 nights at the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa? I have plenty of AA miles, and need to work on the Hilton. Thanks.

    1. Thank you! Are you only staying in Moorea and not other islands? 5 night is plenty of time in Moorea to explore the island and water activities! It needs at least 3 nights for sure!

      1. I have not thought about traveling to Tahiti since it seems so far away while Hawaii/Cancun is closer to California. After finding out about your site, reading your stories and seeing those stunning pictures, I would love to take my wife there. I would need to do more research for this trip (perhaps 2 nights Moorea and 3 nights Bora Bora). I already bookmarked your tips on planning your trip 🙂 We normally travel 1 week in every six months. I really enjoy reading your trip reports in the last couple of nights. Thanks again.

        1. Hi, thank you and glad you enjoyed reading my other trip reports as well. I usually need to travel once every 6 months or else my travel bug will bite me LOL! 3 nights in Bora Bora definitely not enough 😉 Since it’s far to get there, you already lose a day getting there and coming back out. I have been to Hawaii and Cancun and French Polynesia will totally blow your mind off, trust me!

  2. Hello, thank you so much for sharing this information with us! My fiancé and I are from NY and we re planning to do a 3 days in Moorea and 4-5 days in Bora Bora, we would like to know how much did you pay for the hotel approximately ? Thank you sonmuch again

    1. Hi! 3 days in Moorea sounds good, Bora Bora best to stay 5 days if you can. Moorea Hilton – we used points to redeem and then paid to upgrade to an overwater bungalow, it would’ve been almost $600 per night! Intercontinental Bora Bora Thalasso – we used points + $70 per night, it would’ve been almost $1000 per night! Depending on when are you going (high season or low season), prices can be vary. Also, big difference in prices if you book non-refundable or refundable, take that into consideration. When do you plan to go? Right now the strong US dollar saves quite a bit!

      1. I found your blog a few months ago and really enjoy reading about your travel experiences and love the photos. I’m currently reading about your London and Paris trips since I’m planning to go there in August with my family (if travel is safe). Also, I’m really interested in going to Bora Bora after reading about your successful trip. I’m just wondering how far ahead did you book the Intercontinental Bora Bora Thalasso hotels on points. I was looking earlier and found no availability on the IHG web site. Please give me any tips on finding reward nights at this hotel.

        1. I have heard that it’s harder to redeem points at Bora Bora Thalasso now since more people found out using points to book so I guess you’ll need to check everyday. I also heard that there’s a certain time in the day where they open up the inventory so it could possibly increase you chance to snap a room if you check daily. I booked one year in advanced and at that time was pretty good availability! You may also check the Bora Bora Thalasso forum at Flyer Talk: people who hold rooms post there when they are going to cancel the room so can others can coordinate if they are looking for a room.

  3. Since you live in Boston, and we live in Chicago, the dinner prices don’t seem so outrageous. High, of course, but not really different than going into the city on a Saturday night. We’re going in November for the first time and really appreciate your great pictures and tips. Now if I can only get my wife to take less shoes…

  4. Wow! What an awesome video, and thanks for sharing all of your stunning photos – they (and you) are always an inspiration. Starting to wonder if we are heading in the wrong direction this December, as we are off to the cold of UK and Europe! lol

    1. Thank you! I heard Christmas markets in Europe are fun and filled with holiday spirits; I would love to go to one some day 🙂 Hehe you can go some place warm in Feb, that’s the peak of winter than December!

  5. Nice to see the video! Wonderful pics, as usual! Because of this site, I have started to plan my vacay to Bora Bora in late Oct/early Nov. I am thinking 10 days 4 in Mooea, 6 in Bora Bora. Then thanks to Tripadvisor (love that site!) I am also planning to fly directly to Easter Island from Papeete. Can’t wait!

  6. Your video and tips are great, thank you! We are cruising to the South Pacific and will be overnight in both Bora Bora and Papeete and a short day in Moorea in April. With limited time what are the best activities. The cruise ship is our hotel, but should we stay overnight in an over the water bungalow anyway. It seems so idyllic! Should we rent a car or take guided tours. Thank you in advance for your advice.

    1. Must activity – snorkeling tour: the corals there are unbelievable and water is crystal clear! If you don’t mind paying extra for the overwater bungalow experience then yes, it’s unique to jump into the water right off your deck! Remember not much places in this world have overwater bungalow on such a beautiful lagoon! If you want to explore the island and with limited time, I would suggest taking a guided tours to make sure you will be back to the cruise ship on time. Enjoy!

    1. The footage were captured using the GoPro Hero 3+ and the Canon 6D DSLR camera with a stabilizer. Then, I processed the GoPro videos with the GoPro software and finally edited with Windows Movie Maker. Enjoy the 2 weeks of paradise in Moorea and Bora Bora!

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  8. Hi ,It is nice reading your post.
    I am planning a trip to bora bora this November with my wife and 4 year old son.
    Can you advise us which hotel to stay.(I read that children below 12 year old are not allow to stay in overwater bungalow.)
    We love snorkeling and would like to snorkel to our heart’s content.
    We will arrive on 19th Nov and depart on 25th early morning.(5 nights in bora bora and 1 night in Taihiti)
    Is it better if I ask to do all the arrangement for me instead of me doing it?
    Wondering will it be cheaper.

    1. Hello, yes children below 12 are not allowed to stay in overwater bungalow 🙁 Many hotels do have some inland villas for family with small children. Arrangement as in vacation packaging including flights, hotels, and transfers? Usually it’s cheaper to book things yourself but if you want to include breakfast and no hassle then a vacation package. You can ask in TripAdvisor forum for travel agent info.

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