French Polynesia, South Pacific

South Pacific Part 1: Tahiti

Traveling on Christmas Eve this time was much more smooth than previous years, thanks to no delays! We flew from Boston to LAX on AA and then LAX to PPT (Tahiti) on Air Tahiti Nui. The only thing I dislike was connecting at LAX, it required to walk out of the domestic terminal and then walk to the international terminal at like 80+ degree weather and had to go through security AGAIN! And what was more annoying was we were stopped at the escalator before going through security, the personnel there said we need to get new boarding passes…what?? We had to queue up at the Air Tahiti check-in desk and go through the same check-in process and was asked to provide proof of the outbound flight for leaving French Polynesia! I didn’t remember that we were asked to provide that on our last French Polynesia trip! I always carried a folder with all the flights, hotels, and activities confirmation printed so it came in handy! When you think that it’s the digital world where you get everything stored in your phone or laptop and there’s no need to print out any confirmation (and be green) well maybe not quite yet for traveling! We encountered the same request when entering Cook Islands as well!

Air Tahiti Nui was quite comfortable with economy seat!

And it was around 75% full so plenty of empty seats that people moved around and my brother got his own mini 2 seats row for himself!

Our 8 hours flight…

The food menu displayed on the entertainment system but it got changed to turkey and cranberry sauce since it was holiday…I was looking forward to the Asian-style chicken 🙁

Our 8 hours flight to Tahiti wasn’t too bad at all! We arrived around 9:30 pm on Christmas Eve. Due to the holiday, I was afraid that it’ll be hard to catch a taxi to the hotel at night so I pre-booked with Marama Tours for $50.84 for three of us one way.

Arrived at PPT airport with fresh lei, it smelled so good!

Intercontinental Tahiti is the closest resort hotel to the airport, it took us less than 10 minutes to get to the hotel. Upon check-in, we were given a free drink since we are IHG members and a free upgrade to an ocean view room yay!

The Christmas holiday feeling was getting to me 🙂

Our room for over the Christmas!

Our island style room with ocean view but it was so late at night that we couldn’t see much, will see tomorrow morning! The room could only occupy max 2 people and I contacted the hotel and they responded that have to pay extra to upgrade to a xxx room and additional fee for the 3rd person per night which came to be near the cost if we book another room at nonrefundable rate and so we did!

A letter from the hotel documenting all the activities going on during the holiday period:

Plus free macaroons as welcome gift and we got another two boxes during the turn down service; we got so much that we couldn’t even finish them all! We don’t like super sweet food so sorry macaroons that we wasted some!

We were so tired that we went right to sleep even though I have been sleeping on the flight. Good night, we finally arrived in Tahiti! The next morning the first thing I did was ran out to the balcony to see the ocean view! The coconut trees and the turquoise crystal clear water, tropical island vacation start now!

I couldn’t wait but to grab my camera and go out for photos while hubby still rolling around in the nice comfortable bed! I walked to the left side to the infinity pool and wow it was so pretty, especially without anyone there!

I continued walking along the way to the overwater bungalows!

They are a lot smaller than the ones we stayed at Moorea and Bora Bora 😛

I turned back and walked to the other side to the larger pool and the hotel lagoonarium…a lot of corals and colorful fishes there!

I walked back to the room to wake up hubby and my brother in the other room and we just made it on time for the Christmas performance at the Tahiti Buffet Brunch. You don’t need to pay for the buffet brunch (at 6,500 xpf that’s around $65 per person…a little bit pricey for brunch) to watch the performance. We walked in near the pool and knee down to watch the performance and took photos! It was a nice performance with some colorful outfit changes!

And lastly, the dancers invited guests to go up to the stage to dance haha!

After the performance, we walked around the resort for photos…it was Christmas Day and all the places were closed so we were “stuck” in the resort 🙂

It was getting a bit cloudy so the photos weren’t as paradise feel as they could be!


The resort is quite big and you can spend hours photographing since there are a lot of beautiful backdrops! I like this little motu, postcard perfect location for the Christmas card photo!

And I did made a lot of friends jealous by posting this photo with captain “Merry Christmas” hehe!

The birds in French Polynesia are different than the ones we see at home so I tried to get close to photograph this bird:

I took one step at a time to get nearer and nearer trying not to scare it away.

My brother from the balcony of his room!

The red flowers on that tree were pretty!

Instead of brunch, we went for the buffet lunch for 6,900 xpf (around $69) per person and plenty of food:

They even have roasted duck!

Christmas songs performed by the Sanito Marama Api which included kids; they were so cute singing Christmas songs in French!

The desserts were the best!

