Cruise: Taihiti

Our last stop on our cruise was Tahiti, the largest island in French Polynesia. We had one full day there and took full advantage of it. We started the day by having a lovely breakfast in our room, wandering around Papeete and visiting the market, then renting a car to drive around part of the island. Once we picked up the car, we headed North to start our trip around Tahiti Nui (we only had time to drive around the larger part of the island).

After stopping at a black sand beach and waterfall, we continued our rainy drive by a bright colored church and stopped at a botanical garden. Unfortunately the botanical garden seemed pretty desolate. However, we did see a Galapagos turtle but we were somewhat concerned since no one seemed to be there.

Our final stop on our tour of the island was the Maraa grotto. It was pouring down rain but well worth the stop. We met the cutest kitten and wished we could have taken her home with us!

After a decent amount of time at the caves, we drove back to Papeete to return the car and explore more. We walked around the city, visited the market for lunch and souvenirs, and eventually made our way back to the ship to eat dinner and pack our bags for an early morning departure.

 

 

 

Cruise: Moorea

Our second to last stop on our cruise was Moorea. We once again rented a car and drove around the entire island to explore. We knew we would be coming back to stay for a couple nights so we wanted to see as much as we could. Moorea is shaped like a heart and has some stunning views of jagged peaks along with an amazing lagoon to snorkel in.

After our drive around the island we stopped at a pizza place that had great reviews. It definitely did not disappoint! We sat at the bar outside and watched them make our pizza in the wood burning oven….and it was absolutely delicious!

After eating the entire pizza, it was time to return the car and head back to the boat.

 

Cruise: Raiatea

Our next stop was Raiatea, where we actually docked vs. anchored in the bay. We were the very first people off the boat and rented another car to explore the island. We drove all the way around the island to see as much as we could.

After we circled the island, we walked through Uturoa and then had lunch on the boat. In the afternoon, we did a drift snorkel in a coral garden on Tahaa (Tahaa shares a lagoon with Raiatea). It was pouring rain when we left, which made for an adventurous boat ride across the lagoon. It cleared up and the snorkeling was incredible. We drifted right over a really shallow coral garden and saw a ton of fish and beautiful coral.

After an amazing afternoon, we were the last to board the boat. We caught an amazing sunset from our balcony before a delicious dinner.

Cruise: Bora Bora

Our next stop was Bora Bora, which is tied with Fakarava as my favorite stop on our trip. We were here for a day and a half, which was the longest port stay of the trip. We arrived in the afternoon and anchored off Vaitape. On our first evening there, we took a sunset cruise on a catamaran and explored the lagoon. It was an incredible evening and a great way to explore the water.

After our sunset sail, we ate dinner at the food trucks in Vaitape. We decided to split a HUGE portion of fish. It was quite delicious and we enjoyed spending a night off the boat!

After dinner, we took a tender boat back to the ship and headed to bed to prepare for our early morning start to explore Bora Bora.

We woke up the next morning pretty early to grab the earliest tender boat and get to shore to explore. We rented a car (Fiat Panda) and drove around the entire island. Our first stop was Matira Beach, which we had entirely to ourselves. We were standing there enjoying the view when all of a sudden a stingray swam just inches from the shore. This was our first stingray spotting of the trip and it was such an awesome sight to see! I will never forget standing there and glancing down to see it!

After a lengthy stop at Matira Beach we kept driving around the island. We stopped at various places to check out all of the views. We also had our first encounter with a land crab who was not overly pleased to see us!

After we drove around the entire island, we went back to have lunch at a restaurant off Matira Beach. We had a great view of the beach, ocean, and stingrays!

After lunch, we returned to Vaitape to return the car and meet up for our afternoon excursion of snorkeling. We spent quite the afternoon in the water. Our first stop was a coral garden where we saw a variety of fish, oysters, a huge stingray, and a blacktip reef shark. After that, we headed to our second stop to snorkel with stingrays and backtip reef sharks. It was shallow enough for us to stand the entire time as they swam around us. It was a surreal experience!

After our tour was over, we headed back to catch a tender boat back to the ship and just enjoyed room service after a long, fantastic day!

 

Cruise: Fakarava

Our second stop in French Polynesia was Fakarava in the Tuamotu Archipelago. This was up there as my most favorite place we stopped. Fakarava is one of the largest atolls in French Polynesia at 37 miles long. It is known for some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world. We anchored offshore and took a tender boat to the town of Rotoava. We rented bikes and biked all the way north 9 kilometers to a beach and had it completely to ourselves. That spot on the beach is potentially the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. It looked like it was out of a magazine! We were hoping to snorkel but the wind was incredibly strong and the ocean was way too rough to snorkel that day.

Cruise: Nuku Hiva

After four days at sea and crossing the equator for the first time, we made it to Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands! Nuku Hiva is the second largest island in French Polynesia after Tahiti and is the most populated island in the Marquesas Islands. We anchored in the bay near Taiohae on the southern coast, which is where most of the population (less than 3,000) lives on the island.

We took a tour to Taipivai Valley for a large chunk of the day. The excursion started in Taiohae and we road with a local across the mountains to the valley. We stopped in the valley and watched some of the locals at work carving different wood sculptures (Nuku Hiva is known for their wood carvings). We enjoyed some local fruit and a stop at the beach as well.

After a full day on Nuku Hiva, we had another day at sea as we headed towards Fakarava in the Tuamotu Archipelago. On our day at sea, we had another delicious dinner with the fanciest dessert yet!

Cruise: Honolulu, Hilo, & Days at Sea

Josh and I spent the first two and a half weeks of November on the most phenomenal vacation of our lives. We took a cruise that left from Honolulu and stopped in various places in French Polynesia ending in Tahiti.

We started in Honolulu on November 1st with a beautiful sunset and champagne followed by a steak dinner and cruising through the first night to Hilo.

We woke up on Friday to a gorgeous sunrise from our balcony. We enjoyed some delicious coffee and the view of The Big Island as we made our way to Hilo. We spent the day wandering Hilo with our friends who happened to be in Hilo for the weekend.

After leaving Hilo, we spent the next four days at sea heading toward the Marquesas Islands. Our days were filled with the gym, lots of delicious food and drinks, a fantastic massage, lounging by the pool, and reading. I think it was the most relaxed we’ve been in our lives!