I can already see people wondering about it, and no, I don’t intend to marry in this heavenly setting that is French Polynesia! However, as I write this article, I have lived in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean for almost 4 years and my blog has been around for 2 years. More and more people are asking me for ideas of itinerary, advice or opinions on hotels, especially for a honeymoon in French Polynesia.
For quite some time now, I have been trying to help people who are seeking information to plan their trip, whether it is through a travel agency in Tahiti or on their own. Everyone has their own way of preparing and planning their holidays to go to the other side of the world. Nevertheless, French Polynesia remains THE dream destination for many people, and even if the territory is not the number one tourist destination for honeymoons, many French people still dream of it! What’s on the program in people’s minds: a change of scenery, white sandy beaches, coconut palms, turquoise lagoons, lush vegetation, etc. French Polynesia offers everything you need to enjoy a romantic holiday or a romantic getaway in paradise!
I have therefore chosen to write this special article, focusing on honeymoons in the area. I receive a lot of e-mails on this subject and it was time to share my vision of things, and especially my recommendations regarding itineraries and accommodations. Because they are ultimately the two aspects that interest most of you. I also offer you a brief thought on honeymoon trips to French Polynesia and the main differences between organizing them alone or via a travel agency.
Of course, I obviously didn’t have the opportunity to test all the accommodations and luxury resorts I will discuss here. This travel blog is not specialized in luxury travel and beautiful hotels, however as time goes by, I am getting to know the domain very well. I keep myself informed as much as possible of the itineraries and accommodation booked in several types of trips to French Polynesia and I’m doing statistics on the subject. I have friends, relatives and other travelers who give me feedback on the accommodations they went to. I have also checked with a few local agencies. So, for this article, I have compiled everything at the end of the article, not bad, right? Anyway, let’s get to the point.
As I said earlier, I compile statistics (yes I like numbers!) on the most visited islands and archipelagoes during a honeymoon, thanks to my contacts, friends, travel agency, etc. I also often see the accommodations that are booked for this particular type of travel.
So, in reality what am I talking about? Quite simply that most people who come on honeymoon trips (statistically speaking) often travel with the same context:
- Medium to high-end hotels (rather than guesthouses),
- Classic itineraries with a combined Leeward Islands and Tuamotu,
- An omission of the remote archipelagos,
- A majority of trips between 12 days and 15 days, and occasionally 3 weeks,
- A majority go through a travel agency in Polynesia.
It is not the truth in itself, but everything I have seen over the past two years is often the same. People who come on their honeymoon have sometimes been paid for the travel or part of it by their friends/family and they want to enjoy themselves regarding their accommodation. The most popular first choice is to spend the first few nights in a bungalow on stilts, in Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahaa or Rangiroa. Not many tourists go to guesthouses from what I have seen, except for a few isolated examples for the island of Maupiti or the Marquesas for example (even if there are beautiful hotels there).
As for the itinerary, it is usual, to start with Moorea and Bora (at 100%), then the next most common choice is between the Leeward Islands, Huahine and Tahaa, Maupiti and Raiatea, are less common choices. Then, many people continue for a week on the Tuamotu with the classics Rangiroa, Tikehau, and Fakarava less often.
The distant archipelagos, as I like to call them, especially the Australes and Gambier are almost never explored on a honeymoon trip to French Polynesia or for that matter on other types of travel. The Marquesas remain the exception, however, with a few tourists visiting only Hiva Oa (to see the tombs of Jacques Brel / Gauguin) and Nuku Hiva. They often travel to the two islands in a week.
In terms of timing, I see people taking 15 days for their honeymoon, 12 sometimes, and 3 weeks rarely.
You are obviously not bound to follow anything that will be mentioned in the article, but often for a first trip, that’s what ends up happening. At the end of the article, I will also try to give you some ideas for itineraries and accommodation that are a little off the beaten track. Some people may like it!
As I said at the beginning of this article, you have two options overall for your honeymoon in French Polynesia: to organize it alone or through a local agency. In the link at the beginning of the article, I give you a more detailed article (15 minutes of good reading for the most motivated) on the interests of each of the two possibilities!
