Interview: Angie Kelly tells you everything about the Islands of Tahiti
Tahiti Tourisme interviewed Angie Kelly, a travel writer who has been to Tahiti many times.
Angie Kelly: I have been blessed to spend time in Tahiti three times in my life: three weeks-island hopping as a young honeymooner embedded an unshakeable enchantment with the islands long before I became a travel writer. Since then my work has taken me there twice in the past three years.
TT: Which islands have you visited?
TT: What was the best island you visited and why?
AK: There’s no denying the atolls and motus around Bora Bora are pretty much my idea of heaven on earth and its easy to see why they are so beloved by celebrities and honeymooners the world over. Its dramatic volcanic landscape is a backdrop to some of the world’s most astonishingly beautiful lagoons teeming with marine life.
You are surrounded by an explosion of colour at every turn – the stunning bright green-blue of the water hits you as soon as you leave the plane and step onto the sandy airstrip – but you won’t forget the deep orange sunsets or hot pink hibiscus either, the multi-coloured flower crowns worn by local women or the unmistakable fragrance of the ubiquitous Tahitian frangipani, the Tiare. Top this off with some of the most luxurious overwater bungalows on the planet and before you’ve even unpacked you’ll be wishing you could miss the plane home!
TT: Which must-do activities do you recommend?
AK: The lagoons around many of the islands are thriving natural aquariums where you barely even need a snorkel and mask to see fish, you can see all kinds of marine life in knee deep water with the naked eye. On Tikehau tiny baby reef sharks will even dart past your ankles as you walk the shallows!
But getting up close is even better so snorkelling is a must – my 11 year old son loved being able to stand in the water and see the sandy bottom as he swam with a kaleidoscope of brightly coloured fish. Braver souls than I take on Tahiti’s famous shark scuba dives while I prefer to kayak or stand up paddle-board across the protected lagoons.
TT: If you were to go back to Tahiti for 10 days what would be your ideal itinerary?
AK: A night or two at the Intercontinental on the main island of Tahiti to acclimatise and wander the pearl markets and try out the famous food trucks of downtown waterfront Tahiti known as Les Roulottes.
Catch the ferry over to Moorea where the beauty of these islands will begin to reveal itself and watch the dolphins as they swim along with the boat. And if you go at the right time of year it’s not unusual to see whales breeching as we did in October.
The Hilton overwater bungalows make a great base for doing a round trip of the island on a motorbike (don’t forget photo stop at the top of the volcano) and visiting beachfront bars and restaurants.
Over to Bora Bora where the barefoot luxury of The Four Seasons or the Intercontinental will make you swoon. Take a boat ride over to the main island for shopping at the markets or traditional poisson cru at a local café – that is if you can drag yourself away from some of the most fabulous hotels and spas in the world.
Two or three nights on remote Tikehau is a must for an uplugged, authentic brush with untouched Polynesian beauty. With pink sand and a lagoon revered by marine biologists, quiet immersion in nature’s many gifts is the thing to do here.
TT: Are the islands expensive?
AK: I’m not going to lie – time on Tahiti is not going to suit holidaymakers on a strict budget. Having said that, there are some more affordable hotels than others and there are pensions around on some of the islands – the best thing to do is get advice from Tahiti Tourism.
TT: Would you go back again?
AK: In a heartbeat.
TT: There are 118 islands in French Polynesia which island would you like to visit on your next trip there?
AK: I hear The Brando resort on the atoll of Tetiaroa is a contender to snatch the title of heaven on earth from my personal favourite of Bora Bora. Now that I have to see!
TT: What makes the islands of Tahiti so special to you?
AK: These islands are an intoxicating and romantic blend of French culture, sunshine, dizzying beauty and luxury hotels. And you have to love a place where everyone wears flowers in their hair, even the men
TT: Thank you so much for your time!