Located in the middle of the South Pacific triangle, roughly equidistant from New Zealand, Easter Island and Hawaii, French Polynesia is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation destination. Comprised of 118 islands and atolls, across five distinct archipelagos, the country spans over a thousand square miles of ocean, but is connected by a distinct language and love of the sea.
Known for white-sand beaches with coconuts and mangos, well-preserved coral teaming with tropical fish, and a surging renaissance of traditional culture, the group the islands reopened its borders this fall to visitors from the U.S. and Europe. To do so, the Tahitian government put in place a rigorous testing protocol to enter, requiring specific types of tests within three days of travel and proof of a negative result.
Even with precautions, travel right now might not be for everyone, and thats OK. After thorough research on the number of local cases, testing that we would need to go through, and assessment of the risk, we opted in. Looking back, Id probably do the same. Heres why you should consider a trip to this remote saltwater paradise.
First off, I wouldnt be advocating for travel during a pandemic if it wasnt safe. From my first-hand experience, I believe the country is balancing safety with business in a proactive and progressive way, and Id like to see other places try to replicate this effort. After a recent trip to Tahiti, I walked away impressed with the diligence to testing protocols and adherence by the locals and visitors alike at wearing masks. Despite a heavy dose of skepticism going into the trip, it was safewe tested negative before, during, and after. Still, this calculus is different for everyone and you might decide to wait for the vaccine.
Before departing Friday evening, we got tested with an RT-PCR test Wednesday morning, fitting it within the 72-hour window but giving the lab enough time to get the results back to us. We also decided to do two rapid tests, one on Monday and one on Friday morning, just to be sure. When we landed in Tahiti we were given another test and instructed to take it four days later. We got a fifth and final test when we returned to LAX, to be sure we were still negative. Of course, we were strict with masks in public areas and did our best to social distance from others. With these precautions we felt safe during our entire trip.
With considerably fewer visitors than normal, we had many beaches nearly to ourselves, private scuba sessions and snorkeling tours, no lines at restaurants, and ample of empty trails to run and hike. Many hotels are at quarter-capacity, leaving everyone a lot of room to spread out and enjoy yourself. Even in peak season sans COVID, Tahiti sees the same number of tourists in a year that Hawaii sees in a week.
Some of our favorite places to stay included the Le Tahaa Resort in Raiatea, Sofitel Kia Ora Resort in Moorea, and the InterContinental in Bora Bora. All three provide high-end service, offer delicious food, include amenities like take-and-go kayak and paddleboards, snorkeling, scuba lessons, and stunning overwater bungalows with private swimming spots. Further, they all are taking COVID seriously, requiring all staff to wear masks, offering hand sanitation in every building entrance, and disinfecting rooms. Although the local atmosphere isnt as gloomy as the States, we were fully aware of the global pandemic.
With direct eight-hour flights on Air Tahiti from both San Francisco and Los Angeles, the trip is quick and relatively painless. We left our home in Wyoming at 5 p.m. local time and were in Tahiti by 7 a.m. the next morning, sleeping on the flight and arriving without a ton of jetlag. Air Tahiti provides a pair of meals, making the flight a bit more comfortable. Getting around the islands does require puddle-jump flights and/or short ferry rides, which we found fun and enjoyable, despite adding a little transit time.
Many of the resorts are located on the atolls, separate from the main islands, and are accessed by a short boat ride. This isnt terribly cumbersome, but do take extra planning when youre heading out for the day to hike, explore nearby towns, or grab a bit away from the resort. If I ever return to Tahiti, Id love to bring both a mountain bike and a surfboard with me, to tap into the local network of trails on Raiatea, and catch the break on a few islands.
In the last 40 years, French Polynesia has made a dramatic return to their traditional heritage, pushing against two centuries of Christian missionaries and western philosophies. Local Tahitians are once again practicing traditional rituals like tattoos, dances, Tahitian language (previously banned in schools), farming and agriculture, canoe building and navigation. And unlike other indigenous groups across the Pacific and beyond, the reborn Tahitian culture is starting to thrive.
Best exemplified through local guides, Tahitian culture is most effectively learned through locals who graciously share their traditions, history and knowledge with guests. We spent a full day exploring Raiatea with Tahiarii, an expert ocean navigator and cultural historian, learning about the food and Tahitis deep connection to outrigger canoes. Years ago he sailed over 1,000 miles from New Zealand to Raiatea without computers or GPS, just using the sun and stars as navigation.
A few days later we spent a day with Teuai Lenior on the main island of Tahiti, hopping in the back of his 44 to explore the heart of the island. There we hiked to waterfalls, learning about the flora and fauna and their traditional uses, ate a traditional meal, tattoos and Tahitian dance, and talked extensively about the history and impact of white settlers and the Tahitian religion and way of life. On our last day, we circumnavigated Bora Bora by boat, joining Narii on this cultural and snorkeling tour. There we swam with rays and sharks, exploring the coral reefs, ate another traditional meal and learned about his familys story and the local fishing and boat traditions.