Of course, you don’t have to go through a travel agency and you can very well consider planning your trip alone like a grown-up! If you like to organize things, dig on blogs, websites, compare accommodations, look for things to do, etc., and you have the time, then this can be a very good thing.
From an economic point of view, I am not sure (as I say in my article) that this is the most cost-effective solution, but it is a respectable choice! You also preserve the freedom to be able to personalize your trip once you get there, even if in reality, this will probably not be the case, since you will book everything before you leave for your honeymoon. Anyway, from what I’ve seen, I think that most people would rather have it handled by a local travel agency….
This is the second solution that many people will choose for their wedding or honeymoon. The main advantage is not to get bogged down with your itinerary and all the organization that a trip to French Polynesia requires. Be aware, I am not encouraging anyone to necessarily use a travel agency. If I were to get married one day somewhere, I would probably organize it myself, because I like it and I’m used to doing it.
However, I must admit that organizing it yourself is not necessarily that easy to consider at the beginning. Indeed, I receive dozens of emails a day asking me for advice on itineraries, Air Passes with Air Tahiti, island choices, transportation, advice on choosing the airline company, etc.. In short, I feel that many people are not necessarily used to traveling so far and in a completely scattered island context. Organizing a 3-week trip to a country like Spain or Portugal in Europe is child’s play in comparison…
Remember that agencies also have preferential rates with airlines and large luxury hotels/Resort. As a result, they will mostly have better rates than if you are booking from home. In any case, in the analysis that I did, it was more expensive to organize it on my own.
Again, be carful, I’m not saying that a travel agency will be cheaper all the time, it all depends on how you see it. My article on a trip to Tahiti with or without an agency sums it up well. If you want to save with food and focus on free activities, it is possible that in the end a self-organized trip will be cheaper. If in the range of accommodation it is not a priority for you either, then the agency is certainly not a good idea.
In fact, it doesn’t matter if you decide to travel to French Polynesia with a local agency or if you organize it alone, I will summarize all my ideas. First of all, here are some ideas for classic honeymoon itineraries depending on the amount of time you have. Of course, these are only suggestions. Everything is customizable according to your wishes, budget and especially for your time on site. Afterwards, I suggest a set of beautiful accommodations where you can spend your honeymoon in French Polynesia. I won’t go into details about the things to do or see on each island because I have written most about these islands in separate articles. I will let you have a look on your own!
1 day Tahiti + 3 days Moorea
3 days Bora Bora
3 days Huahine
3 days Tahaa
1 day Tetiaroa
2/3 days Bora Bora
2 days Tahaa (or Huahine)
3 days Moorea
2/3 days Rangiroa
3 days Tikehau
3/4 days Hiva Oa
3/4 days Nuku Hiva
2/3 days Bora Bora
1 day Tetiaroa
Here’s some clarifications on these three suggestions. In 15 days, you will obviously have to decide which islands to visit. Often, from what I have seen, people choose 4 to 5 islands maximum over 15 days, which is already more than enough for me. You’d need more time to really enjoy the surroundings, but that’s the way it is!
The first itinerary idea allows you to discover the high islands of the Society Archipelago with the great classics during a honeymoon: Moorea, Bora Bora, Tahaa (and to a lesser extent Huahine). I deliberately added Tetiaroa atoll for a day trip because it is a great experience and will allow you to see an atoll!
The second itinerary will be much more sea-oriented as it will lead you to discover two world-famous atolls: Rangiroa and Tikehau. It’s an Ideal itinerary for those who like snorkeling and scuba diving. We are saving the classics Bora Bora, Moorea and Tahaa for beautiful nights in hotels on stilts.
Another alternative itinerary for lovers of wild and authentic islands, is to go to Marquesas for 7/8 days. I’ve seen it several times, even though it’s not a common destination. For those who are looking for peace, hiking and a bit of culture, this is a great place to go. You can finish your itinerary with a few days in a beautiful hotel in Bora Bora (or other), because not many travelers come on honeymoon trips without going to Bora Bora. A short day trip to Tetiaroa to see an atoll would also be nice!
