A catamaran excursion with Poe Charter to Tetiaroa
You’re coming to spend a couple weeks in Tahiti? You dream of the French Polynesia that you see in the magazines? In this article I suggest that you discover a real paradise: the island of Tetiaroa. I had the chance to spend the day aboard the Catamaran Poe Charter. If you like atolls then I suggest you tour around the Island of Rangiroa.
You should know that this article was written in partnership with Poe Charter, but I am totally free to express my own opinions. This was the occasion for me to test one of the largest and fastest catamarans in French Polynesia, direction – a small tropical paradise.
More about the island of Tetiaroa
- The island is about 60km from Tahiti and is reached in 2h30 to 4h of navigation by catamaran.
- Tetiaroa is an ancient volcanic island, now totally submerged. Only the islets with fine, white sand (motus in Polynesian) are found on the coral reef surrounding the island.
- A hotel, built on stilts (The Brando) is located on one of the private motus of this island.
- Only one of the islets is accessible to catamaran charters.
An excursion to Tetiaroa with Poe Charter
I have to admit that I have known about this catamaran excursion ever since I arrived in Tahiti. I had some apprehension about being one of the 30 aboard, even though it has a reputation of being a big one. Actually, you don’t even realize there are so many people aboard the boat!
You have to be aboard at 5:45 AM at the marina in the middle of Papeete. You leave the port at 6AM, dazzled by the sunrise between Moorea and Tahiti, direction Tetiaroa. The biggest advantage of Poe Charter is the rapidity of their catamaran. For those who don’t like spending too much time at sea, and for those who get seasick, this is the best option.
After meeting the lovely crew for the day, Thomas, the Captain, Mahana the charming guide of the island where we’re going and Heimoana, the sailor aboard, you’re served a good breakfast of coffee, orange juice, croissants, chocolate rolls and of course fresh fruits bought at the market early that same morning.
I personally spent 2 and a half hours of the trip talking with the crew who were extremely nice and with whom I really enjoyed chatting. All the while being on our way to the paradisal island that everyone dreams about when coming to French Polynesia. With a little luck, you can encounter a group of whales (when in season) and dolphins all year long. Too bad, it didn’t happen for me this time.
After an hour and a half, you can begin to see the island, seeming to float on the Pacific Ocean – in the distance. This Polynesian island is everything you dreamed about before you got here. Finally, we anchor the boat not far from the reef. The crew briefly explains to us how we are going to disembark onto the motu and what is to be expected once we are on land.
You should know that the island of Tetiaroa is closed off, meaning that there is no pass (break in the reef) so you can’t enter the lagoon with a large boat. The crew explains that we will go in a small Zodiac over the reef at the exact time when the wave hits the coral – cool, isn’t it?
Since I already knew all of this, having been here before, I asked to be part of the first to go ashore bearing in mind that I would be able to test my drone on the beach. The transit between the catamaran and the island is always a bit rock and roll but I like that. I was able to try my drone and could see even more of the beautiful surroundings and crystal-clear waters. On the coral rock beach, you can see a little bit of the lagoon, ocean side and the definite line in between the coral reef and blue Pacific Ocean. The water is absolutely pristine.
Once everyone is ashore, a small explanation is given about the visit and the 3hrs we will be spending here. One of the big advantages of going with Poe Charter is that they have an agreement with the owners of the area so that they can cross the motu to see a fresh water lake in the middle of the island. I had never done this before and I personally enjoyed the 20-minute walk. We could see and touch the vegetation while walking in the sand. However, the sun is very hot on your head and back.
Once we’ve crossed the island, you’ll arrived to an amazing white sand beach. The water isn’t deep, less than 3 feet and the sun shining on the turquoise water gives up a shimmering palette of colors. On the lagoon side of the island, the water is calm with coconut palms scattered here and there with small nurse sharks lounging in 40cm of warm water.
Stunning white sandy beach on arrival on the main motu of Tetiaroa atoll (left) / Interior of the island (right)
Everyone is free to do what he or she likes on the beach. You may have the possibility to visit the marvelous Bird Island. Since my last visit, going ashore on this island is no longer allowed in order to protect the area and the nests found there. You can still see the thousands of birds from the edge of the beach where the water is sublime and deep enough that you can swim. The water is turquoise and it’s the ideal spot to cool off, but just between us, at the time I was there it was “winter” in French Polynesia and I didn’t find the water quite warm enough.
So, you spend 2 hours soaking up the sun. I took this time to fly my drone and capture more beautiful memories from the sky. The return to the catamaran was around noon, through the interior of the island. We got back aboard the zodiac to bounce back across the reef to the boat where our meal was ready!
Once aboard, drinks are offered before beginning the meal prepared during the crossing. Honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed everything, Tahitian fish, salad and rice, grilled barbequed fish, accompanied by a good fresh local fruit salad and coffee or tea to finish. It was perfect for me.
For those who want, after having eaten, you can do some snorkeling under the boat and see the marine life, especially the sharks that lurk around the area. We left around 2:00 PM for the 2h30 crossing back to Tahiti.
Everyone takes advantage of this time to take a little nap on the nets of the catamaran. Just before arriving in Tahiti a great rum punch is served for cocktail time and we finish the trip in the balmy night air, with music.
Talking prices, the day costs 155EU or 12,000xfp for residents. Count about 95Eu for children under 12 or 7,500xfp for residents.
Take advantage of the les2pieds promo code to save 10% on your next excursion.
This is the way to visit a gorgeous atoll not far away from Tahiti for those who don’t have the funds to go to the Tuamotus. Looking for other hints to travel cheaply in French Polynesia?
If you’ looking for more information about Tetiaroa, the web site Tahiti Tourism gives you some interesting information.
Another interesting tidbit is that Poe Charter also offers week-end excursions to Tetiaroa, and of course, cruises by catamaran in the Tuamotu and the Leeward Islands.
A big thanks to Poe Charter for this beautiful day and partnership, I hope we will see each other soon for a cruise through the Tuamotu.