My Birding Blogs

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tahiti Trip 2007 - Practical Information

Having mentioned all the good things about French Polynesia, one thing that every traveller should, or must, keep in mind is that nothing is cheap here. In fact, some of the items can be ridiculously expensive and many travellers have felt the pinch right from booking the trip.

We have managed to have good time by not spending lavishly and simultaneosly not living in a spartan condition. Some of the things we have experienced and worth noting:-

1) Food - The wagon restaurant square "Les Roulottes" at the water front in the Papeete centre is a great place to enjoy very affordable and great food. With many meals cost less than 1000XPF (~USD10) and there are many varieties to choose from among many of the wagon restaurants - chinese, pizza, crepes, barbecue fish, steak with fries, etc.

Drinking waters - the local big bottled drinking water is subsidised and hence it is worthwhile to buy them in half a dozen.

French loaf (baguette) - this is also a subsidised food item and almost invariably served with any meals ordered at "Les Roulottes". I have seen baguette sold at Carrefour Supermarket at only 60XPF (~USD0.60). However, any varieties of french loaf would be mostly over 200XPF.

2) Bus - the public bus system is fairly efficient in day time. Some of them have not been replaced and are still the traditional "Le Truck", which is a modified version of truck to carry passenger. We had paid 200XPF for trip from Radisson Resert to the Papeetee centre and 100XPF between Airport to Papeete centre. Please note that there is no bus service after 430pm except for those serving between airport and Papeete centre. In most cases we hardly waited more than 10 minutes and on one evening we caught a bus outside of Airport at 7pm without waiting. Both bus and taxi drivers have the right to charge additional 100XPF for each additional piece of bulky luggage.

3) Taxi - beware that the taxi charges is very expensive especially after 8pm. We had paid 4300XPF (300XPF was for 3 pieces of large luggage) for our arrival trip from Airport to Radisson resort which took 15minutes.

4) Car Rental - again this is by no means cheap. One should save money if the car is rented for at least 3 days and return the car at the airport when departing (in this way, one could save the airport transfer and have more time hanging around at the hotel). During our trip, Europcar offered a 20% discount for international visitors travelling on Air Tahiti Nui.

For more practical information, I would recommed Frommer's Travel Guide Tahiti & French Polynesia (1st Edition, 2007).

Something that I have not tried myself but would love to hear from others about the Tahiti Airport Lodge. It is about 200 meter up on a small hill when one comes out from the air port building. It should not be a problem at all for some one to walk up to the hotel without any heavy luggage, although air port transfer is available from the hotel owner. I have come across some very bad comments on the lodge but a decent and simple accommodation next to airport is very much needed for a traveller who only stops briefly in Tahiti and spends most of his time on the outer islands.