You will notice that I am not talking about Maupiti because most people are not interested in the island because of how difficult it is to access (there are only a few planes), and the fact that there are no luxury hotels on site (which is a matter of taste). Unfortunately, to be realistic, few travelers spend several days in Tahiti during their honeymoon.
Idea n°1 :
A good mix of Polynesian islands !
3 days Bora Bora
3 days Huahine + 3 days Tahaa
4 days Moorea
4 days Rangiroa + 3 days Tikehau
Idea n°2 :
Perfect for divers and those who loves lagoons !
3 days Rangiroa
3 days Fakarava + 3 days Tikehau
10/12 days cruising on Leeward Islands
Idea n°3 :
A honeymoon focused on the sea and diving
3 days cruising Tahaa – Bora Bora
12 days – Rangiroa / Fakarava / Tikehau
5 days Moorea
Idea n°4 :
Off the beaten track but it’s possible!
1 week Marquesas (Hiva Oa / Nuku HIva)
4 days Bora Bora
10 days Tuamotu (Rangiroa – Fakarava – Tikehau)
For a 3-week trip to French Polynesia, you have enough time to really enjoy yourself. Idea n°1 is a great classic with a series of Leeward Islands and two Tuamotu atolls, perfect to hike and end up in beautiful lagoons (diving / snorkeling).
Idea n°2 is a little more individual as more and more people are asking me how to discover Polynesia by boat. It is clearly a very good idea and I’m starting to think about writing an article on the topic because it is a great way to discover the Polynesian territory. This itinerary will allow you to discover the high islands and board a cruise (private or not depending on your budget) on the Leeward Islands.
Another idea I had in mind, especially for those who go through a travel agency for instance: is how to discover the wonderful islands of Tahaa and Bora Bora by a private cruise that is in service and has a very good reputation. You can then go to the Tuamotu archipelago for a mix of relaxation, lagoon trips, diving and snorkeling. You then end your trip with a few days in Moorea from where you can plan a day trip to Tetiaroa if you feel like it!
Last idea (n°4), I suggest you to discover the Marquesas Islands over a week (often Hiva Oa and Nuku Hiva). Then, you can relax in one of the beautiful hotels on stilts in the lagoon of Bora Bora. To finish, 10 days in the Tuamotu archipelago is not that bad either!
Of course, there are other possibilities than the ones mentioned here, eh!
These are my suggestions to help you choose your accommodation. I have based this on what I’ve seen for a honeymoon in a lot of travel agencies, and also heard about from people and friends who have been there or my own personal favorites! Obviously, it is often very nice accommodation, as in the case of most honeymoon trips….
Again, I have not tested everything! I admit that even if I don’t want my travel/photography blog to follow in this direction, it would be really interesting to test some of these accommodations to see for myself. I find it more and more pertinent to be able to recommend something you know and have tested. That’s why I agreed to spend a weekend at the Maitai in Bora Bora, for two nights in a bungalow on stilts. I’ll tell you about it below.
If you want to go further and plan to treat yourself during your trip, I invite you to read our complete guide on overwater bungalows in French Polynesia. It details everything you need to know!
Please note that some links below are affiliate links which means that if you book an accommodation through these links, I get a small commission, at no extra cost to you. It’s a simple way to support our blog if you enjoy the work we do on the website and above all allows us to stay independent in everything I write, which is a major priority for us!
Top of the range
Even if many tourists don’t really stay in Tahiti, I see some couples who spend 2 to 3 days discovering the main island and enjoying very nice accommodation in Tahiti. Three establishments often come to mind for people who want a beautiful setting during their stay. Expect for costing 200 to 300€ per night per room:
- Intercontinental Tahiti Resort & Spa Spa : located near the airport, the location is magical and you can enjoy a walk in a 12 hectare green park!
- Manava Suite Resort and Spa : A wonderful accommodation facing the island of Moorea with the largest overflow swimming pool in Tahiti!