The warm, clear water provides ample opportunities for snorkeling and swimming, and scuba outfits like Top Dive Moorea provide fun lessons and unique experiences for all skill levels. Resorts offered us kayaks, paddleboards, snorkeling gear and an overwater balcony to relax on, if we were feeling like a low-key afternoon of napping was best. Add in world-class hiking, cultural experiences, and the best mangos youll ever eat (I promise), and the experience is truly unlike any other.
See more recentdispatches from Cochrane, including an electric mountain bike expedition across Death Valley, a look at life on an Alaskan crab boat, coverage ofthe Baja 1000, and the tale ofan emergency canyon evacuationdeep in the Mexican jungle.
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!
Originally posted here:
- Guest Opinion | Reflections on the course Women Unknown: Fight for Independence - UI The Daily Iowan - April 5th, 2021
- I got an inspirational quote tattoo in tribute to my dad & was mortified when I twigged the VERY sexual... - The Sun - April 5th, 2021
- 50 Tattoos for Men - Top Designs for Men - March 9th, 2021
- A Guide to All of Drake's 35 Tattoos and Their Meanings - menshealth.com - March 9th, 2021
- 57 Best Bird Tattoos For Men: Cool Design Ideas (2021 Guide) - March 9th, 2021
- Season of tattoos and cross-dressing? - The Nation Newspaper - March 9th, 2021
- Kiwi Nazi bashed and robbed roommate over swastika T-shirt - New Zealand Herald - March 9th, 2021
- Nazi enthusiast bashed and robbed roommate in shocking home altercation because of missing T-shirt - PerthNow - March 9th, 2021
- Deputies arrest driver in pursuit of assault suspects; three sought - 10News - March 9th, 2021
- From tragedy to glory, Ohio State's Kyle Young persevered on tough path - Buckeye Extra - March 9th, 2021
- Op-Ed: Libyan Women; The Guardians of Tradition | - Libya Herald - March 9th, 2021
- Europe Has Banned 2 Widely Used Tattoo Pigments - Men's Health - February 20th, 2021
- Post Malone Tattoos - Every Post Malone Tattoo Meaning Explained - menshealth.com - February 20th, 2021
- 3 Men Shared the Stories Behind the Epic Tattoos They Got to Cover Their Scars - menshealth.com - February 20th, 2021
- 'Ink Master' Shared Some of the Most Painful Tattoos Ever Filmed - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 20th, 2021
- Man on the run from prison has Blackburn links - Lancashire Telegraph - February 20th, 2021
- Here's why it's so difficult for the military to weed out extremists - Task & Purpose - February 20th, 2021
- Mady Gosselin, 20, claims she cried in the shower after crush Harry Styles covered up his tattoos for new fi - The Sun - February 20th, 2021
- On Religion: Do we need the Old Testament? - VVdailypress.com - February 20th, 2021
- Its a nightmare, says San Antonio blood bank officials as bad weather cuts donations short - San Antonio Express-News - February 20th, 2021
- Come With Us on a Journey to Explore the Post Malone Tattoo Cosmos - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 15th, 2021
- Watch This Woman React to Seeing Her Boyfriend Without His Tattoos for the First Time - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 15th, 2021
- UPDATE: Deputies arrest fugitive in Bingham County - East Idaho News - February 15th, 2021
- The Bachelorette NZ: Covid regulations are out the window but kisses are in - Stuff.co.nz - February 15th, 2021
- The 10 Best Dressed Characters In Yakuza, Ranked - TheGamer - February 15th, 2021
- Wickford cabbie strangled by robbers, who police find within hours - Echo - February 13th, 2021
- CrimeStoppers says face masks are making it harder to identify wanted criminals - KHON2 - February 13th, 2021
- Sistahs on The Frontlines: Asantewaa Boykin The Sacramento Observer - Sacramento Observer - February 13th, 2021
- Men appear in court on firearm charges relating to tavern incident - Stuff.co.nz - February 13th, 2021
- Men jailed after attack on taxi driver in Wickford - Yellow Advertiser - February 10th, 2021
- Bureaucratizing to Fight Extremism in the Military - War on the Rocks - February 10th, 2021
- From the '50s until now, women still bear the brunt of unpaid household labour - The Calgary Journal - February 10th, 2021
- WandaVision Director Matt Shakman Talks Classic TV, Working In The MCU, And More - Exclusive Interview - Looper - February 10th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Shared the Tattoos They Love Doing the Most - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 8th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Shared the Tattoos They're Sick of Seeing - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 6th, 2021
- How Maya Darwiche built her own beauty business and lead it to success - Business News Ledger - February 6th, 2021
- WWE news: The Rock's incredible 30-year body transformation - GIVEMESPORT - February 6th, 2021
