Just finished Leg 2 of our Honeymoon…
So here’s where we went, what we did, and my reviews of everything.
Last Saturday night, we landed in Papeete, Tahiti (fun to say, right?).
I normally make fun of people for rushing off planes, but we ran our way to the very front to avoid waiting in a huge customs line.
Even better, there was an entire ukulele band playing for us while we got our Tahiti passport stamps.
It was almost midnight, so I was a little sketched out outside of the airport (I’ve only been out of the US twice).
Everything was overgrown.
The street lines were all over the place & there weren’t many traffic rules.
There were still a ton of motorbikes on the road and it was hard to see where we were going.
There were stray dogs running around chasing the bikes zooming past.
The Airbnb was hard to find and the check-in process was super complicated.
But on the inside, it was beautiful.
There’s nothing like that feeling of hitting the pillow in a new country, excited for the next day’s adventures.
In the morning, we hit the Sunday market.
A lot of the food was fried or greasy or ehh…
But the fruits were literally the freshest in the world.
And it’s fun to see all the handmade crafts.
It’s also nice to just see… people.
The daylight shows you that the people on the island are actually very kind & sweet (pro tip: try to arrive during the day ).
I quickly got used to this new area after about an hour of walking around.
They also had beautiful murals everywhere, and it was really innocent to see the school soccer fields in the middle of the city.
It’s also funny to see Polynesian people speaking fluent French.
France has owned these islands for 100ish years, so Polynesian is actually a rarer language.
But most people know juuuust enough English where you can get what you want with only a few funny hiccups.
At breakfast, we also learned how weird the tipping system is.
You get the bill and write an optional tip on it and THEN give them your credit card.
Apparently, 10% is a BIG tip.
And a lot of breakfast/lunch places don’t even give you the option to tip.
They also have between 5-13% local tax on the bill, and they even collect 1% social security lol.
We only had 1 full day on Tahiti, so we took a tour around the island.
The first stop was the beach, with the warmest & shallowest water I’d ever seen (great for walking).
Plus, a view of Moorea (the other island in the background).
Next was some sort of temple.
It was in a really cool spot next to the mountains & forest.
But a bit eerie, because the black volcanic alter was probably where they made sacrifices (not sure if that’s true - there were no signs or historical markers, but eerie to think about).
The tiki sculptures were cool, either way.
Then we stopped by a huge cave underneath the mountains & got a coconut to share.
Funny thing is, we always dreamed about finding coconuts together after Julia moved to Florida, and now it’s a regular thing lol.
Next up was the ‘water garden’, which was similar to a Japanese garden, but more tropical, more waterfalls, and home to a lot of history.
And, weird to admit, but I’m a sucker for exotic flowers. They’re just so weird & different than anything in America.
The rest of the island didn’t have many stops other than a couple waterfalls and a lighthouse, but my favorite part of visiting any island is taking a drive around it, so we really enjoyed it.
They have a lot of unique colors on their homes & churches, and we passed at LEAST a dozen Sunday barbecues.
The next day before our flight, we checked out the local pearls & dresses for Julia, before hopping our flight to the ONE place that both of us DREAMED of on our honeymoon.
Julia had wanted to go since she was 14 & saw it on Instagram.
I’d wanted to go for the last few years since I heard Jason Capital talk about it lol… Bora Bora!
So we finally made it happen.
Nothing’s cooler than taking a propeller plane to such a remote, exotic airport, where they boat you to the main part of the island.
Yes, you land on a strip on the outside of the island, and then take a boat shuttle to the main island through the most beautiful water you’ve ever seen.
Because it makes you feel super boujee.
The real reason is because almost all the Polynesian islands have an atoll around them.
AKA a reef that (I think) was formed when the volcano went off thousands of years ago.
They’re natural barriers that circle the island, serve as a home for the fish, and protect the island from waves.
The lagoon water is SO nice, warm, and calm on these islands because of the atolls around them.
If the atoll is big enough, they’ll build on it. That’s where the airport (and the resorts) are.
We’re actually super happy we didn’t stay at the resorts though because they charge you to leave.
Plus, you don’t get to experience the culture. And you can find something on the main island that’s almost as nice, for 5-7x less.
Our Airbnb (with its own beach) was literally right next to one of the two resorts that are on the main island.
So we walked over & checked out the overwater bungalows and the manmade coral reef below them that attracted thousands of beautiful, tropical fish.
Then we got dinner at one of the local fine dining restaurants, which are really similar on the island.
You call ahead, they send a taxi to pick you up, and you arrive at French-themed restaurant that gives you both French options as well as local Polynesian lagoon fish.
It’s an incredible experience for an island, but eventually you do get a little tired of all the fish.
The next day we didn’t have anything planned.
We jumped in the water on our own little beach, got a breakfast buffet at the resort, made some cool leaf hats with our new 60+ year old friends (lol), and then rode our bikes all the way up into town.
The island is small, it’d probably take an hour to go around in a car, but on bikes, it’s quite a trip just to get to the next town.
But the views were incredible & we stopped to take a ton of pictures.
In town, we got lunch, which is tough because all the restaurants close at 2pm & you never quite know what you’re gonna get when you order lol…
But it was some sort of ahi bowl which was honestly incredible.
And the portion was so huge that we gave the rest to a hungry dog.
