I always knew that we would goto Tahiti for our honeymoon; we didn't know what the venue would be for the wedding and in fact, hadn't even set the date yet, but I knew for sure that I wanted to splurge on a trip to Tahiti. I mean, when else do you get an excuse to blow tens of thousands on a mere trip?

Planning for this trip was exhausting and time consuming, but with each tidbit of information that I gathered in my anal-retentive way, I was hyping myself up for an amazing time. I hope that this mini guide can help others as well. Please note that all information is current as of our June 2008 honeymoon.

Islands: The first question you must ask yourself is, which islands do you want to visit? Tahiti is comprised of many many beautiful islands, some developed, some not. We chose to stay with the more developed islands of Moorea and Bora Bora, mainly for it's range of activities (Moorea) and beauty (Bora Bora).

Flights: I did a lot of comparison shopping with flights from different companies. I first visited Liberty Travel to find out what my options were. The two main airlines that fly to Tahiti are Air Tahiti Nui (ATN) and Qantas, and what made sense for us was ATN. They offered direct flights from NYC only once a week, whereas a direct flight departed LAX on a daily basis. With this in mind, I decided that we would stay overnight in LA for one night and then fly to Tahiti from there, but return to NYC on a direct flight. My decision to stay overnight in LA stems from the fact that I am forever fearful of flight delays that may result in missing our connecting flight, and with an itinerary that depended on an airline that only flew once a day, I did not want to take that chance. After shopping online on various websites (Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia, Air Tahiti Nui website), I decided to purchase from Expedia because the rates were practically identical and I am used to Expedia's format.

Now comes my nightmare. I booked my flights - NYC to LAX, LAX to Tahiti, Tahiti to NYC, along with interisland flights (Papeete to Moorea, Moorea to Bora Bora, Bora Bora back to Papeete). Everything seemed confirmed and my credit card was fully charged, as was noted on the website. I went back to the My Itinerary page to check the flights and print out a copy, which is when I noticed that it did not display my interisland flights and noted for me to call Expedia. When I finally got a customer service rep on the phone, I was told that due to a delayed update of the site by the interisland airline, the flights I wanted to book were already cancelled and that I did not have any interisland flights booked at all. If I were to try booking yet again, I may still run into this same problem. There was nothing Expedia could do at this point. I only have the flight into Tahiti and no interisland flights.

I scrambled to find an agency that would book interisland flights for me, and please note that many, many agencies will not book them for you because you did not book an international flight with them. They usually do it as a package deal, where they will book your international flights as well as the interisland flights. I was panicking, but finally found an operator in California who felt compassionate to my situation and went ahead and booked my tickets. In fact, the interisland tickets he booked for me were much cheaper than the price I had originally booked them at on Expedia, so it was a win-win (aside from the minor heart attack I almost had).

I high recommend John, from Travel Portfolio
John Bell, Travel Portfolio
4345 Van Nuys Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Hotels: How did I go about picking the hotels that I wanted to stay in? This is one of the most important questions when planning for a Tahiti honeymoon, because where you stay, and what accomodations you choose within that property, will dictate just how many zeros you add to the end of your honeymoond budget. There was no doubt in my mind that if we were travelling all the way out there, we'd splurge for an overwater bungalow. There is no point in going to Tahiti if you are not going to live in one of those beautiful little huts that they are so famous for. You might as well just goto Hawai'i.

We are part of the Starwood Preferred Guest program, where we get points for amounts charged on our credit card, so I decided to stay within the Starwood family for our stay in Papeete and Moorea. We were able to use points for a free night in Sheraton in Tahiti (Papeete) and use points for a few nights stay at the Sheraton in Moorea. However, please note that the Sheraton in Moorea is also very well-known for its amazing snorkeling and after seeing it first hand myself, I would have to agree 110%.

For Bora Bora, I searched long and hard, debating between somewhere luxurious and new (St. Regis) or something that was a little more dated, but always within the top 3 for best hotels in the South Pacific (Hotel Bora Bora). After a discussion with the hubby, we decided to stick with Hotel Bora Bora, and it definitely didn't disappoint. Yes, it's dated; their bungalows are older, not as luxurious, less amenities (there is no television, no fridge) but it has such charm and beauty, not to mention the staff is top notch. (Picture on the left depicts their activities center, with the amazing view). Each staff member remembered our name, the activities desk would remind us each day of what we had planned, the food was simply AMAZING and out of this world.

Next entry: Activities, Food and Sightseeing in Tahiti

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