While I’d always dreamt of going to Tahiti, I could never have imagined how wonderful my time in the remote French Polynesian islands in the South Pacific Ocean would be. Tahiti has a worldwide reputation as a honeymoon destination, known for luxurious and expensive over-water bungalows. The Society Islands and the remote Tuamotu Islands of Fakarava and Rangiroa were indeed romantic, uncrowded, and serene.
Arriving in Papeete after a 15-hour flight from Toronto via San Francisco, I felt a warm tropical breeze and heard the sounds of a Polynesian band welcoming us to the islands of Tahiti. For the next 4 weeks, all my dreams would indeed come true enjoying exclusive Polynesian resorts and a romantic Windstar cruise in this South Pacific paradise.
Perfect Weather All-Year Round
The islands of Tahiti and the Tuamotu Islands have perfect weather all year round with warm temperatures and gentle trade winds. While there are two seasons, the dry season (April to October) and the wet season November to March), even during the wet season, there is plenty of sunshine with a few intermittent showers.
I did experience some tropical rain showers when I was there in May, but within minutes the sun peaked out and the remainder of the days were glorious.
Island Hopping to Unique Polynesian Luxury Resorts before my Windstar Cruise
Exploring French Polynesia is not limited to cruises; the region is also home to some exceptional hotels and resorts. Flying from island to island is quite convenient and not too expensive. If you have lots of time, you can also travel by boat or ferry. Here are just two of the best island resorts I experienced before my cruise with Windstar.
Vahine Island Resort – A hidden gem on a private island
One of the hidden gems I found was Vahine Island Resort on a private island in the Taha’a Lagoon. I flew from Papeete to Raiatea and was met at the airport by a private captain for a 20-minute boat transfer to Vahine Island. If you are looking for an intimate, exclusive, and secluded place to stay for a few days, this is it. I stayed in one of only nine beachfront and overwater bungalows, enjoying the white sand beach, gourmet dining with French and Polynesian cuisine, and relaxing in the spa.
Le Tahiti Pearl Resort on Tahiti
Located on the west coast of Tahiti, on a quiet bay with a long black sand beach and a spectacular infinity pool with views of the Island of Moorea, Le Tahiti Pearl Resort was a quiet, luxurious escape from the hustle and bustle in Papeete while still being a convenient base for exploring the island.
The beachfront restaurant served international and Polynesian food, complemented by an elaborate Polynesian show once a week that had everyone on their feet dancing.
Memorable Moments with Windstar Cruises aboard Wind Spirit.
On this trip, I did an 11-day Windstar Cruise. My first glimpse of Windstar’s sailing yacht, Wind Spirit at the port in Papeete left me speechless. The stunning small ship bobbed gracefully alongside some larger traditional cruise ships and military vessels.
As the ship set sail, the crew welcomed us warmly to what would prove to be an extraordinary journey on our 145-guest sailing ship. From that moment on, staff remembered my name, and my food and drink preferences, creating a very personal and intimate experience.
Epic Sail Aways
At each sail away, guests gathered on the outside decks in flowy linen and gauze clothing with drinks in hand – my favorite was the Aperol Spritz. As the sun was setting and the sky was bursting with color, the dramatic music from the ship’s speakers grew louder, and all eyes were fixed on the giant white masts as the sails began to unfurl one at a time. This experience is now etched forever in my heart.
The Mammas and Pappas on the Pool Deck
We were invited onto the pool deck to meet the ‘Mamas and Papas’, (not the 1960’s band), who immersed us in Polynesian culture by making flower leis, wrapping us in traditional clothing, playing ukuleles, and singing. We even learned to hula. Having been in French Polynesia for a few weeks before the cruise, I came to love the warmth and kindness of the Tahitians. It was such a treat to spend a few hours with these men and women learning about their culture and traditions.
Legendary Bora Bora
With its iconic overwater bungalows, miles of quiet white sand beaches, and lush landscapes, Bora Bora did not disappoint! I toured the island in a colourful open bus stopping at beaches, exquisite resorts, and Bloody Mary’s, a bar made famous by all the celebrities who have visited over the years. As if this was not enough, I then did a snorkeling adventure in the coral gardens, swimming among vibrant tropical fish and graceful manta rays.
Snorkeling in Fakarava in the Tuamotu Archipelago
In Fakarava, a hidden gem in the Tuamotu Islands, the waters and underwater sea life are designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Sailing on a small ship in this remote part of the world, I was able to explore the underwater wonders while snorkeling in the immense Garuae Pass, where schools of colorful tropical fish danced around the vibrant coral reef teeming with life.
Visiting World Renowned Dive Spots in Rangiroa
Rangiroa, one of the largest atolls in the Tuamotus and is a world-renowned dive spot. As a non-diver, I was able to snorkel in pristine waters in the Blue Lagoon surrounded by schools of butterflyfish, turtles, manta rays, and hammerhead sharks. I could have stayed for hours in the crystal-clear waters.
We then visited the Green Lagoon for a relaxing beach adventure at a private home. As we arrived on a small motorboat, a very happy man playing a tiny ukulele welcomed us to his home. We made ourselves comfortable on the beach, swam, and snorkeled in the clear, warm water before returning to the ship.
BBQ and Beach Party on Moto Mahaea, Windstar’s Private Island in Taha’a
Following a magical snorkeling excursion surrounded by black tip sharks and black stingrays, which initially made me uncomfortable and frightened, turned out to be one of the best snorkel experiences ever! Our guide assured us that we would be safe in the water. Following this, a small rubber Zodiac whisked us over to Windstar’s Private Island, just off the Island of Taha’a. While guests were off on various excursions, the Windstar staff and crew created an exclusive and intimate atmosphere on the tiny Moto Mahaea, like Gilligan’s Isle, where a fully catered elaborate BBQ lunch was served and bartenders at a tiki bar served up every tropical drink imaginable.
A Serene and Uncrowded Destination
Tahiti and the Tuamotu Islands offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Unlike some popular tourist destinations, these islands are still relatively unspoiled, providing a sense of serenity and seclusion. With fewer crowds and pristine natural beauty, a sailing cruise allows you to immerse yourself in this remote paradise and visit tiny atolls and motus that are too small to even have names – and go where larger ships simply can’t go.
Wind Spirit with its timeless elegance provided an intimate sailing experience in arguably one of the most breathtaking parts of the world! This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip creating memories that will last a lifetime. My wish is to return to Tahiti with my husband and share my next experience sailing with Windstar Cruises in this French Polynesian paradise.
I hope my photos and highlights have convinced you that you too should consider a Windstar cruise in Tahiti for one of the most romantic vacations anywhere.