There are TONS of dogs on the island, and most of them unfortunately are homeless.
There weren’t many homeless people at all, but a ton of homeless dogs. A weird dynamic for sure.
After that, we hit up all the local shops & art galleries on our bikes, which are a mix of Polynesian & French owners.
And of course we hit up the local fruit stands too.
Then we biked back, and took a taxi to Bloody Mary’s.
Now, normally a place called Bloody Mary’s would NOT be Julia-approved (she’s the healthiest person you could ever meet lol).
You’d think this place would have a lot of fried food & endless alcohol.
But this Bloody Mary’s was made famous for its seafood & live ukulele band.
And damn, they were good.
Even the ordering process was cool because you walk up to a table full of fresh fish & live lobsters crawling around and pick out what you want.
Then you sit down, enjoy the band, and have your meals delivered.
Plus, the place is famous for being famous…
Pretty much every celebrity who visits Bora Bora stops at Bloody Mary’s and gets their name put on the wall.
So, lots of fun social proof to be seen.
The next morning we got picked up for our ATV adventure.
This was really cool because they first took you on a lap of the entire island, which was something that I wanted to do, but it doesn’t really make sense to have your own car on Bora Bora.
So we got to do it on ATVs instead, and then went to the top of one of the mountains there, with the most gorgeous views I’d ever seen… and the fulfillment of the dreams I’d had of visiting Bora Bora for the last few years.
After that, the guide took us to his parents’ house where we had fresh fruit and lounged at their home right in-between the main volcano and the ocean.
We went back & had to transfer Airbnbs, this time to one that stuck out onto the water, super similar to the over-water bungalows in the resorts, but for only $200/night (read: don’t stay at the resorts).
Later we went to Saint James, another French Polynesian restaurant with the best coconut-flaked mahi-mahi that you could imagine.
Plus, the sunset was incredible, and we bought swimsuits at their store.
Oh, and we usually walked back from dinner each night because it was so nice, and you can spot the crabs at night.
There are entire fields full of thousands of crabs just running around in the moonlight lol. (Pro Tip: You’ll have a lot more cool experiences if you just walk places. And you won’t gain weight on vacation)
Our final full day in Bora Bora was a private snorkeling adventure, and my goodness…
This was the coolest adventure we’ve ever taken in our adventures together over the last couple of years.
Our guide was probably the most entertaining guy you could ever imagine, Taaroa.
He played his ukulele while driving the boat with his feet, and even handcraft Julia a purse out of palm fronds.
We make the first stop in crystal clear, cyan blue water.
He jumps in, and a stingray swims into his arms, then he starts rocking it like a baby and singing to it, "Ohhhh Juliet, don’t be jealous now, we have some guests!"
So we got in, I held a stingray, and we snorkeled around in walkable water in the middle of the lagoon.
Plus, iPhones are so great now that you can take them underwater (RIP GoPro), so we got some EPIC videos.
The next stop was crazy cool because it was right up against the atoll.
Not the wide atoll where the resorts are, but the one that’s really skinny where you can’t see it other than the huge 6ft waves that are crashing into it.
Yet, you feel totally safe because you’re on the inside.
Here we got out and swam with the black-tipped sharks.
They’re about 3 feet long and don’t approach you.
They just swim around, minding their own business.
It’s a bit scary at first, but after a few minutes, it’s the time of your life!
The last stop was the ‘coral garden’ - the most beautiful coral reef I’ve ever seen, between the alien-like plants, glowing clams, and oddly tropical fish.
Let the pics & videos speak for themselves.
Plus, there were a couple of private islands nearby that were so magical because these people can just walk into a coral reef in their backyard. #goals
For our last dinner in Bora Bora, we took a boat to one of the resorts to check it out, and frankly, it re-confirmed that it’s smart to not stay there.
This resort wasn’t nearly as cool as the mainland one.
The boat ride was super long.
And you really do feel trapped on the resort.
It’s fun to at least check it out though. The dinner was weird.
Again, it was a mix of French & Polynesian, but not as good as the main island meals we had.
It was super fun though, and the French wine was delicious.
The next morning we packed up, and took one last boat ride over to the airport.
It’s an incredible ‘shuttle’ with some of the best views you’ll get of Bora Bora.
We napped on the plane this time, and it felt strangely homey flying in this time since we’d done it before.
Then we hit the gym once we got to Tahiti (they don’t have any on Bora Bora)!
Then had a home-cooked meal overlooking the ocean from out moouraintop airbnb.
It was really relaxing as we prepared for Leg 3 of our trip this morning.
I’m writing this on our flight right now (thank God Air Tahiti has wifi)…
And a MAJOR shoutout to their staff at the airport who re-opened baggage check-in for us since we were running a bit late, got pointed in the wrong direction, and didn’t have some sort of documentation we needed for our upcoming layover.
They literally saved the day.
Great experience so far with such an exotic airline that I never thought I’d ever use lol.
Anyway, Leg 2 (Tahiti & Bora Bora) was even better than we dreamt.
We had a lot of great conversations, dancing, and stargazing from the middle of the ocean with zero light pollution.
Julia did an amazing job documenting the whole thing on camera, so that’s why we have such amazing photos below.
Once again, we’re SO thankful & blessed to be able to share these experiences together.
Thanks, everyone for your support.
Any guesses where we’re going for Leg 3?