NOTE: Greetings travelers, I’d like to introduce Roxana, an avid traveler and writer hailing from the Land Down Under. I wonder if I’m north enough (Seattle) to be considered being from the Land Up Over? Should I trademark that you think? And yes the title of the post is different than the graphic’s title – that’s how we do it at Up Up and a Bear: confusing weird style.
When you say ‘Tahiti” everyone immediately imagines leisurely days, sunbathing at the beach and relaxing alongside beautiful views. There’s no doubt about that, but there are plenty of other things you can do there, too. When my husband John and I decided to venture to this island, our friends joked, “Yeah, adventure, you will not move your body from the beach.” We were determined to prove them wrong. If there’s anything sweeter than winning a bet against your friends, it would be to do it while on vacation in Tahiti – two birds with one stone. So here are some things that we did on this paradise of an island (besides lying on the oh-my-god fabulous sand) that might inspire you to come to Tahiti, too.
John and I LOVE snorkeling and scuba diving and we have visited many fabulous snorkeling spots before, from our home-town Sydney, to the Cayman Islands, but we never saw something as fascinating as Moorea Lagoon. Our sublime marine adventure took us across the lagoon to a nearby coral motu, apparently the island’s best snorkeling spot. As we were told, the reef’s variety of corals is the reason why there are so many species of marine creatures, including the mesmerizing butterfly fish, parrot fish and angelfish. At our return, we stopped to see the elegant and lovely stingrays and our guide was actually feeding them with his bare hands (and yes, we gave it a try too).
Go on a Jeep Safari
It’s a bit exhausting as a whole-day activity, but because we took a cruise to Tahiti, we were able to take a whole day to rest. Doing the Jeep safari was actually John’s idea – I wasn’t really up for it. But having gone on it, I know that I would have regretted skipping this adventure. Though the ride was tough, the destinations more than made up for it. For example, the waterfalls of Fa’aurumai Valley left me speechless. I didn’t know what to say standing in front of such amazing wonders. As if that wasn’t enough, we also had the opportunity to admire the island’s highest peaks (Orohena, Aorai, Tetufera and Teamaa). The picturesque scene of the Punaruu Valley and the staggering Mount Marau amazed! I think we would have won that before-mentioned bet going on this adventure alone.
Follow “the Godfather”
We were sitting casually in the local restaurant when another couple made us an offer “we couldn’t refuse.” The offer was a day trip to the nearby Tetiaroa atoll purchased by Marlon Brando, the Godfather himself, in 1966. Obviously, you can’t refuse that. The atoll is comprised of twelve islets, and each of them is a heaven to explore. The Onetahi features the Brando resort while the Oroatera has spectacular lagoons, beaches and Reiono, an islet that has preserved its original rainforest and is home to coconut crabs and other tropical creatures. Pristine waters, enchanting wildlife and beautiful landscapes took my breath. If you ever get a chance to to here, don’t hesitate even if for a moment. Go!
Who’s Afraid of Lava?
When I heard about the lava tubes on the Tahitian island, I was determined to “tunnel” my way there! It may not be as fast and furious as the jeep safari, but it was definitely a worthwhile experience. The tubes are located in Hitiaa and, as you might expect, require a few hours to explore and might be better suited for those in generally good shape. Proper hiking shoes and, of course, headlights are mandatory. All your efforts will be rewarded. After just a half hour of hiking, you’ll reach the first lake. From then on, the lava tubes will continue to reward you with waterfalls, other lakes, astounding rock structures, and other natural things of interest.
Visit the Maraes
Tahiti is not all beaches and adventures – there are opportunities for cultural experiences as well. For that, we visited the Maraes, pagan temples of the ancient Polynesians. Though most of the Maraes lie in ruins, we were lucky to visit one that was fully restored – and thankfully so as we could slowly absorb the magnificence of this place. I’m talking about temple Arahurahu, a site of significance where people reenact ancient ceremonies during the Heiva Nui celebrations in July. If possible, time your visit to partake in the festivities
Take a Day Trip to Papeete
After some time cruising and island hopping to visit natural beauties, we felt a pull for the city life. So we decided to take a day trip to Papeete, Tahiti’s capital – a decision we wouldn’t regret. Truly, Papeete has a life of its own. First, we visited the traditional market located in the heart of the city where I stocked up on traditional jewelry, essential oils and real tasty vanilla treats. After spending a few moments at the market, we toured the city and visited the Pearl Museum and an exquisite art galley at Galerie des Tropiques. I highly recommend both. We wrapped our day up with a plate of shrimp in banana and curry sauce, which, I might add, was world class dining!
Obviously, we won the bet: Tahiti is anything but boring.