Romantic destinations Flicketti

Bora Bora

Bora Bora is a honeymoon destination, beautiful, romantic and exotic. The resort has overwater bungalows that stretch into the turquoise lagoon. We have very pleasant memories f the hotel.

A day trip to swim with sharks, stingrays and other marine life in Bora Bora. We literally hugged stingrays and swam with sharks.

A curious turtle encountered on a dive in Bora Bora. It would return to us several times making circles, then "examined" the camera and divers literally touching things.

A guide describes and shows how pearls are grown during a visit of a pearl farm in Bora Bora. A nucleus is placed inside oysters, then oysters lay a layer of pearl (nacre) over the nucleus.

A day trip in Bora Bora. This is a snorkeling part. The daytrip also included swimming with sharks and stingrays.

A drive on 4x4 through the central island of Bora Bora. The side not readily seen by the tourists and honeymooners. Still pretty, even "from inside".

Bora Bora is a honeymoon destination

Where in the world:
South Pacific, French Polynesia. There are direct flights to Papeete (main city in Tahiti) from many large cities. Then a short flight (in a large aircraft) to Bora Bora. The airlines are reliable and offer a decent service. 

Where to stay:
If you go to Bora Bora, you are better to stay on a motu - small atoll type islands surrounding the central island. The central island has a double peaked mountain (Otemanu and the other one). The view of the mountains surrounded by the lagoon is breathtaking, however you see it only if you are on the outer smaller islands and if the resort faces the lagoon (not the ocean). All tourists keep looking at the mountain, at the sun rise, at the sunset, during lunch, while crossing the lagoon, looking out of the airplane…. However, the number of hotels with this view is limited: our understanding was that it is just the group around the Four Seasons (Eastern islands) and the Pearl Beach hotel.  Another point, if you spend money going to French Polynesia, stay in an overwater bungalow. Although you may get more privacy in the land bungalows, you can get similar setup elsewhere in the world. Bora Bora is all about being above the beautiful lagoon and seeing the mountain.

The Pearl Beach hotel had all the advantages at a moderate (by Bora Bora standards) cost. We wanted to have dive center on site. There were not many resorts with diving center on the resort property. We generally do not like the setups when the boat comes to pick us up. We have so much gear that it becomes impractical. We met people from other resorts and they had to do extra commuting (land + extra boat) to go diving. Good marine life. Fish is everywhere. Sharks, sharks, sharks...some rays and turtles. Some coral was bleached, however, as anywhere in French Polynesia, abundance of fish and sharks compensates for it. French Polynesia does not let Chinese shark finners anywhere close. We learned that the place just outside the airport is good for turtles and sharks. Diving is easy, perfect for younger couples and beginners. Shallow, ~20m.  We have not seen mantas, but it may be seasonal.

Snorkeling under the bungalows is easy and fun for those who “cannot swim”. The resort kept a coral nursery which attracts a lot of fish. Occasionally you see a stingray and once we saw a little black tipped shark cruising between the bungalows. Do not be afraid of sharks there. We did the shark and ray feeding tour, not the lagoonarium. The difference is significant. Logonarium is painful to get to (a boat and a car ride) and is limited to a netted area with limited marine life. The shark/ray feeding tour had a pick up from the hotel and was all natural at three stops with at least 15 sharks, 10 rays, and a place to snorkel with hundreds of fish. Was very well organized as well. We first went to see sharks (smaller black tipped ones), which literally surrounded the boat anticipating food (not “turistas”-food, but some fish). Although curious, they keep 1-2 meters distance. The boat anchored at about 10m and people swam around it snorkeling surrounded by a bunch of smaller sharks. The larger ones (lemon) were deeper, under us. Then we went ray feeding. The place was just 1m deep and the rays were all over. The tour guy would feed them from our chests and it appeared as if the rays were kissing you. He also found an octopus which is sticky and fun. Then we went around the island and stopped for snorkeling.

Expensive. Pick up some booze at the duty-free and visit Vaitape (town on the main island) for some snack supply. The shuttle boat from the hotel was running regularly, but you are limited to the bus schedule between the boat landing base and the town. Check the schedule by the bus (bottom table at the schedule page) not by the boat, otherwise you will get stuck for an hour waiting for the bus. One visit to the store was enough for a week. Another reason you may want to go to town is pearls. They would normally arrange a taxi from the boat base…but then you are sort of cornered to buy at the store. My impression was that the store right across the road from the grocery store had a truckload of pearls. We thought that pearls are overpriced comparing with Rangiroa and other places. Maybe did not bargain well...
Shows at the resort with a buffet were somewhat expensive, but may be of interest. Food was good. Regular days pricing was close to reality. The restaurants on the main island are a bit cheaper and good. Some provide free taxi to the boat base, so ask the front desk for those. Bottled water is almost as expensive as beer or cheap Bordeaux from the store. Tap water is apparently safer than in the Carribean or elsewhere since they use salination plant. I drank a couple of glasses and was OK.

