May 2, 2014
We landed in Tahiti at 5AM on Friday, and were welcomed by lovely live Tahitian music played by Tahitians dressed up in traditional clothing. We enjoyed listening to the music while we got through security and customs, which took about 45 minutes or so. After security, we headed to the ATM to pick up some money since we had read that was the best way to exchange money in Tahiti. It was simple and easy, and we were not charged an arm and a leg for the exchange fee, so we would highly recommend doing so!
After that, we headed outside where we easily found a taxi and told him we needed to get to the dock that the Armeti ferry departed from. The taxi driver was very pleasant although he did not speak much English, and charged us the expected 2500 XPF. Upon arriving to the doc, we headed to the ticket counter that the taxi driver pointed out, and we purchased a round trip ticket for each of us which was 3000XPF. We boarded the ship and headed straight to the café where we enjoyed a baguette and pastry for breakfast (each was ~400XPF). We finished up breakfast just as the boat started moving so we headed up to the rooftop where we enjoyed watching Tahiti disappear in the background and Moorea appear. It was such a beautiful sight and everything was so green!
After getting to the Moorea port we retrieved our luggage that we had given away and then got a taxi to the hotel. We had planned on taking the bus but could not find it, so we opted for the taxi which was 3500XPF and took about 25-30 minutes. We enjoyed the ride thoroughly and the taxi driver told us a lot about the island, which was very fun for us. Once we arrived at the Hilton Moorea, it was still only 8:30 AM so we knew we were still very early to check in.
We were welcomed with beautiful leis that were made fresh, a lavender soaked towel, and a Tahitian morning cocktail. We got all of the information we needed for our hotel stay, and then left our luggage and went to explore the property. We enjoyed the beach view while we sipped on our cocktails and unwound from our trip. After Joe took a short nap in the hammock, we headed back to the lobby (which is wide open and has no windows or doors!) and changed into our swim suits and enjoyed some snorkeling. It was nap time again for Joe after that and I enjoyed some time in the sun enjoying the beautiful scenery. After Joe woke up, it was still only 11 so we took the kayak out and circled the over water bungalows, before heading in to change for lunch.
We were surprised to find that our room was ready around 11:30 and our luggage had already been taken to the room! We took a golf cart to our room and were pleased to find our room to be exactly what we had hoped for. We had wanted to do the over water bungalow and loved seeing the cut out in the floor of our room that allowed you to see the fish in the sea below, a beautiful balcony, fresh flowers in our room, and a beautiful set up. We showered fairly quickly and headed to lunch since we weren't unpacking because we were not staying too long. We had done some research and read rave reviews on a restaurant, Café Lilikoi. It is a short walk from the Hilton, you simply turn right from the hotel and it is about a 3-5 minute walk and is found on the left. The food was so reasonably priced and amazing (~1600XPF/person for a meal)! We ordered the grilled Mahi Mahi special which came with rice and the seared tuna served with fresh pineapple salad and both were absolutely amazing and a lot of food! We also ordered the desert of the day which was a small cake (almost like a mini pound cake) and fresh vanilla ice cream which was probably the best vanilla ice cream we have ever had (500XPF)! After finishing up lunch we headed back to the hotel to enjoy our over water bungalow!
We lied down to relax on our back porch and before we knew it, we were both asleep for a couple of hours and Joe did a bit more snorkeling to test out the GoPro! We had done quite a lot of research on the GoPros and decided we wanted to get one for our dives even though we had another under water camera (but it could not go as deep). We didn't want to buy one because they are so expensive so we rented one from a place right down the street from us for 60$/two weeks with insurance!
We woke up from our nap to find a beautiful note and a bottle of champagne in our room delivered by the Hilton congratulating us on our wedding day. We enjoyed some champagne while sitting on the dock and finalized our dinner plans. We learned that a lot of the restaurants on the island come and pick you up if you would like to eat there, so we headed to the front desk to ask about the schedule. We made a reservation at the Moorea Beach Cafe because it was very highly recommended, so we headed to our room to get ready for the 5:30 pick up. Since we were ready by 5, we headed to the hotel bar and enjoyed our complimentary cocktails, Maithai, which was a very beachy and amazing drink. We finished up our drinks just in time for the shuttle to pick us up, and we headed to dinner.
The restaurant is right on the beach and although it started sprinkling, we enjoyed an amazing dinner under a covered, fully open restaurant right on the water. We got their fixed meal menu, where you order an appetizer, meal, and desert for 3800XPF. After I ordered a glass of wine, and Joe ordered the traditional Tahitian beer, we browsed the menu. We ended up ordering tuna tartar and a raw seafood special for the appetizers and both were amazing! The portion size was huge! After ordering the appetizers, we received a complimentary Ahi tuna appetizer that was also very good and fresh bread. For dinner we ordered a Spanish Mackerel with veggies and white rice and Ahi Tuna with Asparagus Risotto. Both of the fish came with two filets and plenty of sides, so needless to say, Joe and I were stuffed! We finished up our meal with desert, ordering a chocolate fondant and a raspberry tiramisu which were both amazing! We finished up our meal and headed back to the hotel.
We stopped by the Crepe Bar on the way back to our room since they feed the sharks and they turn on the lights so you can watch them swim around. The Crepe Bar is on the peer so it is just next door to our room! After watching them for a bit we headed back to our room to enjoy the remainder of the champagne and lay outside on our back porch listening to the waves below. The over-water bungalow was everything we had dreamed of, and the Hilton resort was more than welcoming and accommodating to our needs. We called it an early night since we are still getting used to the time change, but what an eventful first day it was!