French Polynesia

Did you know that French Polynesia is only 7.5 hours from LAX? Not that long when you think about all those gorgeous overwater bungalows, that crystal clear water and the beautiful fish. The islands of Tahiti are truly something you must experience. And yes, it can be done affordably.

Here are some fun facts and tips about the islands of Tahiti:

Staying in an Overwater Bungalow the entire time is simply not necessary. Cut costs and do a few nights in one, and a few nights in a garden or beach bungalow. The Pearl Bora Bora has a Garden Bungalow with pool that is to die for!

A canoe breakfast is a must.

Don’t bring lots of clothes or shoes. You won’t need them. You’ll live in shorts, t-shirts and bathing suits. Sand is everywhere, so forget the heels. And remember, the inter-island flights have a max luggage weight of 44 lbs.

If you plan on doing any jungle tours (you must – they are fabulous!), bug spray is necessary. The best by far is You won’t even notice a gnat if you are wearing this stuff.

No need to bring your own snorkel gear, every hotel room has it available for your use.

Most people think of Papeete as a quick stop over, but it actually is THE place to shop and dine. Marche is all about the local goods. Don’t even think of bargaining here…they consider it rude. Take Le Truck (local bus) to Les Roulottes (food carts) for dinner. Bring a bottle of wine, order some crepes and sit down with some locals. Amazing experience.

If you must have a black pearl, buy it loose. If you buy a necklace or earrings, you’ll get charged a bundle for the imported gold and silver it’s attached to.

For those looking for adventure, you’ll want to head to Moorea. Plenty to see and do here. You’ll also find the islands’ only Dolphin Experience. Pre-book it, it always sells out.

Bora Bora is small and romantic and a great place to do an Overwater Bungalow for a few nights.

The Aqua Safari is a must for the non-diver who wants to check out the underwater world.

Bloody Mary’s is the best restaurant in Tahiti. Pre-book this always.

So if you thought Tahiti sounded like just a dream, it can become a reality if it’s planned correctly. And it could be the experience of a lifetime!

Jennifer Byrne