Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What You Should Know Before Traveling to Bora Bora

Our trip to Bora Bora, Moorea & Tahiti


You do not need to bring shampoo, conditioner or body wash. Save the room in your luggage, especially since the weight restrictions on luggage is so carefully monitored on the smaller planes, like Air Tahiti. The resorts gave me new ones every day. I left a note for extra conditioner since my hair is so long, so everyday I also received multiple conditioners.

Bring your own water shoes. Most areas we encountered coral in the ocean. I have read way too many reviews where someone cut there foot on the coral and it ruined their trip. Apparently there is also a coral looking fish that will ruin your day if touched. 

If you go in French Polynesia's summer season, be aware that a mossy seaweed can grow on the ladders from the bungalow to the lagoon. The resorts try to keep this to a minimum, but it's just the season for it. If you come in contact with it, it can cause an unpleasant rash. Be prepared and pack a lotion for the rash, or maybe benadryl. It happened to me on day 2. Luckily it went away on it's own and was never bothersome, just strange looking when I was trying to look all cute in my swimsuit. 

If you cannot splurge on a spa treatment, ask about day pass rates. At the Intercontinental Thalasso you can get a day pass for $35 or $50 with the steam room. My husband was able to get the pass and spend the whole day at the spa with me using the many amenities. I would highly recommend spending one day at the spa. The views here are the best at the resort.

Use the correct credit cards! For instance, use the Chase IHG card at the Intercontinental Resorts, the American Express Hilton card at Hiltons, the SPG American Express at the Starwood properties.  The amount of points earned when using the correct card are insane! Even on free reward nights, I earned thousands of points on everything I charged to the room, which was then charged to the coordinating card. 

If staying at Intercontinentals, pay the $200 to become an ambassador. You get a guaranteed upgrade whether you are staying on a points stay or you are paying. The difference in room categories  are over $300 a night, so you would make your money back on the first night. After all, the view is why you are coming here. It also gets you other perks, like a fresh fruit plate every stay. We were able to snack on it throughout the evening then save the rest for breakfast. You never know what other perks it will bring. We also received a nice IC Thalasso beach bag and Tiare Monoi, valued at about $38. There is also a special area for Ambassadors to check in. A chic seating area with incredible views. We received welcome drinks and refreshing hand towels. The manager came out to welcome us at each resort as well, making us feel really special. 
Another Ambassador perk is you get a Buy 1 Get 1 free on a weekend night stay. It could come in handy if you are paying for this trip and staying over a weekend.  A free night in Bora Bora could save you over $1,000 easily! 

If you are staying near Viatape, go off the resort and check out the snack shack on the beach! It has the most amazing view and on one of the best beaches in the world! It's called Snack Matira. It is also the perfect place to watch the sunset. They do not keep usual hours, so have your concierge call in advance to see if they are open. Also make sure they are serving fish that day, if that interests you. 

Everywhere seemed to accept Visa and most of the time Mastercard. But other cards like Discover or American Express weren't always accepted. Be prepared. Also alert the credit card companies of your travel dates to prevent declines based on possible fraudulent charges. Ask the credit card company if they charge a foreign transaction fee. 

Everywhere accepted American dollars, but you lost out on a few cents here and there. If an item was 1500 xpf, they would charge $15 instead of $13.84, if paid by American dollars. 

Out of respect you should try to learn some basic French and Tahitian sayings. It only takes anfew minutes to learn and it will make you feel comfortable to be able to speak greetings with locals and the staff.