I took an extended 11 day trip to Moorea of French Polynesia; and learned some budget saving tips I’d like to share.
1.) United just opened a route in November; with more affordable flights. I didn’t catch the super cheap deals (I think it was like $400 r/t from DC; but I didn’t pay $1,200 either).
2.) Take the $30 r/t ferry from Tahiti to Moorea (I didn’t do enough research and booked the 10 min flight. It was pretty – I got some nice shots; but not worth the price tag difference).
3.) Book an Airbnb – this is my preference. My $95 a night place was small but amazing (I even had my own pool). https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/52264156
4.) Hotels - The hotels are mad expensive (the main ones are Hilton, Sofitel and Intercontinental). The non-uber expensive ones looked a bit run down. But if you have $600+ a night for that overwater bungalow life – be my guest.
5.) Day Passes – If you like luxury on a budget like moi; utilize hotel day passes. Sofitel’s was the best and cheapest @ $65. Hilton and Intercontinental were around $90 - all included lunch, pool and beach access.
6.) Food and Drink – if you can bring some alcohol, most cocktails are $18+. I also recommend getting an Airbnb with a kitchen. Simple meals saved me serious coin. Every meal is around $30 (sans alcohol).
7.) Activities – I recommend the 4x4 tour, the Lagoonarium (lots of sharks!!!), Coco Beach Motu (small island) and the Harrison snorkel tour. Also the Tahitian shows at the hotels are Free; the $100 fee is for the buffet. So just get a drink at the bar and watch the show. You’re welcome.
Other observations, it’s helpful to know French as most of the locals speak limited English and I found the people to be friendly but reserved and kind of insular. Also everything closes at 9pm – so bring your own party, a boo or both. I would not recommend this place for singles; unless you really just want amazing beaches, day activities and sleep.
(Originally posted by Sheresa Evans)