Category Archives: Tahiti/French Polynesia

Review: Tikehau Pearl Resort, Tahiti (French Polynesia)

Bucket list (def.) – a popular way to indicate the places to see and things to do before you die.

Some people’s bucket lists are more extensive than others.  If your bucket list includes the obscure, out of the way, rarely-visited destination gems, consider adding Tikehau.

Tikehau is a small Tuamotu atoll in French Polynesia, located just west of the much larger atoll Rangiroa.  An atoll, by the way, is a ring island where the original volcanic peak in the center of the lagoon has been eroded back into the sea.  Nothing on the island stands taller than a coconut palm.

Other than obscurity, Tikehau’s appeal is water the clarity of a swimming pool, with an abundance of sea life, sea birds, and starlight evenings.  This is a great spot for seasoned travellers who truly want an off the beaten path sort of experience.  It’s also excellent for divers and snorkelers.

Tikehau Pearl Resort is THE resort on the island (though there are a couple of modest pension-type accommodations in Tikehau, too).  There are four room categories:  beach bungalows (with a/c), overwater bungalows (without a/c and direct water access), premium overwater bungalows (without a/c but with direct water access), and suite overwater bungalows (with a/c and direct water access). Continue reading Review: Tikehau Pearl Resort, Tahiti (French Polynesia)

Baked Papaya Recipe

Here’s a delightful recipe from the folks at Tahiti Tourisme – baked papaya…

3 Papayas
3 Vanilla Beans
6 Tablespoons sugar
6 Tablespoons Rum
1 Grated Coconut

Cut the papayas in half and remove the seeds
Place them in an ovenproof dish.

In each papaya, pour:
1 pat butter
1/2 Vanilla Bean
1 Tblespoon sugar
1 Tblespoon Rum

Cook in a preheated oven for 15 minutes at 350°F. In the meantime, squeeze milk from the grated coconut through a clean cloth. Before serving, add the coconut milk in each papaya.


Want more?  Plan your trip to Tahiti and enjoy fine Polynesian cuisine at the islands’ top resorts.

Happy travels ~ Cindy Grant, Travel Consultant.  Reconnect Travel/Expert Family Travel.  Dallas metro area, serving  clients nationwide.  972-625-6200.

Ten fun things to do in Moorea

Thinking about going to Moorea?  Here are the top ten things to do in Moorea on your next vacation:

  1. Rent a moped or car (most resorts have a rental desk onsite) and tour the island.  You can’t get lost.
  2. Swim with the dolphins, located at the Intercontinental Moorea Resort.
  3. Go to the dance show and luau-style dinner at the Tiki Village.  The food is average, but the show is fantastic.
  4. Sign up for the Shark and Ray Feeding excursion (by boat).  This can be booked in advance or through your resort concierge.
  5. Experience dolphin and whale watching with Dr. Poole.  This ecotour is seasonal.
  6. Go deep sea fishing.
  7. Snorkel right at your resort.  How convenient is that!
  8. Take a guided mountain hike.
  9. Go scuba diving.
  10. Play a round of golf at Moorea Green Pearl Golf Course.

Moorea is located in French Polynesia (aka Tahiti).  For information on a vacation to Moorea, just email or call to get the process started.

~Happy travels, Cindy Grant, Reconnect Travel/Expert Family Travel  972-625-6200.  Located in the Dallas Fort. Worth Texas area, near Frisco, Plano, Little Elm, Carrollton, The Colony, Lewisville, Irving.  Clients located across the US/Canada.

Legends Moorea Resort: Know before you go

This morning as I was perusing my usual assortment of emails, I came across a flash deal from a third party for the Legends Moorea in Tahiti, along with an enticing picture of an overwater bungalow.  Problem is, this resort does NOT have overwater bungalows.  Furthermore, it looked like Mt. Otemanu in the background, which would mean this picture isn’t even from the same island!

I cringed thinking how many people might buy this deal, expecting to get Bora Bora lagoon in an overwater villa only to discover the truth upon arrival. Legends Resort is located on the island of Moorea, and is perched cliff-side, well above the water.  If you stepped off your patio and into the water, there was a nasty and long fall in the process.

