By John Heimburger, President of TravelPlex
My daughter and I just returned from one of my Bucket List trips. We had the pleasure of flying into Papeete, Tahiti and taking a cruise on the MS Paul Gauguin around five of the Society Islands.
Our trip started in Papeete, with a 2 night Pre-Cruise stay at the InterContinental Hotel. Our flight had arrived around 10 p.m., so a quick transfer to the hotel once we cleared all the necessary paperwork at the airport was a welcome relief.
Our stay at this beautiful hotel allowed us to exhale and relax by the pool and soak up some much needed warmth. The InterContinental sits right on the ocean and offers breathtaking views from all areas of the property.
Our transfer to the ship was a short 15 minute ride and the staff of the Paul Gauguin made the boarding process effortless and very smooth.
Each evening our ship would leave port and sail overnight to our next destination. Arriving very early in the morning, it was just a wonderful experience to wake up, open the curtains in our stateroom and soak in the beauty of our new view for the day.
Our visit to the Society Islands covered 5 islands in 6 days, including Papeete, Huahine, Taha, Bora Bora and Moorea.
During our trip, we experienced the warmth and friendliness of the French Polynesian customs, learned how to harvest and open coconuts, snorkeled in gorgeous blue waters, and swam with not only sting rays but lemon sharks!
Is a trip to Tahiti high on your bucket list? If not, my daughter and I both recommend putting it there. This was one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen!
A few things you may not already know about Tahiti and the Society Islands . . .
- Only 10% of Tahiti's national economy comes from tourism
- Only about 150,000 people visit Tahiti each year, this is by design of the French government
- The French landed and claimed the islands as theirs in the 1880's and have protected the area from development and overuse by limiting the number of inbound flights and cruise ships that can visit
- Money is not a primary motivator to these people – when the ship offered to pay a highly escalated price for produce from a local vendor, their offer was declined because it was already reserved for the locals
- Internet speed is slow – this can be a positive, as you will be surprised at how quickly and painlessly you can separate yourself from your devices, relax and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of your surroundings
My daughter and I have traveled to some wonderful places together and we both agree Tahiti is a true gem. Seeing her natural beauty and charm was a once in a lifetime opportunity.