Bora Bora: Last Moments of Paradise

Our 4 days in paradise has came to an end but thanks to Intercontinental Bora Bora Thalasso, we got an extra half free day! The last day of vacation usually was usually very unproductive – wake up, get to airport, wait for boarding (not to mentioned delays), on the plane, layover, on the plane, and then home. I can tell you that it was totally different this time! I was worried about what can we do since our flight from Tahiti back to Honolulu is at 11:30 PM. Some people chose to hop on the first flight from Bora Bora to Tahiti and then spend a day there. I would rather to get as much time as I can get in Bora Bora so I booked the 2nd to the last flight at 6:00 PM arriving Tahiti 6:50 PM still a long layover till the 11:30 PM flight. I chose the 2nd to the last flight just in case any mechanical issues or delays, we could still catch the last flight back to Tahiti! With that said, upon our arrival the hotel had taken our flight information and last night, we got a letter of our free late-checkout at 2:00 PM and the boat shuttle to the airport at 4:30 PM. Checking out at 2:00 PM – that was like another day in paradise! We woke up and packed our carry-ons so that we had our necessary items and yet under 11 lbs. Then, we off for more photos and videos!

The weather was once again perfect! We looked through the photos were took yesterday and decided where do we want to go back to “retake” our photos!

I will miss Bora Bora so bad! Never get enough of this turquoise lagoon!

We didn’t even notice this until now…..Bora Bora Underwater Wedding!!!

We walked to the deck and saw new guests arriving the hotel, aww I wished we just arrived!

We had some fun 🙂

I will never forget this turquoise water and I doubt I could find it anywhere else except Bora Bora!

We got so tan in just a few days hahaha and the tan lasted for at least a month after we got back, people were jealous!

We spent quite some time taking videos!

We had lunch at Le Sands again with the most incredible view once again! Yes paid the price for the view, it was worth it! I ordered the chicken kebab:

Husband ordered the curry pork belly again:

For prices, please see the menu in yesterday’s post.

On our way back to our overwater bungalow, we stopped on the bridge and took a picture of the spa area where they are farming Tahitian pearls:

Going to miss this view walking out of our room:

We realized how much bottled water we had left! The small evian waters were from Intercontinental, they refill two nightly. The other Tahitian brand ones on the back were from the Hilton! We took the evian with us since after check out, we still have 2.5 hours to go.

I called the front desk to send a golf cart to pick up our luggage, they said oh just leave them in the room, they’ll have someone to pick them up later. Ahhhhhhh! We checked out and the guy at the front desk said come back 1 hour before the boat shuttle time to use the day room! So thoughtful of them, now that’s 5 stars service! We decided to spend the rest of our time at the hotel beach, finding beach chairs were not an issue at all during low season! Spending last 2.5 hours in paradise:

We had a great chat before hubby took a nap. I asked hubby will he come back again? He said yes after we saved enough money for it. We stayed on points this time which saved us over $4000 for 4 nights, so it’ll be a lot of savings before we can come back again 😦 The sea breeze, the calm waves sound, the unbelievably turquoise water, the amazing view of the mountain peak and overwater bungalows, I don’t even need to sleep to dream about it – it’s already real! One thing though we wore long jeans lol to prevent mosquito bite and cold in the plane but we regretted it! We should’ve wore our shorts and then change when using the day room duh!!!! The 1.5 hours quickly passed by even when I was just lying on the beach chair awwww! We walked back to the reception and asked for the day room – it was all ready for us and our luggage were in there!!! I was impressed! There are 12 day rooms total wow and conveniently located across from the reception!

Our luggage in the day room, inside was air conditioned too!

Restroom and shower with toiletries:

Only thing I wished it had was a hairdryer so I can wash my hair but it was okay!

A sitting bench to sit down and relax:

I wish every checkout was as comfortable as this! The guy came to our day room to pick up our luggage and we walked to the deck for our shuttle. The guy who welcomed us when the sound of the seashell when we arrived came to farewell with us with the sound of seashell….awwww I miss Bora Bora already!

Our boat making waves and this guy canoeing!

Looked like he paddled from the hotel side all the way to the main island!

Arriving at the airport, how come I didn’t see this when we arrived?