- Tahiti Ia Ora Beach Resort : I’ve only heard good things and having a cocktail with your feet in the sand is superb, believe me!
For those who want a “more central ” top-of-the-range accommodation, I recommend the very beautiful Tahiti Nui hotel, right in the city center.
Not everyone necessarily wants to sleep in a beautiful hotel in Tahiti and prefers to save their money for the islands. Here are some beautiful accommodations that come to mind.
- Le Relais Fenua : beautiful accommodation in a tropical garden and a large outdoor swimming pool, 250m from a white sand beach!
- La pension de la plage : located just opposite a beautiful white sandy beach, this accommodation has a very good price/quality ratio, known locally.
- Tahiti Airport Motel : if you need an early morning flight or don’t want to be far from the airport, this is the hotel to recommend!
This island is a must see on a trip to French Polynesia and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t go there. You will find all types of accommodation, from the most luxurious to the family guesthouse. Here are some very popular accommodation.
Top of the range
Three beautiful top-of-the-range accommodations very often stand out for Moorea Island, with prices ranging from 300 to 500€ per room on average.
- Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa : Well known locally, a splendid place for a splendid hotel,
- Manava Beach Resort & Spa Moorea : Not far from Cook Bay and the airport, let yourself be tempted by this superb hotel! Here is our complete review of this hotel which we had the opportunity to test during a weekend!
- Sofitel Moorea la Ora Beach Resort : The spot is superb, on the beautiful beach of Temae. Perfect for a personal drink! A charming environment!
Here are 3 references that I like personally and that often come back for those who are looking for beautiful accommodation at a lower price.
- Le Green Lodge : An outdoor swimming pool on the edge of one of Moorea’s most beautiful beaches, beautiful bungalows, you’ll be fine here!
- Le Fare Miti : Located on the edge of a superb lagoon, you will appreciate the simplicity and calm of the place!
- Haere Mai I Te Fare : Located in the hills with a superb view of the lagoon, a few minutes from the beach, also very famous!
Many people also choose the island of Huahine for their honeymoon in French Polynesia. The island attracts them by its calm, authenticity and greenery! Personally, it’s an island I love….
Three beautiful accommodations are generally chosen: Hotel le Mahana, a beautiful and very nice hotel where I often go for breakfast when I am on the island. It has a splendid environment on a beautiful beach. Royal Huahine is more known locally, with a private beach and is only accessible by boat. Finally, there is Maitai Lapita Village, Huahine, a very beautiful 3-star atypical hotel built along a lake!
These are magical settings away from the crowds. Estimate between 150/200€ and 400€ per night on average.
Raiatea is still (from what I have seen in the last 2 years) the least visited island in the Leeward Islands. However, there is enough to keep you busy for a few days without getting bored! The few people I have seen on this island on their honeymoon have chosen two accommodations. I visited both of them during my last visit to the island. They are both very beautiful places, between 150 and 300€ per night.
Hotel Raiatea Lodge remains the most beautiful accommodation on the island, and is set back in the vegetation. The hotel has an amazing swimming pool and excellent food. I really recommend the place especially since we had the chance to stay there for 3 days recently (end of 2020). Completely renovated, the place is wonderful to us.More typical and located on the edge of a small beach and a very beautiful pontoon, is the hotel Atiapiti, which is also very beautiful. I had a drink there at the end of the afternoon with the view on the lagoon, it was great! The reviews on the accommodation are very good….
Another accommodation (cheaper) that I know that has a good reputation, is the Fare Vai Nui. It has beautiful wooden bungalows.
It is absolutely the most famous island during a stay in French Polynesia. There are plenty of splendid hotels here. You will find some very beautiful and top-of-the-range hotels such as the Saint Regis Bora Bora Resort, the Four Season Resort Bora Bora or the Intercontinental Bora Bora & Thalasso Spa. These three establishments offer the most expensive and famous rooms in Bora Bora, at more than 1000€ per night (yes it’s expensive, I expect them to invite me the next time I come to the island to stay, right? We can always dream!).
