Tahiti: A Honeymooners Dream Destination.
Since I didn’t manage to get married (which I’m not sad about btw), I never got the chance of picking French Polynesia/Tahiti as my honeymoon destination. But someone once told me that Tahiti is a real honeymooners delight: white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, fantastic resorts with gorgeous private villas and absolutely no obligation to do anything … minus the husband and I’d so go for it! Nevertheless, when I first heard about Teahupoo and it’s magic waves, it was reason enough to book a flight to this South sea paradise.
French Polynesia – or better Tahiti – is not an independent travellers destination. Most people come with a package tour, which you’ll realize immediately after arriving at the airport … Everyone is greeted with flower garlands, while a group of musician fiddle their souls away and after a fast custom procedure, you’re out in the street alone because all other passengers have been picked up by their hotel chauffeurs.
Public Transport – No Chance!
As it was just 5.00 am when I arrived in Papeete, nothing was open and there was no chance of finding any sort of public transport, as I planned to reach the freighter ship to the Austral Islands (which only runs once a week). After checking out the area a little bit, I found someone who pointed me the direction to the next bus station. Let me tell you something … public transport is not an easy thing in Tahiti! The buses run irregularly, sometimes don’t even stop and if they run too fast, they’ll just pass by the station without the smallest bit of eye twitching. Also, I don’t know who designed the bus loops and stops but that person must have been under the weather – if you know what I mean. There is no public transport going down to the port where all the ships take off … and it’s one hell of a walk down there – especially if you’re fully packed like myself! Sure, you’ll adjust and get used to it but it can get frustrating. So the last way out of this crappy start into the day was hitch-hiking down to the port.
These ships down in the port looked like monsters (no windows and high steel walls) who really have to conquer the rough seas from time to time. Luckily, this was not the case when I travelled. The Pacific ocean was calm and though the ship was an old lady, it was a very pleasant trip with my hammock set up right on the stern.
The Austral Islands & its people.
The Austral Islands are really out of the way, and the main town of Tubuai is a scatter of a few houses, not more. You’ll find one supermarket with an adjoining post office, some guest houses and that’s about it. It’s a small place but that’s what makes it more cozy & homey as well.
The people of the area are very friendly and happy to help you out if you need something. Just be aware of the ones hanging out in front of the supermarket – most of them have consumed lots of booze and this can be quite uncomfortable – especially when you’re there alone at night. One thing is for sure, forget the South Sea beauties! Food over there is totally unhealthy and lots (!) of people tend to be very overweight.
Arriving back in Tahiti, the problem with public transport continued. Teahupoo was my next desired destination but getting there was far from easy. A bus to Teahupoo exists, but you have to get out at the right intersection and wait a few hours for the connecting bus … I’d really suggest to hitch-hike, which I did again. The guys who gave me a ride were some surfers from Teahupoo, so I could save a lot of time and immediately got great input for nice guest houses in the area.
- If you plan to visit Teahupoo (and stay there for a while), keep in mind that the supermarket is quite some kilometres away from the village, so be sure to plan ahead.
Teahupoo itself is a black beach place with many local rent out rooms and the vibes are really good – as they usually are around surf spots. I was lucky to stay with a few surfers from Brazil (including the pro-surfer Dennis Tiahara). When the guys went our for a surf the next day, they asked if I’d dare to go out with them to take some photos. This was a great opportunity and I followed their request immediately :) Some local guy they knew, took me out to the massive waves on his jet-ski and I spent the next two days taking heaps of shots right near this world-famous break. It was an unforgettable experience to be so close to the action.
If you’re planning on visiting French Polynesia and are looking for cheap, yet nice accommodation around Papeete, Tubuai or Teahupoo, feel free to drop me a line.