French Polynesia: Honeymoon in Tikehau – Part 2

After a brilliant and incredibly relaxing four days on Moorea, we jumped on an island-hopper to continue our belated honeymoon on the coconut-palm-laden coral atoll of Tikehau, 340 kilometers northeast of Tahiti.

Air Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau, Landscape Photography, Tropical Honeymoon

Tikehau is part of the Tuamotus Island group in French Polynesia. You probably haven’t heard of the Tuamotus—neither had we, before doing research for this trip—and after having visited, we have mixed feelings about telling you all about them. If you visit, you just might feel like keeping them a secret as well! The Tuamotus sit conveniently hidden in a vast expanse of blue ocean, resembling a scattered handful of loose rubber bands. You have to view the satellite imagery to believe it! Zoom in closer and you realise it’s more like a beaded necklace of tropical islets, herein referred to as mini-paradises. We started our Tikehau adventure on the main island, where the security-less airport stood in a grassy field sans walls. Tikehau definitely gets my vote for “Best Airport”!

Landscape Photography, Tropical Honeymoon, Beach Photography, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau

We transferred by car for several hundred meters on a sandy road until we reached our accommodation, one of the five bungalows at the Pension Hotu guesthouse. It’s a tough call, but I think Erin may have looked even happier on our honeymoon than our wedding! ;) If there exists an optimal set of elements, that then when combined, work together to take Erin’s happiness to the max, then we had found it! Hammock on a tropical beach? Check.

Tropical Paradise, Beach Photography, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau, Hammock

Super-lovey perpetually purring kitty cat? Check.

Cat, Tropical Island, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau

Unspoiled beaches, crystal clear azure waters, and endless coconut palms swaying in the breeze? Check, check, and check! Erin was in heaven!

Landscape Photography, Tropical Paradise, Beach Photography, Tahiti, French Polynesia, TikehauHermit Crabs, Beach Photography, Tropical Island, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau

You might think that lovey cats are dime-a-dozen. Heck, you might even have a cat sitting on your lap right now! I hear you asking, “What’s the big deal?” Well… does your cat come straight to you when you call out to her? Does your cat call a tropical paradise her home? Does your cat hang out with you on the freakin’ beach!?

Landscape Photography, Tropical Honeymoon, Beach Photography, Cat, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau

Will your cat jump in your lap and sleep with you on a freakin’ swinging hammock!? I seriously doubt it. So I’m pretty confident that you’d agree with me, when I say this is… the BEST CAT EVER.

Cat, Hammock, Tropical Paradise, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau, Landscape PhotographyCat, Hammock, Tropical Beach, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau, Landscape Photography

Okay, as awesome and surprising as they were, and as grateful as we were, we didn’t come to Tikehau for its beach-loving cats. We came because the brochures promised views like this:

Landscape Photography, Tropical Honeymoon, Beach Photography, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau

The incredibly remote atolls that make up the Tuamotu Islands are remnants of ancient volcano calderas whose centres collapsed long ago, leaving behind gorgeous blue lagoons teeming with tropical fish. On our second day there, we signed up for a lagoon excursion to explore the vast Tikehau lagoon. At our first stop, we found ourselves walking down this postcard-perfect boardwalk to a mini-paradise called L’ile d’Eden, or Eden Island.

Landscape Photography, Tropical Paradise, Beach Photography, Tahiti, French Polynesia, TikehauBeach Photography, Tropical Island, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau, Landscape Photography

Next stop was Bird Island, a tiny motu that served as the home for many colonies of beautiful sea birds and their adorable chicks! This was a birdwatcher’s paradise!

Wildlife Photography, Birds, Bird Island, Tikehau, French Polynesia, TahitiWildlife Photography, Birds, Bird Island, Tikehau, French Polynesia, Tahiti

Finally, we made our way to another remote mini-paradise for some swimming and snorkelling along pink sand beaches after enjoying a lovely Tahitian barbeque.

Beach Photography, Tropical Island, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau, Landscape PhotographyLandscape Photography, Tropical Honeymoon, Beach Photography, Tahiti, French Polynesia, TikehauLandscape Photography, Tropical Paradise, Beach Photography, Tahiti, French Polynesia, TikehauBeach Photography, Tropical Island, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau, Landscape PhotographyLandscape Photography, Tropical Honeymoon, Beach Photography, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau

Soon, we would have to face the reality that the sun was setting on yet another day of our long-awaited honeymoon.