We got there before 5, checked in, dropped off our luggage and sat near the gate to wait for our flight. 10 minutes later, the Air Tahiti shuttle arrived and tons of people poured in, the check-in line was enormous long now. I was glad that we arrived a little bit earlier than the shuttle! All the seats were taken and some people had to stand. We were among the first ones to line up to board the plane, we picked almost the last row of seats on the right side of the plane. This time, the glass was more clear so I had some photos of Bora Bora up from the plane!

Oh my, look at that crystal-clear water that you can see the corals under the water from up here! Here’s St. Regis and Intercontinental on the back two “Y”s!

The one hour flight was fast and passed by many smaller islands like this one, just has a few overwater bungalows!

We landed and picked up our luggage by 7 PM…..the Hawaiian Airlines counter wasn’t even open yet! I asked the info desk and she said they’ll open at 8:00 PM. What should we do now? We saw people went in luggage storage to store their luggage, we did the same (it costed $16 for two pieces but worth it so we could go out for dinner). We walked out of the airport and then made a left turn, just down the road, there’s a Chinese restaurant across the street called Ocean Restaurant. You’ll see a neon bright pink sign, sorry the iPhone wasn’t great for low-light photo:

There was some traffic so had to wait for a safe chance to across that road!

We were seated immediately and the menu has many pages, so much selections and the price wow very inexpensive compared to what we had seen the past few days!

The restaurant was pretty large and clean:

We ordered three dishes and the waitress was giving us a “are you sure” look haha, we wanted to fill up for the 5 hours ride and then another 10+ hours ride home!

Dishes included: soft tofu with chicken and salty fish (portion was huge)

Pepper beef, it was great!

and fish fillets with vegetables:

Total for 3 dishes with rice and two fantas – 6000 xpf ($60 including tips)!!!

We were full and was a nice walk back to the airport. That was easy!

We got back to the airport just before 9 PM to pick up our luggage from luggage storage. Then, we checked out the pearl shops inside the airport. I saw some designs that I really like so bought another 2 pendants with necklaces for around 54000 xpf ($540). Pearls are graded A, B, C, etc. A and B grades are less than 15 percent of minor imperfection (you can look it up exactly online) and those usually set on white gold or gold which cost in the thousand+ dollars range (depending on the size). Then, there’s C grade with higher percentage of minor imperfection and limited deep imperfection and usually set on sterling silver which priced in low hundreds (depending on size). D grade and so on. We picked the C grade set on sterling silver, the imperfections were either hidden on the back or covered by the design so it looked flawless on the front. With the price differences, I’ll take C grades as my French Polynesia souvenir! Pearl needs to be taken care of, do not spray perfume directly on it, do not wear it to shower, and clean with olive oil. The 2.5 hours in the airport without air condition, only ceiling fan, was painful! I used my last 3000 xpf on chocolates and a magnet to bring home. Good-bye French Polynesia, I will be back, especially you Bora Bora!

Landing at Boston Logan Airport- flight delayed again so we didn’t get home until almost 1 AM and it was freezing cold! I felt strange suddenly seeing all those bright city lights haha back to reality!

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20 thoughts on “Bora Bora: Last Moments of Paradise

  1. Miss Vacation – love, love, love your photos. We’re thinking about an August trip. Would you recommend splitting time between different islands? We too are from Boston!

    • My husband uses Canon 6D with a 16-35 f4 lens while I use Canon 5D Mark III with a 24-70 f2.8 lens. We also had the GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition for underwater videos.

  2. Hi Lisa, your pictures are amazing! I am starting to plan our trip to Bora Bora for next year. What are your tips to securing reward nights at the various hotels. I am in the midst of accumulating IHG rewards and Hilton points (I already have 2 free weekend certs). Also, how did you go about finding award flights to Papeet? Did you use ExpertFlyer (sorry if I missed all this in your posts). Thanks!

    • For Hilton, its availability is pretty good for both Moorea and bora bora! IHG Thalasso on the other hand is very hard; I kept pushing my dates out as I was waiting for the points to post because the available reward rooms were disappearing fast. I was lucky to secure 4 cumulative nights one year in advanced! I heard that it’s completely out on the IHG website so you might have to call to check for availability and book 1 night per time as available! Be prepared for a backup plan – Hilton bora bora and IHG le Moana! There are ppl in the IHG Thalasso forum in flyer talk releasing awards night that you might be able to coordinate with for higher chance to get those nights!

