The first thing we need to establish when discussing the Islands of Tahiti on a budget is how exactly to define budget. If you have champagne dreams on a beer budget then you might be disappointed to find out you are definitely not staying in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora.
The real question though, is would you seriously pass up an opportunity to visit one of the world’s most beautiful destinations because you can’t sleep two feet over the water? If the answer is yes, then this post is not for you. If the answer is hell no, then welcome my friend. Let’s discuss how you can visit Tahiti on a budget, a beer budget.
The Islands of Tahiti on a Budget
The first step for anyone who lives in North America is to get a flight to either LAX or SFO. From there you can book flights on Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles or on United or French Bee out of from San Francisco.
French Bee is a new low cost air carrier, and will likely be your best bet for pricing. Since air is usually the most expensive part of the journey you can ascertain what you’ll need to budget up front by entering in your travel dates. And then start saving those pennies.
Travel in The Shoulder Seasons
The beautiful thing about the shoulder seasons in the Islands of Tahiti is that they line up nicely with the times North Americans are looking to escape our frozen wasteland. Peak travel season in Tahiti is during our summer, and frankly not many of us want to leave home during the only time we get decent weather.
When we’re trudging through snowmageddon to get to work however is a different story, and The Islands of Tahiti thankfully are still boasting average daily temperatures in the low 80s. While you may get more rain during this time, it’s generally short-lived and it’s hard to detract from the beauty of the islands with a little rain. Besides, as a winter hardened Canadian, I’ll take warm showers over ice cold blizzards any day.
Stay in Tahitian Guesthouses
Tahitians are naturally hospitable people, so it’s little wonder you’ll find so many options in Tahitian Guesthouses to stay at throughout the islands. We stayed at Marama Lodge in Tahiti. Three nights, which included breakfast, lunch and dinner for three, came to $500 Canadian. With that kind of money, I actually did splurge on a couple of glasses of champagne. What can I say? I was feeling flush with those prices.
The real benefit here though was getting to know our gracious hosts, Marama and Mitiana, and their five children. While I admit at first it felt a little odd sharing a home with strangers, it turned out to be one of the most memorable parts of our trip. We ended up making friends and that was more than worth the price of admission.
Stay in Smaller Boutique Resorts
Of course you’re to going to find big chain resorts in the Islands of Tahiti like the Four Seasons and Intercontinental, but those resorts are not in your budget. The best part though is it’s more than okay because there are a number of small, independently owned properties that will blow your mind.
In Moorea, you’ll find the delightful Linareva Resort. Much like efficiency cottages in Canada, these small bungalows come equipped with a small kitchen so you can make your own food. Hopping on a bike here to go the market is super easy, and I might add incredibly scenic.
I would be remiss if I also didn’t mention the shark show right off the dock every night.
As an added bonus, this resort is a short boat ride away from one of the most beautiful and untouched coral gardens in the world.
It is uncommon for anyone to visit The Islands of Tahiti and only stay on one island, especially when there are 118 to choose from. Once you’ve decided your itinerary (an ideal trip would be 14 days and 5 islands), it should be fairly easy to establish how much budget you’ll need to set aside for transportation with Air Tahiti. Be sure to check out their island hopping passes to save even a little more money.
I hate to break it to you, but this one is a budget-buster, so you will need to save hard for this before leaving. There is little competition when it comes to getting from one island to the next. That being said, it’s 100% worth it.
If you love fresh fruit and seafood then you’ll be in heaven anywhere you roam in The Islands of Tahiti.
One of the most delightful things about visiting this area is you’ll find fresh fruit like banana, pineapple, mango, and coconut in abundance here. Not just found on farms, fresh fruit grows everywhere. Tuna is also a staple , so if you love tuna tartar you’ll be in heaven.
Where things get expensive is when you start to order things that have to be shipped to the islands. Much like Iceland in this respect, the Islands of Tahiti and French Polynesia, are isolated. If it doesn’t grow there, it has to be shipped and that is where your dollars start to add up.
Your best bet in Tahiti is to eat fresh, local fare and forget the Triple A filet imported thousands of miles across the ocean. Added bonus, if you eat this way, you’ll actually go home healthier and leaner than when you arrived. How often can you say that on a holiday?
It’s Not Just Bora Bora
Okay, for heavens sake people. Let. It. Go. Bora Bora is no more the apex of visiting the Islands of Tahiti, than New York City is for the entire United States. I blame Couples Retreat for this obsession people have with it.
Crystal blue waters, lush green landscapes, and breathtaking sunrises exist everywhere in the Islands of Tahiti, and at a much more affordable rate than what you’ll pay in Bora Bora.
Having been to a few of the islands though I can tell you that Taha’a is perhaps more beautiful and significantly more affordable than Bora Bora. Other islands to consider are Raiatea, Manihi, and Rurutu.