Safari tour:
It is real off-road, tropical rainforest and real mountains. We had an 80 year old gentleman with us in the group of 4 and everybody was fine. Breathtaking views and a circular tour around the island. There are few US Army fortifications left after WWII. At the end of trip we stopped at a pearl farm and the guide showed us the process of growing the pearls.
I think we will come back one day. We left with very pleasant memories.

Moorea, French Polynesia

Things to do while staying on Moorea island, French Polynesia. Ride water scooter, kayak, snorkel around resort (Hilton Moorea), ride horses on the plateau through tropical rainforest and pineapple plantations. Moorea has another name, pineapple island, because pineapples is the second industry after tourism.

A wedding ceremony day at Hilton Moorea Lagoon resort. Either honeymoon or anniversary celebration can become more memorable in the paradise. The day included breakfast brought by a Polynesian canoe to the overwater bungalow, then breakfast on the deck, a Tahitian wedding ceremony on the beach, then a romantic setup for a dinner on the deck.

A Tahitian guide shows how to prepare fresh raw tuna. The basic ingredients are raw fish, salt, lemon juice and coconut milk.

Polynesian dancers perform acrobatic show with fire torches. Filmed in Hilton Moorea.

Beautiful island of Moorea, French Polynesia, second favorite destination for honeymooners after Bora Bora.

Moorea island as all of French Polynesia is a sharks sanctuary. The Chinese ships are not allowed to fin them and they are as abundant as they have been for millions of years.

Sharks are fed at a boat ladder. Footage shot from the boat and underwater. 

Sharks and stingrays are fed at the landing of a restaurant in Moorea.

Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort is probably the best resort on Moorea. Overwater bungalows, pristine turquoise water, jagged mountains with tropical rainforest, good housereef with calm water,stunning sunsets. A place to spend a honeymoon or celebrate another romantic occasion. 

A day trip in Moorea to swim with stingrays and sharks. The stingrays are used to people feeding them. They literally jump and hug you trying to suck food out of your hand. The stingrays do not have teeth but their jaws are strong and they can suck in and pinch your fingers! You may end up with bruises and abrasions. The sharks cruise around people snatching loose food (feeding fish) too.

A Tahitian guide shows how to peel the outer shell of a coconut, then how to crack it and make coconut milk.

Female dancers perform a traditional Tahitian dance in Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort.

A shallow dive at Moorea island. It is a honeymoon destination and diving is easy.

An idea for a videoshoot using a drone on a beach honeymoon or anniversary. Beware of interference that can be caused by a drone on nearby cameras. Mine was a phone camera, Samsung.

At the dive end there was a bit of show, sharks swarmed at the boat ladder waiting for food and then being fed.

Parasail surfer jumps in front of overwater bungalow.

Moorea is another honeymoon destination in French Polynesia.

Where in the world:
South Pacific, French Polynesia, but closer to Tahiti island than Bora Bora. There are direct flights to Papeete (main city in Tahiti) from many large cities. Then there is a 40 minute ride by ferry to Moorea. The resort sent a taxi to pick us up at the ferry terminal.

Where to stay:
We chose Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort. The resort was in top shape when we visited it in 2017. It had overwater bungalows, lagoon with turquoise water, and a good view of the mountains. Moorea, unlike Bora Bora is a single island, so not all resorts will have a view of the mountains, sunset and the ocean at the same time. There are good dining options in the resort as well as outside. The restaurants pay for your taxi ride. The resort arranges Tahitian wedding ceremonies and other romantic add-ons. We also had a romantic dinner in the bungalow. I think the main memories we will have are the sunsets. We watched every single sunset from our deck, just sitting on edge, above water. So, the sunset bungalows are in higher demand. The resort, as usual has Tahitian dancing for entertainment during buffet dinners (not every night). The overall atmosphere in Moorea was a bit more authentic Polynesian, in comparison with Bora Bora which is getting touristy.

Diving was arranged by an external company, TopDive. They would come in the morning and pick us up. Then there would be a 10 min ride to their base. Diving was easy, warm and relaxing. Plenty of fish, healthy hard coral and occasional sharks. No current, not much waves, good visibility. 

Snorkeling was right in front of the overwater bungalows. Shallow, calm, relaxing. Crystal clear water as anywhere in French Polynesia. Just perfect for a romantic set up.  

Generally expensive but not as much as some other places, mid-range considering the setup.  Pick up some booze at the duty-free. We also went a couple of times to the town and bought some champagne along with other small items. Food at the resort was good but service in the main restaurant was slow. It was faster in the smaller overwater restaurant. There are a lot of sharks cruising under you when you dine in that restaurant. The outside restaurants are marginally cheaper and good. Most restaurants paid for our taxi ride.

Things to do:
At the resort we snorkeled, rode water scooter, did some kayaking and enjoyed every single sunset! For the outside activities we went diving and horse riding through the highlands. It was interesting to see the "inner side of paradise" with pineapple farm fields and other sites not commonly seen in temperate climates. We also went for a day trip to swim with stingrays and sharks. The setup is similar to Bora Bora but the sharks were in shallow water. We swam with sharks in a deeper area in Bora Bora. As it was shallow there were more people around, standing and walking.