Landscape Photography, Tropical Paradise, Beach Photography, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau

For the last two days of our honeymoon, we decided to go out with a bang. If ever there was a chance or excuse to splurge and stay in overpriced overwater bungalows, it was now! Erin began fantasizing about staying in one of these as soon as the word “honeymoon” was first uttered. So off we went, to the Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort.

Overwater Bungalows, Honeymoon, Tikehau, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Travel PhotographyOverwater Bungalows, Honeymoon, Tikehau, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Travel Photography

And well, I gotta admit… it was divine! There was a bottle of champagne waiting for us in our bungalow, and so we toasted to our relatively recent wedding and the lives we had decided to spend together.

Overwater Bungalows, Honeymoon, Tikehau, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Travel PhotographyOverwater Bungalows, Honeymoon, Tikehau, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Travel Photography

As with everywhere else we visited in French Polynesia, we didn’t hesitate to jump into the warm tropical waters and take advantage of the spectacular snorkelling literally underneath our feet!

Snorkeling, Underwater Photography, Tropical Honeymoon, Tahiti, French Polynesia, TikehauSnorkeling, Underwater Photography, Tropical Paradise, Tahiti, French Polynesia, TikehauGiant Clam, Octopus, Snorkeling, Tropical Island, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau, Underwater PhotographyUnderwater Photography, Tropical Fish, Snorkel, Tikehau, French PolynesiaUnderwater Photography, Tropical Fish, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau, Snorkel

Did I mention the sea life in Tikehau was absolutely incredible? And after I heard about the Giant Manta Ray cleaning station in the lagoon, the scuba tanks and masks were on in a “Jeffy”! We just sat on the lagoon floor as these gentle giants, with wingspans up to 4-metres wide, glided peacefully around us.

Giant Manta Rays, Cleaning Station, Underwater Photography, Diving, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau

As you can imagine, it was really hard to leave this paradise we had so briefly visited, but as they say, all good things must come to an end. Bye bye heavenly sunsets and glorious sunrises, bye bye wonderful starry night skies, bye bye beach huts and lazy beach cats, and bye bye glassy waters teeming with tropical fish… ’til next we meet. Parting was such sweet sorrow.

Overwater Bungalows, Honeymoon, Tikehau, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Travel PhotographyOverwater Bungalows, Honeymoon, Tikehau, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Travel PhotographyBeach Photography, Tropical Island, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau, Landscape PhotographyLandscape Photography, Tropical Honeymoon, Beach Photography, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Tikehau

We had always thought that visiting French Polynesia would be a once in a lifetime treat. But after experiencing the friendliness of the Tahitians, the romantic way-of-life of the French-influenced culture, the wonderful seafood and the thriving seas, we have no doubt in our minds that we will return. So we want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to our Honeyfund and helped give us the honeymoon of our dreams! And a very special thank you to the biggest contributor… you know who you are! :-D

If you enjoyed our photos, you can see more and even buy prints from our French Polynesia gallery. Have we inspired you to pack up your bags? Or do you have your own French Polynesian stories or tips to share? Let us know in the comments!

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Thippi - I’m speechless…your pictures are so BEAUTIFUL, so dreamy…so inspiring…thank you for sharing…through your lens you work magic!

Kathy Vuong - Looks amazing! Love everything about it!

Cathy Benediktsson - I so much enjoyed your magical photos tonight. I am a beach girl at heart, so this trip would be a dream come true for me. I can’t go at this time, so your wonderful photos allowed me to dream a bit tonight!!!

Daniel Cruz - Such beautiful images!!! I bet you guys had an amazing time there. :]

Lisa - WONDERFUL images. I am so ready to pack my bags — that sky is incredible!

Fotograf ślubny Lublin - You had a wonderful time! Great photos.

Chris Fawkes - That is one outstanding set of images. truly amazing work, i’m blown away.

Chanelle Segerius-Bruce - Out of this world! Love the location and your creativity. Really lovely.

Meredith Lord - Oh WOW! What fantastic images and just love that cat! Am totally jealous now!

The Wong Couple Photographers on Facebook - Oh wow the Maldives–jealous!! :)

Butterfly Philosophy Floral Design on Facebook - Ohhhhhh looks heavenly!!! We are maldives-bound in January for our belated honeymoon – I am dreaming of a place that looks like all your photos!

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