Since Valentine's week seems the perfect opportunity to talk of romantic vacations and honeymoon spots I just had to have my sister-in-law write about their honeymoon destination. I'd not heard of Moorea before and was in awe of the photos they were able to capture during their time there. So whether you're looking for your own honeymoon destination, a warm vacation to escape the winter months or you're simply satisfied with fantasizing, Andrea's take will help transport you there!
For me, choosing a honeymoon destination was as stressful as selecting my wedding dress. Similar to the characteristics you look for in a dress, you want your trip to be memorable, breathtaking, and something you don’t look back on and ask yourself, “what was I thinking?!”
We were fortunate enough to be gifted both flight and hotel points, however, that narrowed down our choices immediately. After weeks of research we had decided on three possible destinations: Australia, Jamaica, and Moorea, a Tahitian island. Australia was the frontrunner for a long time, but in the end it was eliminated because we wanted most of our time to be spent relaxing on the beach instead of traveling and exploring new places each day. The resort in Jamaica looked beautiful, but in the end it was a no-brainer; Moorea was the place for us.
As with any tropical vacation, it was important to first research the high and low seasons. The high season for the Tahitian islands runs from the beginning of May to the end of October, with the low season in between. Miraculously, although technically in the high season, our arrival date in mid-October gave us low season rates (score!). We finalized our flights and geared up for a week in paradise.
Before I knew it, we were boarding a plane for Los Angeles. Warning: If you do not like flying, the Tahitian islands may not be the destination for you. However, if you are up for traveling fourteen hours one way and changing between three different airlines, Moorea is beyond worth it! Here are just a few reasons why:
The bungalows. Whether you are located in the gardens or right over the water, there is nothing more romantic than having a little hut to call your own. We were even lucky enough to snag one with a private pool. One thing to note: Although the island lizards may act like they want to share the shower with you, they do run off quickly and keep a safe distance.
The ocean. Hands down, the water surrounding the Tahitian islands is the most breathtaking water we have ever seen. Florida, Mexico, Grand Cayman, and even Hawaii look like Lake Minnetonka in comparison. Beautiful? Yes. So clear you can see the sea life around you as if you were looking through glass at the aquarium? Forget about it!
The activities. We stayed at the Hilton in Moorea and were pleasantly surprised to find out that many, if not all, of the beach activities were free. As you would find at many beach resorts, the hotel offered rentals of snorkel gear, paddleboats, and kayaks.
One of my favorite activities was the guided ATV tour. We first stopped to taste-test at a local juice manufacturer, visited ancient ruins, then made our way up the mountain to our final destination; a scenic lookout with panoramic views of both Opunohu and Cook’s Bay.
Another favorite was swimming with sharks and stingrays. Naturally, we were all hesitant to enter the water after watching our guide jump right in and start feeding the wild rays. He quickly explained that the sharks are never fed and keep a safe distance. Phew! It was still nerve-wracking knowing that we had to avoid the tails, which isn’t an easy task when five rays are swimming around you.
The sunset. Although a bittersweet reminder that another day has come to an end, the sunset was something I looked forward to each night. It commands your attention and causes you to hold your breath for a few short moments as the sun is swallowed by the ocean once again.
From the moment we stepped off the plane, it felt as though we were in a movie. Moorea offers perfect weather, amazing food, and plenty of culture to soak in. However, no honeymoon would be complete without the perfect partner in crime by your side. For that, I was most thankful.
For other honeymoon locales take a look at:
Lisa's honeymoon post on Turks & Caicos Islands.
Marie's honeymoon post on Niagara Falls and Cape Cod.