Tahiti and Moorea on a budget (Part 1)

| February 18, 2010 | 23 Comments
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How to make your trip to French Polynesia affordable



I’m sure that like me, you always thought that the islands featured in spectacular photos you have found yourself staring at are only accessible to the extremely wealthy and certainly out of reach for the budget conscious, right?

Wrong! Sure, French Polynesia can be as expensive as you want and more, but the good news is that there is a very affordable side to it that not many travellers are aware of. We spent a week in Tahiti and Moorea, and not only was I glad we did not give it a miss but were rewarded with some of the best sceneries I have ever witnessed, as simple as that. This is how we enjoyed a week in paradise for a fracton of what you think it costs.

Like any journey (or most of them) it all begins with a flight, and in the case of Tahiti it becomes a requirement (sure, there are a few cruises that stop there, but then if you were joining one of those you wold not be reading this right?). There are two ways to get to Tahiti by air: flying roundtrip from wherever you are or making a stopover in a trans-Pacific flight. The second option is usually the cheapest and can be achieved if you purchase your ticket though a travel agent, not online. The cheapest airlines with this opportunity are usually Lan Chile (flying from/to Santiago with yet another stopover in Easter Island) and Air Tahiti Nui, with flights from/to New Zealand and Australia to/from the west coast of the USA. The second option was our case, with a flight with Air Tahiti Nui from Auckland to Los Angeles. Initially we considered spending only two days, but after looking for info about the islands online we decided to our better judgement to extend our stay to 7 days. There is no cost involved by the way when you extend a stopover.

Step 2 and perhaps what keeps most travellers away is accommodation. In Tahiti there is nothing for under 60 USD/ night unless you a) couchsurf or b) go camping. And this is what we did, with very good results.

We initially spent two nights couchsurfing in Papeete, the capital city of Tahiti . It is a busy, unappealing metropolis with all the commerce and government buildings of the nation. During the day we spent there we climbed to the top of the highest mountain in the area with a Polish traveller we had met, while waiting for my sister who would arrive later that night, and did get some nice views of Moorea and enjoyed the walk.

Tahiti: sun, sand, surf and...motocross??

The following morning we woke up early to catch the 11 am ferry to Moorea (15 USD/person), the closest island to Tahiti and apparently one of the most beautifull in French Polynesia. We would spend the next 6 days sleeping in Camping Nelson, hoping to find the famous beaches, mountains and lush forests the islannds are famous for. Did we? We certainly did, and regreted we had not made our stay longer after finding out that Moorea is NOT as expensive as you’ll read. Don’t waste a minute and keep reading Tahiti and Moorea on a budget Part 2: One week in paradise and learn how to easily make 100 USD/person in Moorea (not kidding!).

En route to Moorea

Have you visited these islands or any others in French Polynesia? Which? How expensive was it for you? If you liked this post and think others might too please remember to share it!

Category: Tahiti and Moorea

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23 Responses to “Tahiti and Moorea on a budget (Part 1)”

  1. You can not select the inn, apartment or hotel room, you can not afford. It’s always very safe to operate in accordance with your budget. Determine the budget and reserve hotels that match your budget.

  2. Laura says:

    I assumed French Polynesia would be expensive as well so it’s great to know that it’s possible to get by on a budget. When I went to Botswana earlier this year, everyone told me it was incredibly expensive (including a distant relative who had been) and I was getting discouraged. However, I got by cheaply by camping and was able to make it through on a backpacker budget (of course I hitchhiked since transport is difficult but that’s another story!). Thanks for the tips.

    • maitravelsite says:

      Camping in Moorea is great value tooo, as the camping has very good facilities. Once there and if you want to explore French Polynesia then you cna get an Air Tahiti Nui pass and , as long as you camp, will be able to explore paradise at a decent cost.

  3. another spot in the world that I really, really need to get to. And this is such a good guide for doing it on a budget.

  4. Abby says:

    Wow. I love that you made some of these places I never thought I’d go to accessible. I’m newly inspired!!

  5. Erica says:

    I never had really thought about French Polynesia – but the pictures look amazing. I also never thought to camp… oh the possibilities!

  6. Ayngelina says:

    Interesting, is there an active couchsurfing community there?

    • maitravelsite says:

      There is indeed Ayngelina. It might take a while to get a few answers, but it is the best way to save money upon arrival.

  7. maitravelsite says:

    Hi Travelsass,

    It certianly is one kind of a place. Now you know how to save money!

    Federico

  8. lavamom says:

    When will Part Two be coming?

    • maitravelsite says:

      Hi

      Thanks for your interest! I have it pretty much ready and will publish it by the end of next week, as there will be a short movie as well. I hope this suits you fine!

      Federico

  9. maria eves says:

    I look for­ward to vis­it­ing these beau­ti­ful islands some­time in the future.
    After all they would have to be like sis­ter islands to new zealand.
    Beau­ti­ful Paradise.

  10. maria eves says:

    I look forward to visiting these beautiful islands sometime in the future.
    After all they would have to be like sister islands to new zealand.
    Beautiful Paradise.

  11. This just goes to show that if you truly put your mind to something you can achieve whatever you want. Looks like a fabulous trip, and I can’t wait to visit myself. Looking forward to part 2.

    Jordan Schultz

  12. Wow this looks amazing…. I will definitely keep this in mind as a destination to visit. Thank you.

    Marcus

  13. Allan Neill says:

    cheers can you fill me in regards couch surfing . how do we go about it thanks

  14. maitravelsite says:

    Hi Allan. I have an article that explains this in detail…simply go to the travel tips page and you’ll find it there. If you have any more questions feel free to get back to me and we can even chat if you want.

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Hi, I'm Federico. Join me as I travel the world visiting world famous destinations and explore those not as known, offering money saving tips and unique insights for your ultimate trip.

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