- Man Robbed Restaurant That Refused To Serve Him For Not Wearing A Mask | KFI AM 640 - KFI AM 640 - February 6th, 2021
- 90 Day Fianc: Rebecca's Husband Zied Before & After Weight Loss Transformation - Screen Rant - February 6th, 2021
- Amber Heard Reacts To Marilyn Manson Allegations, Connects Them To Johnny Depp - PerezHilton.com - February 6th, 2021
- Hall of boyfriends: All the men Jeffree Star trapped into a relationship Film Daily - Film Daily - February 2nd, 2021
- Post Malone's 'Imperial' Haircut Is The Hottest Men's Grooming Trend Right Now - DMARGE - February 2nd, 2021
- You Shall Not Pass: Fandom & The Gatekeeping of Femme Fans - Fandom Spotlite - February 2nd, 2021
- For the love of Ink - Daily Pioneer - January 31st, 2021
- Man accused of beating and shooting shopper who bumped into him - wreg.com - January 31st, 2021
- Broken Justice: How Spokane County officials threw an innocent man behind bars and allowed the real killer to go free - Pacific Northwest Inlander - January 30th, 2021
- Is Alev Aydin Halsey's Baby Daddy? What You Need To Know About The Writer-Producer - OK! - January 30th, 2021
- A Home Heating Crisis. A Devastating Forest Fire Waiting to Happen. One Innovative Solution. - Slate - January 30th, 2021
- Can You Wear Floral on Your Buzz Cut? - The New York Times - January 27th, 2021
- Shortly after I began converting to Judaism, I found myself in a hot tub full of neo-Nazis - Jewish Telegraphic Agency - January 25th, 2021
- Far-right Proud Boys who idolise Donald Trump are operating in Scotland - Daily Record - January 25th, 2021
- Jake Ryan reveals how he prepared to play a gang leader in New Zealand film Savage - Nine - January 25th, 2021
- Kevin Owens Gives Roman Reigns A Personal Reason About Why He Won't Stop Fighting - Wrestling Inc. - January 25th, 2021
- 2 people from Western Pennsylvania charged in connection with Capitol riot - WTAE Pittsburgh - January 25th, 2021
- 'The right thing to do': Worcester County Jail and House of Correction staff, inmates grateful to receive COVID-19 vaccine - Worcester Telegram - January 25th, 2021
- Gangs? Cliques? Subgroups? Call Them What You Will There've Been 18 (Yes, 18) In The LA Sheriff's Department - LAist - January 22nd, 2021
- The moment MLKs daughter and a former neo-Nazi formed an unlikely friendship - Face2Face Africa - January 22nd, 2021
- UK lotto winner shares photo of her bizarre bum tattoos on Instagram - NEWS.com.au - January 22nd, 2021
- Williams: We can agree to disagree, but let's do it with civility - The Winchester Star - January 22nd, 2021
- Madhya Pradesh: View the aesthetic side of Dewar, Rabari nomads, which Bhopal museum has showcased for you - Free Press Journal - January 22nd, 2021
- 'This Is Awesome!': Another Proud Boys Leader Arrested for Storming U.S. Capitol - The Daily Beast - January 22nd, 2021
- Texas bikers say cops have unfairly labeled them as gang members - Houston Chronicle - January 22nd, 2021
- Looking for business in the front and a party in the back? Ashley Medina is Lansing's mullet maestro - WSYM-TV - January 20th, 2021
- US Capitol riots: The coded tattoos and flags, and the far-right stories they tell - Stuff.co.nz - January 20th, 2021
- Diplo Strips Down To Surf, Shows Off His Amazing Bod And Tats - OK! - January 20th, 2021
- After the Capitol riot, one Florida man became 'Podium Guy': Another man turned him in - USA TODAY - January 20th, 2021
- How four lads on a night out became a viral meme these men from Birmingham are internet famous! - HITC - Football, Gaming, Movies, TV, Music - January 20th, 2021
- The Aroma of Progress at the Court of Master Sommeliers - Vinography - January 20th, 2021
- Blood donor study could help lift restrictions for gay and bisexual men - PhillyVoice.com - January 3rd, 2021
- Ariana Grande Relationship Timeline : Pete Davidson to Dalton Gomez, Dating History. Read all about it here! - Stanford Arts Review - January 3rd, 2021
- "Why I stopped drinking alcohol at the age of 26" - cosmopolitan.com - January 3rd, 2021
- Andrew Tracey - Men's health UK - January 3rd, 2021
- Police agencies seeking public's help after pair of thieves hits four jewelry stores - The San Diego Union-Tribune - January 3rd, 2021
- The life and death of Billy Baggett: Part I - Street Roots News - December 28th, 2020
- FDA considers lifting restrictions on blood donations by gay and bi men - WPSD Local 6 - December 28th, 2020
- Taiwan in Time: The first Truku convert - - December 27th, 2020
- My Messed-Up Family Drove Me to the Other Side of the World for Christmas - The Daily Beast - December 25th, 2020
- What if the biggest games of 2020 had Christmas spin-offs? - PCGamesN - December 25th, 2020
- Peaky Blinders filming is returning - and they need extras from the North - Times & Star - December 19th, 2020
- All of us here have killed someone The New Mutants - tor.com - December 19th, 2020