Advice on Tahiti vacation (or like places)

This summer, a friend and I planned to take my dream trip: Egypt. Clearly though, that won’t be happening (I believe my Facebook status was: “Yo, Egypt: I’m really happy for your revolution and I’mma let you finish, but way to cock block the greatest trip of all time. . . OF ALL TIME! kanyeshrug”). Luckily, we were waiting until about now to book, so we aren’t out anything and instead have time off and money to blow.

I’m a big history nut, but if I can’t do Egypt, I feel my time off this stressful year would be best spent drunk on a gorgeous beach, developing melanoma, and possibly surrounded by beautiful local men. Naturally, Tahiti seems like a fabulous option.

If I go to Tahiti, I’d really, really like to stay in one of those over water bungalows, but beyond that, I know nothing about the place. Anybody have any advice? Places to stay, things to do, things to look out for, best times to go, etc?

OR, alternatively, I am totally open to other tropical paradises. I’d rather not do Hawaii again (fortunate enough to go about 4 times now, sort of over it) or Mexico (I’d rather not be beheaded by a drug lord, thank you), but I am open to other exotic destinations.

We’re shooting for sometime in July and we’d like to spend about $2000 a piece (before going-- on air, taxes, accommodations, etc.- obviously money spent there on food and such is a different issue). I realize that’s a bit low but I’m a bargain shopper and am pretty good at getting a deal-- that said, I’m totally open to expanding a bit beyond that price range if the vacation will be truly epic.

My only real criteria: epic gorgeous beach, not too crowded or touristy, something moderately exotic. Oh, and rum. If they have rum, that’d be great. I know there are supposed to be some amazing beach places in Asia, but I know nothing about it. Help!:slight_smile:

I’ve been there twice and love French Polynesia. However – do not allocate too much time to Papeete in Tahiti itself. It is probably the least scenic island of the group, and definitely does not have the best beaches. It has an interesting marketplace that is worth a visit. You will have to spend at least a little time there, as that’s where the international airport is.

Look into the other islands. Maupiti is a tiny and remote little paradise. No hotels, only guest houses. Ditto Rangiroa, which is actually a coral atoll around a huge lagoon. Many folks make a big to-do about Bora Bora, but I liked the ones I visited better. In Tahiti, they seemed to me to have a French big-city attitude. The farther away you get from Papeete the lovelier and friendlier the folks are. There are a lot of islands and you should decide what you want and take your pick.

Don’t think rum is a big deal there.

Another island to consider is a lot closer: Check out Anguilla in the Caribbean. It has only one actual hotel, and that one is very, very expensive, but there are rental cottages and the like all over the place that are very reasonable. And it has the single most beautiful beach I have ever seen anywhere, right next to the fancy expensive hotel of course, but all beaches are open for free to everyone.

Another surprising fact is that this tiny little island has fantastic restaurants. It also has virtually zero crime. You are advised to not leave your expensive belongings unattended in your car because it might be burgled by another tourist, but other than that you need have no fear.

And rum? Did someone say rum? MMmmmm! Do they have rum!

When you say “cabin over the water” I immediately thought “Bocas del Toro” which is a series of small islands on the Carribean side of Panama.
Something like this:
http://www.puntacaracol.com/index.htm

My parents were there recently (in Bocas del Toro, not that particular hotel) and raved - since they are snobs and detest anything remotely touristy or “unauthentic” it cannot be overbuilt or too “discovered” yet. It’s the kind of place you have to take a plane, to a prop plane, to a bus, to a boat to get to.There are any number of national parks, coral reefs and such if you want to look at pretty things. There is surfing in some areas as well and I’m sure people to give lessons. Flor de Cana, a Nicaraguan rum, is plentiful.

Here is what I, personally would do.
Fly to San Jose, In Costa Rica. Take a 2-day trip to the Arenal volcano, upon which the side of is a world-renown spa with hot springs that bubble up from the volcano… It’s called Tabacon Thermal Springs Spa & Hotel. You don’t have to stay there to use the spa facilites - you can stay nearby and get a day pass.

From there, go back to San Jose. get a “Nature Air” (central America’s only carbon neutral airline) Twin Otter flight to Bocas. Commence beachside and/or suspended-above-the-water lounging.

The chaos in Egypt may very well cause chaos in oil prices. So if you want to go anywhere involving airfare, I’d get it booked soon.

