I’m finally getting around to finishing my Bora Bora trip report. It was definitely the most relaxing vacation I’ve ever had and also one of the best valued trips I’ve ever taken. We used hotel points and stayed 4 nights in an Overwater Bungalow at IC Thalasso, which would cost over $4,000 and a night at the IC Le Moana, about $600 per night. We also paid for all our flights from LAX-HNL-PPT-BOB-PPT-LAX all on airline miles. The journey home was certainly a sad one and a layover in Papeete had us missing the clear warm waters of Bora Bora.
After 5 nights in paradise, we were back on the small prop plane back to Papeete. Leaving Bora Bora, make sure you sit on the right side of the plane to get some of the best airplane views you will ever have! These views were just breathtaking.
Probably one of the downsides of visiting Bora Bora is that you have to transit through Papeete, Tahiti’s main port city. You are bound to end up with either an overnight in Papeete or a long layover. We ended up having both an overnight and long layover in Papeete because those were the award tickets we could get. Our flight was at about 3:30PM from Bora Bora and took only about an hour. We landed at about 4:30PM and had to retrieve our luggage and pay for storage.
We ended up taking a cab to the main city with another friendly couple we met. It cost about $25 each way to get to the city center. We passed by the food trucks, but decided to eat at a restaurant instead. We ate at a restaurant called Les 3 Brasseurs, which served almost everything. I wasn’t that adventurous and just got a burger because I was heading into an economy red-eye flight. The food was okay, but nothing to rave about. We walked through the food trucks to look around and shop around the square. Papeete was not very impressive at all and quite expensive for most things. If a place is expensive, then the scenery must definitely make up for it. Papeete is expensive and unappealing, which makes it one of the worse cities to visit in my opinion.
Our Air Tahiti Nui flight was at 11:00PM and we returned to the airport around 9:00PM. It was already a huge cattle call because their airport terminal is ridiculously small. We had to wait a good 45 minutes to get through check-in and security. Once inside, the airport terminal is open-air and not air conditioned. The A343 plane is a 2-4-2 set-up, which is quite nice if you are traveling in a couple. I forgot to reserve my seats early and ended up in the section with 4 people. We actually sat next to a couple we met on our jet ski tour. We declined to eat and were able to sleep for a good amount of hours. We woke up for breakfast and landed within an hour or so. Not that bad of a flight to do in economy for 7-8 hours and a 33″ pitch seat. I personally don’t think it is worth the extra 25K miles per person to upgrade to business class one-way for a 7-8 hour red-eye flight.
The journey home was a bit long with the long layover in Papeete, but it was worth it being in Bora Bora for almost free. I would try to avoid Papeete as much as possible if you are planning a trip. If you don’t live in LAX like I do, it could be quite a long journey to get to Bora Bora. However, don’t let that scare you it is definitely worth it.