Tiki God outside of Bora Bora Airport
Image by thesteeds via Flickr

As I was putting together the packing list for our next vacation and was posting the pictures from our LAST one, I figured I’d add my two cents to the travel universe.

When we went to Bora Bora in late-September, the weather was beautiful. We flew from LA and I think the flight was approximately 6-8 hours long. We flew into Papeete, Tahiti and had about another 30 minutes of flying on a MUCH smaller plane with a stop on Raitee before we made it to Bora Bora. There was also a 30 minute boat ride from the airport to the village and a 20 minute bus ride to the resort. We left LA on a red-eye (midnight local time) but arrived at the Club Med at about 8:30 am.

We ended up at Club Med because about the time we were deciding we needed to go on vacation, Club Med was running a “Stay for 4 Days, Get 3 days Free!” special. I think it was about $800/pp all-inclusive. For the price, it was an excellent bargain. The grounds were gorgeous–lots of wonderful foliage and the staff was very nice. Lots of local women working there who all spoke the most melodious French. The water is potable and they have American style plumbing–no squat toilets or anything like that.

The rooms were fairly large…we had a King bed, desk & chair, tv, a large bathroom area with an open ceiling shower, a sink and a separate toilet area. We had an ocean facing room with a deck near the very end of the resort. To be more precise, we were 1 building (3 rooms) away from a local with about 100 dogs. There were a LOT of dogs on the island and unlike home, they were all mangy. From our deck/room, we couldn’t walk out onto the beach but we could see the (very minor) tide come in and out and liked to watch the crabs hanging out on the rocks.

The thing that we disliked the most about being there was the very strict meal times. We had planned on being able to throw the watches out and eat when we were hungry, hang out and enjoy our stay there. We ended up spending most of the vacation looking at our watch to see when the next meal was — it was a very small window for meals except breakfast and the whole vacation kind of revolved around it. It ended up being a kind of stressful vacation in that our whole desire was to throw out the watches and we couldn’t unless we left the property to eat, which brought in a whole separate bit of anxiety. We were quite a ways from town and there were not shuttles to town except once or twice a day and it was only a 2 hour trip.

That might have been okay except that the food was also horrible. Each day’s buffet had a different theme– Polynesian, Chinese, Japanese, French, World and Italian. They slightly followed the theme. There were other things available other than the MAIN theme foods but all were done poorly. The best things they had were the fruit and their bread. If they did nothing else right, they made EXCELLENT baguette! They had a baked goods/bread area, drinks, eclectic salad section, a raw food/raw fish section, an appetizer section, and then the warm buffet. It usually consisted of the American table, which was about 80/20 as to it’s quality, the Asian section of rice, soup, stir fry and the like, the italian section which usually had a spaghetti & lasagna dish, the island food which had really good chicken sausages and some other things and the theme area with the main dish. None of the meat was edible…very tough or tasteless. I kind of expected a French territory to have much tastier food. I was pretty much a vegetarian that week. The buffet situation was also a little interesting in that it was not a buffet in the typical American sense of the process. People just entered and left the line as desired instead of going through the line and getting things when they got to it…a little disorderly, but seemed to work okay.

All meals were served in the main lodge (unless you ordered room service) and all the seating was in the open. There were no walls on any of the buildings and about 1/4 of the seating was outside. Part of the interest in eating was the fact that little chickens were walking around everywhere while you were eating. They were big enough to look like chickens but were still meeping instead of clucking. There were lots of roosters and grown chickens roaming the island…they were there to keep the insects away.

An interesting thing that we heard was that its so isolated that there are no deadly bugs or critters. Pretty harmless so far as stuff like that goes…

I’ll write more about the island, weather, people and such later….

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