Our Honeymoon in Moorea & Bora Bora
I can’t remember the first time I had seen pictures of Bora Bora, but it had always felt like one of those far off fantasy destinations, somewhere I would never really get to see with my own eyes. My husband and I decided that for our honeymoon we wanted to go somewhere special. However, we quickly realized we couldn’t afford ten days on Bora Bora. After a little more research we stumbled upon pictures of Moorea and began to plan a trip split between the two islands. As lovers of both the mountains and the ocean, French Polynesia looked like a dream destination.
I spent hours researching and looking at pictures of Moorea online, but nothing prepared me for how beautiful it really is. On the car ride from the airport to our hotel, my jaw dropped at every turn. I truly felt like I was in what Neverland from Peter Pan should look like. Huge, lush, green mountains rose up from one side of the road, and calm blue water rested on the other. After our first night there we woke up the next morning and took a long walk. If you ever visit Moorea and are looking for free activities, I can say that just walking around the main island road is amazing in itself. We walked this street for a few hours and stared in awe at the beauty of the island. Everywhere we looked were beautiful tropical flowers among the greenery. The locals we passed gave us a huge smile and made us feel welcome on their gorgeous island. At one point I stopped to take a picture of a cute pink house covered in plants. When I was done I turned around to see the owner coming out and approaching my husband. For a moment I thought she was upset with me but it turned out she just wanted to say hello and ask about our trip here. All that morning I kept saying how I had never seen somewhere so beautiful.
The next day we took a whale watching tour. If you visit Moorea during the humpback whale migration season I highly recommend this. As we rode out on the boat to the sea our guides educated us on humpback whales and they migration patterns. They warned us that we may not see any whales and they hadn’t seen any yesterday. We were extremely lucky that the water was so calm and clear that day, and after just ten minutes we spotted a whale not too far away. We got in the water to see if we could watch the whales from a distance. As I floated on the surface I spotted what looked like a shadow in the water. I kept my eyes glued on the figure knowing that at any time it could disappear into the blue. Whales are pretty curious and to my amazement the shadow slowly came closer until I could clearly see the humpback whale. I remained motionless in the water as she swam directly at me. Because she was so big and close, at one point I felt like when she surfaced I would end up on her back. After she swam right underneath me I turned around and popped my head out of the water just in time to see her surface and breathe not too far away. We waited again and were lucky enough to see another mother and her calf up close in the water. I had the biggest smile on my face all morning and couldn’t believe I had just been so close to a whale in the wild. It was a humbling experience to feel so small next to another animal.
If you love marine life, Moorea has so much to offer. There is a sand bar not too far off shore where many black tip reef sharks and sting rays hang out. Many people feed them but because this disrupts the natural ecosystem, we didn’t. One morning we woke up early, rented kayaks from a shop called Tip Nautic, and paddled out to the sand bar. We swam among the sharks and laughed as the rays swam right up to us. As I looked up from crystal clear water filled with sharks and ray to gorgeous green mountains, it was hard to believe somewhere like that exists.
We rented a car for the last few days of our trip, and it was nice to be able to explore the island on our own. Belvedere lookout is an easy place to reach on your own where you can drive up the mountain to stare out at the ocean and gorgeous mountain peaks of the island. We had fun driving the entire island and stopping at beaches and shops. While in Moorea we learned how delicious the local pineapple is and became addicted to Rotui mango juice which you can find at any local market. Temae beach looks out to the island of Tahiti and was the most gorgeous beach on the island. When it was time for us to leave Moorea, I didn’t know how Bora Bora was going to be able to measure up to its beauty, but I can tell you, it did not disappoint.
Many people have seen pictures of Bora Bora before. I had looked at hundreds of them and none of them did them justice. I have traveled to many beautiful tropical places but no water I had seen could compare to the lagoon on Bora Bora. We stayed half the time on a little motu with views of Bora Bora and the other half on the main island of Bora Bora. On the private motus, where most resorts are, you get the high in resort feel with calmer water and a great view of Mt. Otemanu, whereas on the main island you have a bit more freedom to explore and see more of Bora Bora. Most of our time in Bora Bora was spent on the water. Moorea has the most gorgeous interior I had ever seen, but the water in Bora Bora is unmatched. We took a sunset sail with Vitamin Sea our first evening in Bora Bora and it was so incredible to see the sunset and stars from the water. The number one thing I recommend doing on Bora Bora is taking some sort of boat tour that circles the island. You will be amazed by the dramatic change in shades of blue on the water. Some snorkeling tours will stop at a channel where you might see Manta Rays. As a diver and someone who has always loved marine animals this was a dream for me. There is another great area for snorkeling nicknamed “Coral gardens”. You can easily reach it in fifteen minutes by kayaking from the main island beginning near the Intercontinental Le Moana. Matira beach, a beach often named the most beautiful beach in the world, is near this area as well. The one thing I loved about the main island was the freedom to wander down the streets and eat wherever we liked. On our last day there, I bought some Tiare oil from a little market. Tiare is the flower or Tahiti; not only does it smell amazing, but it is natural bug repellent as well.
When we planned this trip we said it would be a once in a lifetime experience, but before we had even left we were already talking about ways to come back. I feel very fortunate to have had have the opportunity to travel to beautiful French Polynesia and experience the kind people and stunning scenery.