French Polynesia – Day 2 – 180 Degree Turnaround

I wake up in Tahiti still not knowing how we are going to get to Moorea. I decide to go to the gym before breakfast and run into our driver. Luckily, he was on top of things and advised me that the best way to get to Moorea would be by ferry and he would take care of everything. With this problem solved, I headed to the gym then breakfast.

The breakfast at the Manava was not good at all. Items were not cooked well and the service was very slow. After breakfast, we went to a corner store to buy some forgotten items and I finally got a glimpse of local culture. There were two things that immediately stuck out: 1. a lot of the food reminded me of Hawaii with influence from local and Asian cuisine (and I love the variety of delicious things you can get at a corner store or gas station in these places); 2. The French influence with bread and baguettes. At this point, I regretted eating the crappy hotel breakfast!

After this, we headed back to the hotel and FINALLY, got my first glimpse of paradise after almost 13 hours of being in the islands and seeing nothing but the inside of hotel rooms!

Around noon we departed by ferry for Moorea. As promised the driver took care of all the arrangements from buying tickets to luggage. The ferry itself was just like any other ferry.

For the best views, I recommend the top outdoor deck (unless you are prone to motion sickness). I was able to get some photos of the capital as the ship departed.

Upon arrival in Moorea, the Sofitel had a driver waiting. When we got to the hotel we were greeted with leis, they checked us in, and then showed us to our room. We had rented the luxury villa which is at the end of the resort and is waterfront (but no beach and not overwater). A bucket list item for me, and part of the reason we came to French Polynesia (FP), was to stay at an overwater bungalow. I decided to save this for Bora Bora. Also, when I booked, the luxury villa was the only room they had available. It was perfect because we were travelling with my parents and the villa can accommodate 2 families. However, I did get to see overwater bungalows for the first time ever from the villa’s patio!

A bit about the accommodation. Before arriving, I was trying to find reviews and more info on the villa but did not find much so hopefully this helps you. The Sofitel Moorea has bungalows on land and overwater. If this is your first trip to FP, and you are only staying here, I suggest getting an overwater bungalow. It is the quintessential thing to do here (and I believe this type of accommodation was invented in FP). The other bungalows are spread throughout the property either in the garden or on the lagoon’s shores. The luxury villa is like two bungalows, joined together with a living room in the middle. Its supposed to be one of their best rooms.

living room; bedrooms on each side each with ensuite

one of the bedrooms
view from back patio

The rooms are clean but dated. Same with the bathrooms and living room (which we hardly used). The back porch has easy access to the water and you can do a bit of snorkeling. The water is quite shallow. Also, note that this resort has no gym.

After settling in, we decided to enjoy the views and ordered lunch by room service.

I ordered the only local item (and one local-ish item) they had on the menu from what I could tell including:

  1. Poisson cru which is basically like poke or ceviche, but unfortunately, not as good. While poke has lots of umami from the Asian ingredients and ceviche has good acidity, I found that poisson cru was very muted in comparison. I think the addition of coconut milk makes everything more toned down. Its too bad as this was one of the dishes I was really looking forward to trying. I subsequently tried this dish on numerous occasions throughout the trip, and the result was always the same.
  2. Creme Brulee with Tahitian Vanilla.

…and had to order Western for the rest including a burger and club sandwich. The burger was actually very delicious, and made from scratch. What stood out most were the fries. They were perfectly crisp and delicious which I was surprised to discover at first, and then I realized we were in FRENCH Polynesia.

After lunch we decided to snorkel a bit and then rest as I had planned a big night ahead….next up, a BIG NIGHT OUT…

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