Thursday, March 21, 2013

Moorea and Bora Bora Review

On behalf of a recently returned happy traveler...
Hi Debby!

We are back safe and sound!  The trip was AMAZING!!  I feel like we couldn't have done it without you and we wanted to thank you so much!  We have both already recommended you to several of our friends and our next trip we will definitely give you a call. 

Sorry this might be a bit much, but I just wrote everything I could remember!:    :-)

Now, for the trip itself, we actually got to the airport in LA early so we were able to upgrade to Business Class for an extra 900 bucks, which was well worth it!  Once we got to Tahiti we went to the Intercontinental, which had an AMAZING pool, but the rooms were just OK (which was fine because all we did was sleep since we got there so late). 

The next morning we hopped on a ferry which was only about 30 minutes and got to Moorea, we dropped off others at the other big resorts (Sofitel, Intercontinental, Pearl) and it was clear that we were at the nicest of the main hotels.  The Hilton in Moorea is small, we always felt like there were only 20 people there (which is nice!) and the bungalos were great.  The food was good, but not great as there was not much selection. 

If any other couples are interested in going, you should tell them to rent a car and explore for the day, the island itself is gorgeous!  A car rental from Alberts Tours was super easy (they picked us up from our hotel and it was only about 50 bucks for 4 hours) and it is so easy to drive around the island because there is really only one road that goes in a giant circle so it's difficult to get lost.  We also highly recommend a place called Eva Pearls if anyone asks about buying reputable black pearls.  The owner (Eva) is French and we read about her shop before going and we were not disappointed.  She really knows her stuff.  After that we went to a little place called Snack Mahana for lunch which is literally in a lady's backyard that looks out on the water and the food was fantastic.  It was a nice change from the hotel's food. 

Our tours that we went on: 
- Deep Sea Fishing:  We didn't catch anything, so it kind of felt like a long boat ride, but we met another couple on it that we are actually going to vacation again with so I suppose it was worth it.  The guide was American (he mentioned he was the only fishing guide on the island) and he wasn't mean or anything, he just wasn't the friendliest. 

- Safari 4x4 Tour:  On Moorea, I feel like this is a must.  Basically you sit in the back of a truck and they take you to the top peaks of the island (Magic Mountain and Mount Belvidere) it also takes you to a couple of other cool places around the island.  There is also the ATV version, but I think the 4x4 is better because there was lots of mud and dirt flying in the people's face that did the ATV version.  Plus some of the drives were kind of treacherous (45 degree inclines) to get to some of the lookouts. 
The guide was really, really nice and was very knowledgeable. 

-  Tiki Village:  I kind of got the impression this was a bit of a "tourist trap", it was nice, the food and the dancing were great, but before all of that they took your through a "tour" of all of the things that were for sale there.  Both the hotels in Bora Bora and Moorea had a similar show one night a week that I think would have been just as good. 

- Jetskiis (Bora Bora):  This was Andy's favorite part and I also really enjoyed it.  We were able to drive the entire way around the island and see all of it.  I'd highly recommend this one. 

After Moorea, we took a short flight to Bora Bora, once at the Bora Bora airport there was a Four Seasons boat to pick us up and boat us to the resort.  Bottom line, you can't beat the Four Seasons.  Hands down the favorite part of my trip.  I remember we were torn between the St. Regis and the Four Seasons, but we went to dinner at the St. Regis (which charged us an $80 transfer fee for a 3 minute boat ride) and it was clear in my opinion that the Four Seasons was on a whole other level of quality, so I think we made the right choice. 

A couple of nights we took the boat shuttle in to town to eat at both Bloody Mary's and La Villa Mahana.  First, La Villa Mahana was the best meal I have ever had in my entire life.  It ended up costing us about $600, but it was totally worth it in my opinion.  There are only 7 tables and it was a perfect setting.  Bloody Mary's was also really, really good, so much so that we considered going back on our last night.  Just a casual beach bar, that you walk in and select what you want to eat from the plates of fresh fish they caught that day.  It was delicious. 

Overall, it was a long travel, but I felt like the amount of time we went was perfect.  Moorea is the better island (as far as beauty), but Bora Bora's lagoon is second to none.  One day, we would love to go back, but I think we would go straight to Bora Bora just to cut on costs. 

Once again, thank you SO much for everything!  Please let either of us know if you have any other questions and I apologize for the essay!!  :-)