Especially that pink roll, we never tasted anything like that, it was so different and not too sweet! We couldn’t identify what flavor it was but it was so good! It was not a cake as it looked like but more like a mousse/pudding! Anyone know what it called (the yellow mousse with pink cream on top on the right side of the photo below…not to confuse with the green and pink roll)?

After the filling lunch, we went back to our room to rest before heading to the pool! I walked to the balcony of our room for more photos!

And went down to that hammock for photos hehe!

Time for the pool!

The infinity pool with the view of the overwater bungalows!


What a nice and relax way to spend the Christmas, we almost had the whole pool for ourselves 🙂 Last Christmas, we spent in Honolulu and the pool at the Sheraton Waikiki was so crowded nothing like this!

Right next to the pool, we noticed two bird nests there!

More photos (it was so hard to edit those photos when there was a snowstorm out)!


After some pool time, we headed back to our room to rest again….and I went out for sunset photos! It wasn’t a colorful sunset that I dreamed about photographing 🙁

For dinner, we decided to do the a la carte menu at the Tiare Restaurant to save some money for the rest of the trip. I ordered the steak sandwich which costed like $24 but it was huge!!!

Hubby and brother both ordered the fish and chips, it was probably the most expensive fish and chips they ever had (but average price when it comes to French Polynesia) and it actually tasted very good! We were quite impressed with the quality of the food in the hotel restaurant compared to the restaurant food we had when we were in Moorea and Bora Bora!

The open air restaurant with holiday lights decor!

That was our Christmas 😀

The next morning, the weather was so much better with very blue sky and white clouds! View from our room:

Our flight at 12:25 pm so we got some time for me to walk around and take more photos!

We prebooked the transfer with the hotel since it was cheaper going from the hotel to the airport at 2900 xpf for 3 of us plus 100 xpf per piece of luggage which came to be a total of 3200 xpf that’s around $32 for three of us! We arrived at the airport and checked our bags and the stores weren’t even open yet opps! I was planning to be there early to check out the Black Pearl pendants and earrings 🙁

Since we had over 2 hours, hubby and I walked out to see if the Chinese restaurant across the street from the airport (Ocean Restaurant) open today for lunch or not. It was open and we walked in to ask for lunch hours – at 11:00! There is also a pharmacy near by so we went in to see if we could find the insect repellent lotion that we bought last time, that kind of repellent worked very well and it doesn’t give the sting/burning feeling and it smelled good too! We found it and it was on sale for only 850 xpf that’s around $8! In the open-air PPT airport there are lots of mosquitoes so it’s best to protect ourselves even we might have to throw it getting through security…luckily they don’t restrict liquids that are over 3 oz in size!

At 10:50, we walked over to Ocean Restaurant for a quick lunch before the flight..yea we were very tight on time! We were very fast on deciding what to order and ordered the same thing to minimize wait time!

We ordered a large Fanta, first time I saw in large glass bottle!

And spicy beef stir-fried noodle, huge portion with lots of beef! It was good and filling!

The spicy oil the waitress gave us on a small plate is very spicy so don’t put too much 🙂 1 large Fanta + 3 noodles less than 6000 xpf (around $60). It’s considered a bargain in French Polynesia! I highly recommend Ocean Restaurant before the long flight!

It was a very quick lunch and we made it back to the airport on time 🙂 The flight is only 2.5 hours and cost $277 per person one way on propeller plane:

Bye bye Tahiti and French Polynesia, we’ll see you again!

Half hour into the flight, we flew by this island which looked incredibly awesome from up on the plane and we checked the map in the Air Tahiti magazine, we think the island is Maiao! The island has a lot of potential to be a hidden paradise island..look at its lagoons! According to wiki, it has less than 300 residents!

That was our short stay in Tahiti to spend the Christmas that I couldn’t have asked for any better! Stay tuned for the next chapter of our South Pacific trip: Cook Islands!

6 thoughts on “South Pacific Part 1: Tahiti

    1. Thanks! Just stay up the night before and should help with sleeping on the plane on the way to knock out some hours! I know how you feel about long flights, it was a long way home for us from Auckland to Hawaii to LAX to PHL then to Boston!!! Weather should be much better the time you will be there, enjoy paradise!

  1. Excellent writeup, wonderful pictures. Can you post the pics in hd(or link them to original res). Also, what cameras do you guys use. I am a photography newbie trying to learn how to take such good pics:)

    1. Thanks! I reduced the size of the photos for faster upload and take up less space, I have limited storage and avoid having to pay for it 🙁 We use Canon 5DIII and Canon 6D. Take a photo, pause and review, readjust, and take again that’s the way to learn it 🙂

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