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Tahiti – expensive paradise

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I stepped off my plane, it was hot and humid even thou it was already eleven o’clock in the evening – very promising. There was a band playing ukuleles and girls handing out flowers as I made way towards the airport building, creating a very relaxed atmosphere. Then I spotted the express queue for European passport holders, just like in Europe, no visa forms, no stamps, no nothing, as I had just arrived to France. What? We are in the middle of Pacific, last that I checked Paris was over 15000 kilometers away.

But no, Tahiti is part of French Polynesia, which in turn belongs to France. Thou they use their own currency here, the Pacific Franc. I wonder if it should be the Pacific Euro these days. Oh well.

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I found an ATM, unsure how much I should take, I took out 4000 XPF for now, as 7000 XPF was the maximum amount the ATM was offering. Should get me started I thought. Well, I was wrong, didn’t even cover my taxi and my first night at the hostel. Yep, this was going to be expensive. I had just heard that Tahiti had worlds third highest living costs right after Japan and Switzerland. Now I could believe it.

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Next few days I spent wandering around the capital Papeete and the surrounding areas. One thing I have to say about Tahiti thou, everything, and I do mean absolutely everything closes at 5 pm. After that there is nothing but bars open. No seriously, there are a few expensive kiosks open after that, but that is it. So unless you are going out drinking or partying there isn’t much to do. And by not much, I mean absolutely nothing.

I headed to the nearby beach of Point Venus, a black sand beach which turned out to be quite nice. Thou it has to be said, that even thou Black sand beach sounds very exotic, I do still prefer white sand beaches after checking out Point Venus. Black sand beaches just seem, well, dirty.

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Then I waited for an hour and a half for a bus at a bus stop drinking with two Tahitians. They didn’t speak any English, I didn’t speak any French or Tahitian, so conversation was pretty slow, but we did agree that surfing is awesome. And we did at least destroy quite a good part of the whisky bottle they had.

After this I decided that I had enough of the city life, took my things and boarded a ferry to Moorea, a small island about 30 minute boat ride away. There I got a bus to the other side of the island, and found a small camping site, they didn’t rent tents thou, so I set home to a two person dorm room.

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The location of the dorm was excellent, it was maybe twenty meters from the beach. And then it was time to just rest, my days basically consisting of swimming and laying on the beach. And of course walking to the nearby store to buy meter long baguettes, you know, when in France and all that.

The sea was calm with crystal clear water. You could see plenty of corals and colourful fish just swimming around. The beach had palm trees leaning towards the sea, providing at least some shade on our quiet little beach. I don’t think the word paradise is an exaggeration here. There was a busier beach along the beach, maybe 20 minute walk up north, with a bar and all that.

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But eventually I had to head back to Tahiti for my flight. But since even buses stop running at six o’clock, and my flight was at 7 am. I decided to spend the night at the airport to save money on the expensive accommodation and taxi; and I wasn’t the only one doing this, there were quite a few people at the airport with similar ideas. So I spent the night talking with an Argentinian couple I had met earlier on Moorea.

Then in the morning, after taking an hour to sort out a mess British Airways had managed to make of my booking, I managed to board my next flight towards the next Polynesian island.

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2 Comments

  1. I didn’t know Tahiti was that expensive. But at least the views and the islands look amazing.
    Amer @TendToTravel recently posted..The multiple faces of the Eiffel in ParisMy Profile

    • Yep, it is expensive, but the views are amazing I agree. So it’s difficult to say if I’d recommend going there on a backpacking budget. There are cheaper islands around, but I haven’t visited those, so can’t say for myself if the views are as amazing :)