Legends Moorea - beautiful but not beachfront

Now, I’m not knocking Legends Moorea.  It is, in fact a wonderful four star resort with huge multi-bedroom villas – if you don’t mind being that close to a lagoon paradise with no easy access to the water.  This would fit clients who are so well traveled that they are looking for a different way to experience Tahiti from their last half dozen trips.  Or maybe the client who’s been on an extended trip of Tahiti and just wants a few nights to chill.  Or maybe the wealthy novelist who wants to surround himself in paradise so he can crank out another best seller.  And since none of my clients fit into these categories (but I’ll gladly take on a new client who does), I’ve yet to sell Legends Moorea to anyone.

This is a good example of why you should work with a Tahiti specialist.  Those of us “in the know” would be able to talk you out of this property (if you’re expecting to step into the lagoon from your resort) and into something that fits you better.  Tahiti is just too special a destination for a mistake like this!

Contact Cindy Grant, Tahiti Tiare Destination Specialist, to arrange your dream vacation to French Polynesia.

~Happy Travels, Cindy Grant, Reconnect Travel and Expert Family Travel.  972-625-6200.  Located in the Dallas Fort Worth area, near Frisco, Plano, Lewisville, Carrollton, Little Elm, The Colony, and Irving.


I’m happy to report that the good folks at Legends Moorea remedied the incorrect photo promptly.  Thanks guys!


Scuba bucket list for the “Easy Does It” diver

Okay, some of us enjoy scuba diving, but so long as it isn’t overly physically challenging or dangerous.  Here’s a great list of dive spots that will give you the thrill without the chill :)

  1. Cozumel Mexico (recommended resort:  Iberostar Cozumel)
  2. Moorea Tahiti (recommended resort:  Hilton Moorea Resort)
  3. Turks and Caicos Caribbean (recommended resort:  Beaches Turks & Caicos)
  4. Nassau Bahamas (recommended resort:  Riu Palace Paradise Island)
  5. Manatee Swim, Central to South Florida
  6. Ambergris Caye, Belize (recommended resort:  Ramon’s Village)
  7. Rangiroa Tahiti (recommended resort:  Hotel Kia Ora)
  8. Maui Hawaii (recommended resort: Sheraton Maui Resort)
  9. Vanava Levu, Fiji (recommended resort:  Jean-Michael Cousteau Resort)
  10. Roatan Honduras (recommended resort:  Anthony’s Key Resort)

~Happy Travels, Cindy Grant, Reconnect Travel/Expert Family Travel 972-625-6200.  Travel agency located in the DFW area near Frisco, Plano, Carrollton, Little Elm, The Colony, Lewisville, Irving Texas.

Sample Tahiti Honeymoon/Anniversary Itinerary

  • 01DAY Air via American, DFW to Los Angeles
  • 01DAY Air via Air Tahiti Nui, Los Angeles to Papeete
  • 01DAY Lei greeting; transfer to resort
  • 01DAY 1 night at Radisson Tahiti, Oceanview Room with breakfast
  • 02DAY Check out; transfer to domestic airport
  • 02DAY Air via Air Tahiti, Papeete to Moorea
  • 02DAY Transfer Moorea airport to resort
  • 02DAY 3 nights at Hilton Moorea Resort, Garden Bungalow with Private Plunge Pool
  •  Breakfast buffet for two daily
  •  Jeep safari tour
  • 05DAY Check out; transfer to Moorea airport
  • 05DAY Air via Air Tahiti, Moorea to Bora Bora
  • 05DAY Boat transfer Bora Bora airport to resort
  • 05DAY 4 nights at Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort, Overwater Villa
  •  Breakfast buffet for two daily
  •  Shark swim excursion
  • 09DAY Check out; boat transfer to Bora Bora airport
  • 09DAY Air via Air Tahiti, Bora Bora to Papeete
  • 09DAY Air via Air Tahiti Nui, Papeete to LAX (arrive next morning)
  • 10DAY Air via American, Los Angeles to DFW


Divers Rejoice: Rangiroa Hotel Kia Ora set to reopen Sep 2011

An atoll island in French Polynesia, Rangiroa is best known for its amazing lagoon and drift diving.  However, the last year Rangiroa has been without any decent accommodations, since the Hotel Kia Ora closed for a complete rennovation.