For those who are still looking for those beautiful nights on stilts but with a “more decent” price range, there are four beautiful resorts that are locally renowned:
- The Maitai Bora Bora, the cheapest stilts of Bora Bora, a superb setting, I spent 2 nights there, it was a dream
- Pearl Beach Resort and Spa (I know it well even though I haven’t slept there, the place is sublime!),
- The Méridien Bora Bora,
- Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island,
Besides, to help you in your choice, I wrote a complete article on the most beautiful hotels on the island of Bora Bora. I describe all the medium and high-end resorts on the island, as well as several villas for rent.
Rangiroa atoll is famous for scuba diving, and also remains a must during a honeymoon with its neighbour Fakarava. There are of course some wonderful accommodation there. I often say that it is a more economical way to spend a few nights on a stilt in “Rangi” (as it is called locally) rather than in Bora Bora.
Two accommodations that stand out clearly from the others on the atoll are the very beautiful Kia Ora Resort hotel (the most luxurious hotel in the atoll), and the best of all is the Maitai Rangiroa. It is more affordable and which I must admit is a real treat with its swimming pool on the edge of the lagoon! It is a wonderful setting, and I have only had great feedback from the place!
Rangiroa’s little sister (or the tall one because of her size), Fakarava, is also one of the most visited islands during a honeymoon in the Tuamotu. There are no big hotels here, which is why many people choose Rangiroa instead for a honeymoon.
Unlike Fakarava, Tikehau Atoll has two sublime accommodations, both of which are locally very well known. Everyone agrees that Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort, remains the most beautiful accommodation on the atoll. Located on a motu a few kilometers from the airport, you are cut off from the world and enjoy a magical setting. This is the reference accommodation for a honeymoon in Tikehau with beautiful stilts!
Another accommodation that is very well known, is the Hakamanu Lodge. Located on a private island the spot is apparently magical too. More affordable than the Pearl, of course.
As I said at the beginning, few people choose the Marquesas Islands for a honeymoon. The two most popular accommodations on the islands are, The Nuku Hiva Keikahanui Pearl Lodge on Nuku Hiva Island and the Hanakee Pearl Lodge on Hiva Oa Island is often the first choice for a honeymoon on the island. I have only had good feedback.
Of course, you can imagine that there are a lot of factors that come into play in the cost of your honeymoon in French Polynesia! Below I name only the main ones and I have put them in order of importance:
- Your international flight from where you live to Papeete (you can have a look at this great flight comparator to find the cheapest flights from where you live). The price of the flight ticket depends a lot on the season of course,
- The type and range of accommodation selected: it is obvious that sleeping on the lagoon in bungalows on stilts is more expensive than in small hotels,
- If you choose full or half board,
- Your transportation on the islands (car rental, bicycle, scooter, taxi, etc.),
- The (paid) activities you will do.
These are the main factors that influence the price of honeymoon packages for French Polynesia.
We obviously can’t make generalizations about prices, but from what I’ve seen over the past 2 years and from the local agencies here in Tahiti (which are generally cheaper), you’ll have to count on an average of:
- 12 / 15 days in the Leeward Islands: 3500/4000€ per person (at the lowest) and about 5000/6000€ in very beautiful hotels,
- 3 weeks in the Leeward Islands + Tuamotu: 4000/5000€ per person
I hope that this article will have clarified what honeymooning in French Polynesia is like. You should be able to decide if you are going to go through an agency or not, and have some ideas for the itinerary during your stay. Those who are looking for a local agency, do not hesitate to contact us for a good contact address. For those who are organizing alone, feel free to send me a quick email if you have any doubts about your itinerary or accommodation, I can certainly help.
Obviously, not all possible accommodations and itineraries are mentioned in this article (it’s impossible). These are mainly ideas based on everything I see coming through my email and my contacts. Many of you are seeking my advice and opinions on itineraries or accommodation, I hoped to have helped the next ones!
In the meantime, I wish you a good preparation!
Sylvain & Melanie