      For flights, my original plan was to fly to Hawaii stop over there for at least a week and then continue into PPT and pretty easy to check that with AA website and they stopped free stop over after I get enough points grrr! If you don’t mind going a longer path from US to HNL to PPT then you can check at AA.com. You’ll need to use expert flyer to check award availability on air Tahiti nui for flights from LAX to PPT.

  3. Hi ! I’m drooling each time I look at your gallery of French Polynesia. Planning to go there and explore the 3 islands ( or more) Tahiti, Bora, Moorea. Celebrating 20 years next year and dreaming to be there. I heard November is low season. Did you get free nights? I’m racking air miles now I’m definitely gonna get free air but anxious about getting free hotel nights as I’ve heard it’s a big challenge! Any advice?

    • Thank you Tes! Definitely visit more islands if you have enough time, if you didn’t know already, check out the Air Tahiti island passes, it cover multiple islands for the price of one! Which airline are you racking up miles now? Getting the points for free hotels is easy (IHG points from IHG credit card) but finding availability for reward nights is challenging especially for the Intercontinental Thalasso (where we stayed for 4 nights on points)! However, there are other options if you can’t find free nights at the Intercontinental Thalasso – its sister property on the main island Le Moana. That one has lots of availability if you book in advanced. Another option is the Hilton Bora Bora. Moorea – I highly recommend the Hilton Moorea and it shouldn’t be difficult to find reward nights! Feel free to ask any other questions on how to get there with points and miles 🙂

      • Oh dear, I’m already restless😉 how far out did you book for BoB Thalasso? I have to read again your blog from start to finish. And probably take notes. I guess this is the right time to plan. I’m concentrating on amassing AA miles. Plan to stop Dubai for 3 days then remaining 17 days to French Polynesia ( 20 days for 20 years😍) sounds more exciting to visit more islands with Air Tahiti pass! Will research on that. Will need to earn points also with Hilton & SPG. Only way to make this dream come true is with award miles & points. Yeah, definitely more Maxi dress! 😀

      • I booked one year in advanced! Originally I was planning for a Christmas or New Year in Bora Bora but as I was waiting for my points to credit, the rooms quickly token one by one 😦 So I got the rooms right after New Year! IHG should be the first one your list to get the points and then hold the rooms first. You can always cancel for free after all! 17 days wow, that’ll be the best vacation ever! You can visit more than 3 islands for sure! I was debating rather to go back and visit more islands or another country…I was thinking to visit Huahine and Tikehau, check out those islands but you won’t be able to get any free rooms though as they don’t have hotel chains! Where do you fly from?

  4. yeah, we need to open IHG CC. So you get 1 free night each year? and sign on bonus good enough for free night? is november low season? Air Tahiti pass is expensive, another option is island hopping through ferry. would like to concentrate where free nights are and maybe indulge in one resort out of pocket. Check out Le Taha’a Resort. we’re based in Baltimore but we can fly out from Dulled to Dubai, heard it’s easy to get first class Etihad or Emirates with AA. I still have to do a lot of research but thanks to you too. your blog inspires me. Did you go yet to Cinque Terre? would like to recommend a really good pastry in Vernazza. Go hike the 5 towns.

    • Yes, the sign up bonus when I got it was 80,000 points, one free night at the Thalasso is 50,000 points; they do have the option for points + cash which is 40,000 + $70…that was how we got 2 nights each at 80,000 points + $140. You can’t ferry from Moorea to Bora Bora, the round trip ticket cost already 420 euros (based on some dates in Nov) which is around $460 per person while the Bora Bora pass that let’s you visit Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Maupiti for 393.90 euros around $432…..the pass is cheaper than one around trip ticket to Bora Bora! https://www.airtahiti.com/multiisland-fares

      We came back from Cinque Terrre two weeks ago and we had the best Italian food!

      • You’re right! Cheaper to get the pass. Can’t wait to see your cinque Terre showcase. We were there 3 years ago. Where should we splurge more days? Arguably, Bora?
        With the other small islands, 2 nights should suffice, right?

  5. hi Lisa! it’s me again! Did you book Hilton Moorea with points as well? how many days do you suggest we stay in the other islands? Huahine, Raiatea, Maupiti.

    • We did book Hilton Moorea with points 🙂 We stayed 2 nights but it was not enough so you should if you can stay 3 nights! I never been to the other islands so can’t really comment but if you have enough time, at least 2 nights each and if some island looked more interesting then 3 nights!

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