But yay, good news!  The Hotel Kia Ora is scheduled to open on time — September 2011.  Bungalows and public buildings were torn down and rebuilt, and I’m betting this will take the property from a 4 star rating to a 5 star luxury.  That’s just my guess.

I’ve actually been to this property, back in 2009, and thought it was fantastic then.  So I can’t wait to see what the property manager Jerry Garcia has done with the place.  I definitely plan a visit the next opportunity that comes my way.

I’ll pop back on the blog and let you know the scoop on the new and improved Hotel Kia Ora, but meanwhile, a little bit of information based on the original property (and my stay there in 2009).  The pictures below are new (taken in August 2011).

Hotel Kia Ora is recommended for divers and for beach lovers who are looking for the ultimate in South Pacific getaways.  Families are welcome, but anticipate there being no kids’ clubs or lively diversions for your little ones.  Clientele consists of seasoned travelers and a healthy return client base.  This is an excellent choice for anniversary and honeymoon couples, as well as the executive who needs to sink his feet in the sand for a few days to recharge batteries.  Bring along a good book or two and prepare to relax.

(2009): It is advised to pre-book the meal plan, which includes a hearty breakfast buffet and dinner daily.  The breakfast pastries and desserts are expertly created by the Hotel Kia Ora’s own pastry chef, and dinner selections are diverse, with French inspired dishes, local specialties, and the Chef’s daily menu.  Meals here are reasonable, considering the pricey cost of food in Tahiti.  As well, the bar list is fairly extensive.  Lunch options are a bit short; you can select from a small number of sandwiches from the bar, or commit to a lunch in the restaurant.   However, two main meals (breakfast and dinner) are the way to go, with something light to tide you over at lunchtime.

Happy news, bungalows are being outfitted with television and internet access. Accommodations include overwater bungalows, garden bungalows, and beach bungalows.  Some units are multi-rooms and have infinity pools on the deck.

For divers and snorkelers, Tiputa Pass a pass/drift dive toward the ocean with a variety of fish, eels, turtles, and sharks.  Other diving and snorkeling opportunities abound, and the Hotel Kia Ora has reasonably priced off-site activities available during the course of your stay.

Dive center offers PADI instruction. Spa onsite. Snorkel gear and canoes are available for use.

Sister property Kia Ora Sauvage is still being remodeled, and will not be reopening yet.

Bora Bora Pearl Resort, Tahiti

Bora Bora Pearl Resort sits on a motu island facing the picturesque island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia. This gem of a resort is characteristically Polynesian in style and offers bungalows over the water, along the beach, and among the gardens. The bungalows are thatch-roofed, spacious, and feature woodwork and touches unique to the Tahitian culture. Don’t worry, you won’t be roughing it – all bungalows are air conditioned and have state-of-the-art bathrooms, mini bars, comfortable beds, satellite television, and DVD players.

The main reception building houses the restaurant and bar, with a smaller restaurant and bar behind the pool. Enjoy beautiful views from the restaurant and pool areas of the azure lagoon and volcanic peaks of Bora Bora. There are tennis courts and water sports equipment available for use.

I have stayed here twice, and both times I found the service to be gracious and polite. And while the clientele are mainly couples celebrating romantic milestones, this resort is also great for friends traveling together or a family that prefers a sedate, laid back setting. Bring a novel, grab a hammock, and be prepared to completely unwind for a few days in tropical paradise. Diving enthusiasts will enjoy the PADI certified Bora Bora Blue Nui Dive Center located at the resort. And for a little pampering time, the resort’s Manaea Spa is set along a tranquil pond with lush tropical vegetation.

About 80 bungalow units total. To get to Bora Bora, you will fly in to Papeete Tahiti International Airport, and take an interisland flight from Papeete to Bora Bora. From Bora Bora airport, you will then need a prearranged boat transfer to get to the resort.

~Cindy Grant, Travel Consultant, 972-625-6200