The Journey Home and a Layover in Papeete – BOB-PPT-LAX

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Planning a Trip to Bora Bora on Points and Miles
Bora Bora Essential Packing List
Honolulu in a Day
The Journey to Paradise – LAX-HNL-PPT-BOB
Intercontinental Le Moana Bora Bora Resort
Intercontinental Thalasso Resort and Spa
Activities in Bora Bora
Eating in Bora Bora on a Budget
The Journey Home and a Layover in Papeete – BOB-PPT-LAX

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.

Bora Bora Flight View3 Bora Bora Flight View Bora Bora Flight View 5 Bora Bora Flight View 4 Bora Bora Flight View 2


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.

Food Trucks - Like an Asian Night Market but $$$ and not as great

Food Trucks – Like an Asian Night Market but $$$ and not as great

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.

Air Tahiti Nui 343 Economy Seats

Air Tahiti Nui 343 Economy Seats

Air Tahiti Nui Economy Breakfast - Not Bad

Air Tahiti Nui Economy Breakfast – Not Bad

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.

8 comments for “The Journey Home and a Layover in Papeete – BOB-PPT-LAX

  1. Lively
    August 27, 2014 at 5:29 am

    Thanks for the tip on which side of the plane to sit on. 🙂

    • August 27, 2014 at 7:05 am

      Yeah don’t miss the great views!

  2. Maury
    August 27, 2014 at 5:40 am

    I found the Air Tahiti Nui planes very old and the seats very uncomfortable.

    • August 27, 2014 at 7:06 am

      Really? I thought legroom was decent. Well it might be worth biz class if you can find it, especially if you’re not LAX based

  3. Celine
    August 27, 2014 at 7:04 am

    I find your review of Papeete extremely harsh and quite rude. The airport is backwards? How? Everything is slow? Oh, because your bag wasn’t expedited like you’re typically accustomed to? You’re on island time, relax.

    So what if the terminal wasn’t AC controlled. LGA barely keeps out the jet fuel smell let alone the noise. LAX baggage claim has not changed since it was built. Why is there always missing ceiling tiles in baggage claim? Have you been to GIG? It’s fully enclosed but I don’t feel any AC. At least PPT has a breeze.

    You also visited a restaurant that “serves everything”. That was a big mistake. Such places are terrible and should be avoided. You also opted for a burger. Why?! The food trucks are quite enjoyable despite the prices. It’s also what the locals enjoy taking part in. Buy a few plates from a few of the trucks and have a real local meal.

    Nothing is a bargain on Tahiti let alone anywhere in the South Pacific. Were you expecting Thailand prices? The nearest “mainland” is 7ish hrs in either direction. Everything costs and the Dollar is weak. Get over it. This is why European tourists frequent Tahiti and it’s sister islands since the Euro is stronger.

    You may have had high expectations for Tahiti and thinking of scenes from the Bounty. It’s rather modern and hasn’t looked the same since the influx of tourisim beginning in the 60s. That’s like imagining Oahu is totally serene and untouched but only staying in Honolulu. You too will have a terrible image of Oahu and Hawaii if it’s based solely on Honolulu. Oh, HNL isn’t fully air-conditioned nor is OGG.

    The fact that you brought food to eat while there is a bit sad. I get people have a budget but if you are having issues with food prices then don’t travel to such expensive places. I avoid going to London and the UK in general because it’s so expensive. I prefer visiting Continental Europe 6-8 times a year. I usually visit CH, NL, and DE which the first two are not cheap but I also don’t feel the need to pack a weeks worth of snacks just to save $20? I actually enjoy eating the local food and snacks because….I’m not there all the time. Oh, I’d also avoid packing food to warm climates since it invites bugs.

    Overall I’m rather offended by your post as my family originates and still lives in Tahiti. I understand that it is your opinion but you really had a narrow view of the island.

    • August 27, 2014 at 7:14 am

      Thanks for your response! People were quite friendly in papeete and I also wasn’t in a huge rush. I also probably chose a poor restaurant choice, I would have liked to try food trucks but my group chose otherwise. I did have some good local fish in Bora Bora that was great. I didn’t expect things to be cheap on Tahiti but I thought it would be a bit more attractive. I ate a lot of local food and snacks as well. I loved coconut and fruits!
      It’s easy to blog about things I like and say great things but a reviewer also has to give some feedback that may seem negative unfortunately.
      I would like to go back to FP one day and maybe check out Moorea. I’ll try a better restaurant in PPT next time if I get the chance to visit again.

  4. Maury
    August 27, 2014 at 9:49 am

    I couldn’t sleep at all in those uncomfortable seats. The service was bad also. Not that attention that I am use to.

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