Fiji is supposed to be a great, affordable island.

Bah, it’s too bad you can’t (easily) go to Cuba! It would be perfect for you.

I think overwater bungalows sound fantastic, but I’ve done a little bit of research and haven’t been able to find anything anywhere near my price range. They all seem to be upwards of $350/night, even in low season. I’d be interested to know if you find something more reasonable.

I’ve heard Roatan (Honduras) is nice and not very touristy yet. Also Turks and Caicos.

I’d love to see Atlantis (Paradise Island, Bahamas) but I think it’s also very expensive and touristy.

Great suggestions everyone, thank you! I’m looking into all the suggestions, btw!

I just remembered I have been wanting to see Angkor Wat, so maybe a fun beach resort in Cambodia, with a day or two over to the historical stuff. The issue is, of course, I literally know nothing about Cambodian tourism, so I’m going to need to look into how easy it is to get from say, the beach to the temple. Heck, or maybe even Thai beach, with a side trip to the Cambodian sites. No idea how doable that is.

I’m also open to doing a vacation rental thing instead of a resort. Yes, I’d love the hut on the water, but MrSquishy is right that it seems to be quite a bit more than even just a hut on the beach in most cases. I’m still sleuthing, though, and will report my findings. Anywho, the plus of the vacation rental scenario is that the owner can often be a bit flexible with rates, plus in the case of many I’m seeing in places like Thailand, they include a driver. Thoughts?

Yeah, I much preferred Fiji over Tahiti. The people are way friendlier in Fiji than Tahiti. I’ve only been to the islands of Tahiti and Moorea, so I honestly can’t be that great of a judge of French Polynesia. I was also staying super low budget backpacking style, so my particular experience wasn’t luxury on the water huts either.

My two weeks in Fiji were absolutely the best vacation I’ve taken. The diving is awesome. The people are awesome. The scenery is awesome.

I stayed at two resorts…the first one was Wananavu, on Viti Levu…that’s the main island, but it’s a bit…rustic. The second week I stayed at Castaway Island…they have stuff from the movie Castaway there. We got to dive the area near the island they actually filmed Castaway at.

It’s a 10 hour non-stop flight from LA.
My other choice in that “general” area is Palau…there’s more to do in “town”, but still has all the beauty and relaxation.
-D/a

Phuket in Thailand is beautiful, but - like Tahiti - its possible to blow $2k just getting there and back.

Cambodia is still very poor, and it’s not renound for its beach spots - Shianoukville for example is nothing very much compared to the lovely spots in Thailand or Malaysia.

We had a fantastic trip to Mauritius (and what do you know, they produce rum!), and it’s a short flight to Reunion Island which we loved even more (we got engaged at the top of the volcano there).

However, these are long distances from the US, and if I had easly access to the Carribbean, or spots like Belize I don’t think I’d be flying much further. From Australia SE Asia and the Indian Ocean are easier to access.

Or…you could come to visit Australia, I promise it’s less dangerous than it sounds…

You can easily fly into and out of Ankor Wat (the town is Siem Reap) from other towns within Cambodia, or direct from other major SE Asian cities including Bangkok. Air Asia is a good cheap airline in the region if you want to look at what is within reach. Or check out Siem Reap airport to see which other carriers go there. We spent 3 days there doing the temples and 4 in Phnom Penh flying via Kuala Lumpar.

Well, we’ve made our choice: Fiji. Found a nice little beach house we can rent for a week at a reasonable price (not a hut over the water, but a private beach will do) and are going the first week of July.

I am having some issues finding things to do. Well, I see all the touristy stuff, but usually when I travel, I can find blogs with info of, perhaps, more unique things to do. I like to be a bit away from things, admiring nature.

Any fun ideas?

I would like to reiterate the same request I made before your trip to Peru: Take lots of pictures, please. Your pictures from Peru were terrific.

Most absolutely! :slight_smile: Of course, I need to find these exciting things to do in Fiji before I can take pictures of them! :stuck_out_tongue:

If I were going, I’d go to Kula Eco Park: http://www.fijiwild.com/

I’d also do a cruise and some scuba or snorkeling. But that’s just me.

If you like, there’s someone who posts on another board I belong to who actually lives in Fiji. I could ask her for suggestions if you want. Just PM me if that interests you.